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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  • Free-range is little more than a marketing scam, designed to make us feel good about the products that we buy. Because if we feel good about what we’re buying, we’ll buy it again and again.⁠
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⭐️ Do A Little Light Reading! ⭐️⁠
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Food shopping as a vegan can be really easy and no fuss, but to get to that happy place you need to remember something: knowledge equals power. ⁠
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Being familiar with key non-vegan ingredients that pop up frequently, can speed up your shop immensely. Lactose can sneak into creamy products, egg white pops up in some Quorn foods, for example. ⁠
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You also need to be familiar with what you CAN eat. Many supermarket chains have a special range of vegan food now so you can completely skip the label-checking for those – think Tesco with Wicked Kitchen. Check their websites, do some research and you’ll be ready to quickly spot that packaging in the aisles and snap up those goodies. ⁠
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If there’s a certain food you can’t live without, make sure you know which aisle it’s in and what it looks like before you visit – nobody likes returning to the same aisle 3 times. I love buying tahini to make sauces, but it took me a long time to find it hidden obscurely between the pickles.⁠
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Don’t expect to get everything right on your first shop either. If you go home with something you later realise isn’t vegan, don’t beat yourself up about it. Take it back, give it to a friend or donate it to a food bank. You’ll remember for next time!⁠
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  • I have to admit, I'm not much of a baker. I'd much rather make savoury meals.⁠
Luckily, I have an amazing mum who is! She makes and sends me recipes for cakes and bakes, that are easy enough even for me to have a go at.⁠
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A basic vanilla sponge cake pleases everyone. It's the perfect starting point for a birthday cake, or with added icing, whipped cream or sprinkles.⁠
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Ingredients:⁠
210 g plain flour⁠
250 ml soy milk⁠
200 g sugar (white or coconut)⁠
80 ml oil (olive or vegetable)⁠
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda⁠
0.5 tsp table salt⁠
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar⁠
3 tsp vanilla extract⁠
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Instructions:⁠
⭐️Warm the oven to 180oC.⁠
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⭐️Add the mixture to a greased cake tin (7in diameter works well).⁠
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