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:

Ecocolors

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

eco-colors-hair-dye


Smart Beauty

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

smart-beauty-hair-dye


Herbatint

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

herbatint-hair-dye

See Also


Manic Panic

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

manic-panic-hair-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.

arctic-fox-hair-dye


A Milder Alternative: Lush Henna

Lush Henna, called Caca, comes in a bar (as pictured below). 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!

View Comments (62)
  • 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.

    • Cetyl alcohol in modern products is derived from Palm oil. It was just originally isolated from spermaceti. It would be far too expensive to try to produce it the old way and it would be impossible to meet the worldwide demand as it’s an extremely common ingredient found in all sorts of beauty products.

      • 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..

        • 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 :/

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

  • 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..

  • 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?? 🙁

    • Hi, Lisa! We’re not familiar with the cruelty-free status of La Riche right now, but I would suggest reaching out to them! Make sure to ask them about their finished products, ingredients, suppliers, as well as third party testing. Another thing to consider is whether or not they sell in mainland China, where animal testing is mandatory by law.

      • Hi there I just wanted to say that b4colour.com do a non animal testing ammonia and peroxide free product when you want to strip your hair of previous colour so also good for fragile hair. I have used it and leaves the hair soft ready for colour have a, silver Jerome Russell next! for UK shopper’s Tesco sell it and Jerome Russell and alot of their own products are not animal tested and fund into research for alternatives… Thanks for introducing me to animal friendly vegan hair products. I’m housebound so have to shop online and found it tricky to get the right one for ages!

  • Lime crime unicorn hair, jerome russels punky colors ( so much better than manic panic. Waaayyyyyy longer lasting) and lunartideshair are also crueltyfree and vegan

  • Awesome info, but as a 15+ year henna veteran, let me add some helpful information. You can absolutely safely color over just pure henna, I have done it many times. what you cannot color over is indigo, and a lot of companies like Lush combine henna (lawsonia inermis) with indigo to alter the consistently vibrant red into something more brownish or auburn tone. Indigo is the reason for green hair or melting hair when trying to use chemical color over a “henna” color. The best website in the world for both henna education and for buying the purest henna is Mehandi.com or hennaforhair.com They have endless resources to learn about henna for body art as well as how to use henna, cassia, amla and indigo to achieve a myriad of gorgeous colors, which even cover stubborn grey, and will never fade. Amazing stuff, cruelty free, purity/quality tested batch by batch. If you want golden hair, strawberry blonde, red, copper, auburn, warm brown or black hair without chemicals, start exploring their site. Loads of user before and after pics, too!

    • yes, it is cruelty free. Sparks and Pravana semi permanent hair dyes both have the same ingredients. Sparks is cheaper than Pravana though.

  • I have just ordered Tints of Nature hair dye they claim to vegan, cruelty free and minimal hash chemicals, you can buy it off a lot of vegan and cruelty free websites. I look forward to trying it out as I have been getting my hair done at a l’Oreal salon and don’t like l’Oreal stance on animal testing

  • I am almost positive that Naturtint (sold at Whole Foods and other natural groceries) is cruelty free–can you confirm? I have been using it and love it.

    I also love Surya Brasil, which is easy-to-use henna cream, and features the leaping bunny logo.

  • hey hey! hello from France!
    your blog is fantastic!!

    i’ve been vegetarian since i was young (maybe around my 10 years) but i try to be vegetalian the more i could with my husband and my two years old daughter.

    i decided to really search for information about what i use on my face and body since this year (before i used bio things but never though about animal testing; in fact i did not really realised that it is a very big deal, i did not realised it was really happening in the 2000s! what a pain… and i lost one of my cat in the campaign, and i search for him for 9 months now and i found some pharmaceutical labo next to our home that have animals in there local and they are testing things on them!! just a few kilometers to my house!! i am in tears and i can do nothing about that, thats a terible feeling… sorry blablabla)

    soooo do you know that KORRES do hair dye color that is cruelty free AND that works really well?
    i tried it and loved it!

  • hi! goodDYEyoung is a cruelty-free hair dye brand, fairly new, founded and owned by Hayley Williams 🙂 Might be worth looking into for some confirmation!

    • Hey, Manic Panic makes a bleach kit in a 30 or 40 volume. I use it to lighten my hair in a bleach wash to bring down the developer a bit and then henna over that.

  • Hi thank you so much for all the info and dedication! I am a hairstylist and am looking to find professional lines that are cruelty free. So many of the companies blur the lines and it’s confusing. I would really love to start making professional stylists aware of brands that are cruelty free. Here are some I can’t find info on
    Guy tang myfentity, pravana full color
    Line, pulp riot and than L’Oreal came out saying they aren’t testing on animals but thanks to you I now know better. I loved Redken color. But I love animals more

  • iON used to say ‘no animal testing’ on the box. It no longer does. Do they now condone animal testing?

  • Just thought it might be worth adding for UK people that Superdrug and Boots own-brand hair dyes are also cruelty free and fairly cheap – Superdrug hair dye’s about £5 (if you’re not from the UK, these are drug stores shops you find in literally every single city). A lot of Superdrug’s products are becoming vegan too (also the conditioner in their hair dye kit is AMAZING) 🙂

  • Is Naturtint cruelty free? I’ve been looking at hair dyes/stains from Shea Moisture, Lush, Manic Panic, etc, and I’m looking for more options. Naturtint claims to be vegan but I don’t want to just assume it’s cruelty free just because of its vegan status. Thank you for the list!

  • Also Shea moisture has permanent dye and its amazing, been using it for months now and they are cruelty free.

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