When I was on my lunch break yesterday I was accosted by a group of people sporting rabbit ears and super-cute face paint, accompanied by someone in a full bunny mascot suit. They were a team from the Body Shop gathering signatures for their Forever Against Animal Testing campaign. Apparently if they get 8 million signatures, the Body Shop and Cruelty Free International will be able to ban animal testing for cosmetics forever. Even if you eat meat or aren't passionate about animal rights, I'm sure we can all agree that animals don't deserve to suffer for our vanity or products we can do without. A global ban on animal testing would be incredible, so if you're inclined or see a team of bunnies in a town near you, please take a few minutes to sign the petition.
After reading up about this, I was inspired to share some recommendations for the cruelty-free products I use here. I'm not going to focus on make-up (for the curious - some of my favourites brands are Urban Decay, Charlotte Tilbury & Glossier) because there's an impressive range of cruelty free beauty available and hundreds of beauty-bloggers, so it's easy to make conscientious decisions. When I started transitioning to products that aren't tested on animals, alongside make-up reviews I found a lot of recommendations for U.S products, but struggled to find suggestions for affordable essentials like toothpaste, shampoo and cleaning products that can be purchased over here. Sure, bathroom cleaner isn't as exciting as bronzer, but it's necessary!
Here's what I've purchased recently and whether or not it's worth buying:
Soft & Gentle Antiperspirant | Apart from roll-ons which I find uncomfortable or natural deodorants which I don't trust to get me through a full working day and a trip to the gym, Soft & Gentle is the only cruelty-free deodorant brand I've found so far. These antiperspirants don't leave marks on my clothes, last all day and keep me feeling fresh. I don't rate either the two scents I've tried, the Wild Rose & Vanilla (far too perfumed) or the Jasmine & Coco Milk (the better of the two), but they don't linger after application so that's incidental. I'll stick with this brand, and plan to try their 0% aluminium range next.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Gradual Tanning Lotion | I've purchased this product in the past but I picked up the Palmer's Natural Bronze Gradual Tanning Lotion on a whim the other day and was pleasantly surprised to find a statement against animal testing on the back. This lotion smells delicious and leaves you bronzed after just one application, good for days when you want a glow!
Shower Gel | Much like make-up, it's not tricky to find a great cruelty-free shower gel. Original Source products have always been a permanent fixture in our shower (I love the Mint & Tea Tree Shower Gel) and at the moment we're using the Green Banana and Bamboo Shower Milk which smells great and leaves your skin really soft. We're also big fans of the Treacle Moon Bath and Shower Gel in One Ginger Morning, despite the twee packaging. If you're looking for a place to start with products that aren't tested on animals, both these brands are affordable and the products last a long time.
Anatomicals Face Masks | I recently picked up some Anatomicals face masks in 'Look You've Got Chocolate All Over Your Face' and 'Hawaii Five-Glow'. These are reasonably priced at £1.50 and soothing on the skin... would buy again.
Method Hand Wash | There's only so much you can say about hand soap, but I highly recommend the Method Foaming Hand Washes. We've currently got Pink Pomelo and Green Tea & Aloe (which smells like spa/hotel toiletries) on the go and because they're foaming they last for ages. Method also offer refill pouches for some of their products, including their hand wash (although they only seem to have one scent available at the moment), which is great if you're trying to reduce your plastic consumption.
Cleaning Products | If you aren't already bored of me waffling on about deodorant and soaps, brace yourself, I'm about to talk about cleaning. A lot of people are aware of animal testing in the cosmetic industry, but might not have given any thought to the brands behind their household products. Method offer a good cruelty-free cleaning range. So far we've tried their Anti-Bacterial Spray in Wild Rhubarb (which smells so good!), the Kitchen Cleaner in Clementine and the Daily Shower Cleaner. The brand Ecover have products from dish washer tablets to Limescale Remover that are certified by Cruelty Free International. As a more affordable alternative, Tesco have a suprisingly wide range of own-brand cleaning products that are not tested on animals. I recently picked up their Window & Glass Cleaner Spray and Bathroom Cleaner. I haven't been disappointed by any of these products, they all do the jobs they're supposed to and are guilt-free.
Kingfisher Natural Toothpaste | Kingfisher's Natural Toothpaste in Mint was my first foray into cruelty-free toothpaste and... it's just OK. It doesn't lather much whilst brushing, nor does it have a particularly strong 'mint' flavour. After a few minutes of cleaning your teeth it's pretty much tasteless. In the past, my preference was for super minty, whitening toothpastes and without a lingering flavour or much foam this product just doesn't leave my mouth feeling as clean as others I've used in the past. It does the job but I'll look for an alternative once it's used up.
Kind Natured Shampoo | Much like the toothpaste, the main downfall of the Kind Natured Colour Care Shampoo is that doesn't lather enough, which doesn't leave my hair feeling cleansed. I've seen some other haircare brands that aren't tested on animals, so I won't repurchase this!
I'll end this post by saying I'd really encourage anyone to try to and swap some of their products for cruelty-free alternatives. Perhaps this is an odd comparison but when Sean first started eating gluten-free five years ago there weren't many product options available. It's been really interesting for us both to see an ever-increasing range of higher quality items available and I'm sure it's down to the increasing awareness of gluten-free diets. I believe in voting with your wallet and we often try new gluten-free products to support the companies making them. Attitudes towards animal rights are changing, not just in the food we eat but in the fashion & cosmetic industries too. When I picked up the Anatomicals face masks they were on a whole stand highlighting different cruelty-free brands in Boots. In another example, last year Gucci announced they were going fur-free and Donatella Versace vowed that the Versace brand will stop using real fur just this week. It's really remarkable for such influential brands to take this kind of stand. I'd hope that the more people put their hard-earned cash towards bunny-friendly products, more brands will pledge to end animal testing.
I'll keep sharing my recommendations here... let me know if you have any!