I’m often asked why I adopted a cruelty-free lifestyle, and to be honest, I often just want to say, “Why not?” I love animals too much to keep one as a pet and misuse another by eating it or skinning it for a bag. It’s that simple for me. Many people already have “meatless Mondays”, wear faux leather or buy cruelty-free makeup without realizing it—making a 100% switch is often easier than you think! That said, I understand that it can seem like a daunting prospect, and I get a lot of questions about what I eat, wear and use on a day to day basis. I’ve tried to answer some of them here, but if there’s anything else you’re curious about, feel free to leave me a comment or e-mail me: writergirl.m@gmail.com.

Where do you get your protein?

This is one of the oldest (and most oft-repeated) questions I hear, but it’s understandable if you can’t imagine a meal without meat. There are so many tasty ready-to-heat meat substitutes on the market for hamburgers, fish, chicken nuggets, and more. I also love cooking with quinoa, beans, tofu, tempeh, and nuts or nut butters, which are all high in protein. Seitan is a popular wheat-based alternative “meat” if you’re sensitive to soy. If you’re one of those folks who’s on the go a lot and doesn’t have time to cook (raises hand), vegan protein powders can easily be mixed in a blender with your favorite ingredients—you won’t even miss the smoothie shop.

Will adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet make me lose weight?

Maybe. Tofu is obviously lower in calories and fat than a hamburger, and meals based around veggies and lean proteins tend to help you slim down, so lots of people assume all vegans are skinny—but if you’re chowing down on delicious vegan desserts after every salad-based meal, then the scale won’t budge. (And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that!) I’m not a diet coach but I don’t recommend going vegan just to lose weight—there’s a lot of meal planning involved to make sure you’re getting adequate vitamins and nutrients from your meals, and you won’t necessarily drop a lot of weight, so switching for this reason can just leave you frustrated (and possibly malnourished). With that said, slashing meat and dairy from my diet has done a lot to keep the scale down, and there are a lot of obvious health benefits to switching to dairy-free and meat-free alternatives, so it’s definitely worth researching.

Is it hard to balance veg options with IIFYM and clean eating?

Not at all! The initial stage of meal planning and figuring out what you can or can’t eat can seem daunting, but you’ll quickly realize that filling your macros with veg-friendly items is no different than “normal”. I use the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my food intake and macros. And while I do try to mostly eat clean, I try to follow an 80/20 rule—eighty percent clean, and twenty percent treats like tofu tacos or candy. Life is about balance!

Is it hard to eat on the go?

Yes—I’m not gonna lie!—though it’s getting better as time goes on and meatless options becomes more mainstream. Restaurants are not always veg-friendly, so if you’re traveling to a new city, I recommend using an app like Happy Cow to find veg-friendly eateries and shops near you. And I’ve found that it never hurts to ask a restaurant if they can make a dish without meat or dairy in it—many are happy to help you out. I love packing Clif bars in my bag, too, since they travel well even in heat and are filling, and I’ve found that more mainstream stores like Walmart are expanding their veg-friendly offerings, stocking vegan yogurt, meatless microwave dinners, and other hotel-room-friendly items.

Can you recommend any resources for a newbie vegan?

Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s cookbooks, particularly Vegan With a Vengeance, take the mystery out of vegan cooking (even for newbies), and she has even more recipes and vegan goodness at The Post Punk Kitchen. Some other great websites to check out are Forks Over Knives, Thug KitchenLogical Harmony and Vegan Miam.

What makes a clothing item vegan?

Vegans avoid wearing fur, leather, suede, silk, feathers, snakeskin, and wool—anything sourced from an animal. It used to be really hard to find quality vegan leather goods, but some brands/shops are doing a great job of offering non-icky alternatives: Target, H&M, Lulu’s, and ModCloth are some of my faves. Here’s a big list of stores and sites I love for vegan-friendly clothing, accessories, beauty, and more.

What does “cruelty-free beauty” mean, anyway?

Unfortunately, there are no regulations for the use of this term, so when a company says that their products are “cruelty-free”, it could mean almost anything! Many consumers also mistakenly assume that a product marked “cruelty-free” is free of animal ingredients, but that isn’t always the case. Here are a few different labels you may see on a product or retailer website, and what they mean:

  • The finished product was not tested on animals. This doesn’t mean that individual ingredients were not tested on animals, or that the product contains no animal-derived ingredients.
  • “We do not test our products or ingredients on animals”—however, the products may still contain animal ingredients like beeswax, honey, carmine, or lanolin.
  • 100% vegetarian. This means that the finished product and ingredients alike were not tested on animals and the product contains no ingredients obtained by harming the animal. This includes ingredients like carmine, made from crushed beetle shells, which is used for pink and red dyes in many beauty products; or lanolin (sheep grease), which is a by-product of the wool industry. Vegetarian products may still contain ingredients like beeswax or honey, which can be obtained without killing the animal in question.
  • Vegan. The product was not tested on animals in any way and contains no animal-derived ingredients of any kind. This is because vegans do not believe in using any type of animal ingredients, even if the animal is not technically harmed in the collection process. Urban Decay is one cosmetic company pushing forward with vegan makeup and denotes vegan offerings with a purple paw print on their website. Other companies might use a “V” or a “vegan” label.
  • The Leaping Bunny logo (at right) denotes that the company is 100% cruelty-free through all stages of testing and is regularly audited for compliance by the folks at the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics This logo is considered the gold standard for cruelty-free products, but it doesn’t mean that a product is vegan, so you’ll still want to check the ingredients.

There’s a lot of debate about what exactly “cruelty-free” should refer to and what constitutes a truly conscience-friendly buy. Some people are okay buying from a cruelty-free company even if their parent company still tests; others are okay with any measure of cruelty-free, even if only on the finished product; others want to buy products that are strictly vegan. I personally choose to stick to vegan products, however, I realize that everyone will have a different opinion on the matter, and I also realize that there are some brands out there that offer amazing vegan products alongside non-vegan ones.

Accordingly, I’ve compiled a cruelty-free brand list below that includes both types of companies. I hope you’ll use this list as a starting point for your own cruelty-free beauty journey.

Cruelty-free brands

I’ve sorted this list according to product type (hair care, skin care) and have tried to stick to affordable brands that are available through drugstores, mass merchandisers, online sites, and beauty stores like ULTA. I try to update this list every month or whenever I’m made aware of a change in status for a company.

My personal preference is for vegan products. There are lots of companies out there that offer a mix of vegan and non-vegan items, and you’ll want to read the labels to determine which ones are vegan-friendly. For convenience, those companies that are 100% vegan are denoted with a V. A heart symbol ♥ indicates that a company is Leaping Bunny certified as 100% cruelty-free throughout all stages of testing. Where possible I’ve also noted brands that are owned by companies who still test on animals.

Finally, a G indicates that a company focuses on using natural or “green” ingredients and packaging, and mostly steers clear of nasty chemicals (though you should still read the labels on individual products to be sure they meet your personal standards, as some green products may still contain trace amount of preservatives).

This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you think I’ve missed a great company or have a question about a company on the list, feel free to contact me!

 

Body care–bar soap, body wash, scrubs, and bath salts; hand and foot care; lotions, oils and body butter

 

  • Acure   ♥ G V
  • Alba Botanica   ♥ G
  • Avalon Organics   ♥ G
  • Badger   ♥ G
  • Bath and Body Works
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Bodyceuticals  G
  • Boots
  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Desert Essence   ♥ G
  • Dr. Bronner’s   ♥ G
  • Dr. Teal’s
  • Ecotools
  • EOS
  • Giovanni    ♥ G V
  • Gud from Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Jason   ♥ G
  • Julep
  • Kirk’s Naturals   ♥ G V
  • Kiss My Face   ♥ G
  • LUSH   G V
  • MOOM Organics
  • Nads
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Organix
  • Pacifica   ♥ G V
  • Pure Silk
  • Queen Helene   ♥ G V
  • Steamcream   V
  • Tom’s of Maine   ♥   (owned by Colgate-Palmolive)
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Tree Hut
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • The Village Company

 

Deodorant

 

  • Alba Botanica
  • Crystal Deodorant  ♥ G
  • Desert Essence  ♥ G
  • Jason   ♥ G
  • Kiss My Face   ♥ G
  • LUSH   G V
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Queen Helene   ♥ G
  • Tom’s of Maine   ♥   (owned by Colgate-Palmolive)

 

Shaving and waxing

 

  • Alba Botanica   ♥ G
  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Desert Essence   ♥ G
  • EOS
  • Jason   ♥ G
  • Kiss My Face   ♥ G
  • LUSH   G V
  • MOOM Organics
  • Nads
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Pure Silk
  • Queen Helene   ♥ G V
  • Tom’s of Maine   ♥   (owned by Colgate-Palmolive)

 

Sun care–sunscreen; after-sun items; sunless tanning products

 

  • Acure  ♥ G V
  • Alba Botanica   ♥ G
  • Badger  ♥ G
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Beautisol  ♥ V
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Boots
  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Coola
  • Desert Essence ♥ G
  • Hawaiian Tropic
  • Jason   ♥ G
  • Kiss My Face   ♥ G
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Ocean Potion

 

Toothpaste

 

  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Desert Essence   ♥ G
  • Hello    ♥ V
  • Jason   ♥ G
  • Kiss My Face   ♥ G
  • LUSH   G V
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Tea Tree Therapy  G V
  • Therabreath  (non-fluoride products only, fluoride products are still tested)
  • Tom’s of Maine   ♥   (owned by Colgate-Palmolive)

 

Face care–cleansers and scrubs; serums and moisturizers; anti-aging products; anti-acne treatments

 

  • 7th Heaven (formerly Montagne Jeunesse)   ♥ G
  • Acure   ♥ G V
  • Alba Botanica   ♥ G
  • Andalou Naturals  ♥ G
  • Avalon Organics   ♥ G
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Badger  ♥ G V
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Boots
  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Coola
  • Desert Essence   ♥ G   Also offers many gluten-free products!
  • Freeman  ♥
  • Giovanni   ♥ G V
  • Jason  ♥ G
  • Juice Beauty  ♥ G
  • Julep
  • Lumene
  • Montagne Jeunesse  ♥ G
  • Murad
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Nuance
  • Oxy
  • Physicians Formula
  • Seventh Generation  ♥ G V
  • Vita-K (Freeman)

 

Lip balms–many of these lip balms use vegetarian ingredients, but I’ve denoted the 100% vegan options with a “V”.

 

  • Alba Botanica   ♥ G
  • Avalon Organics   ♥ G
  • Badger   ♥ G
  • Bath and Body Works
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Carmex
  • Crazy Rumors  G V
  • Desert Essence   ♥ G
  • Dr. Bronner’s   ♥ G
  • EOS
  • Giovanni   ♥ G
  • Hurraw!  ♥ G V
  • Julep
  • Kiss My Face   ♥ G
  • LUSH  G V
  • Queen Helene  ♥
  • Soft Lips

 

Hair care–shampoo and conditioner; styling aids; treatments

 

  • 7th Heaven (formerly Montagne Jeunesse)   ♥ G
  • Acure   ♥ G V
  • Alba Botanica  ♥ G
  • Andalou Naturals   ♥ G
  • Avalon Organics   ♥ G
  • Badger   ♥ G
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Batiste   V
  • Beauty Defender
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Burt’s Bees   ♥   (owned by Clorox)
  • Desert Essence   ♥ G
  • Dr. Bronner’s   ♥ G
  • Freeman   ♥
  • Giovanni   ♥ G V
  • Jason   ♥ G
  • Kiss My Face  ♥ G
  • LUSH   G V
  • Nature’s Gate   ♥ G V
  • Number 4   V
  • Organix
  • Paul Mitchell   ♥ V
  • Queen Helene   ♥
  • Renpure
  • Wen  ♥

 

Hair color

 

  • Aubrey Organics  ♥
  • Daniel Fields (UK)
  • EcoColors
  • Herbatint
  • Jerome Russell (non-traditional colors and demi-permanent brunette dyes)
  • Logona (henna-based)
  • LUSH (henna)
  • Manic Panic (non-traditional colors)
  • Paul Mitchell (salons)
  • Robert Craig
  • Special Effects (non-traditional colors)
  • Splat (non-traditional colors)
  • Stargazer (non-traditional colors)
  • Tints of Nature

 

Color cosmetics

 

  • Arbonne  V
  • Bare Escentuals / Bare Minerals (owned by Shiseido)
  • Bite Beauty  ♥
  • Black Radiance
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Bonne Bell
  • Boots
  • Butter London
  • Cargo
  • Crown Brush (super-soft vegan makeup brushes)  V
  • Ecotools (cosmetic brushes)  G V
  • E.L.F.
  • Flower by Drew Barrymore (exclusive to Walmart stores)
  • Hard Candy (exclusive to Walmart stores)
  • Ilia  ♥ G  Also gluten-free!
  • Jane (exclusive to Ulta stores)
  • Jane Iredale    ♥
  • Jesse’s Girl
  • Jordana
  • Julep
  • LA Colors
  • LUSH   G V
  • Milani  Updated 6/19/14: There has been a lot of mixed information flying around concerning Milani’s cruelty-free status, but they have finally confirmed that they are indeed cruelty-free and seeking PETA certification.
  • NYX  (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics   V
  • Pacifica  G V
  • Physicians Formula  G
  • Pixi
  • Prestige
  • Real Purity  G
  • Red Apple Lipstick  G  Also gluten-free!
  • Sonia Kashuk
  • Sugarpill
  • Tarte
  • The All Natural Face  G V
  • Too Faced
  • Urban Decay   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Wet n Wild

 

Fragrance

 

  • A Perfume Organic  G V
  • Bath and Body Works
  • The Body Shop   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Bohemian Naturals   G V
  • Flower by Drew Barrymore (exclusive to Walmart stores)
  • Le Labo  V
  • Pacifica   G V
  • Victoria’s Secret

 

Nail polish and nail care–most of these brands are three-free and some are four-free or even five-free, meaning they lack the toxic chemicals of traditional polishes. While nail polishes are not typically noted as “vegan”, more brands are choosing to shun using animal ingredients like carmine entirely in their lacquers and I have noted those brands with a “V”. For others, some polishes may be vegan and others not depending on the shade, with red shades containing carmine, so you’ll want to check the labels.

  • A.Dorn  V
  • Barry M (UK)
  • Beauty Without Cruelty  V
  • Butter London  V
  • China Glaze
  • Color Club
  • Cult Nails
  • E.L.F.
  • Flower by Drew Barrymore (exclusive to Walmart stores)
  • Hard Candy (exclusive to Walmart stores)
  • Illamasqua
  • Jesse’s Girl
  • Julep
  • L.A. Colors Color Craze
  • LVX  V
  • Milani
  • Nail Aid   ♥
  • Nails Inc (UK)
  • NCLA  V
  • Obessessive Compulsive Cosmetics  V
  • Orly
  • Piggy Paint  V
  • Pixi
  • Priti NYC  ♥ G V
  • Sonia Kashuk
  • Scotch Naturals  G V
  • So Susan
  • Tweets Cosmetics
  • Urban Decay   ♥   (owned by L’Oreal)
  • Wet n Wild
  • Zoya  G V

2 Comments on Go cruelty-free

  1. thank you for this informative post, it sure is daunting considering going vegan.
    Hopefully it will be commodity soon enough to make it easier for when you are on the go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *