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Ahh, hair care, the job we all love to hate. Getting our hair to behave is one thing, trying to manage it in a vegan stylee is quite another…have you tried reading the back of those bottles? Eek!
It doesn’t stop at the ingredients list, either. Unbelievably, many major manufacturers are still testing their hair care products on animals, making them a no-no for those of us who want to live a fully cruelty-free lifestyle, and deciphering which ones are okay to use can prove to be a bit of a minefield.
But, fear not my plant-based pals; this guide will help you find the best vegan shampoo and conditioner on the market – regardless of your hair type. So, whether your hair is dry or greasy, long or short, straight or curly, you’re in the right place.
First, though, let’s remind ourselves of why it’s so important to buy cruelty-free vegan shampoo and other natural hair products in the first place, and what we should be looking out for when shopping for our tresses.
Why buy vegan shampoo and conditioner?
This may seem like a bit of a dumb question, but with the rise of plant-based diets for health, many new “vegans” have lost sight of what the term actually means. Changing your diet is great, but it doesn’t make you vegan.
To be fully vegan is to eschew all animal products as much as we possibly can. The reason for the “as much as we possibly can” is that medicine is often tested on animals. No one should expect anyone to give up medication that keeps them well, but we can certainly be mindful in other areas of our lives.
That means removing food, clothing, cosmetics – including hair care – and any other product or practice that may involve the exploitation of or cruelty to animals from our lives. Admirable stuff!
However, there’s another reason why you should consider switching to a vegan cruelty-free shampoo and conditioner – your own hair!
Mass market hair care products are generally full of horrible chemicals that can do more damage than good, despite their claims to the contrary.
Switching to a more organic, natural shampoo can be beneficial not only to the animals who won’t have to go through the horrific testing procedures employed by some of the big brands, it’ll also do wonders for your beloved locks too.
It’s a win/win situation that, quite frankly, even non-vegans should be considering – so share this guide on social and spread the word!
How hard is it to find vegan friendly shampoo?
While the term veganism has been around since 1944, the vegan movement has grown exponentially over the last decade or so. Big business isn’t stupid, it recognises there’s a trend happening and they obviously want a slice of that pie.
The result is many more vegan products on the shelves, which is great news, but there are still factors to consider before you simply reach for any old bottle of vegan hair conditioner or shampoo.
Think about the growing vegan junk food market. It’s great to see more options available, but not if they are detrimental to our own health! Remember, the key role of businesses is to make money, pure and simple.
So, yes, it is relatively easy to find vegan shampoo brands online and in store, but you do still have to be aware of who owns the line. Things may not always be as they first appear.
Some vegans simply will not compromise their ethics, and they’ll refuse to purchase a product unless the parent company follows through with their entire range. I applaud that, but I also understand that others are happy with simply ensuring that each product they buy adheres to their beliefs.
Thankfully, there are plenty of good guys out there too. Specialist vegan hair care products from vegan cruelty-free shampoo brands tick all the right boxes, leaving you free to explore their range of products without fear of purchasing something that goes against what you believe in.
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What to look for when buying vegan shampoo and other hair care products
Finding the best vegan shampoo, conditioner, wax, gel or hairspray can be tough if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Certain ingredients can be both derived from animals and from plants, so a cautionary approach is often the wisest option.
If the product you are looking at doesn’t explicitly state that there are no animal products in it and that it hasn’t been tested on animals, don’t buy it.
Even some so-called organic shampoo brands can be iffy, so be sure not to take the marketers word for it. Such buzzwords are there for a reason, to sell more products. An “all natural” shampoo and conditioner may not necessarily be all that it purports to be.
Luckily, the growing awareness over animal rights has led to an increase in good product labeling as well. Look out for logos such as “Certified Vegan” from vegan.org, Peta’s “Beauty Without Bunnies”, and the Vegan Society’s sunflower logo if shopping for vegan hair care products in the UK.
If you are really stuck, however, and you need to buy a vegan shampoo but can’t find one of the above labels on the shelves, here are some of the ingredients you need to look out for.
I can’t reiterate enough, though, how important it is to try and find an endorsed product. Trawling through ingredient lists isn’t easy, and you still won’t be 100% certain you are buying a cruelty-free shampoo or conditioner unless the bottle states that the product wasn’t tested on animals.
Non-vegan shampoo and conditioner ingredients to look out for
As mentioned above, some of these ingredients can be derived from plants. However, if you’re not completely certain (and let’s face it, how can we be without specific labeling?), it’s probably best to steer clear of these:
- Amino acids
- Bee pollen
- Biotin (vitamin B7)
- Cochineal (AKA carmine, carminic acid)
- Egg protein
- Gelatin (may also be written as Gel)
- Hydrolyzed animal protein
- Lecithin (choline bitartrate)
- Milk protein
- Myristic acid
- Nucleic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Pearl essence (Guanine)
- Placenta polypeptides protein
- Provitamin B-5
- RNA (ribonucleic acid)
- Spermaceti (sperm oil or cetyl palmitate)
- Stearic acid
- Stearyl alcohol
- Vitamin B factor
- Vitamin B-Complex
- Vitamin H
Beware the vegan shampoo and conditioner counterfeiters
As if it isn’t hard enough trawling through ingredient lists and checking and double-checking whether or not a product has been tested on animals, there is another concern that is, unfortunately, very real.
Cosmetics is a multi-billion dollar industry with expensive product lines that sell to a wide range of people. It should come as no surprise, then, that the more unscrupulous elements of society want to muscle in on the action by offering what, at first sight, appear to be bargains. (1, 2)
Scam beauty websites and unscrupulous social media accounts come and go with alarming frequency, all designed to trap unsuspecting consumers into buying health and beauty products at a reduced rate. (3)
Sadly, as the cruelty-free lines are becoming more and more popular, the amount of counterfeit vegan shampoos and conditioners on the market are increasing.
We all like the idea of cheap vegan shampoo, but when it’s being created out of non-vegan products and, quite frankly, highly dangerous chemicals, the “savings” you’re making truly are a false economy. (4)
The old adage of “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is” should always be in the back of your mind when purchasing your hair care products, either online or off. Stick to stores and websites you can trust when purchasing your hair care products.
Your hair, your health, and the wellbeing of millions of animals depends on it.
The difference between “cruelty-free” and “vegan” shampoo and conditioner
This is thorny subject, and one that causes more than a little confusion amongst consumers. Many people mistakenly believe that the two terms mean one and the same thing, but that isn’t the case.
What the two terms mean
While vegan and cruelty-free imply the same thing, they are quite different:
If a product clearly states that it is vegan, then it doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals or their by-products.
If a product clearly states that it is cruelty-free, then it hasn’t been tested on animals.
Sounds straightforward, right? Well, you’d think so, but things get weird when you discover that:
Products can be BOTH vegan and cruelty-free.
Products can also be vegan, but not cruelty-free.
Products can be cruelty-free, but not vegan.
A lot of the problems arise because many people have a different view of what veganism actually is.
While some may be happy to use or consume products that are simply free from animal products, others (those who I’d consider true vegans) wouldn’t consider a product to be vegan unless it contains no animal products or by-products and hasn’t caused suffering or exploitation whilst being manufactured.
If you want to lessen the amount of suffering animals have to endure to maximum effect, I recommend buying products that haven’t been tested on animals and are free from animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
How do you go about that? Simple. Look out for the logos above and you’re good to go!
Best vegan shampoo and conditioner reviews
So, now we’ve outlined exactly why everybody (vegans and non-vegans alike) should be using vegan shampoos and conditioners, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and begin looking at some of my favorites.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a cupboard full of products that range from inexpensive right up to don’t-tell-anyone-exactly-how-much I-paid-for-that!
Price isn’t really what this list is all about. Although there are definitely some cheap vegan shampoos, there are some that cost a pretty penny too. What I’ve tried to compile here is a list of the best vegan shampoos and conditioners, regardless of price.
Anyway, as we all know, prices can fluctuate, but the quality of these vegan shampoo and conditioner brands should (hopefully) remain the same.
However, as with so many other things in life, what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, I will ask you to make your own educated choices before making any purchases based on these recommendations.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Best vegan shampoo for color treated hair
Statisticians have a number for everything – including how many women color their hair!
In the US that percentage currently stands at around 70%; that’s a lot of hair in need of a good, natural shampoo! It’s little wonder, then, that our list starts with this particular hair type.
So, the best vegan shampoo for color treated hair, in my opinion, is Puracy Natural Daily Shampoo. I just love the fact that this product is made up entirely from plants and minerals, yet still manages to clean extremely well without leaving my hair knotted and tangled.
Smells amazing too…although I’m not quite sure where they got citrus and mint from. I wouldn’t say it that it particularly smells of either, but it does smell good.
As the shampoo is sulfate free, it works beautifully on color treated hair. In fact, if I were reviewing the best sulfate free shampoo, period, I’d still choose Puracy. I like it that much.
Another point worth bearing in mind is the fact that you need so little of it to get the desired results, making it environmentally friendly in terms of how much packaging you’ll get through in the course of a year.
That being said, it doesn’t lather up as much a “normal” shampoo, but that’s due to the lack of chemicals.
Just like the best vegan toothpaste doesn’t have to tingle on your tongue to clean your teeth, shampoo doesn’t have to foam up to clean your hair. It’s just something we’ve gotten used to.
The pump action bottle minimises wastage too, but Puracy need to sort out their packaging as you’ll often find that one or more of the bottles have leaked during shipping.
What you save thanks to the pump (and more on some occasions) is sometimes lost because of this and, let’s be honest, getting the packaging right shouldn’t be too hard to sort out. Come on Puracy!
All in all, if you’re looking for a good vegan shampoo for color treated hair, Puracy is well worth giving a try.
- Sulfate free, making it perfect for colored hair
- Made entirely from plant or mineral-derived ingredients
- Cleans well
- You don’t need a lot to get the job done
- Pump action bottle helps cut down on wastage
- Great smell
- Perfect for anyone with allergies
- Poor packaging, bottles can leak during shipping (hopefully this will addressed soon)
- You may feel as though your hair doesn’t stay “clean” for as long as you’re used to with mass-market shampoos
Best vegan conditioner for color treated hair
For those of you who like to match up your shampoos with your conditioner, you’ll be pleased to hear that Puracy have a fantastic partner for you to try.
Their Natural Daily Conditioner is the ideal accompaniment for their shampoo and well worth checking out.
Although the product is a little on the thin side, it does work well, leaving your hair feeling soft and luxurious without stripping away that all important color.
LOOKING FOR AN ALTERNATIVE VEGAN SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR COLOR TREATED HAIR? TRY PUREOLOGY’S HYDRATE SET
Best vegan dandruff shampoo
Finding the best vegan dandruff shampoo is no mean feat. Many of the leading brands pack their products full of undesirable ingredients, so getting a little scalp relief can be tough if you’re committed to a plant-based lifestyle.
However, while it isn’t easy, there are some products on the market that do a reasonable job, but they don’t work for everybody. It really is a case of trial and error, as the root (pun not particularly intended) cause of dandruff can vary so much from person to person.
Skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema can cause your scalp to flake, as can generally dry skin and yeast overgrowth.
Our skin is constantly rejuvenating itself and the skin cells on the scalp are formed continuously, so shedding the old skin is completely normal. However, those of us who suffer with dandruff tend to shed these dead cells at a much faster rate, leaving us with those dreaded white flakes falling like snow!
So, what’s the answer for vegans looking for a good dandruff shampoo? Yes To Carrots Nourishing Shampoo, that’s what. Now, it has to be said that this product isn’t perfect, but it is the best vegan shampoo currently available.
What’s wrong with it? Well, as mentioned above, it really comes down to what works for you, so there’s nothing particular wrong with the shampoo, per se. However, many people have commented on how ineffective it has been for their condition, so I thought that needed highlighting here.
One thing to note is that Yes To Carrots Nourishing Shampoo can, in some instances, cause hair to become dry to the point of feeling straw-like but, again, this could largely be put down to differing hair types and the way they react to the various ingredients used by manufacturers.
With all that said, the amount of people who do like the product far outweighs those who do not. Lot’s of people have reported total relief from the dreaded itching associated with having dandruff, as well as banishing the flakes.
Yes To Carrots also have a vegan conditioner for dandruff suffers, and customers have reported positive results when using both products in tandem.
The inclusion of tea tree oil undoubtedly helps calm the scalp and the overall formula leaves your hair feeling soft and clean, which is more than can be said for some other anti-dandruff shampoos.
Overall, this can’t be touted as a complete miracle cure, unfortunately, but it’s most definitely worth a try.
- Relieves itching
- Lessens flaking
- Cleans well
- Smells good (not like carrots, in case you’re wondering!)
- 95% natural (unusual for an anti-dandruff shampoo)
- Doesn’t work for everyone…but what does?
- Some reports of rashes breaking out, so may not be ideal for those with allergies despite being 95% natural
- Can make certain hair types feel dry
Best vegan shampoo for fine hair
If your hair is a little on the thin side, you’ll know just how much of a pain it can be to give it lift and volume. Not only that, fine hair will generally have less protein in it, making it prone to damage and breakages.
Luckily, however, there are now ways in which you can strengthen your hair and give it a fuller look without compromising your ethics, and my out and out favourite is YAROK Feed Your Volume Shampoo.
YAROK is one of those companies you just can’t help but fall in love with. Founded by Israeli hair stylist, Mordechai Alvow, YAROK has a philosophy that others would do well to follow. Their website states:
Our focus is to make the greatest positive impact on hair and scalp health with the least negative impact on the natural environment.
How cool is that?
They follow through completely by making all of their products both 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Furthermore, there entire line is free from paraben, alcohol and sulfates, making them one of the most natural shampoo brands on the market today.
Even the name fits their ethos, as yarok means green in Hebrew!
However, all this wouldn’t be worth a dime if their products weren’t any good, but they are! If you’ve been searching for the best vegan shampoo for fine hair, you really need to try YAROK Feed My Volume.
It boosts, strengthens, and generally makes your hair feel healthier, all without adding too much weight. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, there is a downside…the price. YAROK Feed My Volume Shampoo isn’t exactly at the inexpensive end of things, but you do get what you pay for, which is why it comes out on top in this review.
YAROK also have an excellent volumizing conditioner too.
- Superbly ethical company
- Paraben, sulfate, and alcohol free
- Keeps hair feeling cleaner for longer than most natural shampoos
- Works well, even in small amounts
- Helps strengthen fine hair and, as the name suggests, adds body and volume too
- Helps lessen tangles, which should help prevent damage when brushing
- Amazing smell
- Perfect for those with sensitive skin as well
- Quite pricey, but it is worth it
Best vegan shampoo for oily hair
Thankfully, overly greasy hair isn’t something I suffer with, personally, but a close friend of mine does and there’s only one product to be found in her shower room – Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Two.
After digging around online, it seems as though my girlfriend is onto something – there are positive reviews everywhere! So, this clarifying product is my recommendation when it comes to finding the best vegan shampoo for oily hair.
It’s nice to have a Paul Mitchell product included in this vegan hair care guide. While Paul Mitchell does have some non-vegan products in his range, most are v-friendly, and the company’s commitment to doing the right thing cannot be denied.
All are cruelty-free and they do a great job of clearly stating which products are safe for vegans to buy, which is more than can be said for other big name shampoo brands.
So, onto the product itself. Shampoo Two is specially formulated to help those with greasy hair gently strip back some of that excess oil, leaving the hair “squeaky clean”.
It also works well for occasional swimmers too, as it helps remove the chlorine left in the hair after jumping out of the pool. If, however, you are a regular swimmer, you may find that this shampoo leaves your hair feeling dry when used frequently.
Another plus point for this shampoo is that it’s color safe too, making it perfect for anyone with both color treated and oily hair.
A couple of things to add. It would appear that the name has caused a little confusion with some purchasers online. The “Two” is actually part of the shampoo’s name, you will not receive two bottles.
Second, the “Clarifying” part means that it will separate the oil from your hair, it has nothing to do with the ingredients list or the purity of the product as some people have mistakenly thought. That being said, the ingredients are definitely vegan and paraben free.
- Brand is a well-known supporter of cruelty-free products
- Strips oil really well, without leaving the hair feeling overly dry
- Ideal for swimmers post pool
- Color safe
- Removes product buildup beautifully
- Shampoo is a little on the thin side
- Typical of a vegan shampoo, you may miss the lather
Best vegan conditioner for oily hair
If you’re looking to add a vegan conditioner for oily hair to your bathroom cabinet, try Beauty Without Cruelty’s Rosemary, Mint and Tea Tree.
This surprisingly inexpensive product is brilliant: works well, is organic, pH balanced and smells divine. Plus, coming from a name you can trust, this conditioner is definitely worthy of your attention.
One of the nicest things about the BWC conditioner is the fact that it feels as though it has completely left your hair once rinsed, yet it keeps even long locks tangle-free.
Expect silky smooth hair without the excessive oiliness found when using other, lesser conditioners.
- Paraben free
- Safe to use on color treated hair
- Strips oil from the hair without leaving it dry
- Great shampoo for use in hard water areas
- Works well for occasional swimmers too, removing chlorine effectively
- Fresh, lemon scent
- A little more expensive than some other shampoos
- You may have to wash your hair twice to get the maximum benefit
- Some may find it a little drying
Best vegan shampoo for dry hair
You’ll often find that people with dry skin often have dry hair too, but it can also be caused by regular swimming (either in the sea or in heavily chlorinated pools), sunbathing, or too much time under the hairdryer or prolonged use of styling equipment such as flat irons (check out the HSI Professional Flat Iron if you’re looking for a great hair straightener that’s gentle on dry locks!).
Dry hair, as one would expect, is the complete opposite of oily hair. So, instead of stripping back the oil already present in your hair, those of us who have dry hair need a little help to put the oil back in.
Enter Nature’s Gate Aloe Vera Moisturizing Shampoo, the best vegan shampoo for dry hair I’ve found.
What makes Nature’s Gate so great? Well, for one, it’s incredibly affordable, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less of a product than “salon” shampoos. This beauty works just fine.
The combination of aloe vera and macadamia oil give your hair a natural sheen, as opposed to a somewhat greasy look left by some other dry hair shampoos. It can still feel a little “heavy” in the hair, though, even after rinsing thoroughly.
Anyone suffering with an itchy scalp may want to give this shampoo a shot too. Lot’s of people have reported relief from the itchiness which sometimes occurs when your hair is dry and undernourished.
Gentle enough for psoriasis sufferers, yet more than capable of getting your hair clean and looking great. Two thumbs up!
Now for the downside…the smell. Unfortunately, Nature’s Gate doesn’t smell all that natural at all. It has a rather “disinfectanty” odor to it, which is a real shame as the aloe vera and macadamia oil combo sounds so enticing.
That being said, it doesn’t hold in the hair too much once you’re out of the shower, but I’d prefer to smell something sweeter whilst showering if I’m honest.
Other than that, Nature’s Gate is a decent way to get some life back into dry hair.
- Thick and unctuous to the touch
- Helps relieve itching
- Gentle, safe for allergy sufferers
- Fine for psoriasis sufferers too
- Well respected brand
- Very affordable
- Doesn’t smell good
Best vegan conditioner for dry hair and scalp
When it comes to finding the best vegan conditioner for dry hair and scalp, The Wonder Seed’s Hemp Seed Oil Conditioner takes some beating.
This nourishing conditioner is packed with organic ingredients designed to feed your scalp without overloading it with greasy residue.
While I’ve highlighted it for dry hair, it’ll actually work well with all hair types – perfect if you are looking to share amongst the family.
The sweet orange smell is fresh without being overpowering and lack of parabens, sulfates and other nasties make it a great choice if you are looking for a new way to liven up your locks.
- Works well with all hair types
- Organic ingredients
- Smells great
- Nourishing and soothing on the scalp
- Hair growth claims are a bit far-fetched
Best vegan shampoo for curly hair (set includes conditioner)
Okay, so this is another one I’ve had to take advice on. As you can see from my pictures, my hair isn’t in the least bit curly, but my old college friend, Lucy, has full on curls to die for. You know, like proper ringlet curls, but natural.
So, who better to call than her, right? Here’s what she told me:
I’ve used way more than my fair share of different products over the years, but the one I’ve settled on (for the time being at least) is Artnaturals Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set. Yep, you get both in one handy box!
I love the texture it gives my hair, and it’s on the Beauty without Bunnies list, so it’s perfect for your readers. It’s the best natural shampoo I’ve tried!
With that endorsement ringing in my ears, I set off to find out a little more about this set before writing it up as the best vegan shampoo for curly hair, and I was impressed with what I found.
In fact, the only real complaints I could find was that it can leave a fair amount of residue behind if you’re not really careful about rinsing. So, if you’re looking for the best shampoo without chemicals that’s gentle and moisturizing, Artnaturals Moroccan Argan Oil should fit the bill nicely.
- Smells amazing
- Lathers surprisingly well
- Affordable combo set
- Softens nicely
- Leaves hair shiny, without looking unnatural
- Can be difficult to rinse out
- You may find that your hair builds up a residue over time
Best vegan purple shampoo
Are you a blonde bombshell with a conscience? If you are, you need to start using a vegan purple shampoo!
Purple shampoos have exploded in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason. Bleached hair has a tendency to lose its lustre after a while, eventually ending up a little brassy in color – not exactly the look you’re after.
Purple shampoos are, unsurprisingly, purple, which just happens to be the opposite to yellow. So, as you wash your hair, these shampoos help to neutralize the excessive yellow tones that cause the brassiness because your hair takes on tiny amounts of the purple pigments in the formula. Clever, huh?
So, what’s the best vegan purple shampoo? Well, after a full day of reading (and re-reading) pages of reviews, articles, and studies on the various brands available, Paul Mitchell’s Platinum Blonde Shampoo comes out on top.
The advanced formula used in this purple shampoo has subtle violet pigments in it, which both brighten blonde, white, or gray hair whilst neutralizing any yellow tones you may have.
Users report that the shampoo is mild, but cleans well and helps the hair retain moisture – essential if you’ve got bleached blonde locks!
It would appear that the only issue with this product is the fact that it can add a little extra weight to your hair, but then some will see that as a benefit.
- A little goes a long way, making it quite cost-effective
- Lightens blonde, gray, and platinum hair
- Leaves hair feeling both soft and shiny
- Gentle, but effective
- Noticeable results after just one wash
- Can leave hair feeling heavy
Best Vegan Shampoos and Conditioners…Done!
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That completes our guide to vegan shampoos and conditioners, thanks for sticking it out until the end!
Please feel free to post your comments below, it’d be great to hear what you think!
Until the next time!
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About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Cosmetics Europe | Counterfeit | https://cosmeticseurope.eu/cosmetic-products/counterfeit/
- Sayari Insights | The Dark Side of Beauty: An Overview of the Counterfeit Cosmetics Industry | https://sayari.com/resources/the-dark-side-of-beauty-an-overview-of-the-counterfeit-cosmetics-industry/
- Sarah Parsons | Social media now contributes to 50% of counterfeit cosmetics sales | https://www.cosmeticsbusiness.com/news/article_page/Social_media_now_contributes_to_50_of_counterfeit_cosmetics_sales/143579
- Kimberly Holland | Counterfeit Makeup a Rip-Off… and a Health Danger | https://www.healthline.com/health-news/counterfeit-makeup-a-health-danger