vegan curly girl method hair products

Ultimate Vegan Guide to the Curly Girl Method

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There’s no better time to experiment with new beauty routines than when you’re social distancing, and the Curly Girl Method has been gaining popularity for just that reason. This tried-and-true method helps you get hydrated hair, defined curls, and frizz-free locks. The key is to avoid any products that contain ingredients such as sulfates, silicones, and drying alcohols, which can strip hair of natural oils and lead to buildup. While there are tons of products approved for the Curly Girl Method that you could use, not all of them are cruelty-free (vegan and animal test–free). So we did some research to find some that are as good for animals as they are for your hair.

Tip: Always make sure to check the ingredients before you purchase any product, as they may change.

Here are some cruelty-free products for the Curly Girl Method:

Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfates are common ingredients in many shampoos, but they’re way too harsh for curly or wavy hair, which is often dry and prone to breakage. They also strip the scalp of natural oils, peptides, and proteins that help keep hair healthy. These cruelty-free shampoos are also sulfate-free, so they will give your hair a gentle cleanse. How often you use shampoo can vary according to your hair type, anywhere from twice a week to once every two weeks.

ACURE Wave & Curl Color Wellness Shampoo

AG Hair Natural Balance Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Desert Essence Organics Red Raspberry Shampoo


Co-washing, or conditioner washing, is a staple of the Curly Girl Method. You simply skip the shampoo and wash your hair and scalp with a cleansing conditioner. Again, your hair type will determine how often you need to co-wash.

As I Am Jamaican Black Castor Oil CoWash

Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp Vegan Co-Wash

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Milk & White Jasmine Divine Definition Conditioner

Deep Conditioner

Maintaining luscious curls is all about keeping your hair moisturized. A good deep conditioner will help keep your hair frizz-free and define your curls. Follow this step once a week or so—more often if your curls are looking thirsty.

AG Hair Nourish Mask Snow Mushroom Deep Conditioning

As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner

Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment

Leave-In Conditioner and Serums

For even more hydration, use a leave-in conditioner or serum. A lightweight one is great for layering under your other styling products. When looking for a vegan leave-in conditioner, avoid any that contain lanolin—this animal-derived ingredient comes from the grease in sheep’s wool.

Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner

AG Hair Coco Nut Milk Conditioning Spray

Franklin & Whitman Bella Vista Hair Serum

Luxju Nourishing Hair Mist

Luxju Nourishing Frizz Control Oil

Curl Cream and Mousse

Creams and mousses help define curls and prevent frizz after styling. They’re also great when your hair is in need of a refresh between washes. Some curl creams may contain beeswax, which is stolen from the hives of bees, who work hard to produce it.

Pacifica Pineapple Swirl Curl Defining Cream

Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defining Taming Cream

Giovanni Mousse Air-Turbo Charged Hair Styling Foam

Styling Gel

A styling gel will help curls maintain their shape throughout the day. Rats, mice, rabbits, and other animals didn’t suffer for these products—and one of them can even be made at home!

Aussie Instant Freeze Gel

Andalou Naturals Sunflower & Citrus Brilliant Shine Styling Gel

DIY Flax Seed Hair Gel

Hair Growth Serums

Healthy hair comes from a healthy scalp. These serums are designed to help stimulate hair follicles so that your strands grow stronger, thicker, and shinier.

MDHair Restore Serum

Pacifica Scalp Love Rosemary Mint Serum

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

Satin Pillowcase or Sleep Cap

To keep your curls safe through the night, a satin pillowcase or sleep cap is a must. Always avoid silk, which is obtained by boiling worms alive in their cocoons.

Bedsure Satin Pillowcase

FocusCare Satin Lined Sleep Slouchy Cap

When you’re searching for other products on your Curly Girl Method journey, here are some other animal-derived ingredients that you should avoid: honey, collagen, gelatin, elastin, keratin, silk proteins, carmine, oleic acid, squalene, guanine, casein, and nonvegetable glycerin. Be sure to buy from companies that don’t test on animals:

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