Nota bene: The following post does contain a couple affiliate links. By shopping from these links, you are helping to support this blog and this girl. Thank you!
Sloughing off the dead skin of winter. Springing forward. Being kind to your body and the world you live in.
These natural exfoliants are on my radar. Some of these are safe to use on your face, and some are meant to be used elsewhere. Remember that the skin on your face is more sensitive! Use any exfoliating product with caution.
LUSH’s Ocean Salt is one of all time favorite body scrubs. It contains avocado, coconut and sea salt, and smells of lime and grapefruit. It punches me in the face with happiness every time I use it.
Life’s a Beach is LUSH’s newest exfoliating product. 100% of the purchase price will be donated to organizations that protect our waterways from microbead pollution.
Konjac sponges can be used with your usual facial cleanser, or on their own with warm water. The two pictured above feature the added benefits of charcoal (l) and French pink clay (r).
Related: DIY Sugar Lip Scrub
My favorite soft gray polish has definitely, sadly, officially met the end of its life. Because this bottle was at least five years old. I am mourning its loss by window shopping. Not really shopping, because I’m an adult and I know I have to pay for actually important things like school and food, but dreaming and clicking nonetheless. I consider gray a perfectly appropriate color for spring and summer. I know other folks are busting out their cream pastels and brights (and neons, auuuugh) right now, but I’ve never really liked the way those colors look on my nails. I love that gray is a safe neutral alternative, and it’s way to soften up my look in the warmer weather. I don’t always have painted (or wrapped) nails, but I have a tendency to reach for black polish 70% of the time I do manage to adorn them. I do have some great light neutrals in my collection, but damn, I don’t know, there’s just something about gray. I learned a lot about gray during my short stint as an art student. Maybe that’s the reason. Honestly, gray is my favorite color.
The polishes shown here run the gambit from almost-white to dark slate, and I love them all. Zoya’s Dove is my dying, dead, and must be replaced polish. It’s a good one for the price.
These polishes are all vegan-friendly and 5 free, at least at the time of this post. Dreaming and clicking.
I recently got a somewhat frantic text message from a friend about wanting to switch all her cosmetics over to cruelty free brands. Let’s talk about it, without photos of tortured animals, because there are as many reasons to make the switch as there are people wanting to make it.
A “cruelty free” label might mean different things to different people. My personal checklist, in relative order of importance:
- brand, parent brand does not test on animals (finished product or ingredients)
- brand, parent brand does not sell in countries that require animal testing
- high ratio of recognizable and/or natural ingredients
- no animal ingredients (I’m not vegan, so I am okay with honey and soaps/etc. with goat’s milk, but I stay away from animal-derived dyes and colorants)
- free of preservatives, parabens, etc.
- eco-friendly packaging, etc.
- Fair Trade or made in the US
Decide what’s important to you. If all you’re worried about is animal testing, then focus on that.
Numbers 1 and 2 can mean doing a little more digging about parent brands, because sometimes labels aren’t 100% accurate, and policies/companies can change overnight. Generally speaking, I try to support brands that come right out and say that they are vegan and/or cruelty free. It means I can that much lazier. I talked about it a little bit in this post, but it’s getting easier to find cruelty free products on a budget. There’s no reason to be intimidated about the cost of switching over. You don’t necessarily need to go through all your stuff and throw everything out. Make the transition a little easier on your wallet. Replace your old products as you finish them, or find a friend who can get some use from them. You’ve already spent the money, no need to let it go to waste.
Let yourself be flexible. If there’s a product I love (a luxury product, or something I use regularly and am 100% happy with), I purchase it. My Venus five-blade razor comes to mind. It’s not made of recyclable material, and I’m pretty sure the moisturizing strips contain all kinds of garbage, but it’s the best razor I’ve ever used. I don’t use the disposable version, and I do my best to make the cartridges last a long time. So do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up. If someone were to hand me an alternative that fit my requirements and was comparable, I would switch in a heartbeat, but until that day comes I’m happy with my choice!
You should familiarize yourself with animal ingredients and the names of commonly used chemicals. This list is a good place to start, but provides no explanations. Some can be found here. Learn where these ingredients come from, how they’re manufactured, and what they do. Basically, understand what you’re reading when you read a product label. Not all chemicals with complicated names are bad for you and bad for the planet. Some are. Sometimes preservatives are necessary, and sometimes they’re not. Products without preservatives may not last as long. It’s a lot of stuff to to understand while shopping.
Keep in mind that “certified organic” and “certified cruelty free” labels cost money. Keep an eye out for small or local companies that you can support that may not be able to afford the label! Also, just because a product is labeled as “natural” doesn’t make it cruelty free. Many companies have a “natural” product line (which may or may not be tested on animals), but still participate in animal testing. Again, decide what’s most important to you, and shop based on that. Be prepared to compromise.
And please, if it applies, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re a hypocrite for wanting cruelty free products while still eating meat (or dairy products, or whatever). I’ve gotten that before (no joke), and it seems to me, to quote Hank Hill, “just asinine.” Spending money on cruelty free products lets companies know that more people want these options. I call that a win for humans and critters alike. Besides, your diet is none of anyone’s business if you don’t want it to be. Heck, your shopping habits aren’t either. Don’t sweat it. Let your choices come from a positive place. Other people can be jerks if they want to be.
If you want to get to know some animal-friendly brands without making a huge commitment to a single product, check out the following curated subscription boxes:
- Vegan Cuts Beauty Box $19.95/month with free shipping, 4-7 products (full sized and samples)
- Petit Vour $15/month with free shipping, 4-5 products (full sized and samples)
Neither of these companies are affiliated with this website, but I highly recommend both. Vegan Cuts is perfect if you’re just starting on your cruelty free journey, and Petit Vour is such a treat to receive every month.
If you consider yourself a product junkie, have no fear! Going cruelty free will not cut you off. This is coming from a girl with a 45+ bottle nail polish collection.
Websites and brands to explore:
- Abe’s Market (affiliate link): You can browse beauty and bath & body products based on the qualities most important to you! Use the “featured qualities” and “certifications” drop downs on the side bar. Each individual product page will also list qualities and certifications. Some of my favorites (affiliate links):
- My Konjac Sponge charcoal face sponge
- Schmidt’s lavender and sage deodorant
- Antonym Cosmetics eyeshadow quad in “croisette”
- Karma Naturals lavender nail polish remover (reviewed here!)
- Vegan Cuts: Check out the body care and lifestyle sections, in particular.
- Nail Polish Brands I Love
- Julep (affiliate link): New customers get $10 off first purchase of $30 or more
- Spa Ritual
- Jamberry nail wraps
- Other Favorite Brands ♥
- Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs perfume
- EcoTools brushes
- Hurraw! lip balm (reviewed here and here!)
- Lily Lolo
- Other Resources, Blogs
Please share your favorites in the comments!
Dry, chapped lips need some love. Sometimes we forget that exfoliating is important. You can make a beautiful lip scrub with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
You will need:
- 1 part raw honey (not pictured)
- 1 part granulated sugar (or brown sugar, or raw sugar)
- 1 part jojoba, olive, or sweet almond oil (or you can use a combination)
- drop of vitamin E oil
- essential oils of your choice (optional)
Amounts will be dependent on the size of container you use, but the ratios should stay about the same. This isn’t an exact science. Feel free to use more oil or honey based on your needs or preferences! The amounts of essential oils you use, and if you use them, is up to you. Be sure to use only oils that are safe for consumption, because you are putting this on your mouth. Read all labels. Just a few basic options:
- lavender – healing
- lemon – antiseptic, brightening
- orange – antiseptic, boosts immunity
- peppermint – increases blood circulation, antiseptic, improves skin’s texture
Those are four oils that I really think everyone should keep on hand; they are super useful for day-to-day household use and for skincare. If you are interested in learning more about using essential oils, please contact me or leave an comment. I’d be more than happy to send you in the right direction. I primarily use Young Living, but there are a lot of options out there.
I made this tiny batch for a friend, and I used an equal amount of jojoba and sweet almond oil. Coconut oil will also work, but this particular friend has a coconut allergy (which is the saddest thing ever), so I opted for other oils. For my essential oils, I used a few drops of orange and one drop of vetiver. Vetiver speeds up healing and has antiseptic properties; when used in aromatherapy, it helps to calm anxiety. Vetiver oil is thick, and a little goes a long way. Pipettes are a pretty good investment if you plan on doing a lot of fine-tuned measurements with your essential oils.
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and transfer to your container. Simple!
To use your lip scrub, apply a small amount and rub into lips for 30 seconds to a minute. Allow to sit on lips for a couple minutes, then wipe off with a warm, damp washcloth. Apply lip balm of choice.
Store product in its sealed container in a cool, dark place. The honey and the vitamin e will help extend the shelf life, but keep an eye on it. I recommend making small batches as needed.
This is super easy to make vegan; just omit the honey and use raw/turbinado sugar!
These days, a kinder sort of cosmetics shopping can be done close-to-home, and it doesn’t need to completely empty your pockets. More companies are taking the junk out of their products and cutting down on environmental impact by using less packaging, or recyclable alternatives. Hooray!
While I do enjoy a little luxury from time to time (because who doesn’t), I generally tend to stick to the basics. If I can’t make them myself, I need most of my everyday products to be readily available and relatively inexpensive. These are some of my favorites, both old and new, that can be found at most drug and grocery stores (or big box locations like Target and Walmart) here in the states!
1. I love Organix shampoos and hair styling products and have been using them for years. My pixie cut currently only requires infrequent shampooing (no conditioner), and this biotin shampoo is ideal for adding volume. I like the neutral scent on this one; it means Tj can use it, too. The tea tree mint is another dude-friendly scent. These products are sulfate-free and the company does not test on animals. Vegans should read individual bottle labels. These are a little more expensive than some drugstore brands, but if you’re using shampoo at all, I think Organix is a nice compromise between salon and oldschool-hippie.
2. I am late to the EOS game, but I now have a couple pods floating around the house. You can purchase these at WalMart for $2.96. EOS balms and are 100% all natural and USDA certified organic. They are also paraben-free, petrolatum-free, phthalate-free (and gluten-free, if that’s your thing). I like sweet mint best. Pictured above is pomegranate raspberry.
3. I’ve been using Burt’s Bees lemon cuticle balm since high school. It’s a huge savior in the cold weather, especially. This will run you around $6, but it lasts a while.
4. e.l.f. proudly sports a vegan label, and the company has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to testing on animals. All of their products are hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so they’re safe for sensitive skin. Also awesome? The cost. I paid $2 for the eye shadow quad pictured above, which is a nice selection of shimmery neutrals. As someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, this is great because it means I can experiment freely, but in the very likely event that I don’t finish up a product before its expiration date, it’s not a huge loss. These beauties are so inexpensive because e.l.f. doesn’t spend money on ads or fancy packaging!
5. This is my everyday face wash. Yes to products are incredibly gentle, free of petroleum and parabens, and do not test on animals. Note to vegans: read individual product labels. The cleansing facial wipes are handy for travel.
6. I currently have a couple higher end (though not by much) mascaras, but Physician’s Formula is my less expensive go-to. The Natural Origins is less than $10 (half the cost of my favorite Tarte mascara), and it’s free of all synthetics. Tip: add a drop of lavender oil to your mascara tube to help nourish your lashes! Physician’s Formula is 100% cruelty-free, but vegans should read labels on individual products.
7. I love Mrs. Meyer’s everything, but the liquid hand soaps are an essential. They do make solid bars, too, if you want something with less packaging. These are made in the US and all products are paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.
Share your favorite drugstore products in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by. My name is Naomi, and this space is made of girldust. This blog is a picture of my comfortably scattered life on the coast of Maine. I'm trying to be a slightly better version of myself every day. I like old houses, reading, the ocean, ghost stories, and museums. You can learn a little bit more about me here.