What is cruelty-free, and is it the same as vegan?
Before we talk about shampoos, let’s explain the difference between a “cruelty-free” product and one that is considered “vegan.”
A product can be both or only one of these, but they are not the same. For a product to be “cruelty-free,” neither the finished product (nor any of its individual ingredients) were tested on animals. A “vegan” product contains no animal-derived ingredients.
An example of something that could be cruelty-free but not vegan would be a lipstick or balm which was not tested on animals but contains beeswax (byproducts of bees are not considered vegan).
For more on cruelty-free certifications, check out our past episode “Cruelty-Free 101“.
You can listen to us discuss cruelty-free vegan shampoos here or continue reading for a high-level overview.
7 Vegan and Cruelty-Free Shampoos
We’re starting with Jason products because we have a LOT of personal experience with them. Larissa uses Jason Volumizing Lavender shampoo and conditioner. Vickie’s used them on occasion as well.
Volume shampoo and conditioner for men and women is completely sulfate free, paraben free and vegan.
In the About section on their site, Jason states that they started their brand in 1959 after becoming disenchanted by big companies and big chemicals. They say that they “harnessed their free-spirited California mindset” to create products that use simple, safe, and gentler ingredients.
They also have a list of ingredients they don’t use on their site. These include:
- Harsh Sulfates
- Artificial colors
- Plastic Microbeads
- MEA, DEA, TEA
- PEG Derivatives
- Formaldehyde Donors
- Animal Testing
To expand on “animal testing,” they state that for skin irritation, they use human volunteers and will “never, ever, conduct these or any other tests on animals.”
Lush is another brand that we are personally familiar with. In fact, every three weeks when Vickie goes to the mall to get her hair cut, she stops by the Lush store to pick up something new to try. One week she picked up a sample of Big Shampoo, which she LOVED (read on to learn why)!
First, the smell is amazing! Next, the base for this shampoo is over 50% sea salt, which helps volumize and degrease hair. The sea salt gives the shampoo a gritty consistency but no worries, your hair won’t be gritty! The sea salt is balanced with coconut oil, citrus juices, and a seaweed infusion. Finally, it lathers very well, which made Vickie’s hair feel squeaky clean, even after spending the morning doing laps in a chlorinated pool.
To add to their appeal, a couple of things on the Lush website caught our attention.
First, they had a tab dedicated to Pride Month–super cool! It’s great to see more companies fearlessly embracing diversity and inclusion.
They also have a section for “Ocean Inspired Faves.” It is wonderful seeing an entire section dedicated to ocean-themed products, including a bar of soap “Shark Fin Soap” (which is, of course, NOT made from shark fin!). According to their site, they’re now sold out, but 100% of the proceeds from this soap went to the Rob Stewart Sharwater Foundation to help save sharks. According to the foundation, shark populations have decreased by 90% over the past 40 years, which is why their mission is so important.
We’re not the only ones who love Lush products. Peas and Carrots Society member Chantal Broiullard shared that Lush also does a great job cutting down on waste. She said that the Lush store she visits allows you to bring your own containers (either theirs to refill or your own) to help cut down on packaging. We will definitely ask about this next time we’re there! E.L Bedouh from the Peas and Carrots agrees, saying, “I think cruelty-free should include waste-free. How many animals die every day because of plastic in the water?”
On their website, Paul Mitchel states the following:
In 1980, we became the first professional beauty company to publicly stand up against animal testing. Now, nearly 40 years later, that pledge to our furry friends remains a driving force behind all that we do.
Recently, Vickie’s hairstylist recommended it because she goes to the pool a lot. She picked up some of them from the salon during her last visit and loves it! The ginger tea fragrance is very refreshing. It’s paraben-free and also color-safe.
What It Does: Color-safe shampoo gently hydrates, protects, and helps rebuild and repair dry, brittle strands.
How It Works: Exclusive KeraTriplex blend replenishes every strand for healthy-looking hair, while awapuhi extract balances moisture for manageability and shine.
- Color Safe
On their FAQ page, Dr. Bronner’s states that all products sold in the U.S. and Canada are Certified Vegan (except for their organic lip balms and organic body balms which contain organic beeswax). They have the “Leaping Bunny” certification and they are certified cruelty-free. For more on what the “Leaping Bunny” certification is, check out our past episode “Cruelty-Free 101“.
Their Pure Castile Liquid Soap can be used for body, hair, dishes, mopping, and pets!
Health Coach Darryl (Roberts) who is a member of our Peas and Carrots group stated shared a video from Dr. Bronner’s YouTube Channel (below) using their castile soap to bathe your dog. They added the caveat that you need to be careful with cats though, as some of the essential oils included in some of their shampoos can be harmful to them.
Costco’s Kirkland brand shampoo and conditioner were mentioned in the shampoo discussion thread in the Peas and Carrots group on Facebook.
- Salon Formula Moisture Shampoo
- 33.8 Oz & Conditioner 33.8 Oz
The bottle I found online didn’t specify that it does not test on animals and it officially certified cruelty-free, but Kirkland has stated that “None of their products or suppliers test on animals.”
In addition, although
The Acure website is very basic (pretty much a shopping cart with a very short company bio). They state that their performance-driven hair care free from parabens, silicone, petrolatum, mineral oil, and sulfates.
They are certified vegan and certified cruelty-free. In addition to the website, their hair, skin, and body care products are available on Amazon and at Target.
Not all of Giovanni’s products are 100% vegan but they are cruelty-free, Giovanni has been around since 1979. Their website states that all of their products are vegan except for their Magnetic Shampoo, Conditioner, Power Treatment Styling Gel, and Styling Wax. Their products contain a number of organic ingredients with no parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, DEA, formaldehyde, or glycol.
- Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo has a pearlized formula that glistens in your hand and transforms even dry, chemically processed hair.
- Alleviates frizz and preserving color.
- Smooth as Silk Shampoo is specifically formulated with lavender, lemongrass, and other botanical oils to hydrate and detangle dry and damaged hair, protecting it against breakage and split ends.
- Giovanni Products use a number of organic ingredients and are Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty free, meaning that Giovanni Products are never tested on animals and their biodegradable formulas come in sophisticated recyclable packaging.
- Giovanni products do not contain any parabens, sulfates, or other harsh chemicals that are typically found in hair products, leaving you with strong, beautiful hair.
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!
Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided.
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Thanks for listening!
Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa