Whether you don flowing hippie tresses, bounce around with a bob, or let your locks fall somewhere in between, healthy, shiny, and gorgeous hair is what we all want. When you’re vegan, many of the products on the market promising perfect hairdos turn out to be absolute don’ts. Like so much man-made merchandise, hair products can be loaded with animal products hiding behind the guise of long, unpronounceable names. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of chemicals to avoid and a few hair care suggestions to ensure that everyday is a good hair day.
The next time you’re lathering up, check the back of the bottle for Hydrolyzed Animal Protein, which is mostly derived from cows, pigs, and chickens. In shampoo, it’s used to add gloss or reduce split ends. Luckily, vegan shampoo products are easy to find. For dry hair, Aubrey Organics promises to replenish with reparative oils. Giovanni’s Four Elements gives the salon experience at home without the harmful additives. Kiss My Face Miss Treated Shampoo helps to undo everything chemicals have done to your hair.
Conditioner provides your hair with the strength conditioning to be healthy and voluminous—but can also be full of animal derivatives. Stearic Acid, sometimes derived from cows, sheep, dogs, and cats can be found in conditioner. The same goes for steroids, often derived from animal glands and also used in hair conditioners. Some ethical alternatives include Desert Essence coconut conditioner, which in addition to being vegan is fragrance- and gluten-free. For fuller, more voluminous hair, Jason’s Biotin Conditioner promises to thicken strands and add moisture.
The finishing touches give your locks a little oomph. But from hairspray to smoothing creams, finishing products are often not vegan. Keratin is found in permanent wave solutions, and is made from animal horns and hooves. Cysteine, an amino acid, can also come from animals, and is sometimes used in creams. For some animal-friendly alternatives, try Aveda volumizing tonic with certified organic aloe that is sure to add height to your hair. And Beauty Without Cruelty hairspray has been cruelty-free since 1963, and will give your hair extra hold.
Walk through any hair care aisle and you’ll see that there are more hair products out there than you’d care to count. Ingredients are the first place to start in your search for the perfect ‘do. Some ethical companies, such as Avalon Organics, have a complete ingredient glossary on their websites. Vegan Beauty Review gives detailed descriptions of tested products. The Kind Life and PETA also have databases detailing which companies are vegan and animal-friendly, and which are not. Craving a change of color? Check out VN’s Hue How To and find out how to dye your locks cruelty-free, while avoiding harmful chemicals.