I like to think of myself as a cool hippie chick, with my herbal teas for when I’m stressed or have a sore tummy and my essential oils for when I have a headache but I’m ashamed to admit it took me up until recently to look at my beauty products. We’re all obviously against animal cruelty, but how far do you look down the rabbit hole to make sure what’s in your bathroom reflects this?
For full clarity, I already have a fairly specific beauty routine
While I don’t use a lot of makeup, I do have eczema – which was far more severe a few years ago – so I already had to be selective of the products I use. I dye my hair, so I need to ensure the products I use won’t dull the colour or damage my hair more. When I do wear makeup, I enjoy dark colours – smokey eye, dark lip, and glittery highlight. I mention this because my journey to cruelty free was incredibly hard but so worth the effort.
While many if not all companies within the beauty industry don’t actively test on animals, Chinese law requires specific ingredients and products be tested on animals before being available to the public so my rule was – does the company test on animals? Does the company sell this or any other products in China?
My first move was my hair
I used to use Schwarzkopf XXL Live dyes and use Alberto Balsam shampoo and conditioner – which used to be Leaping Bunny approved but isn’t as it’s now owned by Unilever. Thankfully, hair dye was nowhere near as big of a struggle as I feared going into this change. There are amazing brands for colour – manly Arctic Fox and Manic Panic – however they are only colour. If you need to bleach your hair (like me) the best choice is Smart Beauty. They have their own range of lighteners – both blondes and platinum – but they also have their own range of colours! Their formula is incredibly soft and gentle and doesn’t leave your hair feeling gummy, plus their range of colours lasts an incredibly long time. And they’re also by far the cheapest cruelty free alternative.
Next was shampoo and conditioner
Anyone who’s dyed their hair knows how important aftercare is. Tesco stock a great range called Organic Shop – at £2.50 a bottle it is a little on the pricier side – but not by much – and the brand does nourishing hair masks, body scrubs, and bath butters. They’re great products and I would recommend them to anyone. That being said, I’m fortunate enough to be able to use Lush products instead. My current routine is the Honey, I Washed My Hair shampoo bar and the American Cream conditioner with the occasional R’n’B hair treatment! The price difference between Organic Shop and Lush is obviously massive; however, they’re both amazing products. If you can, Lush’s products are more personal and their mission statement is more widely spread; Organic Shop is a great cheaper alternative and while they’re doing their best they are still a fairly small company.
As I mentioned before, I had really severe eczema as a child
I grew up on hydrocortisone and Diprobase, both of which are supplied by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, who does test on animals. Their own website states they minimise how much animal testing they have to do, however it is required due to current legislation on medication. As I’ve grown up, my skin has thankfully gotten better and I now use Lush’s Charity Pot Hand and Skin Lotion which is really on the pricier side. Trust me, if I find an alternative I’ll let you guys know, but Charity Pot works best for my skin as it is right now!
For make up – we’re spoiled for choice!
Kat Von D’s makeup brand is cruelty free and she’s making the move to get all the recipes changed to vegan mixes, same with Anastasia Beverly Hills, CoverFX, Too Faced* and Urban Decay*! Even Lush has started getting in on the make up action – releasing lipsticks, foundations and henna hair dyes in the past few years. I, however, choose to go with ColourPop. ColourPop has an incredible range of shades and colours and great prices. Specifically, their Disney Designers range – with eyeshadows, lipsticks and lipglosses and the glitteriest of highlighters – are well worth the price.
(*That said – Urban Decay’s parent company, L’Oreal, and Too Faced’s parent company, Estèe Lauder, DO test on animals on their products sold in China – Both Urban Decay and Too Faced refuse to be sold in China however – so are technically cruelty free. It’s confusing, I know.)
I want to make it as clear as I can that, unfortunately, going cruelty free is not easy. It takes patience, research, dedication and plenty of resources – including time, money and sometimes health. If you can make the change there are many reliable sources – PETA being the most obvious and problematic one, Cruelty Free Kitty being a lesser known and just as informative alternative. If you can’t, that’s okay – do what you can for the world and keep being incredible!