Switching to Cruelty Free- 6 months Later

image via Samantha Gehrmann


In April of this year I made the decision to slowly switch my self care and beauty products out for those that are made by companies that maintain a cruelty free testing/research/production environment. This was certainly a big challenge. I focused a lot on my self care products like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant- mostly because I make my way through these products more quickly than any of my makeup. I have worked on my makeup, but I’ve really paired down my collection and don’t buy many things, other than the basics (like foundation and mascara) on a regular basis.

It’s been over six months since I’ve started making changes and I wanted to share some of my favourite new products, challenges I’ve had and some great online resources for those that have been toying with the idea of switching to cruelty free.

Shampoo and Conditioner: The first thing I wanted to switch was my shampoo and conditioner. I though this was going to be an easy feat, but it was not. After lots of hunting, smelling, review reading and searching my local stores, I finally settled on trying the Jāsön Restorative Biotin shampoo. Not only is this shampoo great for fine hair (with the addition of biotin) but it’s also SLS (sodium laurel sulphate, a sudsing agent), phthalate and paraben free. It’s cruelty free and is safe for colour treated hair.

I really like this shampoo for a few reasons, firstly, it’s a very thin, water-like consistency, so a little goes a long way. As a girl who washes her hair daily (you’re all cringing, I know) this shampoo leaves my hair clean while not stripping away every ounce of natural oil. My hair is soft, volumized and easily managed after using this shampoo. Note: my cousin also tried this shampoo on her thick, curly, coarse hair and it didn’t work for her, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to try this out! As for conditioners, I’ve struck out a few times. My hair is very picky when it comes to conditioners and the few that I’ve tried haven’t worked out for me. They were either too heavy, to light or left my hair with too much of a silicon feel. I’m continuing to look, but for now I’m back to an old (not cruelty free) favourite.

Body wash was an easy one. Method brand has amazing scents, is easily available and leaves my skin feeling moisturized!

Toothpaste was a miss. I’m a firm believer in fluoride toothpaste. This is a hot topic, as some people claim fluoride is toxic (and it is, which is why you don’t swallow toothpaste) but fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel and keep plaque at bay. Many companies that make cruelty free toothpaste also pride themselves on being “natural”, which in many cases means that they don’t include fluoride in their toothpastes. So this again, was a challenge. Lot’s of hunting lead me to the Tom’s of Maine Whole Care toothpaste. Which unfortunately did nothing for me. My mouth did not feel clean, no minty fresh feeling and sadly, my teeth were no longer staying white (I had been using a whitening toothpaste for years). I’m back to an old “favourite” from Crest, sadly.

Anti-perspirant was a hit, then a miss. You might have read this post, my rave review of the Tom’s Naturally Dry anti-perspirant. While this is a fantastic antiperspirant, the longer I used it, the harder it was to remove from my skin. Generally, I don’t need to scrub my underarms when showering, but this stuff stuck to my skin like crazy. Think about adding Vaseline to your underarms, leaving it there all day and then trying to remove it at night (or the next morning). It was almost like I was just layering thick oils under my arms day in and day out. I made the decision to move back to a non- cruelty free brand, but am still on the hunt!

As for makeup, Essence is my go-to for brows and liquid liner (seen here and here). I’m also a huge fan of the NYX Doll Eyes mascara. It is honestly one of the best mascaras I’ve used. It’s the perfect combination of everything I like in mascaras. It’s sweat proof, doesn’t flake and comes off easily with cleansers. As for foundations and color cosmetics, Tarte has been my go-to. Although Tarte is owned by a parent company, KOSE, who still tests on animals, Tarte and their products are not sold in mainland China, do not test on animals and are still able to label their products cruelty-free and even vegan in some cases. I’m a fan of much of the Tarte makeup, but have trouble justifying the price of some of it!

One issue that I’ve been struggling with is drugstore vs. high end products. There seems to be only a handful of “drugstore” companies that choose a cruelty free route for their makeup and other cosmetics- which is so disappointing. I like my high end makeup, but I don’t always have the cash flow to purchase a $50 foundation (that is just as good as its drugstore equivalent).

Another issue that I wanted to briefly mention: going cruelty free is EXPENSIVE. Choosing brands like Method, Jason, Toms and Tarte (in Canada, at least) means that you will be shelling out roughly double what you would on many of the big brand commercial products. While this is ok for some, choosing between the $0.97 Crest toothpaste and the $5.99 (never on sale) Tom’s toothpaste is just not a question that some can even consider.

I’d like to share my post from when I first started this journey and remind you that there is background information, links to resources and some of the first products I’ve tried, if you are interested in starting your own cruelty free journey. I’ve only skimmed the very top layer of cruelty free- I have so much more to learn, so many more products to switch, but I’m continuing my efforts!

I’d love to hear from you- are you cruelty free? Maybe you’re vegan and are cruelty free in your entire life- let me know!



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