When I made the pledge to take part in Veganuary my aim was simply to adopt a vegan diet, which I have since committed to carrying on permanently. For February I decided to take the next step, to begin educating myself on the processes and ingredients that go into the beauty products that I own so as to make it easier for me to make good, ethical decisions on my future purchases.
Whilst it’s fairly straightforward to work out whether the food you’re eating contains animal derived ingredients or not, in the beauty world things are far more complex. For example, did you know that just because something has the Leaping Bunny logo (shown below) and is labelled cruelty free, that doesn’t neccessarily make it 100% vegan? That’s because whilst it may not have been tested on animals, its ingredients still might contain them.
If you flip it around, a product can be vegan (i.e. not contain animal derived ingredients) but may not be cruelty free as it could still have been tested on animals. To make things even more confusing, lot of brands which claim to be cruelty free on their websites aren’t really cruelty free at all because they choose to sell their products in mainland China, where it’s law that foreign manufactured cosmetics must undergo animal testing. Whilst the testing is usually carried out by the government it is agreed to and funded by the brand. Thus they are very much complicit in the practice despite their protestations to the contrary.
When it comes to buying beauty products, I definitely want to move away from supporting brands that are not cruelty free or that contain animal derivatives. Realistically though this isn’t going to happen overnight. I need to carry on with my research to work out which of my beloved, tried and tested products can stay, and which ones I need to find affordable alternatives for.
Green People* have already helped me to make a few swops. They are a certified organic health and beauty brand who do not test their products on animals and who strive to make as many products in their skin, hair and makeup range as possible suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They reached out to me at the start of Veganuary to introduce themselves and offered to send me some of their hair and beauty products which are certified by the Vegan Society.
The Vegan Society logo (shown below) tells you that the product has never been tested on animals in any capacity and does not contain animal derivatives. In other words, it certifies that a product is 100% vegan and cruelty free.
Here’s how I got on:
Starting with haircare, I received the Quinoa and Artichoke Shampoo and Conditioner. I wasn’t sure what to expect scent wise (quinoa and artichoke didn’t sound all that appealing to me) but they smell fresh and citrussy. The shampoo is deceptive as you don’t need much at all, a small blob works up into a really good lather. I tend to spend quite a chunk of my beauty budget on haircare and get through bottles quickly so anything that makes things more economical for me is a winner in my book.
The shampoo has been somewhat of a revelation for me. It leaves my hair feeling clean and light and it has given it such a lovely shine! I’m not planning to return to my previous shampoo. In fact, I’ve already purchased another bigger bottle of this stuff to make sure I don’t run out!
The conditioner is also very lightweight and yet does a good job of sorting out my tangle prone hair. I tend to use an intensive hair mask most of the time so I’ve still got plenty of this left but I would definitely consider buying this again when it runs out to complement the shampoo.
By the way, these haircare products are also gluten free so they are suitable for those with gluten sensitivities too.
The Daily Aloe Shower Gel has been another big hit with me. It doesn’t smell as strongly as the highly scented shower gels I tend to go for but it has a lovely consistency.It is really gentle and leaves my skin feeling nice and soft after use. I’ve noticed that it’s also great for those times in between my IPL treatments when I need to shave my legs in the shower, as it just glides along my skin with no bother and helps me to get a really close but comfortable shave.
At £12.50 though this one is a bit out of my budget for an everyday shower gel sadly, I usually spend between £2 and £5. However I’d liken it to the L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil which I’ve tried samples of in the past and costs £18.
Gentle Cleanse & Makeup Remover
I have incredibly sensitive skin around my eyes but I have used this to remove my eye makeup without any resulting stinging or puffiness. I think I react to some of the chemicals in standard creams so maybe I got on well with this because the ingredients are so natural. All I know is that it works really well, tackling my heavy eye makeup and mascara with ease. I’d consider it reasonably priced for what I usually spend on cleansers, at £19 for 150ml.
This is a great alternative to the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, which is still a fantastic product that I absolutely adore but isn’t 100% vegan as it contains beeswax.
Peppermint and Aloe Organic Mint Toothpaste
Confession: I didn’t start using this until midway through Veganuary because I have really sensitive teeth and I didn’t want to switch from my normal high street one, which I know makes me a bad vegan.
I wish I could tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was when I did finally try it, because obviously I want to move over to all natural products where possible, but I just couldn’t get on with it. The paste was an offputting beige colour and it didn’t taste or feel pleasant in my mouth.
My boyfriend thought I was being a bit of a wuss and tried it too, but didn’t like it either. I’m sorry The Green People, I just can’t get on board with this one despite really, REALLY wanting to!
In conclusion, it has been great to discover a company that makes it so easy to find 100% vegan products that don’t compromise on performance and still evoke a feeling of luxury. I’m so glad that they contacted me as I had not heard of the company previously, but I have a feeling I’m going to be shopping there regularly now!
If you want to know more about the topics I have discussed in todays post this article from EthicalElephant helped me to understand the different ways of classifying the ethical status of beauty products. I recommend giving it a read.
*Disclaimer: I was gifted the items in this post for review purposes. As always, I’ve provided my honest thoughts on them.