For vegans, a visit to the hairdressers can be tricky. Veganism is much more than a diet plan, with followers of the lifestyle choosing to give up the use or consumption of animal products in any form. This includes beauty and hair products without lanolin or keratin which are used by most salons.
Despite the day-to-day challenges of avoiding animal products, the number of vegans[i] across the globe and in the UK is rising. As such, vegan business ideas are becoming increasingly lucrative.
Why vegans need specialist services
As a hair specialist, you’ll likely be aware of the ingredients in the products you use and it’s possible you’re also aware of their origins. On the other hand, many customers may not, for example, know that keratin (famous as a hair and nail strengthening ingredient) is sourced from the hair and horns of animals. But as consumers become more socially conscious, that lack of knowledge might not last long.
Vegan hairdressers use cruelty-free alternatives to animal-based ingredients — satisfying the requirements of the vegan market and appealing to consumers concerned with buying ethically. Some of the more common substitutions are:
- Keratin — Soya protein and almond oil
- Stearic acid — Lecithin (a soybean product)
- Sodium Caseinate — Vegetable protein
- Glycerine — soya or coconut oil
- Lanolin — plant oils and butters
For many vegans — or consumers who choose vegan products — access to a vegan hairdresser may be limited. Although these types of businesses are common in central and metropolitan areas, there are far fewer options in suburban spaces.
How vegan business ideas could benefit you
Offering vegan and cruelty-free services does not mean you need to rebrand as a vegan hair salon. However, by keeping vegan products in stock, you could offer this service to customers as an appointment-based offering. The simplicity of the idea is appealing, with no need to update your beauty insurance or learn new skills to use the products required.
Much as you may stock almond milk for customers who prefer their coffee dairy-free, having these products on hand is simply another way of offering excellent customer service — and a way of attracting new customers.
The demand for vegan hairdressers is rising
If the growing popularity of vegan food over the past decade is anything to go by, vegan cosmetic products are sure to be increasingly sought out by consumers, vegan and otherwise. Recognising this growing trend, more and more manufacturers are investing in their vegan offerings, too.
In 2017, industry analyst Mintel reported[ii] that 11.8% of the beauty products launched in the UK were vegan — a staggering rise from just 5.4% in 2013[iii]. Even industry giant L’Oreal has released a vegan hair dye[iv], although the company’s animal testing status has caused some dispute over the end-to-end ethics of the product.
What’s clear is that as more people become educated about the ethics and origins of the products they use, the more often individuals choose to use products without animal derivatives. By advertising yourself as a vegan-friendly hairdresser you’re not only opening yourself up to more consumers; you’re getting your foot in the door of a market for which the only way is up.