Would you like to join the eco-friendly movement and play your part in saving the planet? One easy way is switching to vegan and cruelty-free shampoos.
Today we’ll guide you through the world of vegan shampoo. After reading this article, you’ll be confident enough to identify vegan and cruelty-free shampoo in the blink of an eye (OK, maybe not in a blink of an eye, but fast enough to impress your vegan friends).
What Does It Mean When A Shampoo Is Vegan?
A vegan shampoo (also known as organic shampoo) doesn’t contain ingredients derived from animals, and when its suds go down the drain, they won’t harm the environment.
But if plant-based ingredients are so good, why don’t all companies use them? Because animal-derived ingredients are cheaper than plant-based products.
Elastin, an ingredient used in certain skincare products, is found in the neck ligaments and aortas of cows. Other components of shampoo are derived from hooves, hair, horn, fats, umbilical cords, bones, skin, etc. The demand for these ingredients keeps the meat industry up and running and highly profitable.
We’re all aware of the painful conditions in which the animals are bred, raised and eventually killed for their body parts.
And consider this: even if the ingredients are not animal-derived, they (e.g., sulfates and parabens) can harm the environment when they eventually end up in water bodies.
Also, a vegan product is not the same as a cruelty-free product. Some brands might mislead you by declaring their product is vegan but still engage in animal testing, (e.g., Garnier Fructis).
Did you know that the Chinese government requires that all imported body care products undergo mandatory animal testing? Consequently, all brands exporting to China are involved in animal cruelty.
Animal-testing of shampoos, conditioners, shampoo bars and other skin-care products involves rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits. According to Humane Society International, “approximately 100,000-200,000 animals suffer and die just for cosmetics every year around the world.”
The animal tests include eye and irritation, and health hazard tests in which chemicals are:
- rubbed on their shaved skins
- dripped into the animals’ eyes
- force-fed to the animals for months.
These tests can result in blindness, bleeding skin, organ damage, etc. The animals are killed at the end of the testing by decapitation, neck-breaking or asphyxiation. If a customer suffers an injury due to the chemicals used, the companies can use these tests as a defense.
The best cruelty-free shampoo brands use alternative testing methods such as:
- cell cultures
- human tissues
- human volunteers
- computer models
The 13 Best Vegan and Cruelty-Free Shampoos
All the shampoos listed here are free from sulfates, parabens and other harmful chemicals.
Best All-Purpose Shampoos
Essential oils of natural ingredients form the core of this shampoo. This shampoo has nourishing and hydrating properties and makes your hair visibly stronger. The essential oils leave a subtle scent after a rinse. Suitable for all hair types. Public Goods Conditioner is also vegan and cruelty-free, providing you with a full hair care package at an affordable price.
Stats: $4.50, 12 fl oz/356ml
This shampoo will nourish your hair, no matter your hair type. Avocado is the main ingredient and supplies your hair with vitamin E and antioxidants.
Stats: $7.56, 13.5 fl oz/400ml
Shampoos for Oily Hair
If you have oily hair, this shampoo will help make it soft and bouncy. The lemon tea tree oil and lemon peel extracts in this shampoo loosen and dissolve excess oil. It also strengthens your hair and revitalizes your scalp.
Stats: $8.99, 8 fl oz/237ml
This shampoo, whose main ingredient is lavender, is incredible for use on oily hair. Amazon reviews for this product testify to this. It has a sweet natural scent and is also effective at keeping head lice away.
Stats: $28.82, 6.8 fl oz/200ml
For Color-Treated Hair
People love this shampoo because it doesn’t cause their hair dye to fade. Its key ingredients include jojoba, green tea and sage, which impart softness and moisture to your hair. This shampoo has the sweet smell of lavender.
Stats: $30, 9 fl oz/266ml
This shampoo is gentle on your hair and protects against color fade. It has a pleasant natural basil and nectarine aroma. The organic raspberry seed oil formula will leave your hair soft and manageable.
Stats: $18, 8.5 fl oz/250ml
For Dry Hair
This shampoo works well on sensitive skin. It cleans your hair of dirt and grease, but doesn’t strip your hair of natural oils. It’s formulated with tea tree, mint, eucalyptus chamomile. The smell is mint-like.
Stats: $9.81, 14 fl oz/414ml
Coconut milk and shea butter, the key ingredients in this shampoo, are efficient at moisturizing and hydrating a dry scalp. Other ingredients, like Tahitian Monoi Flower, add strength to your hair. Their tubes and caps are recyclable.
Stats: $24, 8 fl oz/237ml
People have found this product to be amazingly effective at treating dandruff, flaky skin and itchy scalp. The shampoo works on all hair types and color-treated hair. Tea tree, sage and rosemary essential oils are the key ingredients. The shampoo also prevents breakage and split ends.
Stats: $9.95, 8 fl oz/237ml
The salicylic acid found in this product breaks down buildup and keeps your scalp flake-free. It contains essential minerals that promote healthy hair, while mineral-rich clay absorbs excess oil. The result: flake-free, soft and stronger hair.
Stats: $9.99, 8.5 fl oz/250ml
For Curly Hair
Curlsmith is a company all about curls. All of their products including style balm, conditioner, serum, etc. cater to people with curls. This shampoo will wash away the dirt and buildup, and moisturize your hair. No need to use a conditioner.
Curlsmith claims that the shampoo will not produce lather because of the absence of sulfates. However, lather or no lather, user reviews make it apparent that people love this shampoo.
Stats: $25, 12 fl oz/356ml
For Frizzy Hair
This shampoo treats frizzing in all hair types. It restores dry and damaged hair and is safe for color-treated hair. The shampoo also nourishes your hair, adds moisture and supplies vitamin E. Key ingredients include rosehip, argan and coconut essential oils.
Stats: $24, 8 fl oz/237ml
Are Most Shampoos Vegan?
Most shampoos are not vegan. You will have to deliberately search for a vegan and cruelty-free shampoo. They also go by the name of vegetarian shampoo and conditioner.
Some well-known animal-derived ingredients found in shampoo and conditioner include:
- keratin (derived from hooves, feather, horn and hair)
- silk powder (derived from secretion of the silkworm)
- stearic acid (derived from fats of cows and pigs)
- hyaluronic acid (derived from umbilical cords of animals)
- gelatin (obtained by boiling discarded animal bones, skin and ligaments)
The good news is that we have vegan and cruelty-free brands out there that produce high-quality shampoo and conditioner, like Public Goods, Avalon Organics, and Desert Essence. Some brands (like ours) are even choosing sustainable packaging.
When selecting the best vegan and cruelty-free shampoos or conditioners, look for certification seals from recognized organizations. The most common organizations providing these seals include:
- Vegan Awareness Foundation
- The Vegan Society
- Cruelty-Free International
- National Sanitation Foundation
Brands like Avalon Organic use the NSF logo on their products. But these certifications licenses have to be paid for before being showcased on the product. Thus, some vegan and cruelty-free products may not bear these seals.
The other way is to identify a good vegan product is to use the animal-derived ingredients list provided by PETA.
Is Vegan Shampoo Better Than Regular Shampoo?
Apart from keeping you guilt-free, vegan shampoo also keeps your hair in top shape.
Most organic shampoos don’t contain sulfates and parabens and are gentle on your skin and eyes. Organic ingredients also have a hydrating and moisturizing effect. When it comes to quality, vegan shampoo is on par and sometimes even better than regular shampoo.
The only downsides to the vegan options are extra cost, less foaming, and a shorter shelf life. If those cons don’t bother you, what are you waiting for? Go buy some!
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