Look, I’m not the most environmentally friendly person out there; I forget my metal straws, I still use clingfilm, and I simply can’t be vegan because of my allergies (that’s another blog post for another time). But, I am trying to be the best green version of myself I can be (green as in ‘caring about the environment’, not as in ‘oh goodness you look ill’). In trying to be the best clean and green version of myself, I am reducing my fast fashion intake, cutting down on meat and dairy, and changing my skin and make-up brands to cruelty free options. Some of you may be thinking, ‘okaaaaay, but going green and going cruelty free are two different things’. Yes, they may be two separate things on paper, but in practice, environmentalism covers a lot more than trees.
Before I really get into the details of switching to cruelty-free skin care, let me just say, I haven’t made this change overnight. It’s a huge work in progress. A lot of my make-up bag is still full of brands that are non-vegan or still test on animals. I haven’t up and dumped all of my products in the bin because that would be a) incredibly wasteful in an environmental sense and b) incredibly wasteful in a monetary sense (your gal here is a recent graduate on a graduate salary; I barely have enough money to warrant buying a coffee, let alone a whole new kit of make-up). I’m making the change slowly, one product at a time. For years, I was a no coverage kind of girl, and have moved on to that low maintenance BB cream life recently. So, when my two and a half year old bottle of BB cream ran out (yes, I know, I’m disgusting), I dashed online to find the best bang for my buck. Let me tell you, working out what is a clean or cruelty-free brand is hard. Many brands will say they are vegan or cruelty-free, only to be hiding the fact they sell in China; meaning that they test on animals. So, let me show you my current cruelty-free beauty and skin care products that I have amassed after months of tentative googling and relying on The Body Shop.
I’ll come out and say it straight; most of these products are from The Body Shop. Why? Because I am a Body Shop fiend; they are transparent about what goes into their products, totally cruelty-free and mostly vegan, and they work a charm. First up, I use their Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter every damn day (well, when I remember to actually look after my skin. You should read my Lazy Gal’s Guide to Skin Care to see how that goes…). The cleanser is gentle enough to clean my sensitive skin without causing redness, and strong enough to remove waterproof eyeliner. I follow it up with their British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner to help smooooth everything out and lock in moisture. Then I apply their Aloe Soothing Moisture Lotion once the toner has settled. This is my most recent TBS buy, and the promise of SPF 15 really sold it for me. I’ve never fallen for a brand as quickly as I have The Body Shop; they are well priced, have long lasting products with excellent formulas, and I don’t ever feel guilty about buying from them. Shifting away from The Body Shop for a moment (oh, we’ll be back), I also use Lush’s Sleepy Body Lotion before bed. I apply this all over my neck and shoulders to help loosen up my tense shoulders, and it sends me straight into a lavender infused sleep. In all honesty, that’s all the skin care I do on a daily basis, apart from the occasional under eye treatment and face mask, both from (you guessed it!) The Body Shop.
As mentioned above, I’m a pretty low maintenance girl when it comes to make-up. Don’t get me wrong, I love make-up and the artistry of it, I just don’t wear a full face every day. My rules are foundation and eyeliner come out for nights out, BB cream and mascara for when I go to work; simple. When I was looking through my make-up bag to find if I had anything cruelty-free already in there, I was surprised to say the least. Here’s are some of the cruelty-free products I found.
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is my forever favourite skin product; nay, forever favourite beauty product. It only costs a few pounds and is the only concealer to pass the ‘Rosie Test’. I have notoriously dark circles under my eyes (am I iron deficient, is it a family thing, am I constantly tired? Who knows…), and this is the only concealer that manages to do the job of concealing and brightening. For highlighter, I use Revolution’s Goddess of Love Highlighter, and it’s just gorgeous. It’s a buildable shimmer, so you can start the day with gentle cheekbones for work, and turn into a strobe infused glitter ball for a night out. Apparently, it’s a dupe for Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator Brush on Highlighter, but as that select product is £30, I won’t be testing that any time soon. Finally, to nobody’s surprise; more of The Body Shop! I use their Fresh Nude BB Cream for everyday coverage, Brow Sculpt to add some colour and shape to my brows, and their Lash Sport Waterproof Mascara (when they say waterproof, they certainly mean it; make sure you have a good make-up remover on hand for this!).
When I tipped out my make-up bag onto my bedroom floor (and squishing glitter into the carpet), I was hopeful that most brands would have the sense to be cruelty free. The surprise came when I found out most of my bag wasn’t. My favourite foundation, Revlon’s Colourstay. Rimmel’s Stay Matte Powder. Bourjois’ Little Round Pot Blusher. Maybelline’s Tattoo Liner. The same happened when I emptied my skin care drawer. Garnier’s Micellar Water. Nivea’s Soft Moisturiser. Clinique’s All About Eyes Cream. I could list the rest of the products I have in my beauty and skincare collection that aren’t cruelty free but I would be here for a very long time.
HOW TO MAKE THE SWITCH?
As I’ve said above, going cruelty-free with skin-care and beauty products is a huge work in progress. But I’ve started and will continue, which is the important thing. If you are interested in making the change too, and don’t know where to start, here are some pointers!
- Firstly, look through your products and Google them. See if the brands have any relevant policies on their website, and refer to websites that have investigated already. That should tell you straight away if they are part of a cruelty free brand. You may find you can keep buying some of your favourite products!
- Please don’t dump your products and buy an influx of new ones. Think of the waste that will cause, and how much that will cost you. Simply phase out the products; if it runs out, look for a cruelty-free version. Simple.
- Take a list of cruelty-free brands with you wherever you go! Keep a little note in your bag or on your phone. That way, if you venture out into the real world, you can just gravitate towards brands you know are good.
- Any change that is made is a positive! Not everyone can change their lifestyles completely, whether that’s down to illnesses, allergies, monetary boundaries, or simply not being in a place to do so. Small changes are just as important as the big ones; using metal straws, carrying reusable shopping bags, limiting fast fashion, and switching to cruelty-free products.
I’m certainly looking for cruelty-free alternatives to most of my beauty products, so drop a comment below if you have any recommendations! And let me know if you’ve made the change yourself; I’d love to hear your stories.