20+ Best Cruelty-Free Shampoos

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Last updated on: 11/01/2021 at 3:47 am

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Cruelty-Free Shampoo

Photo: ImaxTree

It’s easy to pretend all is perfect in our bubble of privilege, but the harsh truth is most beauty products on the market cause immense harm to innocent animals. Though it’s easy pool key-words ‘vegan’ ‘organic’ and ‘cruelty-free’ all into one bunch, it’s important to understand what cruelty-free actually entails. More often than not, products like shampoos are created by testing on innocent animals like mice, cats, dogs, and rabbits. Harsh chemicals can harm and even kill such animals. Not only is the decision to choose cruelty-free more environmentally friendly as it often includes natural and organic ingredients that easily biodegrade, but it also ensures you aren’t supporting businesses that harm animals. 



Below are our picks of the best of the best cruelty-free shampoos! 

Oribe Signature ShampooOribe Signature Shampoo $46

Brough to you from one of the most influential hairdressers in our time, the Oribe shampoo line is rich and luxurious. Made without toxic parabens or sodium chloride, treated hair (whether keratin or just colored) will love it. We also love the extra attention paid to protection with this shampoo, as it protects from harmful UV rays. “Custom-blended’ with hair-loving ingredients, the shampoo achieves a lovely lather that makes you feel very glamorous. Indulge in this safe, dermatologist-tested shampoo to leave your hair feeling silkier than it has ever been!

Alternatively, Oribe’s extremely popular Gold Lust Repair + Restore Shampoo ($49) is targeted towards restoring hair that needs life back! Made with a high-tech bio-restorative complex, the cleanser targets dry and damaged hair and invigorates it with moisture. In other words, you’ll be saying goodbye to split ends and any future damage. Key ingredients in the mix include cypress extract, argan and maracuja oils, and a special amino-acid complex. The plant collagen, caffeine, biotin and niacinamide in the bio-restorative complex pair with the aforementioned ingredients to promote lustre, shine, frizz-control and immense nourishment. In the trials, 91% saw an improvement in the appearance of their hair and 82% saw damaged ends more sealed⎯ the numbers speak for themselves. This cruelty-free formula reinforces and strengthens each hair follicle individually, leaving the hair feeling healthier than ever.



John Masters’ Organics Shampoo for Normal Hair

John Masters Organics Shampoo for Normal Hair $19

This sulfate-free shampoo is a fan-favorite with good reason.  The cruelty-free fromula is made with a natural, rich blend of organic rosemary oil, lavender oil, aloe vera juice, white tea extract and jojoba seed oil. The naturally-derived surfactants create a lush, heavenly lather. The addition of rosemary and lavender help to soothe any scalp irritation, balance oil production, and calm down the hair follicles, and are responsible for the calming scent as well⎯ proving that a vegan shampoo doesn’t mean you have to miss out luxurious experience of washing your hair! Perfect for night-time showerers, this lavender-scented bottle of heaven is sure to leave you feeling like your stresses have melted away.

Alternatively, John Masters Organics’ Repair shampoo ($29) with the sole focus of replenishment and restoration. Made with organic hibiscus and natural honey, the shampoo lifts impurities, softens the hair and gently cleanses. The lather in this formula is thanks to organic coconut, which further moisturizes the hair even more! You’ll notice the lovely, subtle yet quite distinct scent⎯ this is thanks to the perfume-favorite ingredient ylang ylang. Additionally, rosemary and cedarwood oil balance the scalp and restore it back into its healthy state. If you’re actively hoping to soften and moisturize the hair, this formula by Jon Masters Organics won’t disappoint.

Last but definitely not least, you may decide to opt for John Masters Organic Shampoo for Fine Hair ($24)  that is targeted towards your hair type⎯ this one is made with fine hair types in mind. The cruelty-free shampoo treats fine hair by providing a gentle cleanse that won’t strip hair oils, and helps to strengthen limp or weak strands to prevent hair breakage. This blend is made with refreshing peppermint that soothes the scalp and also makes it a great morning shampoo for its invigorating scent. Just like the two others, the lather in this shampoo is thanks to naturally-derived surfactants as well. 


Evolvh SmartColor Color Protecting Shampoo

Evolvh SmartColor Color Protecting Shampoo $34

Trying to keep that dyed hair as bright as it looked the day you left the salon? Evolvh has you in mind! This cruelty-free shampoo ensures your color is protected and keeping its vibrance for a longer period of time. Whether it is an soft-girl springtime lavender or a sleek blue-black, you’ll notice it won’t dull down as quickly as it would have otherwise. A star ingredient in this blend is the shea butter, which adds a nourishing element that dry, damaged color-treated hair will thank you for. Other key ingredients include kiwi seed oil, almond oil, and seaweed extract. These ingredients promote color-care with adding shine and minimizing frizz and breakage. Make the most of the bucks you spent at that salon, and keep your colored hair looking vibrant as ever with this amazing formula!

Also cruelty-free, and also by Evolvh, the SmartCurl Hydrating Wash ($32) is specifically for our curly-headed cuties. More often than not, curly-heads may find themselves exhausted at trying to find a shampoo that doesn’t dry their curls out and leave them bounce-less. This shampoo ensures your curls will stay soft, smooth, and frizz-free, and most importantly, moisturized. Hydrating oils are paired with a plethora of amino and fatty acids to promote curl formation. Some of our personal favorites ingredients in the mix are kiwi seed oil, mango extract, safflower oil, seaweed extract and almond oil. Its like a beautiful, heavenly-scented smoothie for your hair! Whatever it may be⎯ transitioning waves defining your coily hair ⎯ this formula will ensure you won’t have to deal with pesky dry and tangled curls. Channel your inner Greek-goddess and keep those curls looking shiny, bouncy and hydrated. 


Rahua Classic Shampoo

Rahua Classic Shampoo $34

This highly rated cruelty-free formula is made with special “rare, sustainable sourced ingredients” that have led it to really be in a league of its own. Made with rare rahua oil, an ingredient known for its omega-9 which helps quick restoration and growth and intense shine in hair, this shampoo will achieve results unlike any other. If you’re a lover of perfumes and scent, you’ll be excited to know this natural shampoo it also has a wonderful fresh and woodsy scent that comes from its infused Palo Santo Oil. Luxurious, both results and scent-wise, you can’t go wrong with this one. 

Okay, so you’re with the Rahua oil train, but you can’t seem to leave your volumizing shampoo for the lift it gives your hair. Don’t stress! Rahua’s Voluminous Shampoo ($34) reaps all the exciting benefits of rahua oil and gives your hair the body and bounce you want. It also actively removes buildup of excess oil on your scalp with its antioxidant-rich blend of green tea, citrus, and lemongrass. Despite it being a shampoo meant to give your hair body, it does not feel heavy on the hair, something curly-haired users will find useful if they often find their hair being weighed down by shampoos. Applying this is an experience in itself, with a wonderfully awakening eucalyptus scent, unique scent of rahua, and lavender which truly make you feel like you’re in a spa. With rainforest grown ingredients and a unique, soothing scent, you’ll be feeling like Marilyn Monroe with just one wash. 



Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath

Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath $28

Innersense’s ultra-hydrating shampoo gets straight to the root to leave your hair feeling super soft. An absolute must for coarse, parched hair, this shampoo gives a heavy hydration fix. The nourishment comes from an organic blend of tamanu, flaxseed and monoi oils to ensure prime hydration. In addition, its quinoa protein integration revitalizes strands and promotes shininess. Innersense also lets its users know that a little goes a long way with this formula, as it is saturated with hydrating, creamy ingredients!

Made for fine to normal hair, Innersense’s Pure Harmony Hairbath ($31) for the everyday hair-washer. Ensuring no residue or oil-buildup, but without drying out the hair follicles, this gentle cleanser does a brilliant job at hydrating and softening the hair. This is thanks to the aloe, pumpkin seed, shea butter and coconut oils that your hair will love. The organic orange flower oil in this blend is what gives it that uplifting “I’m a morning person” scent, even if you secretly aren’t. 

100% color safe, if the name of Innersense’s Color Awakening Hairbath ($31) Hairbah shampoo doesn’t make it clear, we will for you: this shampoo was made for treated hair. With a crafty blend of coconut, shea butter and other plant-derived ingredients, you’ll find your hair color looking vibrant than ever before (perhaps even more than the day you got it done!). Innersense keeps with its pact to promote gentle cleansing with this product, but further uses ingredients like avocado oil, rice bran oil, green tea leaf extract, cucumber extract and lemon peel oil to truly brighten the color of the hair. Whatever your hair color is⎯ an electric box-dyed blue, or a subtle ombre ends, you’ll love the feel and look this shampoo leaves. 


Josh Rosebrook Nourish Shampoo

Josh Rosebrook Nourish Shampoo $35

Though we usually commend a simple ingredient list, when it’s full of organic ones its hard to say no to a hefty list. This complex blend combines various natural cleansers, plant-derived oils and extracts, antioxidants and vitamins⎯ in other words it is the ultimate superfood your hair needs. Some of the ingredients include ginseng, rose hip, lavender, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil and apricot oil. The non-foamy formula gives a light subtle lather which may be a slight change from the chemical-filled foamy lathers you’re used to. But, the less flashy experience is made up for in its effective nourishing qualities. This shampoo is undoubtedly a high-quality one⎯ if you don’t believe us, you’ll certainly believe the ingredient list.

Also by Josh Rosebrook, the Balance Shampoo ($35), this shampoo is meant to reset your hair to the perfect in-between oily and dry. Still made with the same volumizing qualities we love this brand for, this formula focuses on balancing the scalp to stimulate follicle circulation. Essentially, this means it promotes the scalp to reach its perfect potential of healthiness. The extra aloe vera in this blend also ensures the cleansing of impurities within the scalp. Peppermint, jojoba oil, thyme, sage, cayenne, and dandelion all actively work to help your hair reach the Pantene-ad hair you’re looking for.


Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Shampoo

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Shampoo $36

This shampoo is perhaps the most popular in our list, and for good reason too (the reviewers will vouch for us!). The sulfate-free shampoo is foamy, hydrating, and clarifying to help renew and restore your hair. The rich, nourishing rosehip oil assists in hydrating hair and keeping it from developing that orb of frizz many curly-heads deal with. B vitamins in this mix help to repair split ends and heat-damage. Further, organic algae extract in this formula helps to revitalize the hair, and the natural panthenol ingredient helps to increase strength and elasticity. This formula is a cult-favorite for good reason⎯ it works, it works, it works

Briogeo also makes a wonderful Blossom and Bloom Shampoo ($26) that targets giving your hair the fullness it deserves. It has two key ingredients that work to volumize fine hair: biotin and ginseng. Biotin is the go-to natural ingredient for growth because it targets the hair shaft and follicle. Ginseng (paired with ginger, lemon and witch hazel in this formula) helps promote blood flow to the scalp and clarify the buildup of excess oils. Skip the wallet (and hair) damaging blowouts and use this beautiful shampoo instead!

If you’re a smoothie lover, you’re bound to love Briogeo’s Be Gentle Be Kind Banana + Coconut ($28) shampoo. This blend is nice to all hair-types and provides a nourishing gentle cleanse. The key ingredients in this formula⎯ turmeric, mango, coconut, banana, pineapple and papaya extracts⎯ make it is the ultimate antioxidant-filled shampoo. This is a great alternative if you’re unsure of your hair type and are wanting a works-for-everyone and uncomplicated shampoo that still delivers healthy-looking results and is derived naturally. Nourishing, vitamin-packed ingredients means loads of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to support and promote healthy hair!

Last but not least Briogeo has even thought about the shampooers that are more often than not forgotten⎯ the ones with sensitive scalps or allergies! Whether it’s a  sensitivity to fragrance, essential oils, gluten, lactose or soy, Briogeo’s Be Gentle Be Kind Aloe + Oat milk Shampoo ($26) won’t irritate you! The formula is also effective for all hair types ⎯ from pin-straight to coily and everything in between. With 99% naturally derived ingredients, it is made with ingredients like oat extract and aloe vera to sooth the scalp and provide hydration. Just because you have allergies doesn’t mean to have to resort to a non-cruelty-free and non-organic shampoo, and this product truly shows you that!


Ursa Major Go Easy Shampoo

Ursa Major Go Easy Shampoo $26

This shampoo by Ursa Major is made with unique ingredients balsam and macadamia⎯ fancy, but what does it mean? Essentially, these ingredients (along with a plethora of others in the blend) allow your hair to feel softer and actively prevent it from turning into that bird’s nest you thought was unpreventable. Note this works on any hair type, from fine thin hair to coily curls. The formula also focuses on keeping the scalp clear of excess oils with active licorice root extract, panthenol, and soy proteins. And just as if it couldn’t get any better, it has a comforting forest-y scent to it, emerging from the blend of balsam, fir and ginger. We love the earthy, nature-y scent of this shampoo, but more importantly, we love its ability to truly hydrate and balance the scalp. 


Goop G Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo

Goop G. Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo ‎$15

If you don’t trust us, you’ll be glad to know this shampoo was also featured in the Cosmopolitan magazine. This hair scrub works as a very effective clarifying shampoo, due to its exfoliating properties. The soft luscious texture, combined with the natural exfoliating beads of Himalayan pink salt, create an experience unlike any other. An absolute dream to wash your hair with, it is like a scalp massage with the added bonus of leaving your hair purified and cleansed. If you want the ultimate detox from the scalp buildup of the nasty dirt and oils that can linger there even when you shampoo, this scalp scrub will do the job. It also holds a lovely citrus-minty scent that stays after the wash! You’ve probably never felt, or seen the unique whipped texture of this formula⎯ it truly is an experience and a half to wash your hair with!



Malin + Goetz Gentle Hydrating ShampooMalin + Goetz Gentle Hydrating Shampoo $26

This gentle shampoo was made for the people who can’t go without washing their hair every couple days. The lightweight sulfate-free formula combines coconut-derived surfactants and amino acids for an effective cleanse without stripping the hair’s natural oils. We also love that it is made with marine algae extracts and panthenol, both which are great for promoting hair strength. With a soft mandarin and orange blossom scent, this natural shampoo is great for anyone searching for a shampoo to fit into their daily routine. Gentle, hydrating, and citrus-heaven⎯ what more do you need?!


R+Co Television Perfect Hair Shampoo

R+Co Television Perfect Hair Shampoo $32

First things first⎯ have you ever heard a shampoo with such a cool flashy name?! We’re here for it. But it’s more than just a niche aesthetic bottle. This formula holds ingredients that promote all the qualities you see on the celebrities that leave you star-crossed⎯ shininess, softness, bounciness. Key ingredients include: juniper berry extract to add weightless moisture and detox follicles, babassu sed oil to restore and moisturize, and glycerin to help to maintain a balanced scalp. What’s more is that it all comes in a lovely,  romantic scent that has notes of cardamom, tangerine, bamboo and lavender. Feel and look like a celebrity with this fancy shampoo!

Alternatively, R+CO Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo ($29) literally has over 2000 reviews, and boasts a 4.5 star average⎯ it certainly lives up to the hype. For the flat-haired shampooer hoping to add vitality and volume, this strengthening shampoo was made for you! It includes biotin for hair strength, pro-vitamin B5 to leave a natural sheen, coconut oil to condition and hydrate. Above all, the star ingredient is the saw palmetto berry extract, which adds a voluminous body to thin hair (the reason you’re buying it, most likely). Give body to your hair with this cruelty-free shampoo that won’t disappoint. 

If you’ve always dabbled among the idea of getting a keratin treatment, and love the sexy smooth look of shiny hair, R+CO Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo ($29) is right up your alley. Get the smooth hair you’ve been hoping for without the commitment of a keratin treatment! This is a particularly great choice for those with thick straight hair, or curly frizzy hair, the broccoli and plum seed oil in this formula will help smooth it all out. In addition, artichoke extract, known as a powerful antioxidant, protects the hair and scalp from harmful UV rays and free radicals that could otherwise lead to even coarser, damaged hair. Keep your hair silky, protected, and sleek with this shampoo!


Pureology Nanoworks Gold Shampoo

Pureology Nanoworks Gold Cleansing Shampoo $47

This shampoo is made with key ingredients Keravis and golden marula oil, both giving off the luxurious shine that lets inner confidence shine through. Along with that, it also protects the hair from environmental effects that may fade color with a UV filter, Vitamin E oil, and infused sunflower seed extract. Though it is difficult to come by a salon-caliber cruelty-free shampoo, Pureology’s formula is a favorite⎯ in fact, the brand is the #1 Professional Color Care Brand in the US. The brand also boasts a patented “Antifade Complex” it infuses into every product, a combination of ingredients which have been proven to last color and protect vibrancy. Keep your color vibrant and your guilts away with this organic shampoo!

Alternatively, Pureology also has a Smooth Perfection Shampoo ($30) specifically designed to fight frizzy hair. Common among all hair types, frizz can truly hide away the beauty of the hair’s natural pattern and texture! This gentle formula was also made with a soothing blend of cocoa and marshmallow accord, so the experience of washing itself is therapeutic. As with its other formulas, it also has the patented Antifade complex and protective ingredients that keep UV rays at bay and focus on what makes the hair healthy.

The last one on our list is also a Pureology shampoo, but one meant specifically for all of the fine-haired users out there. Pureology’s Pure Volume Shampoo ($30.5) blend is lightweight, but still adds real-time volume to the hair. The key ingredients include wheat protein to enhance volume and “restore movement” for fine color treated hair! Again, this formula also comes with the patented protective ingredients and an aromatherapy scent blend of eucalyptus. Stop trying all those obscure and harmful blow-drying techniques and use this perfectly easy and natural shampoo to achieve the volume of your dreams!



This extensive list of shampoos goes to show, before all other things, that you aren’t missing out when you decide to go forward with a cruelty-free shampoo. If anything, you’re choosing among a better refined category of shampoos that are bound to have more natural and organic ingredients that your hair will love. Save the planet, innocent animals, and have beautiful hair while doing it all⎯ its definitely worth the switch!


Vurjeet Madan
Published on: 10/31/2021 Last updated on: 11/01/2021

Vurjeet Madan might be a part-time writer at The Youthist, but she is a full-time fashion-and-beauty enthusiast. Aside from writing, she is also a political science student at the University of Toronto, living the exciting (albeit slightly cumbersome) student life. Born and brought up in Saskatchewan, Canada to a wonderfully loud and loving Indian Punjabi household, she often says she brings a “spicy” touch to her writing. If the world were to end tomorrow, she couldn’t guarantee her survival skills would be of much use, but she would certainly write a killer article on it (if she lived to tell the tale).

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