Hair can help a person show off his unique identity. Since this is one of the physical attributes others initially see, it goes without saying that many individuals spend a lot of time, effort, and money to make their hair look good. Having healthy tresses entails using the best hair cleansing, hair colouring, and hair styling products, but not all of these are made with the finest ingredients or created using the most ideal processes. In this blog post, we delve into hair care brands that do more than just the bare minimum by formulating products that are both vegan and cruelty free. We offer help by answering these questions:
- What does it mean when a hair care brand or product is vegan?
- What does it mean when a hair care brand is cruelty free?
- Can a hair care brand be both vegan and cruelty free?
- Who can certify that a hair care brand is vegan and/or cruelty free?
- Which hair care brands are vegan and cruelty free?
What does it mean when a hair care brand or product is vegan?
The word vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson as a stance against vegetarians who ate dairy products. However, the phrase is more than just about people eating plant-based meals. The Vegan Society explains it as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment.”
A hair care brand or product can be considered vegan when all of its ingredients do not come from or include animal parts. Animal-derived ingredients or by-products commonly found in hair care products include:
- Amino acids: These can be derived from animal protein
- Casein or milk protein: Taken from cow’s milk
- Chitosan: From crustacean shells
- Guanine: Made from ground fish scales
- Honey: Taken from flower nectar collected by bees
- Keratin: Extracted from the nails, feathers, horns, hair, and hooves of animals
- Lanolin: Wax or grease derived from sheep’s wool
- Shellac: Taken from resinous secretion of lac insects
- Silk extract and silk protein: Derived from silkworm cocoons
- Stearin or stearic acid: Can be derived from animal fat
If you’re adamant about supporting hair care brands or products that do not contain animal-based ingredients, read through the ingredients found on their product labels before purchasing them. Make sure they do not have any of the components stated above as well as ingredients mentioned by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on this list.
What does it mean when a hair care brand is cruelty free?
Cruelty free was a phrase first used in 1959 by Lady Muriel Dowding, an animal rights activist who founded the charity Beauty Without Cruelty. The term focuses on the manufacturing of a product, from its raw materials and formulations to the final output. It is similar to veganism because it seeks to avoid animal exploitation, particularly the testing of ingredients and formulations on helpless animals. These tests are known to have caused pain, suffering, and even death to countless lab creatures.
For a hair care brand to be truly cruelty free, it also should not conduct tests on animals nor allow its suppliers and third parties to do experiments on animals at any stage of the production anywhere in the world. Brands that import products to countries that have mandatory animal testing laws (such as China) may not be considered cruelty free since their products may be tested after being released in the market. However, some brands work around these laws through e-commerce and directly send their products to customers.
Can a hair care brand be both vegan and cruelty free?
Definitely! A hair care brand can be considered both vegan and cruelty free when it meets this criteria: 1) it does not use animal-derived ingredients and by-products in its products; 2) it does not test its ingredients, formulations, and products on animals; and 3) it does not allow others (suppliers, governments, third parties, etc.) to conduct tests on its behalf.
Conscientious brands that meet all these conditions help advocate for the rights and well-being of animals. However, it is a brand’s choice to verify its claims of being both vegan and cruelty free with the help of a trusted third party organisation.
Who can certify that a hair care brand is vegan and/or cruelty free?
There are many organisations around the world that provide vegan and/or cruelty free certifications. These include but are not limited to:
- Beauty Without Bunnies: PETA’s global program verifies if a company or brand experiments on animals and if its products are vegan-friendly.
- Cruelty Free International: An animal protection organisation that works to end animal testing and offers cruelty free approval to cosmetics, toiletries, and household cleaning brands in Australia.
- Leaping Bunny: A program operated by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics that certifies cruelty free claims by companies based in the USA and Canada.
- Safe Cosmetics Australia: An independent cosmetics standards organisation that offers cruelty free and vegan certifications under their ethical standards.
- Vegan Action: This US-based group can verify that products do not contain animal ingredients or by-products, and have not been tested on animals.
- Vegan Australia: An Aussie organisation that certifies whether a product contains animal ingredients, and if the manufacturing/testing processes involve animals or animal products.
- The Vegan Society: This charity verifies that a product does not include materials derived from animals, and guarantees said ingredients have never been tested on animals.
TIP: Some companies or brands may not be 100% vegan, but they can carry certified vegan products. One quick way to tell is to find the vegan-approved logo on its packaging!
Which hair care brands are vegan and cruelty free?
Waldo’s Friends has reviewed and listed down hair care brands that have both vegan and cruelty free certifications:
- The Australian Soap Kitchen
- Byron Bay Skincare
- Clever Curl
- Dianne Caine Australia
- Dindi Naturals
- Dr. Bronner’s
- Eco Style Project
- EverEscents Organic Hair Care
- LA MAXIME
- LUSH Cosmetics
- Marvo & Co
- My Soda Australia
- Soapnut Republic
- Uniquely Natural
Do your part in supporting ethically responsible brands to ensure that helpless animals don’t get experimented on and abused. If you’re looking to support more certified vegan and cruelty free brands, you can also check out our growing collection of skin care, makeup, and household brands. But if you don’t mind using non-vegan hair care products, you can go through this list of cruelty free brands.