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Embrace vegan haircare this Veganuary

As we step into 2024, Veganuary is the perfect opportunity to align your haircare routine with the compassionate vegan ethos.

Lindsay shares their advice and recommendations if you’re looking to be more eco-conscious with your haircare routine and purchases.

Protein is key to healthy hair

As a vegan diet excludes protein-rich meat and dairy, this can lead to weaker hair, shedding and brittle strands which are more likely to break. This is because over 80% of our hair is made of a protein called keratin.

If there is even a small deficiency in protein intake our bodies consider hair a non-essential tissue and prioritise the protein elsewhere. So our hair is the first to suffer on a low protein diet.

But don’t worry – it’s simple to adjust your diet to increase your plant-based protein intake and your new hair will usually start to grow stronger and healthier.

Good sources of protein for vegans can be found in legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and peanuts, as well as quinoa, tofu and soy products and nuts.

Eat your way to healthy hair

Remember that a vegan diet isn’t necessarily healthy. Don’t binge on the chips and ultra-processed vegan food if you want strong, healthy locks or indeed glowing, radiant skin. Instead, eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds plus some healthy fats like olive oil.

Just remember advises Lindsay, that a vegan diet can make it harder to get sufficient iron and B12 which can lead to thinning hair and shedding.

Vitamin B12 isn’t found in plants but milk and eggs are great sources if you are vegetarian. For vegans, try B12-fortified soy milks and cereals. Good plant-based iron sources include spinach, kale, watercress, beets, broccoli, almonds and pulses. And if you’re concerned, you could always take a supplement.

Understanding vegan haircare

It’s a common misconception says Lindsay that vegan products do not contain synthetic chemicals and are therefore ‘better’ for your hair.

But while many vegan haircare brands focus on gentle plant-based ingredients, many products do also contain synthetic, vegan-friendly pigments, preservatives and fillers.

Hidden animal-derived ingredients

It’s easy to overlook animal-derived ingredients such as lanolin, beeswax, honey, marine oil, gelatine, squalene, hyaluronic acid, uric acid, carmine (cochineal), keratin and stearic acid. These are all popular and common ingredients in haircare, skin products and makeup.

Cruelty-free vs Vegan

Bear in mind a product can be vegan and yet still be tested on animals says Lindsay.

The ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo guarantees that a product has not been tested on animals but does not mean the product is vegan, unlike the PETA Cruelty-Free & Vegan logo which ticks both boxes.

Vegan brushes

Hairbrushes may contain animal bristles so choose ones with synthetic bristles if you want to continue the vegan lifestyle after the end of January. This Briogeo Bursh is vegan-friendly.

Making the change

Feeling overwhelmed about making the switch? Take it one step at a time advises Lindsay. Start by using up what you have – no sense in waste – then gradually introduce vegan products into your hair routine.

Here’s to a beautiful, vegan-friendly January and beyond.

Happy Veganuary!

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