This shampoo could be great or it may contain every nasty contact allergen known to man. We simply don’t know as the company won’t disclose the ingredients.
We simply refuse to recommend this shampoo for that one reason.
Which is a shame as the other actives in their are unique and sound so promising.
Biotique is a skincare and hair care company founded in India that bases its products on the principles of the ancient healthcare system of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a healing system for the body, mind, and spirit that serves as a holistic system for achieving optimum health. It dates back thousands of years in ancient India and is still used today.
In this review, we’re looking at the Bio Margosa Anti-Dandruff shampoo & conditioner from Biotique, which is a “100% Ayurvedic recipe made with botanical extracts.” It is a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner combination and is meant to treat dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis and dry flaky skin.
It’s a unique value proposition and marketing message and we were really looking forward to trying out their shampoo.
The Shampoo: How it Looks, Smells, and Washes
The shampoo itself is a mint-lime green color, opaque, and has a pearlescent sheen to it. This can be due to natural mineral mica, talc, or a synthetic ingredient. It comes in a very sophisticated looking bottle that looks similar to a botanical print you’d see in an apothecary.
The shampoo + conditioner combination has a very nice scent, which reminded me of a sophisticated perfume. Obviously, I was wary immediately – it contains perfumes of some sort. What other ingredients are in there?
Washing was interesting. Once you unscrew the cap, the shampoo is dispensed from a small hole that makes it a little difficult to get enough product out. You really have to squeeze the bottle.
The shampoo itself suds up easily into a slick, opaque foam and washed nicely. It made my skin and hair feel very soft and smooth initially. While it didn’t strip my skin of oil, it did leave it feeling a tad bit dry. The conditioner isn’t exactly great…
This is where the review goes awry…
In the EU, Australia and the US, a manufacturer of a personal care product is obliged by law to list the ingredients in that product. It seems the same legal obligations don’t exist in India as, aside from the actives in this shampoo, 85% of the shampoo formulation is listed as Lotion Base Q.S.
A Lotion Base indicates a mixture of ingredients that are used to achieve the desired consistency and thickness of the shampoo to ensure the right level of absorption of the active ingredients. Unfortunately, this might include thousands of potential carcinogens, ingredients that cause contact dermatitis and who knows what else. We simply don’t know. The “Q.S.” part simply means quantity sufficient, which means that the quantity of ingredients used achieves the desired weight per unit composition. Which doesn’t mean anything at all.
We do know that the shampoo contains fragrance. From the smell. But that’s about it.
Obviously, to do a reasonable rational review we need more information than this so I’ve contacted the manufacturer. But I’ve yet to receive a response.
Manufacturers will often claim that disclosure of ingredients may lead to piracy of their intellectual property ie the formulation. The risk of piracy is largely overstated, as modern analytical chemistry allows any manufacturer with the budget to easily determine the composition of a rival’s product. There is simply no excuse in this day and age to not let your consumers know what they are putting on their scalp!
I wouldn’t put this anywhere near my scalp and wish I could unwash my hair! Maybe next time I’ll read the ingredients before washing.
Which is a real shame as the rest of the ingredients are so interesting.
The entire list of ingredients includes:
Gandhak Element 3%
Neem Bark 5%
Bhringraj Plant 4%
Ritha Fruit 3%
Gandhak is essentially sulfur, which is a natural mineral found in the earth and in our bodies. In Ayurvedic medicine, Gandhak is detoxified using clarified butter (ghee) and then processed with any number of herbal decoctions. Due to its anti-bacterial properties that Ayurvedic medicine claims have blood-cleansing, digestion-boosting and detoxifying benefits, Gandhak is used to treat many types of diseases and infections. Its anti-microbial properties label it as an effective medicine for the scalp and skin, including treating dandruff.
The term “Element” used on the bottle following Gandhak may indicate the undisclosed processing ingredients and herbal decoction mixture. We cannot know what exactly was used in this process or what herbs were used within the “Gandhak Element.”
Neem (Margosa, as seen in the title of the shampoo) bark comes from the Neem tree that grows native in India and Asia. Neem is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to ward off insects and provide anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties for treating infections and skin disorders. These properties sound appealing for those suffering from dandruff since Seborrheic Dermatitis is a essentially fungal condition. Dandruff can also be the result of a dry scalp that needs to be moisturized and nourished.
Bhringraj is a lovely flowering plant that grows in the wild in India. Its medicinal properties are vast, and often used in oil or powder form for beautiful hair. The anti-bacterial properties make it a suitable option for treating dandruff, and its high specific gravity density level allows it to penetrate the scalp and treat dry flaky skin.
Ritha is also known as soapnut for its foaming, soap-like texture. It is a cleansing agent for the hair.
I would love to review those ingredients in the context of the rest of the shampoo. But as the company won’t disclose the ingredients, I simply can’t do that. We simply have no idea what was used to create the shampoo base.
What Users Are Saying
The anti-dandruff shampoo from Biotique has very mixed reviews online. One particular review that jumped out, not to our surprise, was a user complaining that not all of the ingredients are listed. She informed readers that she has a coconut allergy and when the shampoo aggravated her scalp, suspected there had to be coconut in the formula. If you have any allergies to common shampoo ingredients, we suggest looking for a shampoo that lists all the ingredients.
If you look solely at the four listed active ingredients, the Bio Margosa Anti-Dandruff Shampoo from Biotique seemed like a very promising formula. The herbal ingredients used are known for improving the health of hair and scalp, with strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help relieve dandruff and dryness.
However, the final ingredient listed is actually an undisclosed mixture of ingredients. Because we don’t know what they are, I can’t give this shampoo a good score. And because I won’t wash regularly with it, I can’t recommend that unique combination of actives as a deterrent for seborrheic dermatitis or dry scalp.
I simply can’t use this shampoo.
Unless the company has a change of tack and discloses the ingredients, I can only recommend you do the same.
As well as being a licensed hair stylist, Lauren is a trained cosmetologist who understands the biology and anatomy of the scalp and of hair.
She understands the conditions that can cause dandruff and wants to help others achieve beautiful, healthy hair.