There are brands for every budget from drugstore to salon in this guide, so you should be able to find cruelty-free alternatives no matter your needs and hair type.
The brands are divided into 4 sections:
1. Hair care brands that test on animals: This includes brands who test on animals in China, where animal testing is mandatory for foreign cosmetics (including hair products).
2. Cruelty-free hair brands: No animal testing at any point during production, no animal testing from their suppliers, no distribution in mainland China. There's also a bonus section listing the 10 best cruelty-free hair products!
3. Companies I’ve contacted but never heard back from: These are "grey area" brands who either refuse to share their policy, or who simply haven't gotten back to me. It doesn't mean they necessarily test on animals.
4. Brands with unclear animal testing policies: These companies might be cruelty-free, but they refused to provide enough information or refused to answer some questions.
1. Hair Care Brands Tested on Animals
First up are the brands that DO test on animals. Although some of these brands don’t test on animals themselves, they pay for animal testing in mainland China, where it's mandatory by law. This means they're not cruelty-free. This isn't an exhaustive list of hair care brands that test on animals! These are just SOME of the brands to avoid.
- Bed Head
- Head & Shoulders
- Herbal Essences
- John Frieda
- Vidal Sassoon
- Sexy Hair
2. Cruelty-Free Hair Care Brands
Now, onto the cruelty-free brands! Hooray! These brands confirmed that no animal testing takes place at any point during production, including by their suppliers, and they do not sell their products in mainland China. Any brands which are owned by parent companies who aren’t cruelty-free will be indicated with an asterisk.
At the end of the list, I've also included a TOP TEN with 10 of the absolute best and most popular cruelty-free hair styling products.
2. Best Cruelty-Free Hair Products
Cruelty-free brands offer some amazing hair products, so there's no need to look elsewhere. Here are some of the best products for various hair types and needs, from moisturizing masks that soothe damaged hair, to styling products that hold everything into place.
Although pricey, this is a fantastic award-winning product if you have straight to wavy hair. It gives your hair texture, volume, hold, and tames frizz without being sticky or making your hair stiff at all. It can also double as a dry shampoo to get rid of any oil, and it's colorless and doesn't leave a white residue.
This serum is an oldie but a goodie. It adds a gorgeous shine to the hair while also doubling as a heat and weather protectant. There is a reason this has been such a popular product for so many years. While it definitely helps with frizz, it can make the hair look greasy if you use too much, so I recommend using it sparingly.
Probably the most talked about dry shampoo lately, the Drybar Detox has a super absorbent formula, so a little bit goes a long way. It works for literally all hair types and adds tons of lift at the roots. It does have a powdery texture, so it is best to spray it from further away with darker hair colors to avoid chalky frosted look. This being said, the powdery texture is the same quality that makes this such an effective dry shampoo.
This is an amazing hairspray which provides maximum hold without too much buildup or flakiness. It helps to extend the longevity of hairstyles for up to "120 hours" yet somehow remains soft to the touch. Another major plus is that it is humidity and wind-resistant!
Beachy waves are all the rage and it seems like they're here to stay. This is an awesome spray for getting that effortlessly chic undone hair without weighing it down. Its formula is less sticky than other wave sprays, so you can avoid that dreaded crunch. It works best when sprayed and scrunched into wet hair before drying.
As the name would suggest, the Verb Ghost Oil is a transparent oil, which is great for adding a bit of shine to the hair without making it look too greasy. It's a must-have for frizzy hair!
Pacifica's new line of hair care products is really good, and actually super affordable. This mask restores and hydrates hair, while also protecting it from damage and pollutants. Another plus is that unlike other oily hair masks, it rinses out easily without buildup. This is also often compared to Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle, making this a great cruelty-free and vegan dupe!
Ideal for thick, curly hair, this "smoothie" conditions hair, restoring moisture, body and shine, while also enhancing curls and minimizing frizz. It is best applied to damp hair but can also work on dry styled hair for added definition.
This spray protects locks from heat while also providing flexible hold and frizz-control. It is the perfect spray to use to prep your hair before curling with a flat iron or curling wand. Since it is a lighter hold, I would recommend finishing with a firmer hold hairspray like the Kenra Volume Spray for maximum style control.
Last but certainly not least, this stuff is ideal for serious hold, and can even work for beard styling. It is also ideal for sensitive skin as it has an organic and fragrance-free formula!
3. Brands With No Response
Back to the cruelty-free list, the following companies were contacted but we haven't heard back from them. There's still a chance of them being cruelty-free, but they might be testing on animals just as well. Brands will be moved from this list to the appropriate list once I hear back from them.
- Earth’s Nectar
- Fairy Tales
- Lavett & Chin
- Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture
- Mermaid Hair
- Oscar Blandi
- Philip B
4. Brands with Unclear Policies
Out of the companies that we've heard back from, some gave us incomplete policies or refuse to answer some questions. Those brands are listed here along with an explanation.
No mention of their suppliers.
3. Not Your Mother’s
They've applied for Leaping Bunny certification but haven't received it yet. When I asked them for their animal testing policy, they didn't want to address whether or not their suppliers test on animals.
More cruelty-free guides!
Thank you for reading the cruelty-free hair guide, and I hope you found some great cruelty-free brands and products. Don't forget to check out our other guides: