So last year, in addition to deciding I would no longer support sweatshop labor, I decided that I no longer felt comfortable buying makeup or skincare items that were tested on animals. I thought it might be interesting to some people to share the products I use. I am definitely not working with a gigantic budget k at a non-profit), so if I can do it, you can do it! You just have to do some research and know your priorities.
It’s important to note some things before I proceed:
- the cruelty free label applied to most products in the United States doesn’t always mean that the item is not tested on animals, so that cute little Leaping Bunny logo on your mascara might not mean jack. You have to look into it more. Sorry! Basically, Chinese law requires that all cosmetic items be tested on animals before sale to humans, so a brand that does not test on animals in the United States but sells their items in the Asian market is going to involve some animal testing. I feel divided by this because you can’t really expect any company that is growing and succeeding to ignore the Asian market– that’s business suicide! I give these companies a pass if I’ve researched them and feel good about them otherwise. It’s a tough decision I’d rather not make, but sometimes I feel like the other option is to not wear makeup o take care of my skin at all! It’s a personal call, and one I won’t try to make for you. Just do your research and do some thinking on where you draw the line!
- There are some cruelty-free companies, like The Body Shop, for example, who are owned by parent companies who do test on animals. (The Body Shop is owned by L’Oreal who is decidedly NOT cruelty free.) Again, this is a matter of you doing some research and making your own call. For example, I do not buy products from The Body Shop because L’Oreal is a giant conglomerate who owns a lot of non-cruelty free companies, so it’s pretty clear to me that being cruelty-free is not a priority of theirs. Kat Von D, however, is owned by Kendo, who is owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey), but the Kat Von D brand itself is devoted to cruelty free and ethical practicals. It’s definitely a gray area, but I’d rather support a brand like Kat Von D, which is trying, than a brand who doesn’t seem to care. See how complicated it is! It’s worth considering the principles of the individual brand itself– supporting the cruelty free brand in a brand family is likely to draw more funds to the cruelty free arm of the brand family, for what that’s worth.
- Do your research! Personally, I ignore anything PETA has to say because PETA is full of manipulative garbage people, but I like Paula’s Choice, Cruelty Free Kitty, and my favorite, the general makeup thread on the vegan forum the PPK. The people who frequent this forum have really done their research and I respect the hell out of them. As a general rule, if vegans are ethnically okay with a cosmetic, it’ll probably reach my standards, too.
Cleanser- Everyday Coconut Facial Cleanser. This brand is pretty solid and you can get it at Whole Foods and on Amazon. I dunno, I like it. It takes off my makeup and rinses off with no residue, which is sort of all you can really ask of a cleanser, right?
Toner- Thayer’s Witch Hazel with Rose. Witch hazel is good for your skin, and this toner is alcohol-free and contains aloe. My skin tends to be dry so I need moisturizing more than anything else. When I’m going through a period of weird breakouts, I like this tea tree oil one from LUSH.
Serum– I use this one from Evan Healy in the morning. I got it with a gift card from the apothecary near my work (I knooooooooow, that’s so pretentious, but if you are ever in Chicago you HAVE to check out Merz. It is the best!). Honestly? I’m not sure if it’s really making a difference, which is kind of a bummer because it wasn’t cheap. I have a friend who has the blue algae one from Evan Healy and likes it a lot, so maybe I just got the wrong one.
Daytime moisturizer– I always try to buy one with SPF 15 in it so I don’t get wrinkles any sooner than absolutely necessary because I am vain and afraid of cancer. I tried this one and it was HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE. Pro-tip: Zinc oxide is all-natural and sun-protectant and approved by hippies. It also doesn’t absorb into your skin and leaves you with a white cast that makes you look as if you have come down with typhoid or similar. Instead, I now use this one from Alba Botanica. (You can get it at Target!) The active ingredient is a scary chemical but it does not make me look like the girl from the Ring so I count that as a win. Plus it smells nice.
Nighttime moisturizer- This rose oil from Badger. I LOVE BADGER. Guys, they do not just make those weird muscle rubs your dad likes! Also, please check out their website. They are a B Corporation and they have stuff like on-site daycare for working moms and cray employee satisfaction. Plus, this shit is the opposite of that serum. I am very sure that it is making a difference– my skin has never looked better.
Shampoo and Conditioner– I have really short hair right now and I don’t wash it too often to avoid getting a dry scalp, but I LOVE love love everything Shea Moisture. Shea Moisture is woman-owned and cruelty free with natural ingredients and you can find it at Target! I like that more cruelty free stuff is becoming more readily available.
I use their conditioner and I used to use their shampoo, too, but I strayed to a different brand I don’t like as much. As soon as I run out I am re-purchasing Shea Moisture.
Lotion– Alba Botaniaca – I use the unscented one. It comes in a truly enormous bottle but it does the job and doesn’t have a scent, which is something I have grown to appreciate the older I have gotten. My boyfriend uses it too, so it is man-approved.
Body scrub- Shea Moisture for this, too. I have the lemongrass and ginger one. It smells awesome and is very exfoliating but never irritates. Also available at Target.
Foundation and concealer– I don’t wear those. My skintone is pretty even. It’s all genes and I’m a brat. Sorry.
Mascara– YO DRUGSTORE MASCARAS ARE ALMOST ALL TESTED ON ANIMALS. I buy this one from Too Faced. It is bonkers expensive. Its name is dumb. But it is the best mascara I have used in my damn life, you can get it at Sephora so it’s accessible for almost everyone, and you can have the VIB points to soothe your hurt wallet. I went from no one ever mentioning my eyelashes to several people asking me if I was wearing falsies the week I switched to this stuff and I am not kidding.
Liquid eyeliner– the Kat Von D tattoo liner. DONE. Donnnne. There is nothing that does a cat eye better.
Eyeshadow, pencil eyeliner, blush, highlighter, bronzer, lipsticks, lipliners, liquid lipsticks- Colourpop. Guys! Are you not buying most of your shit from Colourpop yet?! What are you waiting for?! Colourpop is so good– I don’t know how they do it. Not only are all their products made in the USA and not tested on animals, but they have a truly insane shade range, come out with new stuff literally constantly, and are affordable as HELL. They only ship to the US right now but that’s about to change. Also it’s only available online and their shipping is kind of slow (it’s also totally up for grabs as to whether you’ll get a shipping confirmation email), but in my opinion it’s totally worth it and shipping is free if you buy $30 worth of stuff. I had to put a freeze on myself from buying more because I had so much. Everyone I’ve introduced to Colourpop so far is an intensely devoted fan. Favorites? Their lippie stix, creme gel eyeshadows, highlighters, and eyeliners (their eyeliners are the perfect width, and they are twist ups instead of sharpeners which is a must for me)
So that was a mammoth post! Let me know in the comments how you feel about the cruelty-free thing!