The proliferation of vegan beauty products shows no signs of stopping. According to figures published by global marketing firm Mintel in their New Products Database, there was a whopping 175 per cent increase in new cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics launches between July 2013 and June 2018.
Consumers driving those numbers tend to be millennials and Gen Z individuals who want to eat, shop and beautify mindfully. As the food industry adapts to accommodate growing numbers of vegans and vegetarians, the world of beauty meets with an increasing demand for ethically-made, plant-based cosmetics.
What does that mean for haircare? For starters, losing animal ingredients such as honey and beeswax, along with animal-derived proteins like keratin, all of which are commonly found in shampoos and conditioners.
When it comes to ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ labels, it’s worth noting that one doesn’t necessarily guarantee the other. A shampoo sold as cruelty-free (marked by the leaping green bunny) might still contain animal-derived ingredients. There are grey areas in animal testing, too. In the UK, it is illegal to test cosmetics on animals, but a British company might tout itself as cruelty-free and trade with countries where animal testing is compulsory, such as China. So, research is key.
Here’s a selection of the best vegan and cruelty-free shampoos and conditioners for summer-proofing tresses, no matter your hair type.
Best vegan products for colour-treated hair
Maria Nila Luminous Colour Shampoo and Conditioner, €27 each
Swimming and sun-exposure diminish hair colour fast. Stockholm-born vegan haircare line Maria Nila is known for its expertise in colour-protecting haircare, and offers a rainbow of shade-specific nourishing hair masques with colour pigments that tone and refresh, from Peach and Pearl Silver to Vivid Violet.
For a luscious suit-all, plant-based colour care system, try the Luminous Colour Shampoo and Conditioner. This fresh, fruity smelling duo are enriched with protecting pomegranate extract, which helps to guard hair from the fading processes caused by washing, heat styling and UV rays. No sulphates or parabens – just soft, shiny, brightened hair. Slather on the Luminous Colour Masque once a week, or as needed, for an extra boost.
Best vegan products for dry and damaged hair
Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo and Conditioner, £14.96 each
Salt water and chlorine can leave even the healthiest hair frazzled, so if your ends are already damaged, summer is a good time to invest in a powerful strengthening shampoo and conditioner. Beautifully fragrant thanks to an aromatic blend of ripe peach, honey-inspired accord, lavender and vanilla, this bestselling duo by California-based vegan brand Pureology is specially formulated for damaged or ‘micro scarred’ hair. A quartet of natural antioxidant Astaxanthin, keravis, ceramide, and arginine work to nourish and fortify individual strands against environmental damage, improving shine, texture and elasticity. After a long day at the beach, leave in Pureology’s regenerative Strength Cure Superfood Treatment for 2-5 minutes as an extra treat. Packed with olive oil and antioxidant-rich goji berry extract, it targets breakage and leaves hair silky smooth.
Best vegan products for curly hair
Aveda Be Curly Shampoo and Conditioner, (£20 and £22.50, respectively)
While Aveda isn't a vegan certified brand, that vast majority of its products contain no animal-derived ingredients. Featured as one of Peta's top-choice vegan shampoos and conditioners, the Be Curly duo targets frizz with organic wheat protein and smoothing aloe to enhance and define even the unruliest curls. How? The aloe blend expands when hair is wet and retracts as the hair dries, meaning that stray hair shafts spring back, resulting in silkier and more pronounced curls. For sea and salt-damaged holiday hair, supplement with the Be Curly Intensive Detangling Masque. Enriched with organic babassu oil, it swiftly moisturises hair and soothes sun-sore scalps.
Best vegan products for afro hair
Dizziak Hydration Wash and Deep Conditioner ( £20 and £22, respectively)
Bracketing Dizziak under afro hair is misleading – in fact, this ultra-moisturising brand is designed to suit all hair types, with no exceptions or exclusions. When founder Loretta De Feo discovered that she couldn’t find products to suit her hair type, the Londoner set about masterminding a truly cross-cultural haircare brand. Comprised of just two products – a hydrating wash and deeply nourishing conditioner – the brand’s hero ingredients are aloe vera, babassu oil and and quinoi protein, while the conditioner’s additional blend of shea butter and oils (argan, coconut, inca inchi and castor) provides a replenishing hit of moisture and shine. Totally-vegan, pH-balanced and free from parabens, sulphates, silicones and mineral oils, Dizziak pioneers a catch-all formula for modern haircare.
Best vegan products for fine or thinning hair
Avalon Organics Thickening Shampoo (£7.50 each)
When a brand has been harnessing the power of botanicals since 1989, you can be sure that the team behind it know a thing or two about plant-based beauty. Products that volumise fine or thinning hair without stripping it of its natural moisture are hard to come by, but this Avalon Organics Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner bucks the trend. Its concoction of biotin complex (a water-soluble B vitamin) quinoa protein (a naturally nourisher that’s rich in amino acids) and vitamin E, work together to build body, strengthening hair from follicle to tip and stimulating the scalp to promote growth. Hair feels soft to the touch, thicker and naturally volumised.
Words: Mary-Jane Wiltsher