The Best Vegan Hair Dyes
Whether you're vegan, committed to using products that are entirely cruelty-free, or simply looking for a less harsh way to color your hair at home, a vegan hair dye is what you'll need. The best vegan hair dyes are still effective when it comes to results, but, "What makes professional color lines vegan is that no animal-derived ingredients are ever used," explains Vinzar, co-founder and master colorist of The Clean Beauty Lab, a vegan salon and hair care line. "These brands never test their products on animals, and they promise to never sell their products to countries who insist on animal testing," he says, adding that vegan hair dye brands should be recognized by animal welfare organizations like PETA. According to colorist and Mezkla salon founder Lizbeth Vargas, vegan hair dyes also tend to be gentler on hair. "Most hair dye contains some form of protein in the color, however, vegan hair dye substitutes keratin for plant-based protein," she explains. "The plant protein has little to no effect on the overall visual end result of the color, but the vegan formulas are less harsh than non-vegan dyes so there is less damage," she says, adding that "when hair is damaged, it becomes porous and won't hold color as long."
Vinzar is a New York City-based hair colorist with over a decade of professional experience. He co-founded The Clean Beauty Lab, a vegan salon in NYC, which has developed a vegan hair care line. Vinzar serves as the salon's master colorist and specializes in blonde color.
Lizbeth Vargas is the founder of the Los Angeles salon, Mezkla. As the colorist director, she specializes in bright, rainbow hues. Vargas is an Arctic Fox ambassador.
How To Tell If A Hair Dye Is Vegan
As Vinzar points out, you'll typically find that vegan hair dyes call out their vegan status on their packaging, and may include an icon or logo from an organization like Leaping Bunny or PETA. "Additionally, you could check ingredients and make sure you see plant-based ingredients like hydrolyzed soy protein or plant-based dyes like chamomile, indigo, or saffron," Vargas explains.
How To Use Vegan Hair Dye At Home
Just like non-vegan dyes, you'll find vegan options in a range of colors and formula types (look for permanent dyes if you want something long-lasting, and semi-permanent dyes for color that fades after a few weeks). Before you get started, Vargas says to do a patch test and check all of the dye's ingredients to make sure that it doesn't contain anything you're allergic to. To protect against stains, be sure to have Vaseline for your hairline and gloves for your hands, as well as a cape or an old towel or T-shirt.
"Always apply color to clean or day-old washed hair," Vargas recommends. "Buildup of oils from dirty hair can keep the color from penetrating the hair shaft," she cautions. Once you're ready to start dyeing, Vargas advises that you section your hair into four parts to apply your color more easily and evenly. And don't stray from the directions when it comes to how long you let the color sit. "Color that is left on too long can irritate your scalp or damage your hair," Vargas says. "For longer lasting color, don't wash your newly colored hair for a day or two if possible, and make sure you use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner."