Vegan hair products bring with them many benefits that are often lacking in more mainstream hair product brands. But what are these benefits? And why does it matter?
In short, the benefits of vegan hair products are:
- More environmentally friendly ingredients and packaging
- Natural ingredients instead of synthetic chemicals
- Natural scents
- Usually cruelty-free
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What Exactly Are Vegan Hair Products?
No doubt you’re aware of the growing trend of veganism as a lifestyle choice.
But veganism doesn’t stop at what food we consume; it also extends to the products we use in our day to day lives, including what we put on our hair.
So, what exactly makes hair products vegan?
Vegan hair products contain absolutely no animal-derived ingredients. They are also usually cruelty-free, meaning that the product has not been tested on animals at any point in its creation and distribution.
They are packed with more natural and environmentally friendly ingredients and have more environmentally friendly packaging.
Ingredients are usually plant-derived and do not contain harsh chemicals that could irritate your skin and dry out your hair.
Plus, the absence of manmade chemicals means they’re better for the environment too.
In short, using vegan hair products means you can reduce your everyday environmental footprint and even get healthier hair in the process.
How To Tell If A Hair Product Is Vegan
You should always check the packaging before buying. Vegan products should have the Vegan Action and The Vegan Society logos on them.
They should also have a verified cruelty free badge: either the PETA logo or the Leaping Bunny sign.
If these labels are missing, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product isn’t vegan, as companies have to pay a fee to include these logos.
Contact the company or do some research online to find out for yourself.
Double-checking the ingredients list is another great way to find vegan-friendly products. Familiarize yourself with animal-derived ingredients to know what you’re looking for.
PETA’s Animal Ingredients List is a great source for this information, but below are some examples of animal-derived ingredients that are commonly found in hair products.
Examples Of Animal Derived Ingredients
It’s important when buying vegan hair products to get to know your ingredients.
Shampoo may be marked as cruelty-free and organic but may still contain honey, for example, or less obvious non-vegan ingredients.
So do your research, and always check the packaging before buying. Below is a list of animal by -products commonly found in hair products:
Biotin (hair creams, shampoos and conditioners)
Rich in vitamin B, biotin is used as a texturizer in hair products. Comes from milk and yeast. Alternatives: vitamin B derived from plant sources.
Gelatin (hair gels and shampoos)
Protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of cows and pigs in water.
Alternatives: Irish moss, seaweeds and kelp, pectin from fruits, silica gel.
Hyaluronic Acid (moisturizing hair products)
When animal-derived, comes from umbilical cords and synovial joint fluid.
Alternatives: synthetic hyaluronic acid and plant oils.
Keratin (hair masks, shampoos and restorative products)
A protein that comes from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals.
Alternatives: almond oil, soy protein, amla oil, human hair from salons. Rosemary and nettle also give body and strength to hair.
Stearic Acid (hairspray and conditioner)
When animal-derived, comes from the fat of cows, pigs and sheep. May also be of plant origin, including cocoa butter and shea butter.
Alternatives: Stearic acid can be found in many vegetable fats and coconut.
See PETA’s complete list of animal derived ingredients for more information.
Cruelty Free Does Not Mean Vegan
It’s important to bear in mind that cruelty-free does not necessarily mean vegan, and vice versa.
Cruelty-free means the product is not tested on animals, but it may still contain animal-derived ingredients. So always check the packaging first.
Not All Hair Products In A Brand May Be Vegan
Another important thing to bear in mind is that not all products in a brand may be vegan, even if most of them are.
A brand may have the reputation of being natural, organic and cruelty-free, but some of their products may still contain animal-derived ingredients.
Always check the packaging to be sure.
5 Benefits of Vegan Hair Products
Vegan hair products come with a whole range of great benefits when compared to mainstream non-vegan hair brands.
Below is a list of the benefits that usually come with vegan hair products. Note that not all of them may apply in every case, but they often do.
1 Cruelty Free
Cruelty-free usually goes hand in hand with a product being vegan. After all, if a brand doesn’t use animal-derived ingredients, why would it condone animal testing?
Always double-check the packaging, however, to check that this is the case, as vegan doesn’t necessarily mean cruelty-free and vice versa.
2 Environmentally Friendly
Vegan products usually contain more natural ingredients, which are more biodegradable and environmentally friendly than their synthetic alternatives.
They also tend to come in recycled packaging. Using vegan products means that not only do you get healthier hair without harming animals in the process, but you also get the satisfaction of knowing you’re reducing your carbon footprint and helping to save the planet.
3 Better For Hair
If you look at the ingredients list of a mainstream brand of shampoo, you will see many ingredients there which you probably can’t pronounce.
This is because these shampoos are full of synthetic chemicals and ingredients, which are not environmentally friendly and can be damaging to the skin, hair, eyes and lungs.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium Laureth sulfate (SLES) are a couple of examples of these ingredients. They are commonly used ingredients that cause shampoos to foam.
This foaming action is not strictly necessary – it creates the illusion that the shampoo is giving the hair a deeper clean because it foams up.
This is also the case for low-poo shampoos that do not contain sulfate but alternatives that may still be bad for you.
Sulphates can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs for some people. Even if that isn’t the case for you, they can be quite drying for the hair, especially if used regularly.
Vegan shampoos are also often free of parabens and silicones.
Parabens are a preservative that may cause your hair to become dryer and have even been linked to cancer, though no conclusions have been drawn on this as yet.
Many vegan hair products omit parabens, however. Some types of silicones, on the other hand, can coat your hair and are difficult to wash out, weighing your hair down over time.
They also prevent moisture from penetrating the hair shaft, so can make your hair condition worse over time.
Vegan shampoos are usually made instead of natural, nourishing, plant-based ingredients.
Ingredients such as argan oil, coconut butter, shea butter and aloe vera, which naturally moisturize your hair and are full of vitamins and minerals.
4 Vegan Hair Products Smell Better
Perhaps not the most important point on the list, but still one worth mentioning.
Vegan hair products tend to smell delicious, as they are packed with natural ingredients such as plants, fruits and natural oils. On the other hand, mainstream brands tend to smell synthetic in comparison.
5 You Can Enjoy Your Hair Products With A Clear Conscience
Last but not least, it’s a good feeling to know that you buy quality vegan hair products, with all their benefits, without the environmental impact and moral ramifications that come with many more mainstream brands.
So, you can enjoy your new vegan coconut hair mask with a clear conscience and know that you’re doing something to make the world a little better.
List Of Vegan Hair Brands
If you’re interested in the benefits of vegan hair products but don’t know where to start, below is a list of great brands that offer vegan hair care products.
All are cruelty-free, available on Amazon, and I have indicated which brands are completely 100% vegan.
ACURE – 100% vegan
Aveda *owned by Estee Lauder
Cake – 100% VEGAN
Curlsmith – 100% VEGAN
Derma E – 100% VEGAN
DevaCurl *owned by Henkel
EO Products – 100% VEGAN
Living Proof *owned by Unilever
Maria Nila – 100% VEGAN
Noughty – 100% VEGAN
Olaplex – 100% VEGAN
Pureology *owned by L’Oreal – 100% VEGAN
Sukin – 100% VEGAN
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.
Nicola is a freelance writer and researcher whose specialisms lie in health and wellness, beauty, and psychology. She has fine, wavy hair and is a big fan of co-washing every alternate day between shampoos (as dry shampoo makes her sneeze!)