In the four years that I have been cruelty-free, I’ve tried a lot of haircare products. At times, it has been challenging. I feel like I’ve had every haircare concern on the planet, from dryness to oiliness, flaking to fallout to split ends. I’ve had some experiments with dye too; in 2017 I decided to add some blonde into my hair, and spent the rest of the year finding the best purple shampoo that I didn’t need to sell an organ on the black market to pay for. It’s been a journey, and so I thought I’d put this knowledge to good use and share some of my favourite products with you to make your cruelty-free haircare journey a little easier.
A heads up: at first glance, there aren’t many budget-friendly options on this shortlist. This is because I have tried many of the high street options and they simply haven’t done my hair any good, or been plain rubbish when it came to their formulas. This video explains how cheap shampoos can really damage your hair – true to Brad’s advice, I’ve definitely seen a marked improvement in my hair since I upgraded to higher quality products. You can use a lot less of them too, so they last much longer – it takes me twice as long to finish a shampoo these days! For shampoo and conditioner, I would always recommend spending a little more and buying a sulphate-free product that will care for your hair the same way you do.
Speaking of which, my go-to shampoo and conditioner brand is Pureology. Formulated specifically for coloured hair, I’ve been using their products since I started seeing my hairdresser Michelle three years ago. They foam perfectly and I’ve never had any issues with my colour when I’ve been using them. Their Perfect 4 Platinum range cared for my blonde when nothing else could! *Flips hair*. That range has now become their Best Blonde collection, and if I ever went back to blonde they’d be the first products I’d turn to.
I also love the Bumble and Bumble shampoos and conditioners – the company became cruelty-free quite recently and I’m thrilled as I’d always loved their Invisible Oil shampoo and conditioner. In addition to foaming well despite being sulphate-free, the shampoo smells unreal – I can’t put my finger on the exact fragrance but it is so, so nice.
As for purple shampoos, the best one I tried was the Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde shampoo. I smoothed it onto my hair after shampooing once or twice a week and left it for a couple of minutes before rinsing off, and it did a good job at removing the brassy tones.
Hair masks are something I haven’t explored all that thoroughly as I was an early convert to the Pureology superfood deep conditioners and the Body Shop Shea Butter mask. The former complimented the rest of the Pureology range that I used, caring for the coarseness and dryness that bleaching my hair had created. The latter is simple, affordable and super nourishing, putting back in what the hot showers and frequent washes tends to strip out of my hair.
I’m about to venture into the world of scalp scrubs (shoutout to my dry head!) so I have been seeking recommendations from friends and other influencers, and so far the resounding favourite is the Briogeo Scalp Revival Exfoliating Shampoo. I’ve just done a Space.NK order, so once I’ve given it a couple of tries I’ll share my thoughts on my Instagram stories.
When it comes to styling, I am a complete Ouai convert. Ouai, the haircare brand founded by celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkin, is full of innovative, practical styling products that I never grow tired of using. My ride or dies are the Texturising Spray, the Rose Hair and Body Oil (you HAVE to smell it) and the Air Dry Foam. Each product is light on the hair while still creating the desired effect – no sticky, crunchy mousses in sight. Ouai also sell miniatures which are perfect for travel or Christmas gifts.
For an all-rounder leave-in styling product, the Windle and Moodie Invisible Day and Night Cream is amazing. It moisturises, soothes and adds a UV filter to keep your hair healthy inside and out *winks at camera*. The wonderful Emily Ferber took me for a blow dry at the W&M salon and she had me sold on this product in a heartbeat!
If you’ve got a bit of cash to blow, Oribe make the best texturising spray ever. The Dry Texturising Spray has been an influencer cult favourite for a couple of years, so trust me when I say you won’t regret spending the money on this one. On my quest to create the perfect beachy waves, this texturising spray has been my go-to ever since I first tried it. When I’ve got a few extra pennies, I’m excited to try some more of the beautifully-packaged range of products.
Dry shampoo: an essential for many – me and my confused scalp included. It feels like I can’t go a day without my front strands getting glued together (cute), so as you can imagine, I’ve tried many dry shampoos. My new favourite is the DryBar Triple Sec – a texturiser and dry shampoo in one, perfect for my flat second or third day hair. Living Proof also do a great dry shampoo, and for a budget-friendly option, the brand CoLab is cruelty-free and they make a great range of products.
I hope these suggestions help you to get the glossy, beachy hair you’ve always dreamed of! Let me know your favourite cruelty-free haircare products on Instagram or Twitter. 👋