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is shampoo vegan or cruelty free

Is Shampoo Vegan Or Cruelty Free? The Truth You Should Know...

Cruelty free beauty products are an important movement in the cosmetics world right now. Many people have become more aware of the impact their chosen products have, making cruelty free goods containing vegan and plant-based ingredients a popular choice. In 2018 alone, vegan cosmetics sales increased by 38% in the UK.

There are, however, many companies that use non-vegan ingredients and manufacturing processes that are not cruelty free, and this is not always clear from the packaging. In this article, we’ll help you with ways to identify vegan and plant-based shampoos as well as reveal some surprising ingredients that are not on the cruelty free list but feature in some of the most popular brands on the shampoo market.



What is vegan shampoo and what should I look for?



To be considered a vegan shampoo means it must contain no animal derived ingredients and its production cannot involve any animal testing. Animal products in shampoo are more common than you would think, for example, glycerin, a chemical used in haircare to moisturise hair is often sourced from animals such as cows and sheep.

Most vegan shampoos will carry obvious branding to let consumers know that their products are plant-based and cruelty-free along with recognition from official organisations such as Cruelty Free International or PETA. These types of organisations have recognisable logos, such as the leaping bunny, that can be displayed on cruelty free products as well as listing safe brands on their website.

It is also important to be aware that some brands that market plant-based formulas are not necessarily cruelty free. For this reason, it is vitally important to check that a product specifically mentions it is not tested on animals to be sure it contains vegan ingredients but is also cruelty free.



Why do companies use animal products in their shampoo?

It would be easy to assume that companies use animal ingredients within their hair care as they are more effective at cleansing hair however, it is simply because they are a cheaper product than plant-based ones. Using plant-based cleansers does not mean you are sacrificing quality or performance. In fact, many plant based oils are highly effective in helping to cleanse and maintain hair condition as well as being a better choice overall for hair. Paraben and sulphate containing shampoos can be damaging to hair and negatively affect its appearance.

Companies often use meat offcuts, bones, ligaments, and other parts as they are cheaper ingredients and there can even be animal fat found in some shampoos. However, for every animal derived ingredient within non-vegan shampoos, an equally effective, plant-based counterpart can be found.



What ingredients should I look out for?

Well known ingredients that are not vegan friendly but still used and marketed within shampoos and other hair care products include: 


• Biotin

Often used in hair loss shampoos, this substance is found in all living cells. Milk contains biotin in large quantities. 


 Cetyl Alcohol

    A wax like substance found in the head cavity of whales and dolphins that commonly features in non-vegan shampoos. 



      Made using boiled animal bones, skin and ligaments this is used to give shampoos a smooth, gel like texture. 


      • Hyaluronic Acid

        A moisturising product that helps manage dry and dull hair but that is often derived from animal sources. 


        • Lanolin

          Derived from sheep wool, this is used in hair products to moisturise locks but plant-based ingredients such as coconut oil or shea butter provide a cruelty free alternative. 


          • Shellac

            More commonly known as a nail polish formulation, this is obtained from lac bugs and is often used in hairsprays. 


            • Stearic Acid

              Derived from pig, cow and sheep stomachs, this ingredient is often found in hair products as it acts as a cleanser and removes excess oil and grime.


              Be sure to check for ingredients such as beeswax too as a true vegan shampoo wouldn’t include this in its formulation.

              Vegan friendly formulas generally tend to use plant-based ingredients such as argan oil, avocado oil, castor oil, black seed oil, murumuru butter and aloe vera to name but a few. All of these natural, plant derived ingredients are much gentler to the hair and work to repair and nourish rather than strip hair of everything, not just daily dirt and grime!



              Why use vegan shampoo?

              Baobab hair Detangler & Cleanser

              Vegan formulated shampoos, such as the Baobab Hair Detangler & Cleanser, contain no harsh chemicals or toxins which are known to strip the hair of essential moisture, leaving it prone to dryness and breakages. Naturally derived formulations will help to soothe and calm the scalp.

              Cruelty-free shampoos, with their use of natural ingredients, will not only be better for your hair and protect animals but they also benefit the environment. Plant based formulas will reduce the use of non-biodegradable ingredients which are hard to break down once they enter drainage systems, therefore causing damage to land and water resources. Vegan hair care products also tend to be packaged in a much eco-friendlier manner with fully recyclable bottles as well as refillable pouch options.



              Final Notes

              There are plenty of shampoo brands that don’t test on animals, such as us at Equi Botanics, and once you have found a shampoo which is vegan friendly you can be rest assured that, not only will it be benefiting your locks, but also avoiding any significant harm to the planet or animals!

              Be sure to check on official organisations websites if you are unsure on a brand's ethics and don’t be fooled when a brand mentions plant based or vegan ingredients as this doesn’t always mean the entire shampoo will be vegan and cruelty-free.