A list of where to buy plastic free/zero waste beauty products in the UK both online and offline.Read More
A cautionary poem
There once was a woman called Bethan
Who had her hair done by a profession(al)
She then bleached it herself
Without any expert help
She then had to cut it all off and was also forced to abandon the rhyme scheme
My hair history
As shown in the pictures above, I'm no stranger to bleaching/dying and generally playing around with my hair.
Over the years I've had a fair few mishaps (as chronicled in my *slightly* awful poem). The most notable forced me to adopt an extremely short pixie cut, as I ended up having to all but shave my head due to extreme hair damage.
However like they say, the best way to learn is to make mistakes. (By that reasoning I should be some kind of super hair-guru by now!).
In the spirit of preventing you, dear reader, from going down the same scissor filled paths. I thought I would share a few of the tips/tricks I have learnt on my hair journey so far.
1. Silver shampoo is your friend, but beware overuse
If you're lightening your hair and want to avoid yellow tones, silver shampoo is your secret toning weapon. Silver shampoo formulas contain violet tones which counteract brassiness on a wash by wash basis.
They are kind of like an extremely weak semi permanent hair dye.
After trying a fair few over the years, I have settled on Bleach London's version, which is both cruelty free and very pigmented.
I have however found that with all brands, silver shampoo is extremely drying if used regularly. In my case I'm semi convinced my overuse of silver shampoo has actively led to breakage and dryness.
I now tend to only use it once or twice a week max, which is a good middle ground between preserving both colour and texture.
2. Use a conditioning spray everyday
Alongside conditioning in-shower, I also apply a leave in conditioning spray after gently towel drying. If nothing else, this dramatically improves the day-to-day texture of my hair and helps to contain frizz.
I'm also struggling quite a lot with breakage around my hairline/nape of my neck as my hair gets longer, something which I'm keen to control.
My current go-to product is the Colour Fanatic Hair Treatment Spray from Pureology (also a cruelty free brand, though it must be noted the parent company is not cruelty free!) as I do think that this product does have some long term benefits and has somewhat reduced my breakage.
3. If in doubt, pay someone to help
I do think you can get away with dying your hair at home, especially when you're going for darker/plainer covers. I used to do this myself quite successfully in my first and second cash-strapped years at university.
However when it comes to bleach in any form, be it highlights or root touch ups, I do think you should seek an expert opinion. Yes it's costly, but it's also worth not having to ditch your entire mane.
4. Don't tie your hair up everyday
This is some advice I recently picked up from my hairdresser whilst I was discussing my breakage with her. Apparently when you tie up your hair, you are putting the follicles/strands under repeated strain which can lead to breakage and damage.
I am a serial tier-upper, as I much prefer to have my hair out of my face whilst I work at a computer or work out at the gym.
To get the best of both worlds, I'm trying to consciously revert to half up do's, which hopefully will be a lot less stressful on my hair.
I'm also trying not to play with the strands which fall out of my ponytail, which is another habit contributing to the problem!
5. Wash less, use less heat
You are probably already fully aware of the benefits of using less heat on your hair (heat is always damaging, even if you use hair protection products).
I've also found that washing less has a positive effect, as not only is there less opportunity to use heat, there's also a lot less combing whilst wet and removal of natural oils.
I now try to wash my hair a maximum of three times a week, which is working well when combined with liberal amounts of dry shampoo.
(Pro tip: if you go to the gym a lot, invest in a good headband. This keeps your hair from getting all sweaty and messed up).
6. Deep condition every week
Again, you've heard this one before. However I'm going to repeat it again, as this is something which has seriously revived my damaged locks recently. It's also pretty relaxing when combined with other pamper activities!
So run a bath, slap on some high grade product and soak for at least 20 minutes. Finally wash everything off and sashay away like the fabulous human you are!
After the popularity of my post on cruelty free cosmetics, I thought I would create a complimentary list focused on haircare!
As described in the post above, buying cruelty free personal items can be quite a research heavy process - I hope this list helps you navigate some of the confusion.
All brands mentioned here are certified by the Leaping Bunny certification, which is the international gold standard for non-animal tested consumer products. I have also noted where the parent brand does not adhere to this.
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? Vegetarian Society accredited
This award winning range of Natural Organic Skin and Hair Care products are handmade in Britain, so extra points there.
I love the simple and chic packaging, which would look great in any bathroom!
I also like the fact you can get sample sizes for their skincare products, which is another bonus if you're looking to try more of the range!
2. Liz Earle
I have included Liz Earle in this list, however please note:
Liz Earle doesn't test on animals and is actually approved by Cruelty Free International/BUAV, however they are owned by Avon who, though they do not test themselves, allow their products to be tested in countries that require it by law i.e. China.
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? All products are suitable for vegetarians.
This cult brand is well known for it's stand out product, the Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser (personally my skin has never got on with it).
Alongside skincare, Liz Earle also offers well highly regarded haircare
My top pick - Botanical Shine™ Nourishing Hair Oil
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? Yes to both
I tried a couple of Honesty's products last year and generally got on quite well with them! I loved the scents, though was less enamoured with the copious amount of SLS and foaming agents.
This brand is no frills and no fuss, with a variety of products across the haircare and skincare categories.
You can also grab products in bulk as they have bottles up to 1000ml, which is great if you want to stock up during an online shop.
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? Yes both available
"Professional, salon quality hair products using natural and organic active ingredients."
bioOrganics gets extra credit, as the range proudly boasts no artificial preservatives, dyes, fragrances or carcinogens. All products are also SLS free!
You can get free delivery (at the time of writing) on orders over £30.
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? All products are Vegetarian, and most are Vegan
This is a brand I have used on and off over a number of years - more recently this has increased as I feel that their formulations have drastically improved.
Faith's price point is excellent (£4.50 for 400ml of shampoo for example) and the range is pretty extensive.
I am often able to find these products in health food shops and Holland & Barrett, which means I don't have to faff around with online deliveries!
6. Neal's Yard
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? Yes both available
Jumping up a price point here to one of my favourite skincare/haircare brands of all time.
I have never had a bad experience with a product from them, despite extensively testing their skincare range over the years.
(If you're ever on roaccutane, their rose skincare range is a lifesaver).
Alongside a good selection of shampoos and conditioners, you can also get a range of oils - including Organic Argan Oil.
My top pick: Rosemary & Cedarwood Hair Treatment
7. Supermarket/store own-brands
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? Check labels of specific brands
Own-brand haircare is a great option for anyone on a budget, as often the products are among the cheapest in the store.
Below is a list of stores who have Cruelty Free accredited own-brands.
* The Co-operative
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? 100% vegetarian
I couldn't make this list without including Lush could I... I love their whole ethical ethos as a company, from their minimal packaging, to status as a living wage employer.
Whilst I use their soap religiously, I've never really got on that well with their haircare, as I feel it doesn't perform that well on the moisture front.
Their solid soaps are particularly stripping, especially on my coloured and fragile hair!
However there's plenty of people who love Lush, so if it works for you - go for it!
I'm a bit loathe to include the Body Shop to be honest, which is why they are placed all the way down at the bottom of this post...
Whilst This internationally-recognised brand has developed and retailed its range of popular cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries since 1976, it was bought by L'Oreal in 2006. L'Oreal is not approved under the Humane Cosmetics Standard.
Suitable for vegetarian/vegans? All products are suitable for vegetarian. Vegan products available.
Focusing on the positives, this is an affordable high street brand with a range of products suitable for all hair types.
Before I discovered the L'Oreal connection, I used to swear by their Coconut Oil Hair Shine, which I started using aged 15 or so.
I have not really made beauty the focus of a blog post before, especially as I started out as a food blogger way back in 2010.Read More
Trying to buy cruelty free makeup and toiletries can be a bit of a minefield. Whilst testing has been completely banned in the EU, large brands, - including L'Oreal (who own The Body Shop), continue to use animal testing to support their activities in emerging markets.Read More