The funny thing about writing blog posts is that they rarely turn out how you planned. From the initial concept, to creating it and then typing it up, all sorts of things can happen that will change the outcome.
When I first thought about setting this blog up about a year ago, this was one of the first posts I had in mind. Having been vegan for a couple of months it wasn’t really figuring out what to eat that was challenging, it was figuring out what make-up and toiletries I could buy.
I had a whole host of products that as they ran out I had to replace with cruelty-free alternatives. It all seemed a bit daunting! I was happy to shake up my diet and found it exciting to think of new recipes and discover different foods but I wasn’t that happy about changing my skin-care routine. I mean I had all these products that I’ve been told I NEED for healthy skin. I didn’t want to suddenly start changing them, what if my skin reacted and flared up?! What if, what it… change… argh!
One year on, I finally feel ready to write this blog post, although it is not quite the guide to vegan skin care I had initially envisaged. I have now completely changed my skin-care routine and I can honestly say I feel great about it!
What I’ve realised, funnily enough, is that I really don’t need all those products that glossy magazine are telling me are must haves! First of all I have stopped reading glossy magazines altogether. Once you remove unrealistic and unattainable “beauty” from your life, you really feel a lot better about yourself!
Secondly I realised that my skin has been evolving for millions of years, a bottle full of chemicals isn’t going to suddenly transform how my skin works. In fact all the exposure to synthetic “skin purifying” lotions is going to do is increase my chances of getting cancer.
Thirdly and finally I’ve realised how harmful and wasteful the cosmetics industry is, all the synthetics and chemicals are bad for your skin and bad for the environment. Animals suffer needlessly at the mercy of our of pursuit of beauty and landfills continue to fill up with the insane amounts of packaging. So why oh why am I a part of this ‘beauty’ system?
Over the course of a year I have just about managed to free myself from this system. I now barely wear any make-up and have significantly cut down on the amount of different products I use. So here is my guide to natural, ethical beauty that follows three simple rules.
Natural, vegan beauty
1. Natural ingredients (no parabens or nasty things)
2. Cruelty free (no testing on animals and no animal products)
3. Minimal / recyclable packaging
One of the main changes to my skin-care routine is that I no longer have use a face wash or cleanser. After battling with acne I realised that stripping my face of its natural oils certainly wasn’t helping things. Now I simply use hot water and a flannel to wash my face morning and night. I use apple cider vinegar as a toner to help control breakouts and around once a week I use my homemade face scrub.
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Mix together and rub gently over your face, rinse off with warm water, then finish by pressing a warm flannel over your face to remove the coconut oil. I use any leftovers as a foot scrub, why not!
My make-up bag is now pretty empty, I now mainly use just a little eye-shadow and mascara. Neal’s yard have a great range of organic, paraben free, vegan make-up. I also use a little foundation every now and then, unfortunately this Lush one does contain parabens but it is vegan and has a recyclable glass container, so 2 down, 1 to go there.
I have recently started using a solid deodorant from Lush. Having tried many aluminium, paraben-free deodorants over the years, finally, I can say I have found one that works! I use organic coconut oil as a make-up remover, simply rub is gently over your eye lashes then wash off with warm water. Turns out our skin is pretty good at taking care of itself if you keep hydrated and eat well but I occasionally use a little raw shea butter or coconut oil as a moisturiser. One ‘product’ I do still use is suncream, this one from Jason is vegan, oil-Free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and comes in recyclable packaging.
Bath & Shower
All these beauties come from Lush in nothing more than a paper bag. The soap, shampoo and conditioner are all solid bars, they contain no preservatives and are vegan!
Natural toothpaste and mouthwash are easy enough to find at your local health food shop. I really like the Kingfisher toothpastes although the tube isn’t recyclable so I’ve still got some work to do there. The Sarakan mouthwash is great and ticks all the natural, vegan and packaging boxes.
I may have set out on this journey to find like for like replacements for my mountain of products but what I discovered has been much better than I had envisaged. Not only are animals no longer suffering for my skincare routine but I have minimised the use of chemicals on my skin and subsequently on the environment and I am creating minimal waste.
The one, very important thing I have not mentioned is diet and the how that affects our skin, nails and hair. It is of course the most important thing of all and something I’m STILL working on. So in the meantime I’d strongly recommend watching Hungry for Change for inspiration.
Enjoy your natural, beautiful self!