1. Lip Balms
Where I live (here in Alberta), I spend a lot of time in the mountains and outdoors, and the weather can get quite dry. This is where a good lip balm becomes a necessity. However, the quest for an awesome balm can be a lot tougher than anticipated! I try very hard to support local businesses, but in my area I often end up disappointed when I find a balm contains beeswax, propolis, or even sometimes emu oil! I was so happy when I discovered Hurraw! Balm, a company operating out of the gorgeous mountain town of Whitefish, MT. Hurraw! produces lip balms and treatments that are 100% raw, fair trade, organic, and CCIC approved cruelty free (meaning all vegan ingredients, and no raw or finished ingredients tested on animals)!
This is an amazing company and I would highly recommend their product. The flavours I have tried are Root Beer, Vanilla, Chai Spice, SPF, Mint, and Coconut. All of these have been absolutely fantastic, providing a moisturizing lip balm that isn’t greasy or sticky. I have also converted non-vegan friends and family members to this product and they love it too!
Their product can be purchased on their website, where I have ordered numerous times. If you’re Canadian and looking to save on shipping a little, Nice Shoes (based in Vancouver) also carries their product and sells online!
Deodorant is another tricky product. While I choose not to support brands who to my knowledge perform animal testing, I know a lot of non-vegans who also struggle with anti-perspirants because of their aluminim content. Before I go on with my suggestion, I want to remind you of something. If you are making the switch from a typical anti-perspirant to a natural deodorant, it may be uncomfortable for a week or two. Anti-perspirants are designed to clog your glands and prevent you from sweating. Deodorants are not so inhibiting. I remember when I first made the switch, there were a couple days of uncomfortable sweating, because my body was still adjusting. After about a week or so later, I was totally fine. Years later, I find that I only have to apply my deodorant once a day, unless I engage myself in some more intensive activity such as cycling, or my hot yoga classes. The days that I forget to apply it, I notice that I really hardly sweat at all, because my body has adjusted quite well!
The first cruelty-free deodorant I ever tried, was Aromaco, from LUSH, a 100% vegetarian company, about 75% of their products being vegan. They do not believe in animal testing, and from personal company are a great company to work for! Their employees are well educated on topics such as product ingredients and sustainable sourcing.
I have since tried basically every other “natural” and vegan deodorant out there, and have found myself returning to LUSH for this aluminum-free, vegan magic. Things I like about Aromaco are:
-It doesn’t make me break out. My skin is quite sensitive, and I have found that other LUSH deodorants as well as other brands have been a little harsh for me in the past. I attribute this to the witch hazel and chamomile, which are two very soothing ingredients.
-KIND OF adore the hippie scent.
-For first timers switching from the traditional deodorant bars, the application is a little different, but its shape makes it an easy transition, and the minimal packaging makes me happy.
If you hate this one, other brands you can check out include Jason’s, Green Beaver, and Kiss my Face (which truthfully, I have not been able to get here. Calgary can be quite limited). Some of my vegan friends also use Tom’s products and the Body Shop’s aluminum free deodorants. However, some people have ethical qualms about these two, as Tom’s is now owned by Colgate-Palmolive. In the case of the Body Shop, Anita Roddick sold it to L’oreal a few years ago, who are the biggest animal testers in the beauty industry. While apparently there is a clause in the contract stating the Body Shop must remain free of animal testing, L’oreal’s transparency laws can be quite sketchy and I personally don’t trust them. This, however, is yours to decide.
I want to start out by saying, that currently, I am using the amazing soaps by Kiss my Face, and am also no stranger to the soaps of LUSH either. However, I have included the Dr. Bronner’s brand as well, because they are a favourite of a lot of my vegan and vegetarian pals. Their product line is totally vegan with the exception of their lip and body balms, which contain some beeswax. They area USDA certified and source fair trade ingredients. Their liquid soaps are very versatile, and my favourite is the peppermint from previous experience.
Now, seeing this listing of Dr. Bronner’s, some of you may wish to come and burn my house down because of the whole palm oil issue. Click on this link for some information pertaining to the organic, fair trade palm oil used by Dr. Bronner’s products. If you still can’t get behind this product, feel free to explore some of the aforementioned options. We all have our own personal opinions, and I think it’s important to appreciate all of the available sources we have to us!
4. Shampoo and Conditioner
I will start off by saying that my hair dresser has me using a different (vegan) shampoo and conditioner at the moment to try out, and I have agreed to this mostly because it is a delicious smelling plum and vanilla shampoo.
However, my default, readily accessible shampoo and conditioners are definitely my Desert Essence. I love this company. They use totally vegan ingredients, meaning absolutely no animal byproducts. Hell, when I read their ingredient lists, I can even pronounce most all of the words. None of their products or raw ingredients are tested on animals either. In their own words, Desert Essence extracts their ingredients “with environmentally sustainable, ecological, and responsible practices at all times.”
As I already mentioned, my favourite products are their shampoo and conditioners, I gravitate towards the coconut ones. Not only do I love the scent, but this is one of the only shampoos I have ever picked up at the natural market that has made a noticeable difference on my hair. It is moisturizing and leaves shine, without my hair feeling heavy or gross.
Some of Desert Essence’s products may contain Palm, so if you were following me on the Dr. Bronner’s tangent earlier, then make your decisions wisely. I do not believe that their shampoo and conditioners contain any, but in the past I have noticed it in their body washes and lotions.
Luckily, pretty well all of the brands I have mentioned so far also carry shampoos and so forth.
When I first went consciously vegan, my toothpaste was one of the first things I changed over. I remember growing up in a small town and not having a lot of access to cruelty free brands. I tried making my own toothpaste with baking soda and tea tree oil for awhile, which tasted horrible but worked for quite a while. I then discovered Tom’s, which I no longer use since they are now owned by Colgate-Palmolive. However, if this is not an issue for you, then it is great! There is also Jason’s!
My personal favourite, is by a Canadian company called Green Beaver, Canada’s largest eco-friendly, organic line of products such as toothpaste, shampoos, etc. I use their Frosty Mint toothpaste, though it comes in a variety of flavours if you are not a mint person. Star Anise, Orange, Green Apple, etc!
This product is vegan, gluten free, nut free, biodegradable, and good for kids!