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Some products don't have animal ingredients, but they could have been tested on animals. While other shampoos have no animal ingredients and are cruelty-free, but those facts are hidden in the tiny print on the back of the bottle.
It's a daily frustration for a lot of hygiene products, so our team decided to do some more extensive research to find truly vegan shampoos suitable for all different hair types.
If you want to avoid using some possibly tainted products that are all too common, then make sure you stick to one of the following recommendations.
Our Top Product Recommendations
OUR #1 RATED
Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo
OUR #2 RATED
WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
OUR #3 RATED
Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar
1 - Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo (Editor's Choice)
After a short debate, we all came to a conclusion on our number 1 choice.
With countless review comments about the effects on a dry scalp and dandruff, as well as being a certified organic shampoo, it just ticked the right boxes.
The main active ingredient listed is sage oil, which has been clinically tested for its effects on the scalp  .
I did notice a few reviews that weren't so positive about the scent. Personally though, I think it's a positive when vegan shampoos smell of their natural ingredients and not some artificial fragrances.
2 - WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
As someone who needs occasional help with dandruff, I was very much interested in the positive customer reviews of this apple cider vinegar shampoo.
Many people commented that it had helped to reduce the flakes and was gentle at the same time.
My personal experience was positive, but you may need to add some other hair care products to fully remove the dandruff problem.
3 - Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar
This shampoo that’s available in a solid bar like soap was news to me, but there are a lot of people that actually prefer this over the usual liquid form.
The company behind this product confirms that it hasn't been tested on animals.
At the same time, all ingredients, including the packaging, are biodegradable.
One thing a few people point out is that you have to be careful where you store it to avoid it melting into a sticky mess.
4 - Honeydew Products Aloe Vera Shampoo
Heather here on our team is particularly fond of this cruelty-free shampoo, and she agrees with a lot of other users that say it may help to tame tangled and frizzy long hair.
As it turns out, there is some scientific evidence behind the use of aloe vera, as it may help you with itchy scalp and skin inflammation  .
The smell is a little weird, but it doesn't follow you around.
5 - Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo
Christina Moss hair products are very popular because they use trusted organic sources for their ingredients.
It's one of the few products where we found positive reviews for all types of hair from dry to oily.
It could be improved by adding some essential oils for a better smell.
6 - Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Not pointing any fingers at anyone, but if you dye your hair, then you do need to be careful with your choice of shampoo.
This Paul Mitchell option may work to protect your color, and there are numerous positive reviews specifically for this feature.
Annoyingly, if it doesn't work for you, then you can only make use of the guarantee if you buy it at a beauty salon.
7 - Puracy Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Personally, I don't really need conditioner on short hair, but I can see how you can become very dependent on it.
You should be able to avoid most kinds of allergies with Puracy, as it claims to be made only with ingredients suitable for sensitive skin.
Just keep in mind that the full effects might take up to 2 weeks to become noticeable.
8 - The Seaweed Bath Co. Balancing Shampoo
Seaweed seems to be common in a lot of beauty products, but this is one of the first hair products that I have seen with seaweed in it.
It's an organic shampoo that might be helpful if you have damaged or very fine hair.
There's a surprising amount of research that has shown some positive results from seaweed .
Based on the reviews I read, it might not be the best option if you have very dry hair.
9 - Sweet Baby Natural Shampoo
I know that for many parents, hair care can be a bit of a struggle when it comes to young babies.
Their skin is so much more sensitive, and this company claims to have sourced the most suitable ingredients to avoid any reactions.
The scented version is nice, but it might be a bit strong.
10 - Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner
Another popular option that comes with a conditioner is this one from Trader Joe's.
With tea tree oil as the main active ingredient, it claims to help soothe itchy and sensitive skin.
And with some scientific backing  , this might be an excellent choice to avoid irritations.
If you have oily hair, then this might not be the best option as it can leave a bit of a greasy feel.
What Ingredients Do You Need To Avoid?
We already mentioned that truly vegan shampoos should contain no animal ingredients and be cruelty-free at the same time.
So, I spent a couple of hours researching the ingredients labels of some of the most popular non-vegan shampoos, and I found that there were a few heavily recurring substances that you really want to avoid.
They can also damage marine life as they accumulate in waterways and create toxic environments.
There are many more obscure animal products, but Peta keeps a very good list that you can always use for comparison .
What Are The Benefits Of Using Vegan Shampoos?
The benefits of using vegan shampoos are mainly down to health and your conscience. Whether you're vegan or not, these types of products can make a big difference.
Less Risk Of Irritation
Many of the most popular shampoos are packed full of stuff that belongs in a science lab. Especially for people with sensitive skin and damaged hair, stuff like sulfates and parabens can cause all sorts of damage that might become more than a slight irritation.
Paraben is cheap to mass-market, but there are so many synthetic-free products on the market that are just as effective, I don't see the need of using artificial ingredients which can cause irritation and stress, especially to sensitive skin types.
Peace Of Mind
In this day and age, there is no need to be performing animal tests for personal hygiene products. The most effective natural ingredients can be combined in different ways to suit all types of skin and hair.
Having the peace of mind that some poor animal didn't have a life of misery should be valuable for everyone.
What does it mean when a shampoo is vegan?
When a shampoo is vegan, it means that it contains no animal ingredients and has not been tested on animals. Taking it one step further, you can make sure that all ingredients are biodegradable to avoid impact on marine life.
Is vegan shampoo better?
Yes, vegan shampoos are better because they tend not to contain many of the harmful substances that can cause skin irritations. As these products still perfectly clean all types of hair, there really is no reason not to use them.
Is vegan shampoo good for colored or treated hair?
Yes, there are vegan shampoos that are good for colored or treated hair. You should still check the label and instructions to make sure that individual products are indeed suitable.
What's Our Favorite?
During our research into the best vegan shampoos currently available, we all ended up stocking up on Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo.
It has good customer reviews, is reasonably priced, and has all the certifications needed to make it vegan-friendly.
It's also helpful to have some science backing for the chosen ingredients that may make your hair and scalp feel clean, refreshed, and free of irritations.
If you have some other recommendations, then make sure you reach out on social media with your tips.
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