Once upon a time, if you wanted to change the color of your hair, you were at the mercy of a drugstore box dye brand or a hairdresser using dyes that were, more than likely, not cruelty-free and/or were filled with animal-derived ingredients. But the best vegan hair dyes available today are quality formulas that come in a wide variety of shades, from natural to daring. And, as more of us make the switch to vegan or are simply becoming more conscious of the ways animals are sometimes harmed for the benefit of beauty, the demand for vegan hair dyes that actually work has only increased.
Cruelty-free vegan hair dyes are often vegetable-based dyes, like henna, that come in temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent formulas. Some of these dyes contain good-for-your hair ingredients like essential oils and cocoa butter that can actually make your hair look even more lush and shiny (as opposed to brittle and dry), and many are free of ammonia and yucky, dehydrating chemicals. If you search long enough, you'll even find a few vegan dye brands that boast eco-friendly and recyclable packaging. You'll be able to gift the planet with beautiful and thoughtful hair color.
Whether you're looking for a solid chestnut brown vegan dye or unicorn hair dye shades like Pony Purple, these 10 vegan hair dyes will satisfy your color desires and deliver impressive results that will convince you to make the switch, for good.
1Permanent Vegan Hair Color That Covers Grays
Lots of semi-permanent vegan hair dyes are great for delivering a hint of pretty color, but aren't as effective in coloring grey hair. This permanent vegan hair dye provides vibrant color without ammonia, parabens, and alcohol and gets rid of greys in a flash. It's a gel dye that comes in 25 natural shades that range from platinum blonde to black with myriad brown, red, and blonde shades in between. Reviewers say the color lasts a long time and is very gentle.
2A Vegan Dye That Conditions Hair & Contains No Harsh Chemicals
If there's a way to actually condition hair while coloring it a vibrant shade like Virgin Pink or Sunset Orange, that would be a great thing, right? That's pretty much the magic behind Arctic Fox vegan semi permanent dyes, which are long lasting, contain added non-gmo protein conditioners, and have zero ammonia and peroxide. These dyes are designed so that they smear and bleed less, something your poor white towels will appreciate, and with every purchase, 15 percent of profits are donated to help prevent animal abuse.
The color fades with each shampoo and you can expect to need a refresh after about six weeks. Choose from among 14 shades, most of which are super bright and punchy.
3A Semi Permanent Henna Cream With Essential Oils
A lot of reviewers say they have made the switch to henna hair creams after experiencing allergic reactions from dye. This plant-based formula stands out because it is rich with essential oils like ylang ylang and rose, which leave hair soft and shiny, covers grey, and makes hair appear and feel thicker.
While a lot of other hennas come in powder form and require that you do a little bit of mixing to achieve great color, this is a cream that's ready to go. You may need to free up some time while applying it, though: more than a few reviewers report getting excellent and rich results after leaving the color in their hair to penetrate for 60 minutes to up to three hours. You can find an array of mostly deep and golden brown, black, and red shades.
4An Organic Permanent Dye With Shea Butter
This permanent dye by Shea Moisture doesn't just contain organic ingredients and zero sulfates and ammonia — it's infused with shea butter to nourish each strand of hair as you color. It's perfect on natural hair, comes in a variety of brown, black, auburn, and blonde shades, and covers grey hair.
5Long Lasting And Intense Crazy Colors
This cruelty-free, PPD-free, and vegan hair dye comes in five super vibrant shades like hot pink and absinthe green and are scoring major points among reviewers because they last a much longer time than some of their competitors (some say they can get one to two months of somewhat bold color). These shades are rich and highly pigmented and many pop up on dark hair without the need to bleach it first. The dye can be super messy though, so be careful to cover the area where you apply it with towels or old shirts and to be patient and apply it slowly.
6A Conditioning Botanical Hair Color In 16 Natural Shades
This 100 percent bontanical hair color conditions your hair while you color. Aside from the hair dye, the kit also includes a hat and gloves, so you don't wind up coloring your neck and hands, too. And, this adorably-packaged henna-based hair color is recommended by The Safe Shopper's Bible: A Consumer's Guide to Nontoxic Household Products, Cosmetics, and Food.
7A Natural Henna Powder That Revitalizes Dull Hair
This 100 percent pure henna powder provides a rich and dark red henna stain to hair and is vegan, gluten free, and completely free of preservatives, chemicals, parabens, PPD, and metallic salts. Don't expect a radical color change, particularly if you have dark hair and have no intention of bleaching it first. But you will get shinier, healthier looking hair that actually feels thicker.
8Semi-Permanent Unicorn Hair In Crazy Colors
Want unicorn hair but always assumed the trade-off for achieving crazy, bold color was breakage and dry hair? Lime Crime's unicorn hair color line is gently, won't damage your hair, and requires no toner or developer. It washes out after several shampoos — so no commitment is required if you decide you want to make the switch from "Salad" (an intense green) to Chocolate Cherry. The color requires no DIY-ing on your part: open the jar and apply.
It's important to note that Lime Crime provides two formulas: tint, which is lighter and will really only show up if you already have blonde or light hair, and full coverage, a more pigmented range of shades that can work in most hair colors.
9A Dairy-Free Permanent Dye In Natural Colors
This dairy-free, vegan permanent hair color brand is free of ammonia and parabens and comes in 19 natural hair shades. Reviewers say it does a great job of covering greys without "stinky chemicals" but that you may need to follow up with an additional conditioning because the formula can be drying on some hair types.
10The Ultimate '90s Girl Crazy Vegan Hair Dye
The OG of semi-permanent crazy hair color cream remains Manic Panic, a 100 percent Vegan brand that fades with each shampoo. If you have light hair, you could get lucky and wind up with a vibrant color that sticks around for eight weeks, but those with darker hair will have to either bleach their hair first or be content with a few pretty highlights that will likely fade faster.
When it comes to hair shade options, few have Manic Panic beat. From watercolor pastels to intense "High Voltage" hues like purple and Cleo Rose, the world of color is your oyster when you choose this brand.
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