The Best Cruelty Free Haircare Brands and Why

Ethical beauty is booming, as we’re all looking for brands that are a little kinder to the planet and nature. Choosing cruelty free haircare products is the perfect step towards building a more ethical beauty routine, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. Some of our favourite haircare brands are completely cruelty-free while still wowing us with innovative, hardworking formulas.

Our cruelty-free and clean haircare isn’t just kinder - it’s also free of harsh chemicals such as parabens and sulphates, which you might want to look out for, especially if you have sensitive skin. We’ve rounded up some of the best cruelty-free haircare  brands so you can revamp your beauty arsenal for the year ahead.

R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist - hand spraying mist bottle into air - 670 x 478R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist - hand spraying mist bottle into air - 670 x 478

Why Use Cruelty Free and Clean Haircare Products?

‘Cruelty-free’ means ‘absolutely no animal testing’ at any level of production. In other words, no cute fluffies had to suffer for your shampoo to be in stock. Brands need to be certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free. But don’t worry: we’ve vetted our products thoroughly before including them in our cruelty-free section, so you don’t have to.

Our clean haircare products are also paraben free, sulphate (SLS/SLES) free, phthalate free, aminophenol free, phenylenediamine free, triclosan free, toluene free, and diethanolamine free. Instead, these products contain ingredients that are not only gentler on the environment, but are also less likely to irritate your scalp, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Did you know that buying in bulk or larger sized bottles is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment? Our Clean Beauty category offers an amazing range of larger sized bottles and value packs which not only reduces overall plastic but also saves you money in the long-run!

What Are the Ingredients to Avoid in Your Haircare Products?

We’ve decoded the harmful ingredients so you know exactly what to avoid if you want to choose clean haircare products.

Parabens: Parabens pop up in both your haircare and skincare routine. Being a preservative, these ingredients fight bacterial growth. However, you might want to avoid them if you have sensitive skin, rosacea and dermatitis, as they can be drying! Parabens also have mild estrogen-like qualities, which you may want to be mindful of as they can be absorbed through the skin, leading to potential, but unproven, health risks and hormonal disruptions. 

Sulphates (SLS, SLES): We all love a richly lathering shampoo, but sadly, most of that foaming sensation comes from sulphates. Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate are common detergents and can cause dryness. If you already have dry tresses, you’ll probably want to omit the Sulphates. If you have coloured hair, this is an ingredient you might also want to avoid, so follow our guide to our top sulphate-free shampoos.

Phthalates: Phthalates are plasticisers that are commonly found in hairsprays and other hairstyling products. Phthalates add flexibility and durability to the plastic molecules, or polymers. While they are a commonly used chemical, they can be ingested into the body in a number of ways such as absorption and inhalation. Some countries have strict policies on Phthalates in skin and haircare because of its links to causing hormonal disruptions. So, while these risks aren’t clearly proven, they are something to be conscious of!

Aminophenol: Hair dyes and tints are often where you’ll find the harshest of ingredients, including Aminophenol. If you have a sensitive scalp, Aminophenol is a substance to avoid, as it’s known to cause irritation and discomfort.

p-Phenylenediamine: Sometimes known as PPD, this is another ingredient used in hair dyes. Unfortunately,  PPD is often a major cause of allergic reactions when dyeing hair, which is why it is always important to do a patch test when trying out a new formula.

Triclosan: You may never have heard of Triclosan, but it features in many products you would use on a daily basis, from toothpaste to hand wash, and even haircare products! Triclosan is often included to prevent bacterial contamination, but it has been linked to hormonal disruption, and weakening the immune system. 

Toluene: Toluene is used to create smooth, easy-to-apply formulas. However, being highly toxic, with long-term exposure Toluene can cause headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems. With so many easy alternatives available now, we recommend going toluene free.

Diethanolamine: Like Sulphates, Diethanolamine (DEA) helps shampoo foam up, and just like Sulphates, Diethanolamine isn’t particularly good for you! This chemical has been linked to a number of health risks and can cause dryness and irritation, making the extra bubbles so not worth it.

The Best Cruelty Free Haircare Brands

There are plenty of brands out there that are cruelty-free, as well as completely clean too! You really can stay guilt-free no matter whether you’re washing, styling, or colouring your tresses. Here are some of our absolute faves...


ELEVEN Australia is one of our favourite native brands, determined to make the haircare world a little easier to understand and more accessible. Creating simple products that work with only effective natural ingredients, these gorgeous cruelty-free and clean products will transform your locks no matter your hair type.

Without a doubt, the brand’s hero product is ELEVEN Miracle Hair Treatment, which boasts an insane 11 different benefits for your hair. We can see why it’s become a cult product! By adding shine and smoothness, controlling frizz and flyaways, preventing split ends, strengthening locks, detangling, protecting, volumising, repairing, and hydrating, Miracle Hair Treatment proves itself to be a must-have for all hair types.

ELEVEN is constantly expanding its range; it’s not all about one treatment anymore! ELEVEN Smooth & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum is one of the best cruelty free curly hair products. This all-natural smoothing serum has been infused with Argan Oil to control and define curls while adding heaps of shine and vitality!


Founded by an expert fashion stylist, cruelty-free brand KEVIN.MURPHY was named one of PETA’s recommended companies. This is quite an achievement, as PETA is incredibly strict with its qualifications! The ethical haircare brand is dedicated to producing easy-to-understand, high-quality products that don’t harm animals. You can’t go wrong with a little KEVIN.MURPHY in your life!

    • KEVIN.MURPHY Everything Blonde Trio Pack

It couldn’t be easier to build a new haircare routine than with KEVIN.MURPHY. The products are neatly arranged into collections that suit every hair type. For example, if you’re after a cruelty free shampoo for dry hair, look no further than KEVIN.MURPHY Hydrate-Me.Wash, which locks in moisture while thoroughly cleansing hair. Follow with KEVIN.MURPHY Hydrate-Me.Rinse, a nourishing cruelty free hair conditioner for dry hair.

KEVIN.MURPHY also makes value packs available so you can try out a shampoo, conditioner, and treatment from one collection. KEVIN.MURPHY Everything Blonde Trio Pack contains a cruelty-free shampoo for blonde hair, a conditioner, and a shine-boosting treatment. It’s the perfect set to intensify your blonde locks and keep them healthy and happy!


R+Co is one of the coolest haircare brands out there at the moment, always being bang on-trend and setting the style for the season. When it comes to packaging, fragrances, and formulas, R+CO guarantees groundbreaking, salon-standard items that are never boring! The brand is also completely cruelty-free and unisex.

R+Co offers an extensive range of haircare products and is constantly creating new ones—we can barely keep up! But we’re mega fans of all R+Co hairstyling treatments and aids, especially R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist. Lightweight yet hardworking, this unique dry shampoo refreshes your locks without the dryness or chalkiness that you often get from drugstore dry shampoos.

Another favourite is R+Co One Prep Spray, which works to detangle and condition your tresses while providing heat protection. Think of it like a primer for your hair. It’s a step that you won’t want to skip ever again!


Evo are a eco-conscious brand that entirely avoid Parabens, Sulphates, DEA, TEA, Propylene glycol and Gluten in their formulations. The effects that make their hair products stand apart come from their inclusion of responsibly sourced active ingredients, which give results to their claims. Evo also substitute synthetics with naturals where possible, and remain predominantly vegan!

Evo is known for their colour intensifying conditioners, which keep your hair bright and even in between salon visits. evo fabuloso copper colour intensifying conditioner remains a stand out, keeping vibrant easy to fade copper tones. This product is also free of ammonia and peroxide and will also act as a moisturising treatment while it boosts the colour of your locks. 

Probably one of their most iconic products, evo icon welder heat protection mist is a cruelty-free thermal spray that will protect the hair from styling tools. Leaving a smooth and sleek finish, this spray also protects against humidity and provides incredible hold. Free from all those nasty ingredients that you really don’t want to inhale, this is one clean beauty product you will want to invest in immediately.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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