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Is my shampoo vegan?

No matter your hair type, you should be able to find a cruelty-free, vegan shampoo that makes your hair look and feel amazing. Most shampoos contain animal ingredients, which are present not because they add any vital cleaning properties, but because they’re ridiculously cheap. And many shampoos have been tested on animals.

The biotin, keratin, silk powder, and gelatine found in many shampoos and conditioners may all be derived from animals. This short list is just a sample of the animal products to be found in haircare. While many of these ingredients can be plant-sourced as well, if the packaging does not explicitly say it is, it would be safer to assume that it’s not. 

Here are some of the top NON-vegan ingredients to look our for in your shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, serums, and other hair care products.


This ingredient is often used as a texturizer in hair creams and conditioners.

Biotin is found in all living cells, and in large quantities in milk and yeast.  

Alternative: There are many plant-based sources of this B vitamin as well, including carrots, onions, leafy greens, cabbage, and fresh berries. 

Cetyl Alcohol

Often found in hair lacquers, lotions, and shampoos, this wax is found in the spermaceti (head cavity) of whales, dolphins, and other cetaceans.

Alternative: Look for products that specifically state their cetyl alcohol is veggie-sourced (often derived from coconut). 


If you haven’t heard by now, most gelatin is made by boiling discarded animal bones, skin, and ligaments. It gives products a thick, smooth, gelatinous texture…this goes for hair gels too. 

Alternative: Try to find ones that use an alternative such as Irish moss (carageenan) or seaweed (agar, kelp, etc.). 

Hyaluronic Acid

This protein is known to be useful for adding moisture and manageability to dull, dry, or lackluster hair. Unfortunately, it is usually derived from umbilical cords, and the synovial fluid surrounding the joints of animals. 

Alternative: This chemical is actually produced in our own bodies, and vegetable and soy are actually great sources of it, so chan