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Do you have a love-hate relationship with your curls? If you do, well, you’re not alone! Curly hair can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. While it looks gorgeous and voluminous, it can also be challenging to maintain and style. To help you become your own curl expert, we created this on-hand guide of the best vegan, cruelty-free hair products for all types of curls.

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50 Shades of Curls

When people think about hair types, they probably think binary, like straight or curly. The reality is more complex.

The curly hair family has 9 different types of strand. They go in a large spectrum, from loose waves to small, densely coiled curls. And to make things even more complicated, each individual strand fiber has its own curl pattern and texture.

That’s why you should test several quality cruelty-free and vegan curly hair products designed for your type of hair before finding the right ones.

From Straight to Coily: Hair Types Overview

There are 12 different hair types distributed in 4 main families:

  • Straight Hair (Type 1 – Sub-Types: 1a, 1b, 1c)
  • Wavy Hair (Type 2 – Sub-Types: 2a, 2b, 2c)
  • Curly Hair (Type3 – Sub-Types: 3a, 3b, 3c)
  • Kinky / Coily Hair (Type 4 – Sub-Types: 4a, 4b, 4c)

Curly hair form a wide family of strands range from 2a to 4c. Each curly types and sub-types are different. But they share one common unfortunate property.

Because of their “spiral” shape, curly hair can’t retain natural hair oils as effectively as straight ones. That’s why curls tend to be always thirsty, prone to dryness and eventually frizz, breakage, shrinkage and even hair loss.

In response to that, moisture is the key. Your curls want hair products that can supply the amount of moisture they need in order to be healthy and shiny.

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Curly Hair Products

Harsh chemicals like sulfates tend to strip the hair of its natural oils. Certain oils can weigh down and cause damage to your strand. You beautiful curls are special but fragile. Try to avoid chemicals and embrace sulfate-free, lightweight solutions specifically designed for your curls.

If you’re vegan, finding hair products that work for your curly hair can be even more difficult. Luckily, there are several vegan hair solutions that cater to curly hair. Let’s review each curl type, their specificities and the best vegan curly hair products crafted for each one of them.

For Wavy Hair

Type 2

wavy hair - type 2 - 2a subtype, 2b subtype, 2c subtype
Asian Woman with Wavy Hair (Type 2)

Neither straight nor curly, wavy hair stands in the middle of the road. Recognizable by its characteristic S-shaped pattern, this type of hair has a semi-oval follicle that gives the hair strand its wavy look.

Wavy Sub-types

Just like other types of curls, wavy hair is divided into 3 sub-types, which represents different wave characteristics:

  • 2a – Fine and loosely wavy hair with stretched-out S-shaped waves
  • 2b – Slightly more defined wavy hair with a mixture of S-shaped waves and loose curls
  • 2c – Even more defined and more tightly formed wavy hair with a mix of S-shaped waves and ringlets

Vegan Hair Products for Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is prone to dryness and frizz. Your goal is to add volume without losing that wavy style. Maintaining 2a hair typically involves using lightweight products that enhance the natural wave pattern without weighing it down. As part of your vegan hair routine:

  • wash your wavy hair with a sulfate-free, rich-in-nutrient shampoo and then apply a conditioner
  • To help lock in moisture, apply a deep conditioner every 2 weeks. If you feel like you’re using over-the-top heat to dry your hair, deep condition more often (once a week).

Be patient and Curious. Test different vegan hair products designed for wavy hair and you will find the perfect combination that works for you.

wavy - type 2

Cassette Curl Shampoo + Superseed Oil Complex

R + Co
  • Adds moisture and shine, without leaving hair greasy and heavy
  • Aloe leaf extract delivers ultimate conditioning benefits
  • Rice Protein locks in moisture and helps prevent breakage
  • No sulfates, parabens, petrolatum or mineral oils
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8.5 fl oz / 241 mL
Get It Now

wavy - type 2

Curls & Waves Vegan Conditioner

Sun Bum
  • Formulated to deliver intense moisture and shine, while accentuating the natural beauty of wavy hair
  • Kukui Nut Oil and Monoi Coconut Oil protect your hair from damaging UV rays
  • No sulfates or parabens
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 10 fl oz / 300 mL
Get It Now

wavy - type 2

Curls & Waves Vegan Whipped Mousse

Sun Bum
  • Delivers medium hold with long-lasting, smooth, frizz-free curls
  • Uses seaweed protein, kukui nut oil and monoi coconut oil to shield your locks from becoming dull, brittle, frizzy or discolored
  • No sulfates or parabens
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 6 oz / 170 g
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wavy - type 2

Complete All-in-One Leave-in Spray

  • Improves elasticity, moisturizes and strengthens hair while reducing breakage
  • Provides extensive thermal protection from heat styling
  • Formulated with Abyssinian, coconut and watermelon seed oils
  • No sulfates, phthalates, parabens or sodium
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 236 mL
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wavy - type 2

Waterfall Moisture + Shine Lotion

R + Co
  • Light, hydrating lotion for fine to medium and extra-long hair
  • Babassu Oil moisturizes dry hair from roots to ends, leaving it healthy and smooth
  • Witch Hazel balances out hydration levels and prevents frizz
  • Rosemary maintains scalp health and removes product build up
  • No sulfates, parabens, petrolatum or mineral oils
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 5 fl oz / 147 mL
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For Curly Hair

Type 3

Curly hair - type 3 - 3a subtype, 3b subtype, 3c subtype
African Woman with Curly Hair (Type 3)

Type-3 curly strands have clear and defined curls. The oval follicle shape gives a type of curl ranging from tight corkscrew to larger, bouncy spiral. Type-3 is typically the kind of hair that goes from straight when the hair is wet, and goes back to curly as it dries out.

Curly Hair Sub-Types

Just like other types in the curly hair family, type-3 curls can be divided into 3 sub-types:

  • 3a – This hair type has loose and defined curls that could fit around your index and middle fingers together. It usually has a thick texture.
  • 3b – These kind of curls usually appear as tighter ringlets that could curl around your index finger alone
  • 3c – This type of hair has tight, kinky packed corkscrews, that could barely curl around a drumstick

Vegan Hair Products for Curly Hair

Subject to drying quickly and frizzing, type-3 curly hair needs love on a regular basis:

  • Use a light vegan sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner specially designed for type-3 curls (i.e. won’t leave your strand dry)
  • They also require special deep love every so often! Deep conditioning each week or 2 works well for improving the moisture balance of your hair and nourishing your scalp.
  • Although very curly, type 3 is still pretty easy to manage and style. Use a vegan gel or mousse and apply it from root to tip to enhance your curls’ definition and get rid of frizz. And remember: nothing heavy!

It’s important to note that hair can have different curl patterns throughout the head, so a person with curly hair may have a combination of 3a, 3b, and 3c curls. Therefore, it’s essential to understand your hair’s specific needs to maintain its health and enhance its natural texture.

curly - type 3

Pineapple Curls, Curl Enhancing Natural Shampoo

  • Formulated with a blend of super oils, hyaluronic acid, and other premium vegan ingredients like argan oil and quinoa
  • Reduces frizz without weighing down your hair, enhancing your natural curls
  • No sulfates, parabens or other harmful chemicals
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 12 fl oz / 355 mL
Get It Now

curly - type 3

No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

  • Protects and repairs damaged hair, split ends, and frizz by re-linking broken bonds
  • No sulfates, paraben, phthalates, phosphates, DEA , aldehydes or formaldehyde
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8.5 fl oz / 250 mL
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curly - type 3

Velvet Divine Leave-In Conditioner

Saints & Sinners
  • Instantly detangles, eliminates frizz, protects color, adds moisture, adds shine, increases strength and manageability
  • Made with aloe vera, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and rapeseed oil
  • No parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, phthalates, iron oxides, synthetic colors, nut ingredients or palm oil
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8.5 fl oz / 250 mL
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curly - type 3

Curl It Defining Crème

  • Plant-based formula to add softness, smoothness, shine and frizz-free curl definition
  • For stronger curls, more elastic strands, resistant to damage
  • Contains papaya, avocado, and acai, a blend of minerals, amino acids, calcium, and vitamins B1 & B2
  • No sulfates, parabens, propylene glycol or synthetic dyes
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 236 mL
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curly - type 3

Twister Curl Primer, Relative Paradise

R + Co
  • Style your curls without crunch
  • Aloe leaf extract contains vitamins, amino acids and minerals that help moisturize and add shine
  • Shea butter moisturizes to help soften and seal
  • Pequi Fruit Oil helps to smooth the hair cuticle to increase smoothness, amplify shine and reduce frizz
  • No sulfates, parabens, petrolatum or mineral oils
  • Vegetarian, cruelty-free
  • 5 fl oz / 147 mL
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For Kinky / Coily Hair

Type 4

Coily hair - type 4 - 4a subtype, 4b subtype, 4c subtype
African Woman with Coily Hair (Type 4)

Also known as “coily” or “kinky”, type-4 curls are the tiniest curliest curls! Its typical tight “zigzag” shape is formed though the flat oval shape of the follicle. Sometimes well-defined, Type 4 curls show a variety of textures, that range from fine to thick.

But not only kinks are the less manageable, but they are also delicate. And when type-4 hair grows long and looses too much moisture, strand contracts and end ups in a compacted coil, eventually leading to hair shrinkage.

Coily / Kinky Hair Sub-Types

And yes, just like other types of curly hair, type-4 curls can be split into 3 sub-types:

  • 4a – This type of hair is soft and dense in texture with tight, well-defined S-shaped curls that could fit around a pencil
  • 4b – Less defined, and usually fragile, this type has very tight and dense soft coils
  • 4c –This type of hair is so densely populated tight z-shaped hairs that they may look like “mousse”. They are more than any other types prone to shrinkage.

Vegan Hair Products for Coily / Kinky Hair

If your hair is coily or kinky, we know it can be “hairy” to find the right cruelty-free and vegan hair product. Look for vegan hair solutions that will provide body and stretch to your kinkies, they need it. Coils and kinks are delicate and can quickly dry out as they don’t retain hair’s natural oils. The key to best taking care of your lovely kinks is by offering them a heavy moisture and maintaining it through the layering of different vegan hair products:

  • Use a gentle sulfate-free vegan shampoo specially formulated for curly hair and a moisturizing conditioner
  • Deep conditioning once a week is a must, especially if you use a source of heat to dry your curls
  • Prefer a gentle towel rather than an aggressive dryer
  • Once dry, don’t forget to apply hair oils or a leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture and protect them from external aggressors
  • Add a finishing creams to enhance definition to your curls and create your own style
  • These types of strand tend to be sensitive and prone to damage because of heat and poor-quality product

coily - type 4

Goddess Strength Fortifying Shampoo

Carol's Daughter
  • Helps target weak strands, restoring intense moisture
  • 94% less breakage, supports the strength of your hair as it gets longer
  • Formulated with castor oil, black seed oil and ginger
  • No parabens, sulfates, petrolatum, artificial colors or mineral oils
  • Vegan, cruelty free
  • 11 fl oz / 312 mL
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coily - type 4

Healing and Moisturizing Vegan Conditioner

  • Coconut, rice and super fruits to revive dry hair
  • Gently restores moisture and helps protect against pollution
  • No SLS, parabens, phthalates, or petrolatum
  • Vegan, cruelty free
  • 8 fl oz / 236mL
Get It Now

coily - type 4

Moisture & Control Deep Treatment Masque

  • Ultimate moisturizing masque, with coconut and almond oils, quenches thirsty curls and prevents breakage
  • Blend of Murumuru & Mango Seed Butters repairs and helps prevent damage by smoothing the cuticle to strengthen and protect hair from breakage
  • Coconut Oil penetrates the hair shaft to nourish and soften while sealing the cuticle and enhancing shine.
  • Hydrolyzed Baobab Seed Extract rich in Vitamins A, D, E and F, provides antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals
  • Without parabens, sulfates or sodium chloride
  • Vegan, cruelty free
  • 8.5 fl oz / 250 mL
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coily - type 4

Goddess Strength 7 Oil Blend Scalp Oil

Carol's Daughter
  • Moisturizes to help protect hair from breakage and split ends
  • Delivers 15X stronger hair and 94% less breakage in one use
  • Blended with castor oil, olive oil, vitamin E, and jojoba oil
  • No sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oils, artificial colors
  • Vegan, cruelty free
  • 4.2 fl oz / 125 mL
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coily - type 4

Coily Banana Butter Repair + Restore Leave-in Conditioner

Umberto Giannini
  • Repair + restore leave-in conditioner with banana, shea butter, coconut oil, cupuacu butter and brazil nut oil
  • De-frizzes and adds shine to thirsty curls
  • Without silicones, parabens or mineral oils
  • 97% Natural
  • Vegan, cruelty free
  • 3.3 fl oz / 100 mL
Get It Now

Thanks for having taken the time to read this article, that means a lot to us. If you liked it, you’ll probably be interested in our buying guide in which we talk about cruelty-free and vegan shampoos for curly hair.

Amie A.

With a pen in my wand and a hairbrush as my scepter, I craft tales as captivating as my coiffures. Words and hair do more than just impress – they inspire in a style that's my own.

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