5 of the best cruelty-free vegan hair dyes

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Vegan Hair & Beauty

Most beauty products and hair dyes are tested on animals, to make sure that the ingredients are not harmful to humans. This makes vegan hair dyes a valuable commodity. Brands like L’Oréal, Garnier, Revlon, Schwarzkopf and many others, can be easily found in drugstores. The classic box hair dye usually contains chemicals like ammonia, lead acetate, resorcinol, and arylamines. These ingredients can even be harmful to people who use these dyes as the chemicals can easily penetrate into the skin and cause damage.

Vegan Hair Dye

What makes hair dyes non-vegan?

Most hair products and dyes, as well as containing harmful chemicals, are also made with animal products; making them not only non-cruelty-free but also non-vegan. Here are the main ones that are commonly used in hair products: 

  • Carmine: it is the typical red colourant and it is extracted from insects. 
  • Keratin: Keratin is the main animal-derived product that immediately connects to the hair world. It is used to strengthen hair, but it is taken from animals’ hair and horns. An alternative could be soy protein or almond oil. 
  • Stearic Acid: this product can be found in hair products as well as soaps and deodorants. It is made from pigs’ stomachs. 
  • Lanolin: it is derived from sheep wool and is used to moisturise and soften. Alternatives to this animal ingredient could be plant oils, like coconut or olive; or butters, such as shea and coconut. 
  • Glycerine: this ingredient is derived from animals’ fat and it has the same use as Lanolin. A vegan glycerine exists, and it is made with soya, coconut oil or palm oil. 
  • Casein: it is also adopted during the processing of food, but it can also appear in beauty products. It is derived from cow’s milk and it is mainly used in hair conditioners. A valid alternative could be vegetable casein derived from plant-based milk. This can be found in the ingredient list as vegetable protein. 

Vegan Hair Dye

Vegan Hair Dyes

Apart from Henna, which is a natural dye made from the plant Lawsonia inermis, a lot of brands are trying to switch to a more sustainable and vegan way to produce hair dyes. Here are some of the best ones:

1. Arctic Fox  

“Long-lasting, free of harsh chemicals, conditions while you colour and is always vegan and cruelty-free”, this is what the official website of Arctic Fox Hair Dye reports in their home page. This brain aims to moisturise hair while colouring them. The dyes do not have ammonia or peroxide and with every purchase, 15% of the profit is donated to prevent animal abuse.

2. Manic Panic 

The Manic Panic website stresses the fact that all their product have always been vegan, but also gluten-free, paraben-free and ammonia-free among many other ingredients. It is reported that the colour remains firmly on the hair (blonde) up to eight to ten weeks and it is safe to use during pregnancy. 

Vegan Hair Dye

3. Good Dye Young 

This hair dye brand is owned by the Paramore lead singer Hayley. All its products smell like citrus as opposed to the ones using chemicals. The main ingredients are sunflower extract and bergamot essential oil. 

4. Lime Crime – Unicorn Hair 

Different from the other semi-permanent hair dyes, Lime Crime dyes are wash out after some shampoos, so it is particularly good for those who do not want to stick to one particular colour. These dyes have two main formulas: tint, it is lighter and really shows up only on light or blonde hair; and full coverage, more pigmented and good for darker hair. 

5. Surya Brazil 

This brand’s dye kit is made so that it can cover every colour base one has- from the darker hair colour to grey. It is said to last for about six to eight weeks after the first application. The founder of the brand, Clelia Angelon says, as reported on the brand’s website, “we believe we are not just in the natural beauty business but in the business of making conscious decisions about a healthier lifestyle that respects every living creature, our planet and our future”. 

Greta Garatti
Greta Garatti
Greta Garatti is an Italian-born multimedia journalist. She is based in London where she studies journalism at City, University of London. She’s interested in nutrition, sustainability and social issues. Since she started studying journalism, she developed a great passion for veganism and health related topics.