Vegan hair products are shampoos, conditioners and styling products that are free of animal-derived ingredients. Now you probably don’t think it’s in any of the products you’re using, but take a look at the label. Keratin, for example, is an animal protein that occurs in the skin, beak and feathers of animals. Auch! Without realizing it, almost everything you use contains animal ingredients. Fortunately, nowadays there are more and more vegan hair products are on the market. We’ll tell you more about it in this article!
Also read: Beautiful curls: our 17 favorite tips
Why vegan haircare?
More and more people are embracing a vegan lifestyle. The dusty image that it used to have, has completely disappeared. Probably half of your friends are drinking oat cappuccinos, you must have heard of vegan leather before, and you can even buy cheese made of nuts in stores. But why is veganism becoming so much more mainstream? There are several reasons. A vegan lifestyle of course prevents a lot of animal suffering. In addition, more and more people are becoming aware of the positive effect that a plant based diet has on the planet. The most important step you can take against climate change, is to stop eating meat, eggs and dairy products.
High demand for vegan
As a result, the demand for vegan products in general has increased significantly. And with it the demand for vegan hair products. Because veganism is not just about food! You can be an environmental vegan, an ethical vegan, a dietary vegan or even a beauty vegan. And hair care brands are responding well, by launching new vegan ranges, vegan specific products or even ensuring their entire hair care lines are vegan. According to The Vegan Society, the Google search term ‘veganism’ quadrupled in the 5 years between 2012 and 2017. And beauty brands responded massively: in 2016 there was a 50% increase in the number of vegan beauty products launched.
The prospects of vegan haircare
So, upgrading from your traditional products to vegan haircare can have many perks. Most importantly, they’re not tested on animals and no animal ingredients are used. That’s better for animals, but also for people, because vegan hair products contain fewer and less harsh ingredients. Therefore they’re better for your skin and you won’t quickly get an allergic reaction. In addition, brands that choose to go vegan in their products also tend to choose more environmentally friendly alternatives in their packaging.
How to tell if your hair products are vegan?
The quickest way to ensure hair products are vegan, is to look at the label. Often there is a label that says ‘Vegan’, ‘Suitable For Vegans’ or you’ll find a ‘Certified Vegan’ logo. But sometimes it says ‘natural’ or ‘cruelty free’, and that doesn’t all have the same meaning. That’s why we listed the answers to some of the questions you probably have:
What are animal-derived ingredients?
Vegan hair products are shampoos, conditioners and styling products that don’t use ingredients derived from animal byproducts. Without some prior knowledge, it can be difficult to know what is and what isn’t vegan-friendly. This list contains some of the most common animal ingredients:
- Animal hair: can be found in brushes, and is often sourced from fox, sable, horse, goat, mink and squirrel.
- Amino acids: the building blocks of protein in all animals and plants.
- Beeswax: often used in cosmetics, to keep emulsions from separating into its oil and liquid components.
- Collagen: this fibrous protein is derived from animal tissue, bone, skin, or ligaments.
- Elastin: elastin also is a protein extracted from the muscles, ligaments and aortas of animals.
- Honey: a natural substance, made by bees from flower nectar.
- Cochineal Dye: a dye, collected from crushed cochineal beetles.
- Keratin: comes from the hair and horns of animals.
- Lanolin: this emollient is derived from sheep wool, and is a common ingredient in hair products. It’s used to soften and moisturize.
- Panthenol: a chemical substance, made from vitamin B-5. It can be produced from both plant and animal sources.
Besides that, gelatin, egg, milk, hyaluronic acid, stearic acid, placenta, snail mucus and silk also do not belong in vegan hair products.
What are alternative ingredients?
An example of an alternative ingredient is coconut oil. This is one of the most versatile natural products! You can use it in the kitchen for baking, as a body lotion for your skin, and as a deep conditioner or leave in for your curls. It’s a natural emollient and therefore completely Curly Girl-proof. Read more about coconut oil in this article!
Other examples of alternative ingredients:
- Argan Oil: the golden oil from argan nuts, which is known to be very moisturizing. Argan Oil helps to revitalize dry locks, increase hair elasticity and restore shine to dull, lifeless hair.
- Coconut water: tapped from young green coconuts, and is known to be a supremely hydrating ingredient. It helps replenish and revitalize your scalp, without weighing your hair down.
- Murumuru butter: made from the fruit fat found in murumuru nuts. Its benefits range from softening hair to protecting skin from dryness.
- Shea butter: an ingredient which comes from shea butter trees, and is known to be very moisturizing. It helps provide rich hydration to your skin and hair, while sealing in moisture and natural oils.
Are vegan and natural hair products the same?
The most overused description in beauty products is ‘natural’. But a product can be described as natural even if it has just 1% naturally-sourced, plant-based or mineral ingredients. The best way to find out exactly, is to check the ingredients listing. The term ‘vegan’ stands for plant based ingredients and is free of animal-testing. So for example, you won’t find sulfates, silicones and parabens in natural hair products, but it can occur in vegan hair products.
What about cruelty-free hair products?
Within the European Union, it has been prohibited to test cosmetics on animals since 2013. But China requires it by law, so any products sold there will have been tested on animals. Unfortunately, this doesn’t automatically mean that all hair products sold within the EU aren’t tested on animals.
It’s possible that some ingredients come from outside the EU and have been tested on animals. A logo to look out for to make sure your hair products are cruelty-free, is the Leaping Bunny logo.
Are vegan and cruelty free the same?
Unfortunately not. If hair products are labeled ‘vegan’, it means they don’t contain animal-derived ingredients and haven’t been tested on animals. The term ‘cruelty free’ is somewhat different. This means not tested on animals, which is good, but doesn’t automatically mean that the products don’t contain animal-derived ingredients. So:
- Vegan = without animal-derived ingredients & is not tested on animals
- Cruelty free = not tested on animals
Is there a vegan certification?
The Vegan Society is the oldest vegan society in the world; it was established in 1944, in the United Kingdom. The association provides information and guidance on the various aspects of veganism. The Vegan Society Trademark has been created in 1990, and is used on labels worldwide as the authentic standard for products free from animal ingredients and animal testing.
Buying vegan haircare
Are you convinced and would like to buy vegan haircare? Fortunately, there are a lot of you beauty brands that offer it.
Brands with vegan haircare
As said before, more and more beauty brands are launching vegan hair products, or even making the switch to 100% vegan. We list a number of them:
- All Love Beauty and Planet products are vegan are independently certified Cruelty-Free and Vegan by PETA. They choose plant actives like coconut oil to work in harmony with their other vegan certified ingredients. Their shampoos are sulfate, silicone and paraben-free, and all of their bottles are made from 100% recyclable plastic.
- Lush is a vegetarian company, and around 80% of their products are suitable for vegans. Only in a few products they still use animal ingredients, like milk, honey, lanolin and eggs. All their vegan products are clearly marked, so you can make an informed choice about the products you use.
- L’Oreal released a vegan hair care range, called Source Essentielle. The line offers all kinds of products that are vegan and have between 80-99% natural origin ingredients; from shampoos to styling products. All products are also free from silicone, sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances.
- Redken released a vegan hair care range, called Nature + Sience, with mostly natural ingredients. The shampoos are made with 83% naturally derived ingredients, whilst the conditioners are made with 99% naturally derived ingredients. They’re sulphate, silicone and paraben-free, and the packaging is made from 100% recycled plastic.
- The Body Shop: around half of their products are vegan. For example, the Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Shampoo and Ginger Scalp Care Conditioner are entirely formulated without animal-derived products.
- Maui: all products are vegan, free from silicones, parabens and sulfates. They are inspired by carefully selected and handcrafted ingredients that come from tropical islands such as Maui.
- Giovanni: almost all products are vegan, with the exception of its Magnetic Hair Care products and its Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub.
Vegan Curly Girl Method
We’re big Curly Girl Method fans and lucky for us, this goes great with a vegan lifestyle! Fortunately, many vegan cosmetics brands are more aware of their ingredients anyway and therefore prefer not to use the “devilish trinity” of sulphates, silicones and parabens. But that doesn’t mean all vegan products are immediately Curly Girl-proof. So always read the labels! But that’s probably nothing new for a curly girl like you.
These products are vegan and Curly Girl-proof:
- Bouclème Curls Defining Cream
- Bouclème Curl Defining Gel
- Garnier Almond Crush daily nourishing conditioner
- Love Beauty and Planet conditioners
- Redken Nature Science All Soft Conditioner
- Redken Nature Science Color Extend Conditioner
- The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Conditioner
- Yes to Blueberries Smooth and Shine Conditioner for frizzy hair
- Yes to Carrots scalp relief conditioner
- Yes To Cucumbers Volumising Conditioner
Now you know everything you need to know about vegan haircare! Just let us know if you have any questions!