14 March 2011

5 favorite cruelty-free beauty and hygiene products

So wait...you don't eat meat? or fish? or eggs? or CHEESE?!

Oh but that's not all. Leading a cruelty-free lifestyle, as most of us already know, goes well beyond what you do and don't eat. To the unconverted, the depth of this lifestyle can seem completely overwhelming, and well, if you do it all at once I would think it is! For many of us, myself included, becoming cruelty-free is a process. A learning process to be sure! After eliminating animal products from my diet I turned my attention to my wardrobe and beauty products. Not wearing wool seemed easy enough but finding a new facewash? Mascara? Aye!

Fear not loved ones. I present to you my list of favorite cruelty-free products. This is in no way an exhaustive definitive look at all beauty and hygene products, just some cool stuff I have run across and happily switched to. Comment away! Share your favorites!


You know that thing you rub on yourself to get clean? How clean would you feel if you knew you were rubbing yourself down with tallow - aka beef fat? Yeah go scald your skin off then come back and read this. Luckily, there are lots and lots of sweet soap making companies out there that don't feel the need to syphon off the slaughterhouses. Exhibit A: LUSH.

Now I will admit, walking into the LUSH store is...well in a word, unpleasant. But hey, I also hate walking into Yankee Candle. The olfactory experience of LUSH is super overwhelming but in a way necessary. LUSH offers a TON of products but my first introduction to them was through soap. I went in, gagged a little, then proceeded to sniff and sample until I found a vegan soap (they are clearly marked both in the store and on the website with a big V) I wanted. My recommendation: Sexy Peel. The mix of orange, lemon and lime peels (which you can see right in the soap) exfoliate your skin, the acid from the citrus promotes clear skin, and the best part, you will smell like a citrus dessert. Promise. I'm even willing to overlook the use of "sexy" for an inanimate object in the name of this product because it smells that good! Don't get me started on adjectives in relation to objects. Really.


So I know there are a few vegan options out there for mascara but they still seem...chemically. I was struggling with the idea of continuing to use chemical laden goop on one of the most sensitive parts of the human body or going without it completely. Then I was introduced to 100 Percent Pure. At this point I've used a bunch of different products from them, from lotion to eyeliner to body scrubs - but their makeup is what really impressed me.

100 Percent Pure makes makeup with fruit and vegetable pigments. I know every company claims that, but look at the ingredient list! Green tea, grape skin, blackberries, coffee, seaweed powder, rosemary, lavender? But wait, here is where my fellow vegans will pull out their 'tudes and write me some nasty comments....they use honey?

I know, I too recoiled. How can they claim to be cruelty-free and still use honey? So I wrote to them. And they wrote back:
Hi Lacey,

Traditionally beekeepers have often killed bees while harvesting honey (some even cutting the Queen's wings) but we source from suppliers who take care to cause the least disturbance and harm to the bees so they can harvest the honey and the bees can continue to go about their lives!

We are always looking for more sustainable and compassionate methods so if you have ideas or suggestions too we would be happy to hear about them.

Thanks for your concern. Hope this was helpful.

100% Pure Team

Now I know for some of you that won't be enough. And let me point out that 100 Percent Pure doesn't label this product as vegan, they label it as vegetarian. But of all the companies I have written to to inquire about their policies, 100 Percent Pure was the quickest to respond to my inquiries and I find their overall policy to be pretty clear and admirable. So, in my transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle I decided to give this stuff a try. The 100 Percent Pure website is easy to navigate, chock full of choices, clearly marked vegan and vegetarian, shipping is fast, and there is often a little surprise tester thrown in the box!

Have suggestions for other mascaras I should try? I'd love to hear them.

Facial Scrub

I grew up using St. Ives Apricot Scrub. Loved that stuff. But sadly it's not vegan. No problem, JASON has one too!

Other than a slight smell difference JASON's Apricot Scrub is pretty much the same deal as the St. Ives. JASON's reminds its users that their scrub is for dudes and well as gals. They suggest using it as a pre-shave to help prevent ingrown hairs! FYI - St. Ives now sells a vegan apricot scrub but I'll never go back. The new St. Ives scrub smells kinda like paint thinner.


Oh the vegan's dilemma. Smelling like a yucky hippy because we are animal/health conscious. It need not be this way! Put your patchouli oil back in the cabinet (you are only prolonging a stereotype we would all be thankful to get rid of and stop smelling). Instead of covering up your smelly with another kind of smelly just prevent the smelly. At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, buy this rock, get it wet, and rub it on your armpits.

Thai Crystal, how skeptical I was of you. But, you actually work. Unscented, hypoallergenic, non-staining. It will most definitely weird your friends out at first but I was surprised at how well it worked. Only thing is, I myself like a little bit of sweet smell. My advice, get yourself a nice smelling essential oil like vanilla, mix it with water, dip your crystal in the water and then apply.

Make-up Remover + Moisturizer + Deep Conditioner

What did I do before Jojoba Oil? I can't get enough of this stuff, except when it leaks on my stuff! I started using jojoba oil on the advice the lovely ladies at Lotus as a make-up remover. Apply a small dab of jojoba oil to a cotton ball or q-tip and wipe away your make-up. No hassle. I know, soap does the same thing. But the benefit of jojoba oil is that it not only cleans your face, it also moisturizes it at the same time. Every night I remove my make-up with the oil, leaving a thin layer to linger, and by the morning its all absorbed and my skin is wonderfully soft feeling. Click the link above to see what else you can use jojoba oil for.

So there are my 5 favorite cruelty-free products, but there are so many more options. Tell me some of yours. Know an awesome shampoo that makes your hair smell like candy? Nailpolish you can't live without? Leave a comment.

Lacey Walker | @quinoaween
Lacey is a food photographing, French speaking, English teaching, travel enthusiast. She's been known to cut a rug. She's also been known to spend all day in bed eating vegan waffles and talking to her cat Hibou. Follow Lacey on her blog and Flickr.

Photo credit: Lacey