There are cruelty-free and vegan hair dye options out there! I’ve listed the best ones below, whether you want to do-it-yourself or go to the salon.

Box Dye VS. Going To The Salon

Getting your hair done at the salon can be cruelty-free, but you’ll have to do a bit of research. I personally get my hair done at the salon and have had success finding good salons that don’t support animal testing. It’s doable!

Many salons use professional hair care brands that don’t test on animals. The most popular ones are Kevin Murphy and Paul Mitchell. As for professional hair dye, Pravana is the best cruelty-free dye. Ask your salon owner what brands they use, and pick a place that opts for cruelty-free brands.

There are Aveda salons in many major cities. Aveda itself is a cruelty-free brand, but you should be aware that Estee Lauder, its parent company, still tests on animals where required by law in China. Aveda itself is however not sold in China.

Hair Dye and Animal-Testing

Let’s face it: box hair dye is terrible for us. We know it’s filled with some of the most harsh chemicals the cosmetics industry has to offer, and we’re aware of how easily those chemicals penetrate through the skin. Ammonia, lead acetate, arylamines, 4 APB, resocinol, and phenylenediamine are just some of the most alarming chemicals found in hair dyes.

Most box hair dyes you can find are being tested on animals, specifically because they’re filled with potentially toxic ingredients. Basically, we have more than enough reasons to stop using mainstream box hair dye brands, but so many of us still resort to it because of the huge selection of shades they offer, because it’s cheap, and because it’s, quite frankly, super fun and awesome to experiment with hair color!

These Hair Dyes Are Tested On Animals

The following hair dye is tested on animals:

  • L’Oreal (Preference, Feria, Excellence, Healthy Look +)
  • Garnier (Nutrisse, HerbaShine +)
  • Clairol (Nice’n Easy, Natural Instincts, Age Defy, Perfect 10 +)
  • Revlon (ColorSilk)
  • Schwartzkopf (Brilliance, Color Ultime, Live, Palette +)
  • Wella
  • Vidal Sassoon
  • John Frieda

Cruelty-Free Options

Luckily, there are cruelty-free options! And the good news is they’re just as affordable as the drugstore hair dye that’s tested on animals. Most of the options below are also vegan, and aren’t quite as harsh as the mainstream box dyes.

The following hair dye brands are NOT tested on animals:


The Leaping Bunny-certified company EcoColors (pictured above) makes a full range of hair dye without some of the nasty chemicals.


Smart Beauty

Another cool brand is Smart Beauty (pictured above), which offers both natural colors as well as ombre kits and pastel hair dye (which I’ve used and loved!).



Herbatint is another cruelty-free option, and they offer a big selection of natural shades.


Manic Panic

Manic Panic is also cruelty-free, and they not only have all sorts of vibrant colors but also black semi-permanent dye.


Arctic Fox

Last but not least, give Arctic Fox a shot if you’re into fun colors. Their dye is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and claims to be long-lasting.


A Milder Alternative: Lush Henna

Lush Henna, called Caca, comes in a bar (as pictured above). The blocks are crumbled (or grated, to speed up the process) and mixed with boiling water to form a runny paste. To dye your hair, simply coat it with the paste, cover, and wait! The process can be rather messy if you’re not careful.

cruelty-free hair dye

Lush Henna has pros and cons. It doesn’t have as many harsh chemicals as other dyes, and it leaves your hair shinier than box dye because of the added moisture. However, you’ll have to wait for the henna to grow out of your hair if you want to dye it again using box dye or bleach.

If you want auburn or reddish hair, and if you’re certain that you won’t dye your hair any other color in the near future, this might be a great option for you.

I hope you were able to find a cruelty-free option that works for you, no matter what color you like to dye your hair!

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26 Comments on "The Best Cruelty-Free Hair Dye: Options For All Hair Colors"

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Catherine Crist

what about manic panic??


Yes, cruelty-free as well!

Charlotte Jones

Do you know of any at home box hair colour that is available in the UK?

Jennifer Rayburn

Pravana isn’t vegan. Only their hair care line is. Not the dye. Ive written to the company before.


Interesting, thanks! Do you know what animal products are in the dye?


Pravana’s chromasilk range uses silk derived ingredients which are therefore non vegan


Thank you!

Emily Catherine

Their website yells that Pravana color is “cruelty-free”. but of course it isn’t, it’s just not tested on animals, and you have to dig to see their ingredients… the first two they disclose are keratin and silk. Obvious animal products. I guess “silk” in the name should have been a red flag!

Jennifer Rayburn

These are the ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lanolyn Alchohol, Ceteareth-20, Propylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Ethyl Ester of Hydrolized Sylk, Sodium Sulfite, Simethicone, EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum). Colour may contain: Basic Blue 1, Basic Red 22, Basic Orange 1, Basic Violet 1, Basic Yellow 57, Basic Green 4.

•Cetyl alcohol is wax found in spermaceti from sperm whales
•Lanolyn alcohol is oil glands from sheep extracted from the wool
•Hydrolyzed keratin also sheep wool derived
• And as far as I know most color dyes are from animal pigments.
Nevo their hair care line is vegan tho. Hopes this helps.

Jennifer Rayburn

If you write to them on their website they respond rather quickly. ?


I’ll have to look into those!

Bree V.

What about ion?


Paul Mitchell is a fantastic blue-black cruelty free dye. It’s what I use and I absolutely love it.


I had to Google it but it says ion is crultey free and possibly vegan. I can’t rely on this sorce anymore as it doesn’t seem to be kept up to date..

Haley Smith

Ion labels all of their vegan products, so unless it’s explicitly stated on the packaging, its best to avoid. As far as I know, none of their colors are vegan :/

Cheyenne M. Crossett

Can I ask why there is no mention of Shea Moisture? I’ve used them and it’s a pretty great product.

Rita the Sloth

And what about Anthocyanin? I can not find any information about their animal testing policy, can not find anything at all… English is not my native language, and it’s so hard for me to deal with these, so maybe you guys can halp me. I read that South Koren is going to ban animal testing to 2018, and few Korean brands already got Bunny logo, but still no info ’bout Antho.


I use Naturtint, which is marketed as cruelty free and is milder than most. Works well at covering my greys, too. 🙂


Is this even being updated? There are products that are crultey free that aren’t even on here and I get no response..


Hey Bree, I might have missed your suggestions. Which brands should be added?

Around the kitchen table

Hi Suzi me again 🙂 I have heard that Phyto brand is animal friendly or at least their website says so… Would you have any info on this one please?

Lisabella Fawzeya SayfUllah Da
Lisabella Fawzeya SayfUllah Da

Try to contact via email they may mail to India… Good Luck!

Emily Catherine

I hope everyone seeing “CRUELTY-FREE” knows that is NOT what it means. It only means that it isn’t tested on animals. Not vegan, not vegetarian, not even meat or cruelty free. It doesn’t mean anything other than not tested. I can’t believe the term “cruelty-free” can be used on actual animal products. Why do people care about testing and not the animals IN the products?? 🙁


Superdrug’s own brand hair dyes are not tested on animals and are suitable for vegetarians.

Sasha Leigh Spence

I’m so glad you said this because I knew it said cruelty free but I never really knew if it was vegetarian! Thank you! X


Does anyone know if the brand ‘Salon care’ tests on animals? They have it at Sally’s Beauty Supply.