5 Best Vegan Hair Dyes
Being able to drastically change your look with a store-bought hair dye is empowering—and so fun. Whether you’re dying your hair a vibrant shade of pink in the middle of winter or brightening your blonde locks at the height of summer, finding a hair dye that is vegan and doesn’t test on animals is becoming easier than ever.Shop Vegan Haircare Products
Why is using vegan hair care so important?
Vegan and cruelty-free hair dyes and other vegan hair-care products are, in many ways, superior to conventional offerings. Most of the hair dyes that line the shelves of any drugstore are typically full of chemicals, include animal derivatives, and have been tested on animals. Sadly, many major beauty brands still test on animals.
Lucky for us, the best vegan hair dyes available today are cruelty-free, formulated without animal-derived ingredients, and offer a wide variety of awesome shades. Some vegan hair dyes also have the benefit of containing good-for-you ingredients like essential oils, herbal extracts, and cocoa butter that can add lushness and shine to your hair, while many are also free of icky chemicals that are commonly associated with these products. Compared to conventional hair dyes, vegan alternatives are healthier for you, the animals, and the planet.
How to choose the right hair dye
There are several different types of vegan hair dye, each of which works in different ways and lasts for varying lengths of time. First, there’s permanent dyes, which are the ones typically used in hair salons because they penetrate your hair follicles, allowing them to last longer and only need root touch-ups as your hair grows.
The most common at-home solution is a semi-permanent color, which typically lasts for two to six weeks. The color pigment coats the outside of your hair and fades gradually with washing. Some natural and organic products like henna are also semi-permanent and are a great option if you want to skip the chemicals completely. These formulas work by essentially staining your hair and take a little longer to fade out.
Another at-home option is color-depositing conditioners that you use like a regular conditioner, but they gradually deposit color pigments onto your hair and it builds up over time. With this option, the color fades out when you stop using the product.
Vegan hair dye brands
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your look to a cruelty-free chocolate brown or add pizzazz with a bright purple, these vegan hair dyes will deliver impressive results that make being vegan look fabulous.
This hair-healthy, semi-permanent alternative to traditionally damaging hair dye is essentially a pigment-enriched conditioner that comes in a rainbow of color options that can enliven even the darkest of natural hair. Unlike harmful hair dye, Overtone Coloring Conditioners are curly-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free. And they’re available in bright fantasy colors like Extreme Pink and Pastel Purple that actually show up, as well as more subtle options like Ginger and Chocolate Brown—all of which are free from ammonia, peroxide, phthalates, parabens, and PPDs.
This edgy, iconic brand has been creating at-home hair color for nearly 50 years, and it has been vegan and cruelty-free since its inception. It is best known for coloring celebs like Cyndi Lauper, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. Their bold and unapologetic offerings range from semi-permanent shades in Electric Lizard and Blue Panther to temporary spray-on colors in Cotton Candy Pink and Silver Stiletto. The brand’s Stardust hair and body glitter also doubles as a highlight on your body if you’re looking for extra glimmer and glitz. Manic Panic hair color is made without parabens, ammonia, PPD, and phthalates.
This boxed hair dye has been stocked in health food stores for decades and is one of the few brands that still uses all-natural ingredients like the henna plant for natural color without any toxic chemicals. While you won’t find any radical color options with this brand, if all you need is to cover greys or tone up or tone down your natural shade, this offers a good-for-you alternative with consistent and effective results. Herbatint offers permanent hair color gels, 100-percent organic color options, and a temporary touch-up formula that makes masking your roots so much easier.
This easy-to-apply hair treatment temporarily boosts color by depositing pigments while illuminating shine and infusing strands with deep moisture for added softness. The great thing about Gloss+ is that it’s not a permanent, all-over color. Rather, it’s intended to enhance color, hydration, and shine to your current hue. Made without phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and sulfates, Gloss+ is perfect for when your go-to hair dye has started to fade, your highlights need to be toned, or when your hair is lacking shine and vitality.
Similar to dpHUE Gloss+, this Swedish vegan hair-care brand offers hair color treatments in the form of Color Bombs—which are hair masks that contain semi-permanent color pigment for a subtle pop that also nourishes and moisturizes your hair. The Lavender Colour Refresh, for example, gives purple and lavender tones, while the Dusty Pink brings out damp pink shades. Plus, all colors can be blended with White Mix to create pastel tones, or you can mix two colors to create your own.
As more of us make the switch to vegan beauty, the demand for vegan and cruelty-free makeup, skincare, and haircare will only increase. Find more information about how and where to find vegan products on our vegan beauty blog.
Nicole Axworthy is a Toronto-based writer and author of the vegan cookbook DIY Vegan.
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