8 Hair care brands you can rely on for guilt-free, pretty tresses
Thou shalt not be cruel
We're calling it now: In a few years, the beauty scene as a whole is going to be clean. By "clean", of course, we mean cruelty-free and sustainable at its core. Though the woefully-misguided and massively green-washed push for "natural" beauty has currently saturated the market (spoiler: Natural isn't always better), we're sure that with more education, consumers will be shifting demand towards better causes moving forward, such as responsibly-sourced ingredients and fully-traceable supply chains.
In fact, we're already beginning to see the movement gain traction in the makeup and skincare sectors of the beauty industry. That said, the unfortunate truth is that most of the hair care sector is still playing catch-up.
That's why we've rounded up our picks for the best in cruelty-free beauty; these brands are working overtime to bring you great hair with a clear conscience (and they're giving back, too!). Ahead, find our guilt-free favourites in hair care:
We can't talk about cruelty-free, natural hair care without mentioning Briogeo, can we? This black-owned hair care brand tackles bad hair days by texture rather than ethnicity. Rest assured that whether your tresses need repairing, volumising, or defining, there's a perfect product in the brand's texture-specific lineup for you.
The brand's products are 90 to 100 per cent naturally derived, completely cruelty-free, and "6-free" (formulated without sulphates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, and more). On top of that, the brand prides itself on transparency—the exact percentages of each ingredient in Briogeo's products are clearly marked on the back of every bottle along with its source, so you know exactly where your hair care is coming from. Finally, Briogeo's post-consumer plastic bottles are (of course) 100 per cent recyclable, which is just the cherry on top.
Must-try: The Scalp Revival™ Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo is, without a doubt, one of our favourite hair-care products to date. Infused with Binchotan charcoal, tea-tree oil and coconut oil, this scalp scrub works a charm on dry, flaky, and irritated scalps. The novel formula absorbs excess sebum, unclogs hair follicles, and exfoliates the scalp with the help of microexfoliators. Just make sure to follow up with a thorough conditioning (say, with the Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask) as it can be quite drying on your lengths.
Function of Beauty
If you're looking for a fully-customisable hair care routine tailored specifically to you, Function of Beauty has you covered. Launched in 2015, the brand built its state-of-the-art production facility from the ground up to bring you the best in bespoke hair care at scale!
The brand is a member of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program, meaning that their formulations are completely vegan (free from animal ingredients and animal by-products), as well as cruelty-free. That's not even where the goodness ends—aside from their commitment to our furry friends, each ingredient used in a bottle of the brand's products are in accordance with EU safe cosmetics regulations.
Further, their packaging is designed with sustainability in mind—with 100 per cent recyclable packaging made with 30 per cent post-consumer recycled materials, they are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Must-try: Anything from their wide range of individually-formulated hair-care. We're not kidding when we say that there's something here for everyone—whether you're all about achieving your hair goals in style (custom scents and aesthetics galore), or you're in need of a bare-bones, fragrance-free, dye-free, and silicone-free formulation. All you have to do is take their hair quiz!
Shop Function of Beauty here.
Rahua (pronounced: ra-wa) derives their brand name from the rare ungurahua nut, native to the Amazon rainforest. While each product from the brand is made from pure, plant-derived ingredients to revitalise the hair and scalp, the star of the show is undoubtedly their namesake rahua oil. The miracle ingredient is known to be a highly effective treatment for dry, damaged hair—trade your frizz for enviable shine and healthy tresses!
Free from parabens, sulphates, and gluten, Rahua's line is vegan and completely cruelty-free. Further, beyond their brand, Rahua strives for sustainability and ethics—a portion of the proceeds from just one purchase is used to preserve one acre of precious rainforest, as well as support over 500 Amazonian families.
Better yet, the brand has introduced product refills to minimise plastic consumption by 90 per cent (per bottle). These refills are packaged in biodegradable materials to ensure that they are as green as they can be.
Must-try: The brand's Legendary Amazon Oil is the perfect oil for all hair types. It works a charm at smoothing, nourishing, and sealing the hair shaft, and the exclusive blend of rahua oil with other light-as-air botanical oils allows it to quickly absorb into the hair.
The worlds of beauty and science are more intertwined than you think—Virtue Labs is just one example. The secret ingredient in all of the brand's products is Alpha Keratin 60ku. In short, this is a form of keratin derived directly from human hair as opposed to sheep's wool or bird feathers, which allows it to work better than anything else on the market. When you deploy your Virtue Labs shampooing and conditioning lotions onto your damaged strands, the keratin in their formulations are pulled to where they are needed, filling the shaft of your hair and smoothing as it goes.
Certified by Leaping Bunny, it makes sense that this cruelty-free brand has amassed such a loyal celebrity following. From Saoirse Ronan to Kristen Stewart and more, this science-led brand has cemented itself as a cult-favourite.
Must-try: The Recovery line from Virtue Labs is the most universally-friendly of the Care category, which makes it a perfect introduction to the brand. According to Virtue Labs founder Melisse Shaban, "pretty much anyone, no matter what hair type, will see benefits from using the Recovery line."
Shop Virtue Labs here.
A distinguished veteran of the holistic hair care scene, Aveda has been at the forefront of natural, sustainable, and cruelty-free beauty since its launch in 1978. Better yet—just recently, the brand announced that they are now 100 per cent vegan! So, if you're an eco-conscious beauty buff looking for a reliable, no-frills hair care range to see you through, you've found it.
The brand's commitment to their sustainability mission is impressive, to say the least. With goals to become carbon negative by 2024 and several initiatives already in place to reduce their environmental impact (such as packaging 100 per cent of their products in bioplastics or post-consumer recycled plastic), you can count on Aveda for responsible shopping.
Must-try: The brand-new Botanical Repair line from Aveda works to repair even the most damaged of tresses, thanks to the line's vegan, (mostly) naturally-derived, and cruelty-free formulation. Consisting of a strengthening shampoo and conditioner, two hair masks, and a leave-in treatment, your hair will end up shinier, stronger, and bouncier than ever before.
Shop Aveda here.
Though Drunk Elephant is better-known for their no-BS skincare solutions, their hair care line isn't far off the mark, either. Created in collaboration with celebrity hairstylist Chris McMillan (AKA the mind behind 'The Rachel' haircut), the colourful line of to-the-point haircare goodies was released just last year to open arms.
With two shampoos, one conditioner, and a scalp scrub in-tow, you'll have all your hair care needs covered. Further, the brand is cruelty-free (certified by Leaping Bunny), mostly recyclable and biocompatible with skin.
Must-try: The T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub is your next favourite hair care splurge. AHAs and BHAs break down and dissolve dead skin cells, while biodegradable cellulose exfoliating beads work to scrub them away. Simply apply directly to your dry scalp before showering, massage, then leave for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly and following up with hair care routine.
Shop Drunk Elephant here.
If you're someone with a bit of a wild streak, Bleach London has the ideal colour-centric hair care line for you. From dyes to coloured shampoos to toners and more, you'll find pretty much everything you need to maintain a vibrant mop here. The best part? They're completely vegan and cruelty-free.
Must-try: The new-in Rosé Shampoo Bar is the brand's plastic-free response to pink maintenance. The hand-held coloured shampoo deposits a hint of pink with every wash to keep your mop vibrant for longer.
Chic, simple, and affordable? Ouai has your back. Founded by the hairstylist behind Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber's sleek strands, the brand is the modern woman's holy-grail for quick, effortless hair care.
In addition to being for every woman, Ouai is cruelty-free, and free of pthalates, parabens and sulfates—this way, you can have your cake and eat it too!
Must-try: The Ouai Air-Dry Foam smooths and defrizzes stubborn locks while adding natural definition to the hair and strengthening the strands with carrot, lemon and kale protein extracts.
Shop Ouai here.
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