Ohh, I’ve had this blog post on my to-write list for a looooong while, but I thought I’d wait until I had reached my goal of ensuring my skin-care routine was entirely cruelty-free and vegan. It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but we are finally here, baby! Well, almost…
Like most millennials, being as eco-friendly as possible is a big part of my life. Considering I can’t be vegan because of various health reasons, I’m trying to be as environmentally friendly in other parts of my life. Enter one of my favourite hobbies; skincare! (Yes, skincare is a hobby. Yes, I love reading up on it. No, I don’t care if you don’t think it’s a hobby). A few years ago, I made an agreement with myself to only buy skincare and make-up from brands that say they are cruelty free or eco-friendly. I’m all about less waste, less harm to our planet, and more natural ingredients, so it just makes sense to make that change! However, it seems ‘cruelty-free’ brands may not be all that they seem… Let me walk you through my current skincare routine, and I’ll show you what I mean.
The first step in my skin-care routine is to use a cleansing balm to, well, cleanse my skin or remove my make-up (on the six days out of 365 that I actually wear it).
Of course, I am using my only holy grail product, and that is The Body Shop’s Camomile Cleansing Butter. I will recommend this product ‘til the day I die! It’s the only cleanser I’ve found that gets off all the grime, including waterproof mascara (and as a glasses and contact lens wearer, you know I use the immovable stuff). The balm is also great for sensitive skin, which I tend to get around my period.
Yes, this product is a favourite item of mine, so I’m just going to come out and say it – The Body Shop is my favourite skincare brand. It’s affordable, and has got a product for anyone and anything. The best bit? TBS’s whole shtick is that they are cruelty-free! No animal testing at all here. Also, all of their products are vegetarian, and over 50% of their products are vegan – including this balm.
My next step is the double cleanse with a water-based cleanser. Whilst wildly popular now, the double cleanse technique originated in Asia in the fourteenth century and has been used ever since.
If the first cleansing step gets rid of the grime, the second step actually cleanses your face. Currently, I’m using Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser. And do you know what? I. Am. So. Annoyed. It’s a damn good cleanser. It’s wonderful for dry skin and the added hyaluronic acid is just *chefs kiss*. It even says on their website that they don’t test on animals! That should mean they are cruelty-free, right? Wrong. In order to sell skincare products directly in mainland China, products have to be tested on animals. So as a brand, Cerave do not test products on animals themselves, but by selling in China, they allow their products to be tested on animals. Many other brands are able to sell their products in China without testing on animals as they simply sell online! Why can’t Cerave do the same?
However much I love this product, I think it’s time I looked for a different water-based cleanser.
My third step is a braaaand new one for me! I’ve finally dipped into the world of exfoliating, and am currently using Kate Sommerville’s Exfolikate.
It’s a mix of a chemical and physical exfoliator and works to get rid of old, dead skin cells. I only use it once a week, thanks to my sensitive tendencies (I’m on about my skin here, not my being, which is of course overwhelmingly sensitive). Rub it in, keep it on for two minutes, enjoy the tingles, wash it off. Easy peesy. The downside? How is this tiiiiiiiny bottle so expensive?! £21 for this bottle, and £74 for a full bottle! However, once I’ve used up this miniscule product, I’m going to be a skincare sucker and buy it again. I guess, sometimes the price truly is worth it. It also helps that as a brand, Kate Sommerville is completely cruelty-free, across the world!
Step four is to use a toner. Whilst I’ve been using a toner for a good eight years now, I have been so slow on the uptake on giving Pixi’s Glow Tonic a go.
I am a child of the YouTube generation, and every vlogger, blogger, videomaker, and their mum seems to have been in love with this product since it came out. Considering my skin tends to be on the dry and flaky side (very sexy, I know) and this product boasts its use of glycolic acid, I thought I’d take the plunge. Cor, it’s a good product. I can feel it get to work on my skin, I can feel the gentle exfoliation getting to work. Plus, it really does brighten the complexion. Pixi is an all around good brand for someone looking to get into cruelty-free skincare. No testing on animals, they don’t sell in China, and this particular product is vegan!
Ooh I always feel so boujee when I use essences or serums. Who is she? Step 5 is all about using those serums.
The Bi-Phase Lotion goes on straight after the toner to lock in all of that moisture, and provides a wonderful base for my moisturizer. It’s with The Ordinary’s products that things get real exciting (yes, I am aware I am talking about skincare and not a book or a movie – I just find it interesting, okay). I put the Caffeine Solution under my eyes to help remove any puffiness and work on my dark circles – I look like a Tim Burton character on the best of days. Then I pop some Marine Hyaluronics onto my hand, and dab it aaaaall over my face. Hyaluronic Acid is good for people with dry skin, so I am really trying to fight that winter dryness. Just like The Body Shop, The Ordinary are cruelty-free, don’t sell in China, and these two particular products are vegan!
And then comes the final step. Moisturiser! By this point, I am normally done with touching my face and spending an age rubbing oils into my face, so it’s a welcome last step. Depending on what time of day I am doing my skincare, depends on what moisturiser I use.
If I remember to do my skincare routine in the morning (or is that ‘if I’m not too lazy to do my skincare routine in the morning’?), I’ll use The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Moisture Lotion SPF 15. Yes, this is the last The Body Shop product, I swear. Originally, I picked it up for my 2019 trip to Florida, as I loved the fact it had SPF built into the formula and I burn easily. But it’s become a staple in my life, and I have no reason to try anything else at the moment because I love it!
Then, we have the PM moisturiser. It’s a tiiiiiiiny little pot, for a BIG price; it’s Fresh’s Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream. Those pesky YouTubers are at it again – it’s their fault I’ve given this a go. To me, this is luxury in a pot. It smells divine and sinks into the skin beautifully. Plus, Fresh is all about natural ingredients and celebrates it’s eco-friendly approach to being a brand. So, it’s such a shame that they sell in mainland China. All that talk of being eco-conscious and good for you and the planet seems rather flat. However, Fresh does state on their website that they “…are deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing”. So, fingers crossed they change it up soon as the brand ethos is promising.
So, that’s my current cruelty-free skincare routine! Hopefully the mistakes I’ve made in trusting brands will help you not fall into the same pot holes, if you are trying to go completely cruelty-free. Do let me know if you have any ideas of what I can swap out my Cerave and Fresh products for, and let me know what your favourite skincare products are!