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Why Vegan and Cruelty-Free Shampoo Matters

BY Alyssa Montemurro

Gray cat in a box

Fact: At Function of Beauty, we really, really love our animals. So much so, that we often have a few four-legged friends roaming around our office throughout the day (and yes, it’s every bit as wonderful as you’d imagine it is). When you’re animal-lovers like us, it isn’t enough to just have a pet-friendly office, which is why we took the steps to become a 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand

If you’re not sure what that means for your hair or why it matters, we’re breaking it all down in one quick, easy, and animal-friendly guide to cruelty-free shampoo, conditioner, and hair care products.

What Makes a Product Vegan? 

Cruelty free shampoo: Boston Terrier beside bottles of shampoo

It’s simple, really — vegan products are those that do not contain any animal ingredients or animal byproducts. When dealing with beauty products specifically, that means ingredients like beeswax, honey, collagen, lanolin, gelatin, keratin, and animal-derived biotin are never used. To determine if a product is vegan, start by scanning the label and packaging for popular animal-derived ingredients

Fortunately, for every animal-derived ingredient that’s used in beauty products, there’s also a safe, animal-friendly alternative that’s just as effective. That means shopping for vegan products is now easier than ever, so there’s really no excuse not to. It just takes a bit of knowledge and effort to make sure you understand what’s really in (and not in) a product. 

Are Vegan and Cruelty-Free the Same Thing? 

Gray cat beside a bottle of shampoo

When you hear that a product is vegan and free of animal byproducts, you’d think it’s also cruelty-free, right? Not necessarily. While vegan beauty means the absence of animal ingredients, cruelty-free refers to products and ingredients that have not been tested on animals. Although vegan and cruelty-free seem to go hand-in-hand, that’s not always the case. 

Believe it or not, a hairstyling or beauty product can be made without animal byproducts but still be tested on animals. In fact, animal testing is still the norm for the vast majority of beauty companies that sell their products in-store. The reason? Some companies find testing on humans to be a liability. 

We get it. Who wants to be the first to test out a new hydrating shampoo for damaged hair or aloe-enriched nourishing body wash and end up with a super itchy rash? But just because we don’t want to risk having a blotchy mess on our skin doesn’t mean we have to risk the lives of our furry friends.

Animal testing is banned in many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and the European Union. In 2018, California became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. However, China (not including Hong Kong) still conducts mandatory animal tests on all cosmetic products imported and sold in the country. However, as of May 2021, the country did update its animal testing laws so that certain products are exempt from these animal testing mandates.

How Can I Tell if a Product Is Vegan and Cruelty-Free

Cruelty free shampoo: cute furry dog in a tub of balls

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the confusing jargon surrounding vegan and cruelty-free beauty, you’re not alone. You don’t have to inspect every ingredient list in the skin care and hair aisle just to make sure they’re vegan and cruelty-free. There are a number of organizations that have rolled out specific logos and decals to help you determine if you’re truly getting a cruelty-free shampoo or other product. 

The gold standard of vegan and cruelty-free product labeling is the Leaping Bunny Program, which grants certification to personal care and household product companies that ensure no animal testing is done at any phase of the production process. 

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is also a great resource that lists every registered company that is either cruelty-free or both vegan and cruelty-free. It also has corresponding logos to help you easily identify the best cruelty-free products. If you see a cute little bunny insignia on the bottle, you know you’ve picked up a cruelty-free shampoo.

Why Does Cruelty-Free Shampoo Matter to Us?

Tuxedo cat beside bottles of shampoo

As members of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program, Function of Beauty not only abstains from using animal ingredients and animal byproducts in our formulas, but we also do not test on animals at any stage of product development. The result is effective, high-quality products that you can feel good about using.

From the start of our brand, we’ve focused on being clean and ethical in everything we do. For many hair care brands, that can seem limiting. But for us, it’s a necessity. We are always up for the challenge of improving our products and are committed to providing the best vegan, sulfate-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and cruelty-free shampoo, conditioner, and hairstyling products to help you feel better about what you’re putting (and not putting) on your body.

At Function of Beauty, we pride ourselves on allowing your hair to live its best life. We want to help enhance natural hair textures, preserve color-treated hair, and fight off the effects of frizzy and dry hair with ingredients like coconut oil, argan oil, and shea butter.

All of our hair care (and skin care and body care) products have zero animal ingredients and are never tested on animals. So whether you’re looking for shine-enhancing hair serum for glass-like locks, moisturizing shampoo to hydrate heat-damaged strands, or a co-wash for frizz-free coily and curly hair, Function of Beauty is here for it. 

Why Should Any of This Matter to You? 

Cruelty free shampoo: cruelty free and vegan logo

Just because you eat meat or enjoy a cup of tea with honey doesn’t mean you can’t love beauty and hair products that are vegan and cruelty-free. Aside from being kinder, safer, and all-around better for our furry friends, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products can also have a massive impact on overall animal consumption, making it a potentially more environmentally-friendly option. 

And let’s be real, do you really want to use products that cause harm to innocent animals or utilize their parts when there are plenty of other safe, effective, healthy hair alternatives out there that won’t compromise your values? Yeah, we didn’t think so. 

Look Good, Feel Good With Vegan and Cruelty-Free Products

Now that you know what the terms “cruelty-free” and “vegan” really mean, you can become more conscientious about the products you use on a daily basis. The great news is that you don’t have to compromise the beauty and health of your hair for the safety of so many cute furry friends. 

For cruelty-free, vegan shampoos and other beauty must-haves, consider giving Function of Beauty a try. You can choose from a variety of customizable shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that can be formulated for your specific hair type, structure, and moisture level. Start building your custom vegan and cruelty-free shampoo formula now by taking our hair quiz.