Vegan Toiletries

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Worried about buying something tested on animals?

Nobody likes the idea that their toiletries were tested on animals. Not only are these animals subjected to horrific

vegan cruelty-free soap in bathroom

Photo by Kristina Balić

experiments and long-term pain, they are kept in confined spaces with no company, no stimulation and ultimately killed when they are no longer useful. It’s a terrible life to have to endure – just for shampoo and beauty products.

By buying vegan and cruelty-free items, we show there is a demand for these products, driving up production and in the long-term, reducing animal cruelty.

But how do you know if something is vegan AND cruelty-free? 

With toiletries and health products, not everything that’s cruelty-free is vegan. Confused? Companies can be sneaky. For example, a shampoo label could state ‘not tested on animals’ but if it contains honey or milk, it’s not vegan-friendly, ONLY cruelty-free.

It’s not as tricky as you might think to find vegan, animal-friendly products. Now, the easiest thing to do is to look for vegan and cruelty-free labelling. In the UK, the Vegan Society’s trademark on a product will tell you that you’re all good to buy. This internationally-recognised symbol shows that a product does not contain animal products and has not been tested on animals. This is what it looks like:

Vegan society cruelty free trademark logo

Vegan Society trademark

If you can’t see a clear vegan, cruelty-free label, don’t worry. It COULD still be vegan. If you’re at a shop and have a smartphone to hand, simply google ‘is PRODUCT NAME vegan’. You’d be surprised how many people have asked the same question. Just ensure any answers you find are up-to-date, as ingredients can change.

There are also smartphone apps available. Is It Vegan and Vegan Pocket are anybody’s best friend. You can simply scan the item’s barcode and either app will tell you if it’s vegan-friendly. Cruelty Cutter is a similar app, and as an added bonus it will suggest alternative cruelty-free products for you. There are many similar apps out there, so go and explore!

You’ll soon recognise which popular companies fund testing on animals (hello, Clinique), so you can simply skip over them on the shelf. That narrows down your choice somewhat too – you can head straight to brands you think may be ok to buy. If you buy a product regularly, be sure to give it a quick check every time you buy it, as occasionally product ingredients can change. Both Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, openly admit to testing on animals, so you can avoid those. They are also ‘parent companies’ to other brands (so for example, Unilever owns Dove) so be sure to check the back of the packaging for their logos.vegan toiletries in bathroom

Another really great way of finding vegan toiletries is… go and visit your nearest vegan shop! Not only are you supporting a local and ethical business, but you also know that anything in that store is fine to buy. No reading labels! I usually visit mine once per month and stock up on what I need. You can find one nearby by simply searching Google or Facebook for ‘vegan shop near LOCATION’, but if you’re stuck, feel free to get in touch and I can help you out.

If all else fails and you find a product you’d love to use, you can contact the company to ask if the product is vegan and cruelty-free. Companies tend to get back to you more quickly on Twitter than an email. This is obviously a lengthier process, so not something you would want to do for every product, but perhaps one you’re really stuck with / want to buy. Make sure you share it with us if you do find out any information!

Our favourite high street brands in the UK:

  • Superdrug – the rare product is not vegan, so just double check.
  • Original Source.
  • Lush – all cruelty-free, most vegan – staff are really helpful.
  • L’Occitane – all cruelty-free, the occasional product contains bee products such as beeswax).
  • Bulldog Skincare – all of their men’s products are suitable for vegans at the time of writing.
  • Co-operative – all own brand products are cruelty -free, and vegan items are clearly labelled.
  • Faith in Nature – a little pricey but SO GOOD! Find it in Holland and Barrett.
  • Neal’s Yard – all cruelty-free, and vegan items are clearly labelled.

The key thing to remember is: don’t stress yourself out. Finding replacements for toiletries you love can take time. You might buy something tested on animals accidentally. You’ll probably try something out that doesn’t work for your skin. Keep going and learning. Just like vegan food, it’s a gradual process that gets easier the more you do it.

What are your favourite vegan products? Let us know!

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  • I love connecting with people and getting results for them. It's such a good feeling to watch new vegans hit their goals!⁠
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I'm a huge advocate for coaching. When I decided to eat more healthily, I hired a plant-based coach and embarked on a group program. It changed my mindset, habits, and explained everything in such a simple way. I fully committed to it and HIT my own goals - 28lb weight loss, improved mental health, less tiredness... the list goes on!⁠
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  • ⭐️ Keeping Organised as a New Vegan ⭐️⁠
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As a meat-eater, it was probably easy to get by without thinking about meals in advance. You could grab a snack from wherever, or grab takeout on the way home. But thinking in advance helps us all out. It means we eat more healthy, save money on random snacks and meals, and can do some time-saving meal prep in advance!⁠
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⭐️ Consider where you will be for the next few days at mealtimes, and plan accordingly. Factor drinks and snacks in too – I always have an extra something stashed in my bag, just in case I’m out later than usual! ⁠
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⭐️ If you’re somewhere new, looking up restaurants online beforehand can help. Check out Tripadvisor – just enter ‘vegan-friendly (TOWN)’ in their search bar, and you should easily find where the plant-based people are going. Then you can narrow the options right down to your path of driving or walking. HappyCow Vegan Guide is also a great website that pinpoints vegan options near to you. It’s available as an app and will show you vegan stores and cafes too.⁠
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⭐️ If you’re just looking to grab and go, see where popular chains are such as Pret A Manger and M&S Food. Most towns, airports and service stations have at least one vegan-friendly chain. In fact, in 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation. So you can get familiar favourites wherever you are! ⁠
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⭐️ You can also personally ask for recommendations on Facebook groups. Local vegans are always happy to point you in the right direction, so that you don’t go hungry. If you’re too impatient to wait for responses, try the search function to see if anybody has asked a similar question in the group recently.⁠
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What do you do to stay organised when you're out and about?⁠
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  • Want to show people how delicious vegan food is?⁠
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I remember going vegan and thinking I'd never be able to have cake or baked goods, because they had to have eggs in.⁠
Wrong again! Since then, I've discovered vegan meringues, brownies and all kinds of other goodies.⁠
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I like to make these cookies! They're actually one of the first vegan desserts I made, which of course means they're very easy to do.⁠
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They are perfect for school bakes, having guests over, or special occasions. ⁠
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TOP TIP: Leave them in for a few extra minutes if you prefer them crunchy on the outside.⁠
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Ingredients:⁠
120 g vegan butter⁠
100 g white sugar⁠
100 g brown sugar⁠
120 g plain flour⁠
1 tsp vanilla extract⁠
50 g cocoa powder⁠
1 tsp baking soda⁠
1 tbsp non-dairy milk⁠
1 Pinch salt⁠
100 g vegan chocolate chunks or chips⁠
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Instructions:⁠
1. Preheat oven to 180C.⁠
2. Add the butter, both sugars and vanilla to a bowl and mix thoroughly.⁠
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, then add baking soda and salt. Mix together.⁠
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix thoroughly.⁠
5. Add the chocolate and milk. Mix the dough – it should be sticky and thick.⁠
6. Roll the dough into small individual balls and put on a greased baking tray.⁠
7. Bake for 10 minutes until still soft in the middle. Take out of the oven and leave to firm up for 10 minutes.⁠
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Tell me...⁠
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Which do you usually prefer?⁠
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1. Starters⁠
OR⁠
2. Desserts⁠
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And let me know why! Leave a comment with your choice.⁠
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And for those worrying about changing habits, I completely understand. It is a daunting prospect – we all have busy lives and routines that we like following. But it is do-able and completely worth it! Take it from somebody who is out on the other side of change – ⁠
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You create a new normal. ⁠
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Once I fully realised the horrors of the dairy and egg industry, and associated health risks, I knew I had to do it. Now I have good habits and healthy routines, that don’t involve cruelty. I’ve found new dishes at the takeaway that I actually enjoy more. I’ve learned to make my own ‘egg’ foo yung at home, which is very satisfying, and healthier! I’ve discovered Vego chocolate bars (heaven) and gorgeous vegan lunches. Life is great!⁠
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As with getting rid of any habit, mindset is a huge player. Humans are emotional creatures! We make many decisions (especially in the moment) based on emotion rather than logic. If you’re not emotionally committed and prepared, the likelihood is that your new habit won’t last. We often adopt certain beliefs to justify keeping old habits. In the context of veganism, this could be “but I won’t get the nutrients I need” or “I can’t afford it”. ⁠
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What’s yours? It’s important to challenge these limiting beliefs. Are they REALLY true?⁠
Let’s replace those beliefs with new ones – “I’ll be saving lives” or “I’ll be helping the environment for my grandchildren”. Being vegan really is a positive lifestyle choice.⁠
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