What Makes Tates “Miracle” Shampoo a Miracle?

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Last week I had a semi-comical conversation with Tate’s The Natural Miracle Shampoo, which I thought I would share with you.  It was so frustrating I didn’t know whether to scream or laugh (in the end, I did a little of both.  Scroll down if you want to see the conversation, which I have recreated virtually verbatim. In the meantime, I thought I would provide some context as to why the conversation is at once frustrating, sad and amusing.

 

 

So, I’m a little frustrated with our whole system frankly.  This conversation with Tate’s The Natural Miracle Shampoo is not very different from a typical conversation I have on a typical day.  A reader asked me to look into a shampoo made by Tate’s.  So, I did what I first do – looked at the ingredients.  On the surface, the ingredients sound wonderful, don’t they?

 

 

Tates Natural Miracle Shampoo
Tate’s Natural Miracle Shampoo

 

 

But if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know that they make no sense.  This is a recipe for something you but into a blender and drink after a workout session; it’s not a formulation for a shampoo.  So I decided to dig further.

 

 

To do that, I Googled the Tate’s shampoo, and a lot of articles came up – articles by other bloggers who promote non-toxic products; my brethren.

 

 

All they seem to have done is to look non-critically at the list of ingredients and reported on them.  But is that really helpful?  It seems to me that this is not helping our common cause, but rather is doing more damage by simply adding to the noise that promotes greenwashing.

 

 

114 shampoos are rated and described so you can choose a shampoo that you truly want !

 

 

My blog reader had told me that the shampoo foamed, and wondered why it did.  So I went the extra mile for you, my readers, and researched a product that I do not need.  I picked up the phone and called Tate’s.  Here is a transcript of what transpired.

 

 

The dialogue with Tates

 

 

Me: Hi, I have some questions about your shampoo. I’ve read the ingredients but have some questions.

Tates: OK, what can I help with?

Me: What makes your shampoo foam?

Tates: Sodium.

Me: Sodium . . . Hydroxide? [lye used to make soap]

Tates: No, salt.

Me: Salt?!?

Tates: Yes, when we add all these natural ingredients together . . .

Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand. For a shampoo to foam, it has to have saponified soap or a synthetic surfactant. Does your shampoo have soap?

Tates: Yes, everything is very natural.

Me: What ingredient is soap?

Tates: Are you trying to make shampoo?

Me: No, I write a blog to help people reduce their exposure to toxic chemicals. I help them understand labels. I have seen a lot of shampoo labels and the ingredients of your shampoo do not make any sense. I know that your shampoo foams because one of my blog readers told me it does. But I don’t understand what ingredient makes it foam.

Tates: You have the shampoo. Do you want to order more? You can order in bulk.

Me: No, I do not need the shampoo. I want to understand how it is made and what makes it foam.

Tates: Oh, we use a soy base.

Me: Soy base? What is it? Is it a lye base? I don’t see it listed as an ingredient.

Tates: It sounds like you have the shampoo. Have you tried it?

Me: I don’t have the shampoo and I do not want to try it. I want to understand what makes it foam. What is soy base?

Tates: It’s just a base. It’s natural. Everything is absolutely natural.

Me: And why is it not listed as an ingredient, then?

Tates: It’s an oversight. We will add it.

Me: What makes “soy base” foam?

Tates: It is natural. If you order in bulk, I can get you a discount.

Me: The word “natural” is not legally defined. What do you mean by “natural?”

Tates: It’s just natural.

Me: So when it says coconuts, are they coconut oil or a coconut-derived surfactant? When it says raspberries, what does that mean? Are they oils or extracts?

Tates: They are extracts derived from oils.

Me: What?!? What does that mean? [silence] What about nutmeg or thyme?

Tates: Everything is natural and pretty much the same.

Me: Ok, thanks. Are the ingredients organic?

Tates: Yes, everything is organic.

Me: Oh, it doesn’t say that on the labels. Are they certified organic by the USDA?

Tates: What? USDA?

Me: Yes. [more silence] Ok, thanks.

Tates: [This is my favorite part] Do you have any more questions?

Me: I still have the same question. What makes the shampoo foam? Does it have saponified soap?

Tates: I will have to call you back. What it is your phone number?

Me: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Tates: And what was your name?

Me: I-r-i-n-a

Tates: And what kind of soap did you ask about?

Me: Saponified soap.

Tates: Can you spell it?

Me: S-a-p-o-n-i-f-i-e-d

Tates: I will call you back. Do you want to place your order now?

Me: Is there somebody else I can talk with who is more knowledgeable about your shampoo?

Tates: That’s why I am going to call you back. Do you want to place your order now?

Me: No, thanks.

 

 

Did I want to place my order now?  What was she even talking about?  And yes, I am still waiting for a call back. I will update this post if I get a call back.

 

 

[space reserved for update if one comes]

 

 

After this ridiculous conversation and the fact that I never received a call back, I kept digging deeper.  There are about 30 one-star reviews on Amazon that you can read here and here.  They allege that Tate’s The Natural Miracle Shampoo is a fraudulent business.  Also, Tate’s is rated F by the Better Business Bureau featuring 47 complaints in the past 3 years.

 

 

So there you go.  I have no idea what is going on at that company but there are enough red flags to steer well clear.  It is really sad that we cannot trust what companies say about their products.  And please be clear; I do not know whether Tate’s is telling the truth or not.  But it certainly does not make sense, and they are not answering my questions, or haven’t yet, anyway.  If they do, I will provide an update.  In any case, buyer beware!

 

 

114 shampoos are rated and described so you can choose a shampoo that you truly want !

 

 

To learn more about:

Why Natural Products Don’t Always Mean “Safe”

How Soap is Made 

How to Read Shampoo Labels

 

 

Update: Good news!  Tates changed the shampoo’s label to reflect the actual ingredients.  Here is the updated list of ingredients, “Genoveve’s Hand-Picked All Natural Ingredients: Water (aqua), ammonium laurel sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, lauramide dea, laurel glucoside, ammonium xylene sulfonate, sodium chloride, almond flavor, vitamin E.” It is pretty funny that they left, “Genoveve’s Hand-Picked All Natural Ingredients” on there.  The ingredients are not listed on their website yet.

 

 

If you are looking for a hair product for yourself, check out my Shampoo and Conditioner Rating Lists which will help you find safe products that will work for you.  If you appreciate the time and energy I put into this research, please subscribe to my blog by filling out a simple form below; it helps a great deal. Together we can demand safer products, and this post is a great example of that!

 

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41 thoughts on “What Makes Tates “Miracle” Shampoo a Miracle?”

  1. I’m so sorry, but I really did laugh out loud reading this (alone, in public). I almost wanted to cry for you because I can’t tell you how many similar conversations I’ve had with some of the biggest “truly natural” brands out there that are. It’s so sad and there’s just so much to know and learn and be watchful for that you can never truly let your guard down. It really goes to show that just about anyone can make cosmetics, start a company, and answer to no one.

  2. I had a very similar conversation with Tates years ago when I was trying to find a safe fragrance-free shampoo. It was an excruciating conversation and I really needed to know the ingredients because I started having all sorts of allergic reactions to products. This was back when Tates didn’t even list ingredients at all on the label! At that time it was really discouraging because I didn’t know much about natural products and I assumed all companies were like this! Just terrible customer service. Some companies are so blinded by the fear that someone will rip off their “formula” that they scare away customers.

    1. Erin, found out by whom? Too bad the FDA hasn’t investigated these outlandish claims. Unscrupulous businesses like this know the FDA doesn’t have the manpower to verify ingredients and claims of every supposed “100% all natural” product. It’s laughable yet sad that so many customers give 5 star ratings for this product…a true placebo effect.

  3. Oh, wow, how funny and how …..sad. This is a ridiculous conversation indeed given the fact that the terms used are very common and known and by no means fancy especially if you think about the beauty industry. Poor knowledge of the product is something that will always turn the customer away. It’s like when I asked a Lancôme “beauty advisor” if they sell creams against cellulite and she asked me if that was something for my face :)))))

  4. OMG! What a nightmare! As a frequent purchaser of “natural” products, I would have been fooled by the packaging and am thankful for this info! I love the work that you do, Irina! Thank you for all your hard work!
    [Note: The Amazon link was for their conditioner, but I’m sure if it’s made by the same company, the same goes for the whole product line.]

  5. I have been beating my head against the wall trying to find a decent toxic free shampoo and conditioner for my family. I can’t tell you how many iingredient lists I have read that have come up short and how many times I have purchased something thinking it was OK only to get it home and realize I missed something on the label. Yesterday I washed my hair with baking soda and rinsed with apple cider vinegar. Not my wish but I am at my wit’s end.

    1. Hi Maria! I definitely know how you feel. I have been studying shampoos for years now. And at one point I had to resort to baking soda and vinegar. It did not work out for me. My hair got dry. I am glad that you subscribed so look for a shampoo post soon! Warmly, Irina

  6. If you go find a new bottle of their shampoo, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with their ingredients now. It’s pretty much just sulfates.,,

    1. Yes, I see them. Here is the updated list of ingredients, “Genoveve’s Hand-Picked All Natural Ingredients: Water (aqua), ammonium laurel sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, lauramide dea, laurel glucoside, ammonium xylene sulfonate, sodium chloride, almond flavor, vitamin E.” It is pretty funny that they left, “Genoveve’s Hand-Picked All Natural Ingredients” on there.

      1. Hi Irina,
        Thank you so much for what you do!!!
        I have a question…..I cannot find, Anywhere, this new updated list of ingredients….I went to the Tates website and all the pix of the bottles are front only….(wonder why?)….I would like to see it published by Tates so that I can then go forth to demand a refund for ALL of the money i’ve spent on their fraudulent advertising.

        Please post a link to the info when you have a moment, it would be so appreciated….
        AND,
        Just heaps of thanks again, for all you do!

  7. I tried to find out in August 2012 as well. Below are the exchanged emails.

    Dear Tate family,

    I’ve been a fan of your miracle shampoo for a number of years. It is the only shampoo that does not irritate the skin on my shoulders and back. Now that I am pregnant, I am more concerned about the ingredients of skin products that I use. I tried to get a rating for your products on Skin Deep, the database of the Environmental Working Group. However, the ingredients that you list are not found in the database. Could you describe to me how you make your products? For example, when the ingredients label list coconuts, what does that mean? Are you using the coconut water, flesh, oil, butter?

    Thanks,

    Marynia

    hi marynia, i never heard of the data base you looked at ,,,but that’s ok ,,,,,all our ingredient are from local farmers and if we have to get them from other sources ,,,but only certified organic ,,hope that helps and great job on the new baby to come  ,,,,we love babies and you thank you for being our friend ,,,,from all the tates
    http://www.ourtatefamily.com   ,,,free shipping if you want to order?

  8. Thank you so much for digging in and doing some research! This company is ridiculous and needs to be stopped before more people lose money. If I can just quickly share my experience:

    I am an office manager of a chiropractor’s office. We received a box containing three Tate’s All Natural Miracle Conditioners. None of the office staff had even heard of this product and certainly hadn’t ordered any. We were sent a hand written and hand sketched invoice. We didn’t use the product and I set it aside.

    The chiropractor I worked for confirmed that the products listed were probably bogus and there way no way a conditioner could help cure arthritis, bee stings, eczema, diaper rash, and other random ailments.

    Today I received another invoice from the company stating I owed them money. I called the company multiple times and the phone rang about 20 times each and I received no answer. I emailed the company and I have not received a reply. I will happily return the product if they pay for me to ship it back to them. I will not pay to return an item I did not order.

    Just to clarify, we first received these products a month ago and the ones we received still have deceptive labels that list only, “mountain spring water, apples, strawberries, rose, oranges, clove, ginger, pineapple, cranberries, blueberries, geranium, raspberries, blackberries, celery, boysenberries, orchid, coconut, papaya, marigold, hazel nut, pine needles, oak bark, chamomile, nutmeg, calendula, jasmine, lemons, parsley, thyme, eucalyptus, cherry bark, passion flower, cinnamon. Lots of smiles, lots of hugs and lots and lots and lots of love.” So I assume they are still disseminating incorrect labels with their products.

    1. Heather, thank you so much for sharing with us. I am so sorry to hear this! This is a nightmare! It looks like they have two sets of labels: deceptive and more accurate ones. Please update us on this story. I can ask my husband (he is a lawyer) if this is something you should worry about and you can just ignore them. Thank you, again!

  9. Thank you Irina, Came across your blog after researching this product before we purchased it again. I too can attest that it does indeed lather.

    Something else a bit funny, google streets shows the address of the company is an accounting firm and tailor shop!

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/4041+erie+street+willoughby+ohio/@41.6418757,-81.4065891,3a,75y,98.21h,73.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5nukUZzKViOkeOi_M8Tgag!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x81e9d694a7749f41!6m1!1e1

  10. Irina; I applaud you for doing this work. Dealing with these companies take a great deal of patience and persistence.
    I wished I had read this before using it on my mother who recently finished chemo. I purchased Tate’s shampoo
    at an reputable Intergrative Pharmacy in New York City. I am printing your phone conversation and take it to the pharmacy. They need to see it. Thanks again.

  11. I have used Tate’s miracle shampoo for a few years and have found it to be the only one that controls my scalp condition of seborrhea dermatitis. Very disappointed to see those ingredients were hidden. Are there any shampoos that you are aware of that are natural and work for that condition. I have tried soap berries and soapwort with bad results

  12. Discontinued using

    I purchased the Tate’s Toothpaste which also foams a GREAT deal. The reviews I have since read are frightening.
    Who would one go to to have a company investigated for possible false ingredients?

  13. I used to work for this company, its a scam. All the toothpaste are bought from the dollar tree and repackaged and sold for 16.58 a tube! yes! don’t be dumb, don’t fall for this companies lies!!! everything else is bought from sally beauty supply and Walmart, also big lots! anywhere he can get his hands on cheap product then sells them all for a crazy price saying they are organic!

    1. I just came across your blog and can’t believe what I was reading. I’m so disappointed in Tate’s. I actually have only been using their toothpaste and was trying to buy more but it seemed like every company that was selling it is “out of stock”. So I started searching everywhere for it when I found this blog. I new their ingredients were too good to be true. It leaves me wondering who I can trust. Sigh.

  14. Hi
    I am happy to see this information on Tate’s now, before spending another $15 on a bottle. I have been using this shampoo for the past year thinking it was the healthiest hair product available. There is another shampoo I have been using, that seems to have only healthy ingredients, but now I am wondering if this is the case. It is called Let-It-Grow and is made by a company called Genuine African Formula. Have you ever looked into this company? It was recommended to me by a holistic practitioner to help my 12 yr old daughter with thinning hair. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Sara: You are right – the ingredients of the Genuine African Formula shampoo are not fully disclosed either. We do not know what surfactants and preservatives they use, for example. Also, Benzophenone-3 is linked to endocrine disruption. It is my priority to stay away from endocrine disruptors as they act at very tiny doses especially considering your daughter’s age. Please keep in touch. Let me know if you want to talk more about this. ~Irina

  15. This is the most fantastic read I’ve experienced in quite some time!!! Thank you. They must have followed Dr. Bronner’s lead…

  16. Anna Kleinschmidt

    Thanks for all your hard work. I pinned your blog, i loved it so much. The conversation was so typical „don‘t ask me i just work here.

    Good luck with all your findings!

  17. Thank you for this. I purchased this (for $13!) a little suspicious oc the ingredients, I knew companies could lie about organic and stuff but had no idea they could just not list ingredients. I want to figure out how to diy this shampoo and could not think of how with those ingredients they could make it foam, be clear and odorless. It makes sense now! Thank you

  18. Just saw this stuff and called tates…left a vm…”if this has all these yummy spices and ingrediants, why doesnt it have any aroma? nutmeg, cloves, ginger…strawberries…should smell great or be molding” will post if i get call back….have u also checked label for maggies organic cotton socks? Dont see any usda or other, certification…thanks for your work!

  19. Thank you for the article. I had the same type of weird conversation with them about the ingredients in their products. Your experience was almost identical to mine.

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