The 8 Best Vegan Shampoos of 2021

Give your tresses a cruelty-free update with our pick of vegan shampoos.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Say goodbye to bad hair days with shampoos that not only gently cleanse, but also keep furry (and not-so-furry!) friends safe. When picking out the best shampoos, it can be easy to miss animal-derived ingredients like silk protein or lanolin. But vegan shampoos with safe synthetic or plant-derived substitutes are more widely available than ever, and can make your hair just as clean and silky.

For help with our picks we spoke to Amanda Nordstrom, Company Liaison for Beauty Without Bunnies, a PETA global program that helps consumers find cruelty-free and vegan companies.

"Adopting a vegan lifestyle which includes a skin routine and personal care is beneficial on so many different levels—it’s healthy, humane, and great for the environment," Nordstrom said.

For our picks we considered shampoos with vegan certifications and also looked for a favorable rank on the non-profit Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database. A shampoo can also be great because of what it doesn't have, so we’ve steered clear of paraben preservatives and synthetic perfumes.   

For anyone looking for clean hair that's also environmentally friendly, here are our picks for the best vegan shampoos.

The Rundown
With watercress, nasturtium, moringa, and green tea extracts, this moisturizing shampoo bathes hair in natural ingredients.
Pacifica Beauty’s coconut-powered, affordable, vegan and cruelty-free shampoo is your personal tropical paradise.
True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo is a luxury pick that packs in antioxidant botanicals, with citrus and floral notes.
Superzero’s nifty plant-based bars pack the punch of a conventional shampoo, minus plastics and microplastics.
Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrating Cream Hairbath holds in moisture and is scented without synthetic fragrances.
Briogeo’s creamy, hydrating shampoo protects tights coils with rice amino acids to minimize frizz.
This vegan dry shampoo is fortified with super-absorbent rice starch and baking soda, banishing greasy hair.
Best Sustainable Packaging:
Oway Hair & Scalp Bath at Amazon
This vegan shampoo comes in an apothecary style glass bottle fitted with an aluminum cap.

Best Overall: Attitude Super Leaves Daily Moisturizer Shampoo

Attitude Daily Moisturizer Shampoo

Chock-full of natural ingredients, Attitude's Super Leaves Daily Moisturizer Shampoo is our favorite vegan hair cleanser. This shampoo includes vitamin and mineral-rich plant ingredients, including watercress, nasturtium, and Moringa oleifera seed, paired with green tea leaf extract.

Super Leaves Daily Moisturized Shampoo is EWG Verified, indicating it meets the organization's strictest standards for non-toxic ingredients, transparent labeling and manufacturing practices. Additional ECOLOGO certification, from the safety testing company UL, further verifies the reduced environmental impact of the Super Leaves shampoo in everything from recyclable packaging materials to manufacturing processes. The Beauty Without Bunnies program has also certified the shampoo as cruelty-free and vegan.

Attitude Super Leaves Daily Moisturizer is formulated for those with scent sensitivities, with only a hint of apple blossom.

Best Budget: Pacifica Coconut Power Strong and Long Moisturizing Shampoo

PACIFICA Coconut Power Strong and Long Moisturizing Shampoo

Pacifica Beauty’s affordable, vegan and cruelty-free (Beauty Without Bunnies approved) shampoo is coconut-powered, with fruit extracts adding to the tropical vibes. Made without parabens, plasticizing phthalates, or petroleum-derived mineral oils, Pacifica's moisturizing shampoo is designed to gently cleanse damaged, brittle, dry, and chemically-treated hair. While ingredients include rice, aloe, passionfruit, açaí, and raspberry extract, the dominant note is coconut, with both coconut oil and coconut water included. It even smells like warm coconut.

Best Luxury: True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo

True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo

True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo is a luxury pick that packs in antioxidant botanicals, with citrus and floral notes. Rather than a sulfate surfactant (chemicals that lower surface tension, often to induce cleaning), this True Botanicals shampoo uses a coconut-derivation to produce its lather, for a gentler cleanse designed to keep in moisture. It also includes extracts and oils from green tea seeds, aloe, meadowfoam seeds, orange peels, sweet violet leaf, bitter orange leaf, and lemon peel.

Verified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program, True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo is also certified by MADE SAFE, which means it doesn't have hazardous ingredients like heavy metals, pesticides, industrial solvents, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors.

Best Shampoo Bar: Superzero Shampoo Bar for Normal, Oily, Fine Hair

Superzero Shampoo Bar for Normal, Oily, Fine Hair

Superzero’s nifty plant-based, vegan and cruelty-free bars pack the punch of a conventional shampoo, minus plastics and microplastics. These water-free pucks nix detergents, sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, DEA surfactants, and synthetic fragrances. Instead, they contain a rich cocktail of vegan, plant-based, and cruelty-free ingredients (including sustainable palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

Billed as a light shampoo, this bar is a laced with green tea leaf oil, juniper berry oil, along with natural plant proteins, adding luster to wispy hair. Superzero Shampoo Bar pucks come in recycled and recyclable packaging and are certified climate neutral by Climate Partner and microplastic-free by the Plastic Soup Foundation. Reinforcing Superzero’s commitment to the environment, the company has partnered with charity 1% For The Planet, pledging 1% of its corporate revenues to environmental nonprofits.

Best for Curly Hair: Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrating Cream Hairbath

Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrating Cream Hairbath

Designed to hydrate thick locks, Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrating Cream Hairbath combines a number of certified organic extracts and oils, including monoi flower, cananga tree flower, lavender, orange peel, jojoba seed, tamanu, and rice.

Innersense is a certified B Corp, indicating an all-around commitment to "environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability." These commitments include a Carbon Neutral certification from Climate Neutral, a pledge to 1% for the Planet, and a Plastic Neutral certification from rePurpose Global, through which Innersense funds plastic waste collection equivalent to that used in production and packaging.

With coconut and shea butter, the Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrating Cream Hairbath holds in moisture without build-up, and is scented without synthetic fragrances.

Best for Natural Hair: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo

curl charisma shampoo

Briogeo’s creamy, hydrating shampoo protects tights coils and is infused with rice amino acids to minimize frizz, sealing hair cuticles against humidity. Other ingredients include hydrating shea butter, avocado oil for shine, and tomato fruit ferment extract to condition and encourage curls. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo is vegan and certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program. It's also gluten and silicone free. Suitable for texture types ranging from 2A to 4C, Briogeo's hydrating shampoo can help make most curls manageable and bouncy.

Best Dry Shampoo: Billie Floof Dry Shampoo

Billie Floof Dry Shampoo

When your hair and scalp are feeling greasier than your local diner, Billie Floof Dry Shampoo can offer a quick fix. This dry shampoo both absorbs grease and volumizes, restoring bounce and fullness to your hair. Baking soda and super-absorbent rice starch pull grease off your scalp, while biotin coats hair follicles, increasing thickness and smoothing out flyaway hairs. EWG Verified, the cruelty-free and vegan Billie Floof Dry Shampoo is available for both dark and light hair colors.

Best Sustainable Packaging: Oway Frequent Use Hair & Scalp Bath

Oway Frequent Use Hair & Scalp Bath

Designed for ease of use, Oway Frequent Use Hair & Scalp Bath detangles instantly upon application and rinses out just as easily. Ingredients include fair trade arazá extract from Central America, organic white tea, and lemon balm, creating a citrus and pepper fragrance.

Manufactured near Bologna, Italy, many of its botanical and aromatic ingredients are grown on Oway's on-site "biodynamic" farm (a method of agriculture similar to organic approaches). The company's commitment to non-plastic, natural ingredients extends to the packaging: an eye-catching, brown glass apothecary bottle with an aluminum cap. Certified cruelty-free and vegan by Beauty Without Bunnies, Oway Frequent Use Hair & Scalp Bath is also GMO-free and produced using green energy sources.

Final Verdict

Our pick for best vegan shampoo is Attitude Living Super Leaves Daily Moisturizer Shampoo (view at Attitude), which boasts an impressive list of ingredients and certifications, in addition to leaving hair immaculately clean and moisturized. If you're looking for a more affordable vegan alternative, Pacifica Beauty Coconut Power Strong & Long Moisturizing Shampoo (view at Pacifica) is a clean and effective choice.

What to Look for in a Vegan Shampoo

Scalp Needs

Our best vegan shampoo picks are typically formulated for specific hair types. Evaluating which one's best for you begins at the scalp. Is it itchy and dry, or oily? If the former, look for shampoos that advertise use with damaged, dry, or brittle hair. You may also want to look into a hydrating shampoo. For oily hair, look for shampoo brands made for thin hair, or consider supplementing with an absorbent dry shampoo.

Certifications

With certifications you can feel confident that claims made by a shampoo manufacturer have been vetted by a third party. Many certifications ensure that a product doesn’t use animal-derived ingredients and byproducts, so keep an eye out for certifications like Certified Vegan by Vegan Action, Vegan Trademark by The Vegan Society and PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies.  

Avoid Animal-Derived Ingredients

Even if you're not searching for specifically vegan shampoos, you can still avoid animal-derived ingredients if you know what to look for. Or you can double check vegan product claims against the full ingredients list.

“To make sure that all cosmetics are truly cruelty-free, meaning animal test-free and vegan, consumers can refer to this handy list of animal-derived ingredients and their alternatives," Amanda Nordstrom of Beauty Without Bunnies suggests. "This also includes information about the humane, vegan alternatives to the ingredients that are already widely in use around the world.”

Here are some ingredients to avoid:

  • Gelatin/Collagen: Often used to thicken and strengthen hair follicles, collagen or gelatin is derived from animal proteins and is manufactured by boiling down skin, tendons, ligaments, or bones of cows, pigs, horses, or fish. 
  • Keratin: Used to add shine to hair, keratin is derived from ground horns and hooves.
  • Honey/Beeswax: Both honey and beeswax, derived from honeycomb, is sometimes used in shampoos as a moisturizer.
  • Lanolin: Produced by the glands of wool-bearing sheep, lanolin is used to waterproof and protects hair fibers.
  • Additional ingredients derived from animal sources include milk (and its extracts, like casein and whey), eggs, guanine, tallow, and chitosan (a thickening agent made from crustacean shells).

 FAQs

Amanda Nordstrom of Beauty Without Bunnies helped us tackle all your hairy questions.

Does vegan shampoo work as well as conventional ones?

According to Nordstrom, vegan options are more than able to meet all of your hair care needs humanely and effectively. In fact, PETA lists information about vegan synthetic or plant-based alternatives to animal-derived ingredients that are already being widely used in beauty products. With this, you can hunt for appropriate cruelty-free (meaning animal test-free and vegan) options for your hair.  

Is vegan shampoo good for your hair?

“It’s well documented that plant-based ingredients contain an array of natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your skin and hair will thank you for,” Nordstrom said.

There are also circumstances where a vegan ingredient may well outperform an animal-derived one, with Nordstrom offering the example of lanolin. Greasy when derived from sheep, plant-based substitutes like shea butter and rice brain oil can provide the same moisturizing properties without clogging your pores.

“With literally thousands of companies that are 100% cruelty-free, there are so many great and effective vegan options for all of your haircare needs,” Nordstrom said.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Tracking down the best cruelty-free and vegan hair care products takes a combination of comprehensive market research, insights from third-party certification groups and input from individual experts. Author Neeti Mehra is a luxury-industry veteran who’s also committed to sustainable, slow, and mindful living.