When Larissa and I first started on our vegetarian and vegan journey in 2013, we quickly realized that being vegan and vegetarian is about so much more than what’s on our plates. It’s about showing kindness and compassion towards all living beings and the planet we share. This principle seeped into every aspect of our lives, guiding us in the clothes we choose to wear, the products we use, and yep, even the shampoo we lather into our hair!
Opting for cruelty-free shampoo isn’t just a major thumbs-up for our furry pals (though, that’s a pretty awesome part), it’s also about picking products that are typically gentler on our bodies and the planet. How cool is that? So, let’s dive right in and explore some of the best cruelty-free shampoos out there. These top 10 are the real deal when it comes to caring for your hair while honoring our commitment to compassionate living.
You can listen to us discuss cruelty-free vegan shampoos here or continue reading for a high-level overview. Please note that the podcast episode below was recorded in 2019. This article has been updated to ensure more current information.
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What Does “Cruelty-Free” Really Mean?
When it comes to cruelty-free shampoo, there’s a wide array of brands that refuse to compromise on either animal cruelty or product quality. Many of these brands make a concerted effort to ensure that their products contribute to healthy hair without the need for testing on animals.
But what does cruelty-free really mean? It means that these products and their ingredients have not been tested on animals, which is a huge win for animal welfare. Animal testing is sadly still a widespread practice in the cosmetics industry, affecting millions of animals globally. By choosing to support cruelty-free brands, we contribute to a growing movement against these inhumane practices.
These brands replace synthetic chemicals with ethically and sustainably natural ingredients. When we buy these brands we’re not only ensuring that our purchases don’t contribute to animal cruelty, but we’re also investing in our own health, making a choice that’s better for our hair, our bodies, and our environment.
10 Cruelty-Free Shampoos
Let’s dive into our list of 10 amazing cruelty-free shampoos.
1. Jason Volumizing Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner
Jason is a brand that has shared quite a journey with us. Larissa swears by their Volumizing Lavender shampoo and conditioner as her go-to for natural bounce and fullness. I don’t use this shampoo very often as I have my own fave I’ll be talking about a bit later, but Larissa loves it.
So here’s the cool backstory. Jason decided to make waves in the personal care industry back in 1959, right around when the world was busy bopping to rock ‘n roll. Looking at the big conglomerates with their heavy-duty chemicals, the folks at Jason decided to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
In true California spirit, they decided to do things their own way, focusing on simple, safe, and gentle ingredients. Imagine this: sunshine, rolling waves, and a mellow vibe, all bottled up into a shampoo. Pretty rad, right (yeah, I said “rad”).
This Volumizing Lavender shampoo and conditioner from Jason is just the ticket for those with fine hair (not me!) that’s crying out for some va-va-va-voom. If your hair’s feeling a bit lifeless and in need of a natural lift, giving Jason a whirl might just be a game-changer. Your hair will be doing the happy dance in no time!
Volume shampoo and conditioner for men and women is completely sulfate free, paraben free and vegan.
2. Lush Big Shampoo
Next on our list is a brand that needs little introduction: Lush. Before the pandemic I had tradition of visiting the Lush store every three weeks when I go to the mall for my haircut. One of my delightful discoveries from these trips is Big Shampoo, a product I absolutely adore.
What makes Big Shampoo stand out is its unique blend of ingredients. The awesome smell is the first thing you’ll notice, followed by the way it feels in your hands, because it’s over 50% sea salt. This isn’t just for novelty; sea salt is excellent for adding volume and reducing grease in hair.
But before you worry about your hair feeling like a beach after a swim, know that this shampoo combines the salt with enriching coconut oil, revitalizing citrus juices, and a seaweed infusion. The result? A shampoo that not only forms a satisfying lather but also leaves hair feeling remarkably clean. It even manages to cleanse away the chlorine after my pool laps at the gym.
Lush’s website further highlights the brand’s appealing qualities. Notably, they show their support for diversity and inclusion with a dedicated tab for Pride Month.
They also have an entire section labeled “Ocean Inspired Faves,” showcasing their commitment to environmental themes. One particular product, “Shark Fin Soap,” makes a statement without any harm to sharks. While currently sold out, this soap’s proceeds went to the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation, which fights to protect significantly declining shark populations.
But we’re not the only ones who appreciate Lush’s efforts. Members of our community, the Peas and Carrots Society, have also voiced their support. Chantal B. pointed out that Lush is proactive in reducing waste, as they allow customers to bring their own containers for refills. E.L Bedouh echoed this sentiment, stating, “I think cruelty-free should include waste-free. How many animals die every day because of plastic in the water?”
3. Paul Mitchell
As a brand, Paul Mitchell has been paving the way against animal testing since as early as 1980. The company proudly mentions on its website that it was the first professional beauty company to publicly adopt this stance. Fast forward nearly 40 years, and this commitment to our furry friends remains a cornerstone of their ethos.
Recently, my hairstylist recommended their products because of my frequent visits to the pool. Following this advice, I decided to give it a shot and picked up their Awapuhi shampoo. Loved it!
In particular, I love the refreshing ginger tea fragrance which smells awesomely fresh. Also, the assurance that the shampoo is free from harmful parabens gives me peace of mind. And, if you’re concerned with maintaining color treatments, these products are also color-safe–a definite plus in my book.
4. Dr. Bronner’s
In the frequently asked questions section of their website, Dr. Bronner’s shares that all of their products sold in the U.S. and Canada are Certified Vegan, with the only exceptions being their organic lip balms and organic body balms that contain organic beeswax. They proudly hold the “Leaping Bunny” certification, a well-known emblem for cruelty-free products. To learn more about what this certification entails, check out the past episode “Cruelty-Free 101.”
The brand’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap is incredibly versatile, suitable for use on the body, hair, dishes, floors, and even pets!
One of our Peas and Carrots group members, Health Coach Darryl Roberts, shared a video from Dr. Bronner’s YouTube Channel demonstrating how to use their castile soap for bathing dogs. However, he also warned to exercise caution when it comes to cats. Some of the essential oils found in some of Dr. Bronner’s shampoos could potentially be harmful to our feline friends.
5. Costco’s Kirkland Brand Shampoo and Conditioner
While the product packaging I came across online didn’t directly state that it’s cruelty-free, Kirkland has made a public assertion that none of their products or suppliers engage in animal testing.
However, while Kirkland’s shampoo and conditioner can boast being 100% vegan, this isn’t the case for all of their products. It’s always important to check the ingredients list to confirm a product’s vegan status.
- Salon Formula Moisture Shampoo
- 33.8 Oz & Conditioner 33.8 Oz
6. Acure Curiously Clarifying Lemongrass Shampoo
Acure Curiously Clarifying Lemongrass Shampoo is another product worth mentioning. Acure’s website is relatively straightforward, functioning primarily as a shopping portal with a brief company biography. Their commitment is to provide performance-driven hair care products, free from potentially harmful substances such as parabens, silicones, petrolatum, mineral oil, and sulfates.
With certifications for being both vegan and cruelty-free, Acure stands by its ethical and health-conscious values. Besides the company’s website, their range of hair, skin, and body care products can also be found on Amazon and in Target stores.
7. Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo
Next let’s talk about Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo. Giovanni’s been in the game since 1979, so they know a thing or two about hair care. They’re a cruelty-free brand, which is awesome.
But not every product in their lineup is 100% vegan. Their Magnetic Shampoo, Conditioner, Power Treatment Styling Gel, and Styling Wax are exceptions to the vegan rule, according to their website.
Still, they’ve got a bunch of products with organic ingredients and they steer clear of some not-so-great stuff. You won’t find any parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, DEA, formaldehyde, or glycol in their products. Definitely worth checking out!
8. Sun Bum Revitalizing Shampoo
Larissa and I use Sun Bum sunblock almost every day when we walk the dogs. Little did we know they also have a shampoo! Here’s the lowdown on their Revitalizing Shampoo: “This everyday hydrating hair wash combines Coconut Oil, Banana, and Sunflower Seed oil for smooth, manageable hair. It’s a vegan blend that fights frizz, repairs damage, and restores moisture. It’s perfect for all hair types.”
This shampoo’s got all the good stuff: Banana Peel and Pulp, and is Vegan, Gluten-, Cruelty-, and Paraben-Free. It’s the bomb! Trust us, we’re beach bums who need products that perform even on the most intense sun-filled days. When you make products to protect your loved ones, you just make ’em better.
9. TREsemme’s Fluid Smooth Shampoo
TRESemmé’s Fluid Smooth shampoo, inspired by salon protein waters, infuses your hair with high shine and natural fluidity, resulting in silky smooth strands. This formula is enhanced with Niacinamide and COCO-PROTEINIZE, a unique blend that hydrates each hair strand with natural coconut droplets and plant-based salon proteins. Fluid Smooth shampoo stands out because it contains 0% sulfates, silicones, parabens, dyes, and DMDM Hydantoin. It is designed to bring high shine and natural movement to your hair, creating a naturally flowing, fluid look. As an added benefit, this shampoo is 99.9% biodegradable and is PETA-certified cruelty-free.
10. Pacifica Beauty Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoo
Pacifica Beauty Rosemary Shampoo is consciously crafted and is free from sulfates, SLS, parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil, ensuring that the natural vibrancy of your hair is not compromised.
This product promises to rejuvenate your hair, leaving it looking, feeling, and smelling impeccably clean. Regardless of your hair type, even if you struggle with a congested scalp, this product is tailored to suit your needs. Experience a deep cleanse for your hair and scalp, fostering improved scalp health and a renewed sense of freshness.
We hope this episode has provided you with some great options for cruelty-free and/or vegan shampoos. By purchasing from these companies you’re telling them that how we treat animals and our planet is important to you, so please try and support these companies when you can!
For more on cruelty-free certifications, check out our past episode “Cruelty-Free 101.“
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Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa