The increased number of vegan curly hair products is not going unnoticed.
Veganism is on the rise and far from just a dietary choice, it is a way of life.
We are becoming more and more aware of the effect that the consumption of animal-derived products has on the planet.
In light of this, abstinence from consumption of any animal or animal-derived produce is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice.
Studies have shown health benefits and that reducing our animal consumption also reduces the environmental impact on the planet.
The cosmetics and hair industry has long used animal products and derivatives in its ingredients.
Non-Vegan Ingredients To Look Out For In Curly Hair Products
There are some animal-derived ingredients that we would spot straight away on labels. We would recognise honey, for example, but there are others that we are less familiar with. The less well known ingredients to look out for include:
Frequently keratin is derived from the hair and horns of animals. It is a protein which makes up hair, skin and nails. Brands often add keratin to hair products to strengthen and promote healthier hair
Lanolin is an emollient derived from sheep wool. It is produced by the sheep’s skin as a way of conditioning the wool. The properties that make it conditioning for the wool also work on our hair. It can ‘trap’ water in our hair, retaining moisture
Glycerine is usually derived from animal fats. It is used as a humectant in hair products. This means that it draws water towards it, moisturising the hair
Stearic Acid is commonly derived from pigs’ stomachs. It acts as a lubricant, coating the hair shaft, protecting and conditioning
Casein, sodium caseinate or caseinate is usually derived from cows’ milk. It contains minerals for hair growth and is most likely to be found in conditioners
Squalane can be extracted from shark liver oil. It has moisturising properties and can protect hair from damage
Cera alba is the name often used on labels for beeswax. Beeswax moisturises and smoothes hair
Luckily there are vegan alternatives for most of the above
Keratin alternative: Soya protein and almond oil contain proteins to help strengthen hair
Lanolin alternative: Plant oils such as olive or coconut oil and butters such as shea butter can be used as emollients in its place
Glycerine alternative: Can also be derived from coconut oil, soya or palm oil (which some vegans choose to avoid due to its effects on the ecosystem) – also called glycerine
Stearic Acid alternative: Can be derived from plant fats and is also called stearic acid
Casein alternative: Research is being carried out to produce an alternative from plant-based milks
Squalane alternative: 100% plant-based squalane is available, this is also called squalane
Many hair brands are now making it easier for us to know if their products are vegan. It is considered such a plus-point that they list it right there on the bottle!
Vegan symbols can vary from country to country
Vegan Society Compliance
The first Vegan Trademark was introduced by The Vegan Society in 1990. It was designed to give consumers reassurance that the product has been verified as vegan. The criteria to qualify are
- that the product contains no animal ingredients
- the processing aids used in the manufacturing process are vegan
- its ingredients have never been tested on animals on behalf of the manufacturer
There is a distinction to be made between vegan and cruelty free products. It is worth noting that a product can be labelled ‘cruelty-free’ without it being vegan. The brand may not test it’s products on animals but there may still be animal-derived ingredients within the product.
All good to know!
Vegan-Certified Curly Hair Products/Brands
All Umberto Giannini hair care products are vegan (and cruelty free). Their curl range features the curly girl favourite Curl Jelly – an amazing smelling gel for curl hold and definition. The brand prides itself on being vegan and believes that a product doesn’t need to contain animal-derived ingredients to perform well
Not all of their products are vegan, but their bestselling Curl Defining Gel is (thumbs up) and its quickly becoming a cult product with a huge following
The entire Curlsmith range is certified as vegan. This UK based brand is inspired by generations of home-made hair remedies. It contains rare, organic ingredients, kitchen cupboard staples and curl-loving foods
The Noughty haircare range is cerified vegan. The range is 97% natural, affordable and free from sulphates, silicones, petrochemicals and parabens. Their products have won multiple awards and the brand is committed to sustainability.
This range is 100% certified vegan. It doesn’t contain silicones, synthetic dyes or sulphates. Their products begin with a base of pure aloe vera. They also use pure coconut water to produce a range of hydrating curl care products.
Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Range
The Hair Food range is vegan, but not all of Garnier’s products are. This new range was brought out with natural, sustainable, nourishing products in mind. A new and popular choice for curly girls. A range of shampoos, conditioners and treatments which are made with 98% naturally derived ingredients.
Are Hair Nutrients Missing From a Vegan Diet?
We’ve got an idea of some great curly hair products to use for our hair. There are concerns, however, about nutrients that a vegan diet may be lacking. Could this affect our hair’s condition from the inside?
A varied vegan diet may still lack some nutrients such as B12, iron, vitamin D and selenium.
Would a lack of these affect our curly hair?
Vitamin B12 promotes healthy hair growth by assisting in the production of red blood cells which ‘feed’ the hair follicle
Iron deficiency can lead to the a similar problem. Our bodies rely on iron to produce haemoglobin. Haemoglobin carries oxygen around the body, promoting the production of new cells. This includes cells that stimulate hair growth
Selenium is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for the growth of healthy hair. In addition, selenium fights dandruff by killing off the fungus that causes it
Vitamin D stimulates hair follicles.
There are many supplements that are available to increase levels of these vitamins and minerals. Most of these nutrients can be obtained by following a varied and balanced vegan diet. Sources include-
Found in lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu
Some foods are fortified with vitamin B12. Fortified foods include some plant milks and soy products
Grains tend to have high levels of selenium. This is also true of also soy beans, tofu and brazil nuts
Found in sunshine! Also tofu, soya drinks and cereals are sometimes fortified with vitamin D
The rise of veganism means that there is now a lot of choice available when it comes to looking after our curly hair. Many big brands are embracing veganism and making it easier for us to make informed decisions about our hair products.
The above dietary information is not advice. If you feel that you need medical advice on your diet consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional.
For more information on veganism visit The Vegan Society
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