The 8 Best Vegan Conditioners of 2022

Our favorite vegan conditioner is the The Honest Company's Truly Calming Lavender

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Vegan conditioners don't include any ingredients derived from animals or animal byproducts, ensuring that your hair care product is made from sustainable materials that don't endanger animal welfare. We evaluated vegan conditioners using resources from third-party auditors, including the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which rates products based on the safety of their constituent ingredients. Other considerations, such as organic certifications, were also an important factor in our picks.

Of course, a conditioner with all the right certifications should still be fantastic for your hair. In consultation with Evan Joseph of the Evan Joseph Salon in Columbus, Ohio, we sought out conditioners that use luscious aromatics, moisturizing oils, and other high quality ingredients. Our favorite overall vegan conditioner is The Honest Company's Truly Calming Lavender Conditioner, but we have several other recommendations that might work even better for your hair.

Here are the best vegan conditioners.

Best Overall: The Honest Company Truly Calming Lavender Condition

The Honest Company Conditioner Truly Calming Lavender

Courtesy of Amazon

The Honest Company's Truly Calming Lavender Conditioner is made with hypoallergenic botanicals and essential oils, including moisturizing shea butter, jojoba, argan and coconut oils, plus calming chamomile and calendula. What it does not contain are synthetic and polluting ingredients like silicones, parabens, and phthalates.

The Truly Calming Lavender Conditioner has been certified as a biobased product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a bio-based product, which means its ingredients are comprised of agricultural and other renewable, natural materials.

A solid all-around conditioner, its gentle enough for use with children. The Honest Company's conditioner is also available in fragrance-free, Sweet Almond, and Sweet Orange Vanilla varieties.

Best Budget: Alaffia Everyday Coconut Conditioner

Alaffia Everyday Coconut Conditioner

Courtesy of Amazon

Vegan products often bear premium prices, but Alaffia's Everyday Coconut Conditioner is an affordable way to introduce vegan ingredients to your hair care routine. This conditioner is made from ethically-traded virgin coconut oil and ginger for gentle moisturizing. It is also free of parabens, phthalates and synthetic dyes and fragrance.

Alaffia’s products include ingredients from the manufacturer's free-trade agreements with communities in Togo, West Africa. A portion of profits return to The Alaffia Foundation, a non-profit that works to advance education, sustainable living, and gender equality in the communities of its African partners.

Alaffia is Fair For Life certified, which attests to corporate transparency and responsibly-sourced ingredients. Allafia is also a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), and certified as a minority-owned, managed and controlled business.

Best Leave-In: Artnaturals Argan Leave-In Conditioner

Artnaturals Argan Leave-In Conditioner

Courtesy of Walmart

Leave-in conditioners are growing in popularity, and Artnaturals' leave-in conditioner lets you moisturize and detangle without needing another shower. Although great for any hair type, leave-in conditioner particularly useful for dry, damaged or frizzy hair.

Artnaturals Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioner uses argan oil, which is derived from the kernels of the Moroccan argan tree. The complex oil includes a number of components with purported health benefits, including antioxidants and proteins beneficial to skin. Research suggests that argan oil is particularly good at protecting against UV damage from the sun.

In addition to argan oil, the Artnaturals leave-in conditioner contains peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and green tea extracts, for a combination with a soothing scent that's stimulating on the scalp. It also contains jojoba oil, which helps moisturize your skin and control oiliness.

Best Bar: Sea Witch Botanicals Roses of Highgarden Shampoo and Conditioner

Sea Witch Botanicals Roses of Highgarden Shampoo and Conditioner

Courtesy of Sea Witch Botanicals

Sea Witch Botanicals’ Roses of Highgarden Shampoo and Conditioning Bar is made from rose absolute: an aromatic oil derived from rose petals. The artisanal soap bar uses petals from roses grown in the Pacific Northwest. Sea Witch Botanicals also incorporated saponified olive, rice bran, and coconut oil into its conditioner bar, with essential oils like lavender, white thyme, and rosemary adding a complicated bouquet. All ingredients are certified vegan by the Vegan Awareness Foundation and are never tested on animals.

The manufacturer, Sea Witch Botanicals, is also a certified B Corp, which requires sustainable processes, fair labor standards, and transparency, embodied in the company's annual sustainability report. Sea Witch Botanicals partners with recylers to divert 95% of its waste away from landfills, including through the use of compostable packing materials and plant-based inks. It additionally offsets carbon through tree planting initiatives, and funds dedicated toward building wind and solar capacity.

The Roses of Highgarden Shampoo and Conditioning Bar can be used on your entire body. After massaging the bar into your scalp to create a lather, set the bar in a dry spot and continue massaging the suds into your hair. Then rinse as normal.

Best for Curls: Acure Simply Smoothing Conditioner

Acure Simply Smoothing Conditioner

Courtesy of Amazon

Curly hair needs a balance of moisture to prevent frizz without leaving hair weighted down or dull. Acure Simply Smoothing Conditioner strikes that balance well while remaining 100% vegan and certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.

Coconut water and marula oil are the base for this conditioner, which also includes organic argan oil, and extracts of acai, pomegranate, rosehip, calendula and chamomile. The complex marula oil is loaded with amino acids and flavonoids with hydrating qualities, in addition to fatty acids with emollient benefits. Acure Simply Smoothing Conditioner is also free of parabens, sulfate, mineral oil, petrolatum, and formaldehyde.

Best for Textured or Natural Hair: As I Am Hydration Elation

As I Am Hydration Elation

Courtesy of Amazon

Textured and natural hair need deep conditioning to prevent breaking, to encourage growth from the follicle and to protect the hair from the heat required for styling. As I Am Naturally Hydration Elation Conditioner combines a variety of plant-based extracts, including coconut, sugar cane, green tea, apple, and lemon. It also contains moisturizing shea butter. Their vegan formula earned a rating of 3 from the Environmental Working Group, indicating a high level of ingredient quality.

This deep penetrating treatment is meant to be used at least every 2 to 3 weeks and is safe to use more often depending upon the condition of your hair and how you style it. It is also Curly Girl Method approved for natural hair that hasn’t been chemically relaxed.

Best for Dry Hair: Zatik Calming Conditioner

Zatik Calming Conditioner

Courtesy of Amazon

Dry hair can look dull and become fly-away, making it difficult to style. It can also come with an irritated, sensitive, and dry scalp. Zatik Calming Conditioner is a mild, creamy solution that will soothe and detangle.

Also designed for colored treated hair, Zatik is formulated with essential fatty acids, essential oils and plant extracts that help heal and nourish a dry, sensitive scalp. Made with USDA-certified organic jojoba, sweet orange and jasmine flower oils, vitamin B5 for healthy follicles, and rosemary leaf, calendula, chamomile, raspberry seed and wild cherry extracts, this formula earns a 2 from EWG and smells good without artificial fragrance.  

This non-GMO, cruelty-free conditioner is made in small batches in Glendale, California in facilities certified by Oregon Tilth.

Best Anti-Dandruff: Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Conditioner

Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Conditioner

Courtesy of Amazon

Dandruff is a common problem of the scalp that has a number of potential causes. Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Conditioner is formulated with 2% salicylic acid, which is loosens dry and scaly skin, making it easier to rinse away.

Avalon Organics supplements this proven dandruff treatment with certified organic tea tree oil, plus extract of aloe vera, chamomile, lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus. The soothing qualities of the ingredients are meant to keep your scalp from itching. The Avalon Organics conditioner is free of GMOs, phthalates, synthetic colors, and synthetic fragrances. Each of its organic ingredients are certified by Quality Assurance International, according to the American National Standard for personal care products containing organic ingredients.

Final Verdict

For healthy hair and scalp, we like the fresh, natural scent of The Honest Company’s Truly Calming Lavender Conditioner (view at Amazon). Its moisturizing shea butter, jojoba, argan and coconut oils, and calming chamomile and calendula are an excellent balance of moisture and shine. Those with textured or natural hair will appreciate the deep penetrating moisture of As I am Naturally Hydration Elation Conditioner (view at Amazon) that helps prevent breaking, foster a healthy scalp and increase manageability.

What to Look for in Vegan Conditioner

Ingredients

If you’re not an experienced vegan, you may not recognize non-vegan ingredients on a crowded label. Watch out for tricky animal-based ingredients such as products derived from bees including honey and beeswax, lanolin that comes from sheep’s wool, keratin derived from feathers, hair, horns and hooves, collagen, pearl and silk-derived products.

“When choosing a vegan conditioner, consumers first need to read the label. Make sure the product is clearly labeled vegan, not to be confused with simply cruelty-free,” Evan Joseph, founder of the Evan Joseph Salon in Columbus, Ohio, told Treehugger. “If a product is labeled as cruelty-free it can still be made with animal-derived ingredients."

These ingredients or their formulas can be certified vegan by organizations such as Vegan.org or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) so look for their seal on the label. Many vegan products also contain organic ingredients so check the label for organic certifications such as USDA Organic or Oregon Tilth.

Be sure to avoid phthalates and parabens as well. Phthalates are used as gelling agents in hair care products because they help lubricate and soften other substances, increase spreadability, enhance absorption and help make fragrances last longer. Parabens are preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in personal products. They act as endocrine (or hormone) disruptors in the body.

“Adding a vegan conditioner to your hair care routine is important if animal welfare, sustainability and naturally-derived ingredients are important to you,” says Joseph.

Packaging

While most conditioners come in plastic bottles with a pump or flip cap, some brands are switching to more sustainable packaging such as recyclable and reusable glass and/or aluminum. You can also check the label of plastic bottles to see if the bottle has been made from reclaimed or post-consumer recycled plastic. Check in with your local food co-op to see if they offer vegan conditioner in bulk, allowing you to bring in your own containers for reuse. Most plastic conditioner containers can be rinsed and recycled in your usual curbside recycling.

Bars can sometimes help you avoid disposable packaging. They can sometimes be purchased in reusable aluminum tins or in recyclable paper packaging. Some brands even allow you to pick them up ‘packaging-free’ from the store.  

FAQs

Does vegan conditioner work as well as conventional conditioner?

“Vegan conditioners absolutely perform as well as conventional conditioners,” Joseph says. “At EJS we love the shine and hydration we are able to put back into the hair by using conditioning masks. Since vegan products tend to be more gentle and free of harsh ingredients, they truly leave the hair soft, hydrated and more manageable from the inside out.”

Is vegan conditioner good for your hair?

“Quality vegan products are made with nourishing plant-based ingredients that make the earth and your hair happy,” Joseph says.

Vegan botanicals derived from plants often contain a variety of compounds with positive effects on your scalp. Moisturizing and skin-protecting qualities can be found in several of the ingredients that appear in our vegan conditioner recommendations. While claims made for complex ingredients can be hard to verify scientifically, we've included citations and links to studies throughout in an effort to highlight those claims that are best backed by strong evidence.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Lorraine Wilde has practiced a primarily vegan lifestyle for the past five years. She has only the highest standards for what goes on her family’s skin and into our delicate water bodies. Lorraine also holds a Master’s degree in environmental science with an emphasis on toxicology. She is a firm believer that consumers can make healthy, informed and environmentally-conscious choices to protect their families and our planet.

Evan Joseph (@evanjosephcurls) is an educator, digital content creator, and founder of Evan Joseph Salon in Columbus, Ohio. After spending his early career in a traditional salon environment, Evan decided to bring his dream to reality by creating the "anti-salon." Evan Joseph Salon is an environment that celebrates uniqueness and individuality while focusing on the cutting, coloring and styling needs of the curly community. Evan is further excited to open a naturally-focused studio in San Diego, California at the end of 2021 where he will bring his signature cutting and coloring techniques to the west coast. Evan is also an Advocate for vegan haircare brand, Authentic Beauty Concept (@authenticbeautyconcept.us).

View Article Sources
  1. Guillaume D, Charrouf Z. Argan oil and other argan products: Use in dermocosmetologyEur J Lipid Sci Technol. 2011;113(4):403-408. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ejlt.201000417

  2. Salicylic Acid Topical. Medline Plus. National Library of Medicine.