Time to take a closer look at ingredients. Most of the products use a "coconut-based cleanser" or "vegetable derived cleanser" as a base but Google tells me that these terms mean different things. If you want to find out more, ask the company to provide the correct INCI names of their ingredients - International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient.
For example, the INCI of a "fragrance" would tell you if it is a synthetic oil or an essential oil. A "coconut-based cleanser" or "vegetable derived cleanser" would tell you it is a surfactant (or detergent) that creates the foam. Surfactants or sudsing agents are widely used in human products such as shampoos, toothpaste, lotions and creams today: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocomidopropyl Betain, or Cocomide Monoethanolamine (MEA). Sulfates may irritate skin. Good or bad, labeling regulations allow "derived from coconut oil" and "natural" to be used on many products.
Again ask for the INCI names of their ingredients, of their surfactants. For example, a quality natural cleanser would be something called Decyl Polyglucose. It is a gentle yet effective surfactant derived from sugar such as corn, glucose and starch; it is also often described as derived from corn and coconut & palm kernel oils, too. Decyl Polyglucose is primarily used in human baby and personal care products for sensitive skin formulas.
Pop's Pet Organics Multi-Purpose Pet Shampoo uses "saponified organic coconut oil." Saponification is a simple chemical process using oil that produces soap, glycerin and water. I know, too much chemistry. It is your choice to identify what is most important to you: natural? organic? sulfate-free? detergent-free? paraben-free? eco-friendly? vegan? holistic? If your dog's skin is sensitive, look for less irritating ingredients.
Our new favorite dog shampoo is Pop's! We like the fresh citrus smell, easy rinsing, and squeaky clean feel. This is a low sudsing product. Pop's shampoo is thinner and just like the bottle said, a little goes a long way. It cleaned extremely well and the rinse time was so much shorter! As dogzoomies noted, Pop's is a USDA certified organic and eco-friendly pet product. It is the dog shampoo at Glen Highland Farm's Sweet Border Collie Rescue, too!
earthbath and CloudStar are very popular brands and very good products, too. earthbath has a dizzying array of "smells" and CloudStar is very sudsy (and in my experience, longer rinse times). CloudStar also makes a conditioning spray which we like to use between baths! TrueBlue and Pet Aromatics are very pleasant smelling (which is why I bought them in the first place). TrueBlue's shampoo with green tea has a soft, soothing smell. Pet Aromatics Honeysuckle Hound is like summer in bottle with lots of sweet honeysuckle but may be too heady for some folks. Expect to pay anywhere from $10.99 to $14.99 for a natural shampoo.
Pop's is the only dog shampoo we'll buy from now on. 24 hours after their bath and several brushing sessions, Josey and Lucas look amazing. Clean, smooth, soft, and fluffy! I am inclined to give them baths more often because we can cut the bathing time.
towel-dried and pissed off
fluffy and happy (she just had dinner)
again, towel-dried and not happy
so clean and handsome
We are also going to test Pop's Pet Organics Flea, Tick and Insect Repellent this fall and winter when we'll stop using our Frontline Plus. As part of my due diligence, I plan on contacting Pop's to learn more about their products and ask for the INCI names of their ingredients.
*Sorry about the black corners on photos, shutter on camera is a little tired.