25 March 2015

Whole Foods Beauty Bag + My Favorite Brands

This past week, Whole Foods highlighted their beauty department with various events that culminated with the availability of a beauty bag! Not being one to pass up samples-that-I-paid-for-but-convinced-myself-they’re-free kinda deal, I thought I’d check out what the bag had in store. Since the bags were supposed to be available on Saturday only, it doesn’t make sense to talk a lot about the bag itself, but I thought I would share some of my own Favorite Beauty Brands that are available at Whole Foods…at least my local Whole Foods! I’m sure there is some variation from store to store, but I feel these brands are pretty universal. All beauty products sold at Whole Foods are cruelty free (though not necessarily vegan) and are free from over 50 questionable common ingredients. So, if you’re browsing the aisles of Whole Foods and decide to do some ethical and good-for-you beauty shopping, here are some of my favorite brands worth checking out (plus a peak into the Beauty Bag at the end)! J

17 March 2015

Pacifica HAUL - Fragrances, Diffusers & Nail Polishes

I don't usually do hauls on the blog, but I figured since I recently ordered and received these items from Pacifica, I would share some mini reviews. I am always curious to get others' opinions about how these fragrances smell, but rarely find much info about them online. Though there is a small selection available at Target and Ulta, I don't see many of the scents in stores. Since I can now smell a few more for myself, I thought I'd share my thoughts. Let’s dive in to the gorgeous box that contained (almost) everything and get to sniffing! J

13 March 2015

Top 10 Cruelty Free Makeup Under $10 - #BlogForBunnies and @HSIGlobal's #BeCrueltyFree Week

Well, so far for #BeCrueltyFree Week I’ve shared my own story, given you some tips if considering the switch, shared some favorites, as dumped out my virtual make up bag for all to see. Today, in the spirit of all thing cruelty free and all things affordable, I’m going to share my Top 10 Cruelty Free Makeup Items Under $10! That’s right. Going cruelty free doesn’t need to break the bank. There are many affordable options available both online and, as you’ll see, even as close as your local drugstores!

12 March 2015

Current Cruelty Free Makeup Bag - #BlogForBunnies Day 4 of #BeCrueltyFree Week

Continuing right along with the Humane Society International’s #BeCrueltyFreeWeek and the #BlogForBunnies campaign, today we’re going to peer into my Cruelty Free Makeup Bag (ok, I don’t actually keep this in a bag, but you get the idea)! I know I shared some of my favorites in the last post (found here), but my current most reached for items do not consist solely of those products…nor does it contain all of those products! J Some of the items are old standbys, while some I’ve only recently been testing out. Be assured, they definitely are all cruelty free! I hope you will raise your own voice and sign HSI’s Be Cruelty Free Pledge (found here). Done? Great! Now let’s dump out my (imaginary) makeup bag! J

11 March 2015

Cruelty Free Favorites - #BlogForBunnies During #BeCrueltyFree Week

Continuing on with my #BlogForBunnies marathon for #BeCrueltyFree Week, I thought I would share some of my All-Time Favorite Cruelty Free Products today! I’m sticking mainly to makeup. I’m not going to do reviews…that would make for a really lengthy post, especially from me! I do have a tendency to fall in and out of love with things, but these items have stood the test of time and, even if I’m not currently using them with regularity, I would be perfectly happy had I never strayed. I wouldn’t necessarily call everything here a “holy grail” kind of product, but they are definitely products that I go back to frequently, if not use daily. As usual, any relevant posts related to these items will be linked as well. So, let’s get down to business and dish on some cruelty free favs, shall we? J

10 March 2015

How To Go Cruelty Free - #BlogForBunnies during #BeCrueltyFree Week!

If you saw yesterday's post, then you'll know that March 9 -15 is the Humane Society International's #BeCrueltyFree Week and I am participating in their #BlogForBunnies campaign! Looks like I have enough posts devoted to various cruelty free topics that I will be posting every day this week!!! Today, I'm giving my tips and suggestions for becoming a Cruelty Free Consumer

So you’ve taken the plunge, signed the Pledge, and decided to go cruelty free. What now? How exactly does one become a cruelty free consumer? There is not just one way to be cruelty free. What one person considers cruelty free may not be the same for the next person. That means that you, as a new (or existing) bunny-friendly buyer must decide what cruelty free means for you. This is a decision that each individual must make for him/herself. I can tell you my own opinion, but I can guarantee that someone will consider my stance is not cruelty free enough. So, before you even consider what brands to ban or buy, you must decide what cruelty free means to you…and keep in mind that this is kind of a boiled-down-to-basics approach.

The first aspect of cosmetics testing to consider is probably your stance on China’s current policy. Chinese law (this does not include Hong Kong where the laws differ) currently allows that any imported cosmetics may be tested on animals. Therefore, any cosmetics that are not made in China have a high likelihood of being tested on animals at some point. The actual cosmetics company may not be testing on animals, but by selling in China, they are consenting to animal testing. For most cruelty free consumers, any brand that sells in China is not considered cruelty free. I’m not going to tell you how to feel because any step is better than nothing, but I will say that personally, I do not consider brands that sell in China to be cruelty free.

You’ve settled your feelings about China’s current laws, so what else needs to be considered? Probably one of the most contentious decisions in the cruelty free community is whether or not a parent company tests on animals/sells in China. A great example of this would be a brand like NARS or Burt’s Bees. NARS is a brand that does not engage in animal testing, but the company is owned by Shiseido, which does. The same is true of Burt’s Bees – they don’t test, but are owned by the animal testing Clorox. Perhaps most famously, Urban Decay (one of the first real “mainstream” cruelty free advocates) was purchased by L’Oreal, a huge testing offender, but Urban Decay has retained their original animal-friendly policies (there’s more to the Urban Decay story, but it is no longer a relevant issue so we won’t discuss it here). Many, many companies fall into this category and it seems each day there is a new merger that puts yet another formerly independent company into the “parent company tests” category. For me, I believe that it is important to support any company that is making an effort to avoid animal testing; the parent company is essentially a separate entity that operates, in most cases, independently and their actions are not something that I consider to taint an otherwise cruelty free company. Just remember that many people disagree with this position, so you really need to decide how you and only you feel about the matter.

Really the only remaining issues relate to the ingredients and the suppliers. First there is the decision to buy only vegan, or products completely free of any and all animal ingredients, including by-products. I feel like the choice to buy vegan or not is usually a relatively obvious one for most people, but there are nuances to that as well. I personally do not insist on vegan cosmetics. Though I try to avoid animal by-products, it is not a deal breaker for me. You may feel differently though and it is up to you just how far you take that belief…Carmine is usually the stickler here. Carmine is a dye that is derived from a beetle and is (quite grossly) common in many red and pink items…think lipsticks. Yup, you’re probably eating crushed up bugs when you apply that beautiful red lip color! Many vegans will not buy products with carmine, while some choose to kind of ignore it. I will warn you that it can be quite a challenge to find carmine-free products, but that should not heavily influence your conclusion.

Sticking in the same vein, the ingredient supplier can effect both vegan and non-vegan cruelty free buyers. Some cosmetics companies may not test on animals, but they sneakily hire outside suppliers that may test on animals. Some insist that the ingredients used for their products not be tested on animals, while some will only buy ingredients from suppliers that never test on animals. It’s a rather grey area, at least in terms of getting a straight answer from many companies. It’s an issue that not a lot of people ask about, but will probably influence your choices to an extent. I certainly try to ensure that brands I buy from do not use ingredients tested on animals, but I do find it very difficult to verify this kind of information. Again, it’s personal preference how in depth you want to dig regarding suppliers and there is definitely some question as to how many answers…and how accurate…you will receive.

I feel like I’ve been preaching, which I’m not trying to do; I’m just trying to provide some basic things to consider when aiming to be a cruelty free consumer. I know this all sounds quite time consuming and potentially difficult. I’m not going to lie. It can be. By the same token, there are a number of trusted resources out there that do a lot of research for you. Try the Leaping Bunny website and App, which provide a fantastic and reliable list of companies that do and don’t test around the globe. For blogs, the gold standard for vegan cosmetics companies, as well as tons of reviews and other vegan lifestyle posts, would have to be Logical Harmony. For general cruelty free excellence, try My Beauty Bunny for lists, reviews and general cruelty free living posts.

There are tons of cruelty free blogs out there and most bloggers have gone to the “trouble” of spelling out their criteria somewhere on their websites (mine can be found here).  If you stumble across a blog and have a question, contact them. Most bloggers are more than happy to answer your questions if they are able. Scour a brand’s website and social media pages. Do Google searches. Email companies…repeatedly if necessary. Contact companies via social media. Pick up the phone and try to get a hold of an actual person…shocking idea, I know! J Even more unthinkable…try snail mail!!! Basically just be persistent. You will get answers from plenty of companies and there will be plenty that meet your personal cruelty free criteria. Information is your friend. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make mistakes and even to change your mind once in a while. Becoming a cruelty free consumer, whatever that means to you, is a process and no one expects you to get everything 100% right all of the time, especially right out of the shoot. We all make mistakes, but we learn from them, move on and, if we’re feeling generous, share the information! Together we can make a difference and end animal testing on cosmetics once and for all!

Thanks so much for stopping by and joining #BloggingForBunnies and HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign. Please feel free to leave your tips, tricks and advice for going cruelty free in the comments. The more ideas, the better! J

For more information, check out HSI’s website
Their Facebook page can be found here
You can find the Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty Free Pledge here
Check out the Leaping Bunny here
To keep up with the blogs & videos posted during #BeCrueltyFree week and to find fantastic cruelty free blogs, check out #BlogForBunnies and #BeCrueltyFree on social media

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