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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Herbal Essences

How ethical is Herbal Essences?

Herbal Essences is a brand of hair care products which has a below-benchmark score on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Shampoo & Conditioner Ratings Table. Although Herbal Essences has not yet met our ethical benchmark, we hope to see the brand make progress in the future.

We would have extra confidence in Herbal Essences if it submitted itself to apply for Ethical Accreditation, whereby The Good Shopping Guide would make further detailed assessment and recommendations for ethical improvement.

Find out more about the ethical issues facing the Ethical Shampoo & Conditioner sector.

What does Herbal Essences do?

Herbal Essences is a brand of hair care now owned by The Procter & Gamble Company. The brand was originally created by Clairol in 1971.

In which areas does Herbal Essences perform poorly?

On its website, The Procter and Gamble Company has a section titled Structure and Governance. The page includes information about its political involvement and lobbying activity. As its donations are above our threshold, Herbal Essences gets a bottom rating for Political Donations. Herbal Essences was marked down under our criteria for Animal Welfare as the brand’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, confirms that it does test on animals when required by law.

Herbal Essences was also marked down under our criteria for Organic products and Vegetarian/Vegan products due to a lack of certification, and for Fossil Fuels as Procter & Gamble owns several fossil fuel plants. It also gets a bottom rating for Irresponsible Marketing due to ongoing lawsuits relating to allegations of carcinogenic contaminants in its Old Spice antiperspirant sprays. Find out more about how we rate by exploring our ethical criteria.

Past Criticisms of Herbal Essences record

Procter & Gamble has been named as one of the companies sourcing palm oil from suppliers allegedly controlled by the Harita Group, responsible for ongoing destruction of forests and indigenous communities in Borneo. Procter & Gamble also scored Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for its use of palm oil.

In which areas does Herbal Essences score well for its ethics?

Herbal Essences receives a high score for its Environmental Report, as Procter and Gamble has an Environmental Sustainability page on its website which contains information and targets for the environmental topics of water, climate, packaging and forestry.

We found no criticisms relating to GM, Nuclear Power or Armaments so Herbal Essences scores well for these criteria.

How can Herbal Essences improve its ethical rating?

The below-benchmark score that Herbal Essences is awarded with on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Shampoo & Conditioner Ratings Table is the result of an evaluation of multiple ethical criteria.

To reach our minimum ethical benchmark and qualify for Ethical Accreditation, Herbal Essences has some issues to resolve, including its use of animal testing and Fossil Fuels. If it applies for Ethical Accreditation, The Good Shopping Guide will be able to give Herbal Essences some guidance to improve on these areas.

Were you aware that your brand could benefit from Ethical Accreditation? Brands accredited by The Good Shopping Guide can display our ethical mark, showcasing to consumers that it is an ethical and sustainable brand. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us or complete a Free Initial Assessment form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating