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Over the past couple of months, I have been making the transition to a vegan lifestyle. Though I decided to go vegan primarily for health reasons, I’ve also realized that I care as much about what I put on my body as what I put in it. In other words, I’ve started to think about what goes into making the product I’m about to use. While much of my focus has been on food and dietary needs (food hauls, what I eat in a day, and recipes coming soon!), I have been reflecting on the products I use every day and their impact.
I went through all of the products that I use on a regular basis and read their ingredients list and animal testing policies. I was shocked at what I discovered. Most of the products I was using without second thought contained animal derived ingredients or promoted animal testing. Today I decided to search for vegan alternatives and start the process of switching both what I eat and what I use every day.
Cruelty-Free vs Vegan: What’s the Difference?
When looking at common household products, there are two terms that often come up. The first is cruelty-free. These products do not use or endorse animal testing of any kind throughout their creation processes. However, these products may contain animal-derived ingredients. Vegan products are cruelty-free and don’t contain animal-derived ingredients. It is important to understand what type of product you are looking for from the start, and both are great alternatives to common products that endorse testing and animal ingredients. I began the search for vegan products, as I am trying to shift away from anything that contains animal ingredients.
One of the concerns many people have about vegan products is their cost. As I was browsing my local store, I noticed that “regular” products were almost just as expensive, if not more expensive, than vegan ones. I’m someone who loves to save money whenever possible, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of the products I selected weren’t any more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts.
During my first year of college, I relied heavily on the Clean & Clear Sensitive Skin facial cleanser ($4.97). It was relatively cheap and lasted for a very long time. Once I read the ingredients, however, I realized that there was an abundance of harsh chemicals. I have always had sensitive skin that is quick to react to cleansers with loads of artificial chemicals, dyes, and fragrances.
As I walked along the shelves of facial cleansers, the only vegan product I was able to find is the Simple Foaming Cleanser ($5.97, only $1 more expensive than the Clean & Clear). Though Simple is made by Unilever (which has tested on animals), it doesn’t use animal-derived ingredients or animal testing of its products. This cleanser is free of parabens, sulfates, harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. It is gentle on the skin, and does not contain environmentally damaging microbeads. After using it once, I already love it. My skin already feels much more hydrated!
As someone who has veneers (porcelain covers) on four of my teeth, I am always searching for toothpastes that are both gentle and whitening. I was previously using Crest 3D White Radiant Mint ($4.88), but I knew that there were many intense chemicals in the formula despite it being “enamel safe”. Today I stumbled upon a brand that I have never heard of called Hello.
I purchased the Hello Supermint Fouride Toothpaste ($4.23, cheaper than Crest 3D White!), and am loving it already. It has no dyes, artifical sweeteners, or preservatives and polishes and brightens with natural ingredients. This toothpaste is completely vegan (and advertised as such), as well as BPA free and made in the USA. This toothpaste also doesn’t contain microbeads, making it safer for water supplies and gums. The Supermint flavor tastes amazing as well, which is a huge plus! 🙂
Recently I have become quite frustrated with cream body washes. I found it difficult to use a loofah in college as it always retained water and got moldy (super gross), so I was always wasting soap as it slipped out of my hands. I was using the Tone Argan Oil Body Wash ($2.92), which had loads of artifical dyes (it was gold and shimmery!) and fragrances. I have decided to return to bar soap, which has been a great decision. Though it does occasionally slip out of my hands, I don’t feel as though I am wasting product. The soap I have chosen is the Yardley London Oatmeal & Almond Bath Bar ($0.97!). This soap is amazing. It has all natural ingredients (no harsh chemicals or dyes), doesn’t use animal testing or ingredients, and doesn’t feel scratchy like other natural bar soaps.
This past year, I finally found a mascara that didn’t clump or run down my face. This was the Maybelline Lash Sensational in Black Pearl ($6.25). While I loved the product, Maybelline does occasionally use animal testing and ingredients in their cosmetics. Though they claim that their parent company (L’Oreal) no longer tests on animals, they allow exceptions to this rule for other regulations. In other words, animal testing still occurs when reports of rash or infection arise.
I decided to try the E.L.F. Studio Mineral Infused mascara ($3.00, $3.25 cheaper than Lash Sensational) as an alternative. I love it! It doesn’t clump, and gives my lashes a very natural but defined look. It is affordable and has a great wand and simple packaging. I highly recommend it!
I love shimmery eyeshadows, but prefer a neutral everyday look. I have been using the NYX Prismatic eyeshadows ($6 each) due to their color payoff and shimmer. While NYX is cruelty-free, many of their products contain animal-derived ingredients thus making them non-vegan.
I picked up the E.L.F. Studio Baked Eyeshadow Trio in Peach Please ($4.00) as an alternative. The shimmer is outstanding, and the color payoff is comparable to that of the prismatic eyeshadows. They are very neutral colors, and all come in one container. They are blendable and buildable, especially with an eyeshadow primer underneath.
I took a swatch of the shadows for you to see how they appear on the skin. I have an olive skin tone, and they still show up with vibrant color payoff. They are very blendable, and can be used to create many different looks.
Though they are all contained in the same packaging, I haven’t experienced blending of any kind between the colors. They stay very separated, and the product fallout is minimal. I highly recommend this trio to anyone looking for a vegan alternative!
And that concludes my first vegan lifestyle haul! I’m still looking to replace other items (I tend to do this in waves of products), so I’m always looking for recommendations. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see more of these haul posts, and feel free to ask any questions that you might have! 🙂
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