Happy Monday everyone! The holiday season is upon us and some of us will be buying gift baskets and what better way to shop than to be informed of how those products are made. Thankfully our returning guest blogger Rachael, author of Saving the World One Bite At A Time has contributed a post about cosmetics. Please see her previous posts: her trip to Traverse City, a recipe for Enchillasagna with Cauliricotta, and the wildly popular post about Vegan Nutrition 101. Join Rachael on her blog and Twitter account. Welcome back Rachael!
Keeping up with the Vegan Month of Food
has created a lot of dirty dishes, so I’m taking a break from the kitchen to talk about something very important: Cosmetics.
Keep reading, guys – I’m not just talking about mascara and lipstick! Have you ever examined the label on your shampoo or face wash or shaving cream? We tend to think more about what goes into our stomachs than what goes onto our skin, but both become part of our bodies. Just what exactly are all those unpronounceable ingredients? Are any of those strange substances animal by-products? What methods did the manufacturer use to determine their product is safe?
Vegans spend a lot of time reading ingredients. Sometimes it takes five or ten minutes to find a
that doesn’t have beeswax. (One Green Planet has a great list of vegan lip balms
.) When you read the label on a vegan-friendly product that says things like, “No animal ingredients or testing; always paraben-free,” it leads one to surmise that things like parabens must be rather nasty. And then you start googling…
Horrifying, a bit? Body lotion with the same ingredients as oven cleaner?!? (Pass the rubber gloves…) The info is from 2009, but run into your bathroom anyway and chuck anything with parabens, pthalates, etc. Prevention is worth $$$ of cure. The next question is, exactly how are these potentially carcinogenic compounds tested for human hazard?
They say every girl has her beauty secrets. Cosmetics companies have their secrets, too, and one fact often glossed over is the inhumane practice of testing beauty products on animals. Unfortunately, animal testing is a sad reality. The ugly truth is that thousands of caged animals suffer every day from harsh chemicals that are dripped into their eyes, down their throats and rubbed on shaved patches of skin – all in the name of beauty.
The good news is, you can help put a stop to it! In June this year, Urban Decay
announced their intention to begin selling their products in China, where animal testing is still mandatory. Compassionate consumers spoke out, and Urban Decay reversed
“We’ve decided not to start selling Urban Decay products in China because we did not feel we could comply with current regulations in China and remain true to our core principles.”
- Wende Zomir, Urban Decay Cofounder
Your wallet has more power than you think. But where to find animal- and people-friendly body and beauty products? Your local health food store or co-op is a good place to start; many posh suburban groceries stock an aisle of “eco” beauty products, usually next to some yoga gear. You can find cruelty-free cosmetics at chains like Sephora, just do a little online research on first – for example, Urban Decay
marks all their vegan products with a purple paw print, so you can pick out the colors you want at home…or at work (while on your break, of course).
The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) has certified over 400 cruelty-free companies, with more added every day. They created the Leaping Bunny logo and an app for iPhone and Android so when you’re out shopping, you have all the info at your fingertips. If your phone’s not so smart, PETA has a download-able .pdf list, or just check the product label for the leaping bunny logo!
I came across a contest at Ecotools to win an exclusive Alicia Silverstone train case, so I uploaded a photo of the contents of my makeup bag to enter:
…and I decided I’d share a list of my favorite products with you, because these secrets don’t hurt anyone.
- Red Apple Lipstick – Vegan, Gluten-Free, amazingly rich and hydrating. I like it better than lip balm! Red Apple feels so good going on; the first time I applied it, I knew I’d never go back to those horrible, dry, waxy lipsticks I used to wear. Red Apple is luscious! I love the colors, too; mine are “Sunkissed” and “Rebel.” The slight scent in the Sunkissed summer shade reminds me of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls I played with when I was little.
- Bare Minerals Original SPF15 Foundation by Bare Escentuals Not all of their products are vegan, but this powder foundation is pure minerals – mica and iron and zinc. Nothing weird. Just ground-up rocks. They even make a shade light enough for my fairest winter skin.
- Synthetic Full Size Kabuki Brush Because I don’t particularly want to rub the hair of dead goats on my face. Goats are cute.
- MyChelle Deep Repair Cream Unscented Organic, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Because I’m paranoid of getting wrinkles and because my skin requires extra hydration in the winter. Plus, this stuff has kombucha!
- I’m waiting on my Beauty Without Cruelty mascara. It’s one of my birthday presents and should arrive any day.
Not all pictured (will update tomorrow) but recommended:
- Chandrika Soap - I really like the way it smells. It’s green. It’s Ayurvedic. It’s been made of plants for 72 years. Awesome.
- Kiss My Face Moisture Shave - Kiss My Face is on the Leaping Bunny list. Gear likes this shave cream on his face, and I like to kiss his face after he shaves, so aptly named.
- Giovanni Eco-Chic Hair Care – Organic, vegan, Leaping Bunny certified. I like the Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and the Smooth as Silk conditioner, as well as the Direct Leave-in Conditioner on really staticky days. I have long, fine, straight hair; the direct leave-in is great for preventing tangles and taming flyaways. Gear likes the Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor for repairing sun damage.
- Beautiful Curls Curl Enhancing Shea Butter Shampoo - (and Conditioner) – Fair Trade, vegan, no animal testing, no mineral oils. Gear likes this kind because it helps untangle and gets out all the grit after a day of constructing. He also occasionally uses the Curl Defining Gel and Curl Defining Tonic, and I have to say, he has gorgeous hair.
- Earth Science Apricot Gentle Face Scrub - Never tested on animals, most of Earth Science’s products are vegan. I have very sensitive skin, and this face wash is gentle enough for daily use.
That’s enough product endorsement for one day. I’ll leave the rest up to you. Please buy cruelty-free cosmetics, and while you’re online, sign the pledge at Cruelty-Free International
and tell the world you won’t support animal testing.
- Exfoliants made from plant ingredients don’t have any of the minuscule plastic beads that get washed down the drain into the ocean and eaten by tiny sea creatures that mistake them for food and then they die and the whales starve. Apricot shells save whales.
- On razors – I recently found out that the “moisture strip” on most disposable razors is made of animal fat, which is out of the question. Old-fashioned straight razors (there’s something really sexy about a shaving brush on a man’s sink) are ok, obviously, along with electric. I might try out the Personna Tri-Flexxx cruelty-free razor from The Vegan Store but I’m going with ye olde safety razor for now.