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The Best Cruelty-Free Hair Masks to Nourish and Hydrate Your Hair

by Charlotte Pointing

May 10, 2023

When you've got damaged, dry, or frizzy hair, one of the best ways to show it some real TLC is by using a hair mask. These products are designed to deeply nourish and restore the hair, leaving your mane looking healthier than ever. Not all hair masks are cruelty-free, but don't worry! All of the formulas below have not been tested on animals.

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What is a hair mask?

Just like a face mask, a hair mask is designed to hydrate, nourish, and generally boost the condition of your hair. They're very similar to conditioners, only they have more concentrated ingredients and work a little harder to restore your strands.

For that reason, you shouldn't use a hair mask every day (unless the label says otherwise). But when your hair is looking like it needs a little extra care and attention, reaching for a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment every once and a while can make a big difference.

Unfortunately, not all hair masks on the market are cruelty-free. Kérastase is one example of a brand that is known for its luxury hair products, including masks, but is not certified cruelty-free. Its parent company L'Oréal is not considered to be cruelty-free either.

But if you're on the hunt for effective, nourishing, and, most importantly, ethical hair masks, don't worry. There are many, many options to choose from. To help you out, we've gathered some of the best below.

The best cruelty-free hair masks

Best for adding volume:

This is a sponsored post.

Key ingredientsHydrolyzed rice protein, kukui seed oil, coconut oil
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Estée Lauder

If you want fuller, thicker-looking hair, Bumble and bumble's Thickening Plumping Mask is more than worth a try.

The formula utilizes the brand's signature Emblica technology, which helps to plump strands from the root to the tip, as well as hydrolyzed rice protein. The latter is a water-soluble amino acid-rich protein sourced from brown rice, which is often used as a vegan alternative to keratin, a type of protein sourced from animals.

As well as plumping up your strands, this mask (which is suitable for all hair types) will also help to detangle, condition, and smooth your hair, too.

Key ingredientsMacadamia nut oil
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Procter & Gamble

Most hair masks aren't suitable for use all of the time, but if you use a lot of heat and prefer to give your mane a nourishing treat every day, then Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle Moisture is suitable for daily use.

Formulated for dry, brittle hair, this deep conditioning treatment will help to give your locks some much-needed hydration and moisture.

It also contains macadamia nut oil, which is packed with nutrients and associated with strengthening and softening damaged hair.

Key ingredientsRosehip oil, algae extract, almond oil, biotin
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Wella

This formula by Briogeo has been designed specifically to make hair stronger, and, according to the brand, it can decrease hair breakage in just two uses.

This is all thanks to ingredients like rosehip oil, which is rich in nourishing fatty acids, and algae extract, which is packed with hair-strengthening nutrients.

Be careful not to overdo it with this mask, as it's only designed to be used once a week. For a deeper conditioning treatment, cover the hair with a cap and leave for 30 minutes.

Key ingredientsMatcha green tea, wild apple blossom
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Research suggests that antioxidants can make a big difference to our hair, leaving it looking healthier and fuller.

That's why this hair mask is packed with antioxidants, which work together to deeply condition and moisturize your locks. Plus, it truly smells amazing, too.

This hair mask is a little gentler than other formulas and can be used twice weekly if necessary.

Key ingredientsAvocado oil, provitamin B5, sea buckthorn
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Sea buckthorn is renowned for its hair-nourishing properties. The natural ingredient, which is one of the key ingredients in this hair mask from Amika, is rich in the fatty acid omega 7, which helps to provide strands with "superior hydration," notes the brand.

But it's not working alone. This creamy formula also contains nutrient-rich avocado oil, as well as moisturizing provitamin B5.

This hair mask can be used every week, but it's also gentle enough to be used every day if you desire. Either way, you can expect your hair to feel smooth, soft, and silky after use.

Best multi-tasker:

Key ingredientsPapaya extract
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - L'Oréal

This hydrating, restoring hair mask formula from Garnier is one of the more versatile options on the market, and that's because it can be used in three different ways.

You can use it as an irregular hair mask treatment, as and when you feel your hair needs it, or as an everyday conditioner if you prefer.

But for those with ultra-damaged or dry hair, which is prone to frizz, it can also be used as a leave-in treatment, too.

Best for curly hair:

Key ingredientsShea butter, sea kelp, argan oil
Vegan product?Not specified
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Unilever

With its deeply moisturizing, nourishing, sulfate-free formulas, SheaMoisture has become a go-to brand for many people with curly hair.

And true to form, this hair mask will help to inject moisture deep into your locks, leaving your curls glossier, healthier, and more hydrated than ever.

It's particularly suited to those trying to transition away from harsh chemical treatments and towards embracing their natural hair.

Key ingredientsRosehip oil, shea butter, vitamin C, evening primrose oil, Kakadu plum, seaweed
Vegan product?Not specified
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

For hair that is just crying out for hydration, there's Kevin Murphy's Hydrate-Me Masque.

With the help of nourishing ingredients, like seaweed, Kakadu plum, and rosehip oil, the formula has been designed to deeply hydrate and moisturize dry, parched hair, which is in urgent need of some TLC.

It also helps to cleanse, as well as add salon-level shine, and will leave you with a healthier, bouncier mane.

Key ingredientsAlmond oil, macadamia oil, olive oil, shea butter, hydrolyzed keratin
Vegan product?No
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Procter & Gamble

This deeply nourishing mask, designed for use when your hair needs a little bit more love and attention, contains a blend of natural oils, like almond, oil, and macadamia, all of which help to gently hydrate, strengthen, and condition hair.

It also contains a moisturizing blend of natural butters, including shea butter. But one note: this product contains keratin, so if you're after a vegan formula, you might want to skip this one.

Key ingredientsArgan oil, plant protein
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

This creamy formula by Eva NYC is designed to treat damaged hair and reduce the appearance of any breakage or split ends.

It's enriched with argan oil, which is not only packed with hair-boosting antioxidants, but also fatty acids and vitamins, and plant protein, which will help to smooth and soften any dry, damaged strands.

Key ingredientscupuaçu butter, murumuru butter, and tucumã butter
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - L'Occitane

Sol de Janeiro is known for its body care products (particularly its award-winning Brazilian Bum Bum cream), but the brand also offers a range of nourishing, sulfate-free haircare products, too.

Just like its various skin creams, this hair mask is designed to give your locks a big boost of moisture, thanks to the combination of three natural butters: cupuaçu butter, murumuru butter, and tucumã butter.

The treatment will help to restore moisture, as well as condition, de-frizz, and soften at the same time. Basically, it ticks all of the boxes.

Key ingredientsOlaplex Bond Building Technology
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

Olaxplex is highly respected in the haircare world, and for good reason.

Its signature bond-building technology, which is present in this hair mask, works on a molecular level to strengthen, protect, and restore strands, leaving you with healthier, stronger hair.

For best results, don't overuse this mask. Instead, apply weekly for shiny, soft, smooth locks.

The verdict

While some haircare brands are not cruelty-free, if you're looking for a hair mask that will nourish, strengthen, and restore your hair, without any animal testing, there are plenty of products out there for you. To recap, here are some of our favorites:

Best for adding volume: Bumble and bumble Thickening Plumping Mask
Best multi-tasker: Garnier Damage Repairing Treat 3-In-1 Hair Mask + Papaya Extract
Best for curly hair: SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

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+ Show Comments (1) - Hide Comments (1)
  • Michelle says:

    I would appreciate that you only list cruelty free products, not just for sponsors that we have to sift through to look to see which is cruelty free on A Cruelty Free Website. Cruelty free products is why I Was using this site. This makes the use of this site questionable.

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