Ever since one of besties introduced me to dry shampoo, I’ve been hooked.
I’ve tried them all – from the $3 brands up to the $20 brands. I have favorites and unfavorites. I love the major volume/texture it adds and how it absorbs the excess oil in between washes. Since my hair is long (elbow length), washing it everyday is just hot happening! Before you think I’m some dirty hippie girl, I’ll let you know that I do shower everyday because I work out, but I don’t think washing your hair every single day is healthy as it strips the natural oils that keep your hair nourished and shiny. After a few weeks, your scalp will naturally produce less oil with fewer washes which means you can get away with it. During this time and then in between washes, dry shampoo soaks up the excess oil and gives your hair some life again!
I will admit, the store bought dry shampoos work wonders and smell amazing, but for a few months now, I’ve been in the process of doing a major overhaul of my beauty collection. Same goes for cleaning and household products. Since going vegan, I’ve learned that this lifestyle is not only about food, it forces you to re-evaluate every product you buy! It’s not something we should have to think about, but nowadays it’s especially important.
There are numerous toxic chemicals added to literally every product around these days. From makeup to shampoo to body wash as well as lotions, hair products, cleaning products and everything in between. I learned so much about toxic ingredients from this book: The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You. I notice an increase in certain products containing less toxic chemicals, and more natural ingredients but many of these companies do testing on animals… So the ingredients may not be harmful to our health (although many of them still are), but in order to find out if these ingredients are harmful or not, they do numerous tests on animals… why?
That’s a whole different and very sad story. If you want to learn more, you can google or youtube “animal testing”. You would be surprised to hear the big name beauty/cleaning product companies who still do animal testing. It’s disturbing once you do some research. The big name parent companies who are responsible for all of the well-known brands use so many toxic chemicals that are dangerous for our health, especially if we are cleaning with them and using them daily. Aside from their participation in animal testing, these nasty chemicals and ingredients turn me away from using any of their products anyway!
Take Proctor and Gamble for example; huge company and they do animal testing. They own: Always, Aussie, Braun, Clairol, Crest, DDF, Downey, Febreeze, Fekkai, Gillette, Herbal Essences, Ivory, Mr. Clean, Natural Instincts, Olay, Old Spice, Pampers, Pantene, Puffs, Scope, Secret, Swiffer, Tide, and Vidal Sassoon.. just to name a few.
Johnson & Johnson. They own: Acuvue, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Johnsons, Listerine, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, ROC, Rogaine and Skin ID.
L’Oreal. They own: Garnier, Kerastase, Kiehl’s, Lancome, LaRoche Posay, Matrix Essentials, Maybelline, Redken, Vichy.
Some other well-known brands that still do animal testing are: Avon, Dove, Estée Lauder, MAC, Revlon, Suave, S.C. Johnson, Clorox, Glade, L’Occitane, La Mer, Lysol, Mary Kay, Origins, Ponds, Unilever, and Windex… and those are just a few!
Unfortunately, there are many more.
This can get tricky because some companies you like may not test on animals but their parent companies do… this is something we need to pay attention to and research on our own. No longer can I support any company that still uses rabbits, dogs, monkeys and rats to make sure our lotions or concealers are safe for our health. Why would I want to use a product on my body or in my house that could be potentially toxic and harmful anyway? No thank you!
This entire process has been eye-opening and has forced me to re-think about everything in our house! I’ve learned there are plenty of alternatives, safe ingredients and even DIY products that we can be happy about. Here are a few sites I use to look up all my products to see if they make the cut or not. They answered many of my questions too.
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database – Ranks your products from 0-10 – low to high hazard
There’s also lots of apps that are super helpful to have when you’re out shopping:
I’m girly and love anything beauty related! I think I’ve tried every brand and product out there. Now, I have to be especially careful and pay attention to what I put on my face and body. I don’t want to say my skin has become more sensitive since going vegan, because I don’t think that’s the case. I believe it’s because I’m in the process of removing all the built-up toxins from the inside out and cleansing my entire body. (For more info on that, see my ‘Vegan Starter Guide‘).
I talk about the overall “glow” my skin has taken on from the plant-based diet, but that wasn’t always the case. There was a point where my skin had to get worse in order to get better. I am very self-conscious about my skin and acne because it used to be horrible. I mean, horrible. Too many times, I would cry myself to sleep throughout my junior high and high school years.. praying that I could wake up with clear skin. I tried everything you could think of and most of them made my skin worse. I even went on Accutane which helped significantly, but not completely. I didn’t understand why I had been dealt with acne. When my acne was at it’s worst, I was dealing with low self-esteem and major confidence issues. I tried not to show it but deep down, I hated my skin and I felt embarrassed. I know so many girls can relate to this.
One of the reasons I went vegan was to try and cure my acne from the inside out with whole foods from nature. This lifestyle has worked wonders, it’s improving every single day, but it has taken time. When your body is removing toxins, many of them are excreted through your skin and I noticed that was happening within the first couple months of going vegan. While I hated that part, I loved knowing that soon, I could have the skin I have always wanted, just by eating a plant based diet. I have really cut down on the amount of products I use for my skin because topical treatments can only do so much for acne and aging and what not, it really comes down to what you consume. Real, whole foods are healing, anti-aging, cleansing and can bring you soft, smooth and new skin!
As far as dry shampoo goes, I’ve learned that the dry shampoo spray which I have loved for so long.. is really not so good for my health after all. Breathing in all those chemicals like propane, butane and aluminum can be highly hazardous on top of spraying them on your delicate scalp — ahh! It’ so damaging and can dry out your hair which leads to breakage and dullness.
So what’s a girl to do?!
Why make her own, of course.
I love DIY products now, but used to cringe at the thought of them. I had some doubts that they wouldn’t work as well as the chemical laden products out there today.. but they actually do work well! Plus you can save lots of moolah too. The store-bought dry shampoos can really add up after a while. You spray it a couple times on your hair and its gone after like, 3 uses. There’s $20 down the drain.
So to save you from chemicals and draining your moolah, I’m sharing a DIY dry shampoo & favorite vegan beauty products. The dry shampoo is a powder recipe; infused with lavender essential oil (or your favorite essential oil). It’s SO easy, super affordable and works wonders. I found the shaker bottle at TJ Maxx for $2, but you can also buy it here. The shaker is meant for seasonings (!!) but it’s perfect for homemade dry shampoo! Just sprinkle it on your scalp or wherever you would normally spray dry shampoo (some people spray it on a brush and then brush through hair) rub it in, brush it through and that’s it. Normally I do this over the sink because the powder can go everywhere. You don’t have to add any essential oils but it makes the dry shampoo smell lovely!
DIY Dry Shampoo Recipe:
You will need:
one shaker bottle (purchase one here)
1/4 cup aluminum-free baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
15 or more drops of any essential oil
Mix all ingredients together in a shaker bottle and sprinkle on your hair!
*If you have dark hair, add a couple tablespoons (as needed) of cocoa powder. The dry shampoo will blend right in, without leaving a white sheen.
Now I’ll share my favorite store-bought vegan and cruelty-free products! Let’s start with hair. For shampoo and conditioner, I’ve been loving the DermOrganic Sulfate-Free Conditioning Shampoo and the DermOrganic Intensive Hair Repair Masque. I usually buy them on Amazon, or I even snatch them up at Marshalls/TJ Maxx sometimes for $20 each. They are vegan, cruelty-free, pH balanced and made from facial cleansers. The shampoo lathers up nice while the masque leaves my hair soooo soft and silky. These are must-haves for sure. I also like the DermOrganic Leave-in Treatment for after the shower. A little bit goes a long way, it lasts forever and repairs/protects the ends of my hair.
For body wash and sometimes shampoo, I can’t get enough of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, in Lavender. His soaps are super popular and have been around forever. They have numerous other household uses (other than body was) and come in many different scents. My favorite scents so far are lavender and peppermint.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I LOVE to be tan 🙂 it’s an obsession. Self-tanners are a staple in my weekly routine. I’ve been using the Chocolate Sun Absolute Sun (the dark shade) for over a year now and it gives my body a nice bronzy glow. Their ingredients are organically grown with wild crafted botanicals and herbs. They offer a few different shades; I like the darkest one as it gives my skin the most color. I use it sparingly on my face and all over my body. Any one else a self-tanner addict?!
Now onto face products. We all have different skin types so these may/may not work for you but they are gentle, natural, vegan and cruelty-free options. If you’re looking for a change in your skincare routine, give some of these a try. Like I said earlier, I have cut down on the number of products and don’t use all of these every single day, just when I feel my skin needs it. However, I do wash my face every morning and night with African Black Soap With Shea Butter Oats and Aloe, Deep Cleansing. I find that my skin is responding well to this soap, it helps with breakouts (which sometimes, inevitably, pop up around that time of the month) and oiliness. African Black Soap exfoliates, deep cleans and balances out your skin’s moisture and pH levels.
If my face is feeling dry, I dab some of this Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Alcohol-Free Toner on a cotton pad and gently wipe it all over my face. It moisturizes and tones, leaving my skin feeling super soft and nice! If I am feeling extra dry, I dab some Lily Of The Desert Aloe Vera Gel over any redness or dry spots to soothe and moisturize. If I am not feeling dry, I don’t put any product on at all, I think that’s the best way to go! Our skin really doesn’t need a ton of products if our diet is right (nourish and feed your skin from the inside out).
Another step in my routine is the Clarisonic Mia (2-3 times/week; this works wonders!!) as well as a face mask once per week, at night. I love a pure clay face mask like this Now Foods European Clay Powder. All you do is mix water with the clay powder in a small bowl, apply to your face for 15 minutes and rinse off. You can also add 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. I even add turmeric on occasion which is known to help with acne. These masks will pull out any impurities and detoxify your skin. My last step at night is to apply the Chocolate Sun self tanner on my cheekbones, forehead, temples, tip of my nose and chin, basically wherever the sun hits your face (like bronzer). Then I wake up with a tan, glowy face.
**June 2015 Update: read about my current skin care routine here.
The best kind of foundation is glowing skin right?!
My skin sure has had it’s ups and downs but with the plant based lifestyle and gentle products, it has become manageable. Around that time of the month I usually have a few blemishes, but it’s such a major improvement that I can handle a couple! Everyday I know I am one step closer to the skin I’ve always dreamed of. It’s been about
7 months (update: 2 years!) since I went vegan and I think my skin will continue to improve as life goes on.
As for makeup, I love the Pacifica and Tarte line, but I hope to do a makeup post in the near future. I’m still testing out makeup and discovering new brands I love. I should add that I am not a dermatologist or skincare expert, these are just the products I have found to work for me, personally. If you have recommendations, leave a comment! Have you seen a major improvement in your skin since going plant based?
I want to hear about your favorite cruelty free products/tips/tricks you do for beautiful, glowing skin 🙂
*P.S. Check out my other skincare secret that I include in my everyday morning routine.