This is Part 2 of my curly hair guide, and it contains advice on what products to use and which brands are cruelty free. I hope it can be helpful to people with straight hair who are just looking for quality cruelty free hair care as well, as most of the brands listed have products for every hair type.
When Using with the Tightly Curly Method
The conditioners on this list can be used for curly OR straight hair, but I made sure to give special advice to those of us with curly hair like me. As I stated in Part One of the curly hair guide, Teri suggests using a light, super moisturising conditioner in the shower, and a heavy one for combing and leaving in your hair after you get out of the shower. However, you can also use a heavy conditioner for both if you don’t want to spend the extra time/money/shelf space buying two types of conditioner.
This may be a no-brainer to some but, basically: lightweight conditioners tend to have a watery consistency, and slip through your fingers easily, where as heavy conditioners look / feel like thick lotion and are more viscous. I tend to use something cheap for combing in, since you have to use a ton of product when doing it, and a lot of it gets combed out anyways. I’ve specified which brands make a heavy conditioner with an asterisk (*).
8 Cruelty Free & Vegan Hair Care Brands
I painstakingly tested all these brands myself to see which the best ones are, none of the brands sent me free samples and none of them are paying me to be featured here (the Trader Joe’s amazon link isn’t even an affiliate link). So you can trust my opinion on all of them. They are in order of best to… not best, but still pretty good. 😛
1. Trader Joe’s *
If you live in the USA, you’re in luck, because Trader Joe’s sells conditioner (and shampoo) that’s 100% cruelty free, as well as 100% amazing. Their products are the best thing I’ve tried so far. I honestly feel weird even comparing the other brands I’ve tried to this, since it’s like comparing a bunch of shiny rocks to a diamond or something. Even if you aren’t a vegan, this stuff is creamy, incredible, and will make your hair fabulous. For curly hair, it works great as a rinsing OR brush in conditioner. I use it for both.
But of course, there is a downside to TJ’s and it’s that you can only get their stuff in the USA. That’s actually the whole reason I decided to write this guide, because I’ve been looking for a (vegan) replacement to this stuff since I moved to the UK. I lament the lack of Trader Joe’s here, and whenever I’m visiting my parents in the US, I make a point to go to TJ’s and stock up on this stuff. Even after completing this guide, I have yet to find anything in the UK that truly compares to the Trader Joe’s conditioner in terms of quality for the price. OH did I even mention that yet? The absolute best part is that its less than $10 for a 16 oz bottle!!! If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, that’s ok too, because you can easily buy it on Amazon.
2. DevaCurl *
None of DevaCurl products are tested on animals, and all the ones I’ve tried (Creamy One Condition and Arc AnGEL) have been vegan. “Contains no animal derived ingredients” is the label on their vegan products. DevaCurl conditioner is great heavyweight product for rinsing OR combing into your curls. It’s probably the closest I’ve been able to find to the Trader Joe’s conditioner in terms of quality, but unlike TJ’s, DevaCurl stuff is expensive. Pretty much everything they sell is at least $20 for a 12 fl oz. size bottle. That’s twice as much as the bottle of Trader Joe’s conditioner, but for less product (!). When you have hair as long as I do, that bottle doesn’t last very long at all, even if you only choose to use it as a rinsing conditioner. If you have the extra cash AND can’t get the Trader Joe’s conditioner, DevaCurl may be the best choice for you.
Deva claims you can only get their products at salons, but actually you can find them on Amazon too.
3. Samy *
Samy’s products are pretty cheap at around £5 a bottle for their regular line, don’t contain parabens, and are 100% vegan. The variety I got (above) is from their “Pure” line and did a pretty good job of moisturising and weighing down my hair. I tried it for both rinsing and combing in, and it’s versatile enough to be used for both, which is great. Not quite as impressive as TJ’s or Deva in terms of making my hair silky and shiny, but considering the price, they’re an incredibly good deal.
If you have curly hair I recommend NOT getting the “Big Fat Hair” line for combing in, as that line is too lightweight
to be used that way. Get the one that comes in a bottle like this.
Lush, a well known cruelty free company, sells two fabulous vegan conditioners: Veganese, a regular liquid conditioner that comes in a bottle, and Jungle, which is a solid conditioner that looks like a bar of soap. All of their products are cruelty free, many are vegan, and the vegan products are clearly labeled. They have thousands of shops all over the world, too, so no matter where you live, you’ll be able to find them.
Jungle, the solid conditioner bar pictured above, is a great moisturiser and smells wonderful but I’m not that keen on it, because applying it to your hair is kind of difficult and takes time. There’s supposedly a technique for softening the bar in a pot of hot water for an entire day, making it easier to apply, but I fully admit I can’t be bothered to do that. Maybe in the future. For obvious reasons, you can not use Jungle as a combing in conditioner when doing the tightly curly method.
Veganese is weird, in the sense that it’s neither a lightweight, nor heavy weight conditioner. I guess you could say it’s medium weight. It does an amazing job of moisturising, but it didn’t work that well as a combing-in conditioner for my curly hair – it’s not really heavy enough. If you have thinner curly hair, though, you might be able to use it for combing in. It’s a little pricey at £12.50 for the biggest bottle, but it’s definitely worth the money in terms of quality.
All of Faith in Nature’s products are cruelty free, vegan, all natural and don’t contain parabens or any other nasty chemicals. At only £5 a bottle, their prices are pretty good. Their products also smell amazing. I tried the Hemp & Meadowfoam Conditioner. It made my hair very silky, but the product is WAY too light weight for use as a combing conditioner. They probably have the most light weight products out of any other brands I tried. Nonetheless, their moisturising power did impress me and are definitely worth a try.
6. The Co-Operative (UK) *
All of the Cooperative’s shampoos and conditioners are cruelty free & vegan, and are labeled as such. They sell two different types of conditioner: one bargain apple scented conditioner “for normal hair” that comes in a big bottle and costs like 93p, and then a range of slightly fancier looking smaller bottles that come in a few different scents, for a few different hair types and cost a little more. I’ve tried the basic apple scented one, and the Coconut and Honey scented for Dry/Damaged hair from their higher end range, as pictured above. Despite the name, the Coconut & Honey one doesn’t actually contain honey as far as I can tell from reading the ingredients. It doesn’t actually contain coconut either, so… yeah. I’m guessing that’s just how it’s scented.
I found that these conditioners were really good considering the price, definitely better than the other drug store brands I’ve tried. The smell of them is kinda intense, and they didn’t moisturise as much as I’d like, but they were good for weighing down my curls. The apple one is especially heavy, it’s great as a brushing in conditioner.
7. Superdrug *
Superdrug doesn’t test on animals, and sells a specialty line of shampoos and conditioners called “Superdrug Naturals”, some of which are vegan. Their bottles of their vegan products are labeled “suitable for vegans”. As far as I can tell, the only one of their “Naturals” conditioners that isn’t is the Coconut one. Their conditioner is not exactly amazing, but it also costs less than £2 a bottle, so considering the price it’s a pretty good deal. They are also nice and heavy, so they’re appropriate for use as a leaving in conditioner in curly hair. They don’t moisturise that well, in my experience, so I wouldn’t bother using it on your scalp.
The following brands do not test on animals, and some or all of their products are vegan. I would’ve included them in this guide, but I didn’t because I either couldn’t find them at the shops, or I couldn’t tell which of their products were vegan because they weren’t labeled. If there are any company CEOs out there reading this: LABEL your shit! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to check them out in the future.
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful! But remember…
everyone’s hair is different! Try out a few different products and then decide which one you like best. The point is, you CAN have great curly hair, and no matter your hair type, it’s easy to have amazing shiny hair the cruelty free way! In the world of consumerism, your dollars are as powerful as votes. Don’t give your hard earned cash to companies that torture animals in the development of their products!
If you know any other great cruelty free brands I’ve overlooked, leave a comment with what you use, or send me an @ reply on Twitter letting me know!
Until next time….