How to transition to cruelty-free and vegan beauty
Changing habits is not easy.
Before turning vegan, seven years ago, I used to buy the best, trendiest beauty products on the market, without even thinking about the possibility that they could have been tested on animals or were not vegan.
I had my trusty kit, used to use the same cleanser, the same moisturizer, the same toner, they were also working great for me so it was very difficult to change all of them at once.
Nevertheless, there is nothing I do regret in switching to vegan and cruelty-free beauty, knowing what happens behind the scenes, it is natural that one wants to make more ethical choices.
Today I want to give you some recommendations on how to transition to vegan and cruelty-free beauty, based on my personal experience and the mistakes I made. I really hope this advices are going to be helpful and that they will make your transition as painless as possible. Remember to always have patience and that even the small change can make a difference, so do not be too hard on yourself if you realize that you have probably purchased something that turns out not to be vegan or it is not really cruelty-free.
So here are some tips of mine once you have decided to switch.
1. Most of us will have many non- cruelty-free products, of course.
My advice is to try and donate as much as possible or just...use them all up! I have seen many people throwing away so many products at once and honestly, at first, this was my idea as well. While I completely understand that once you have decided to switch to more ethical options you don´t want to use them and the thought alone can be so disturbing, the truth is, there is nothing you can change anymore, since you have already purchased them and unconsciously given the money to those nasty brands.
So my advice is, you want to make sure that they are, at least, going to be used all up, maybe by someone else. This is what I did when I switched, I had a pretty large kit at that time and the products were all not cruelty-free or non-vegan, so I donated them to friends and family members.
2. Try to look for one category at a time.
You are going to soon realize that finding vegan and cruelty-free alternatives for make up, skincare, body care and hair care, is really challenging. My advice is to have a clear idea of what cruelty-free really means and what vegan beauty is (so truly understanding what ingredients are non-vegan, where they come from, how they are made and so on).
We have written a full guide to Vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics that will hopefully help you and give you some useful information. I recommend you also take a look at our List of non-vegan ingredients which is very helpful to identify the most common animal-derived ingredients in cosmetics.
3. Take advantage of all possible resources to educate yourself the best way.
There are many books, blogs, organizations, groups that can help you understand what is hidden behind the beauty industry, what animal testing is, what it involves, the pain and the suffering animals go through and what you can do not to support this. Knowledge is power, so the more you will know, the easier it will be for you to identify the right products and support the right brands.
Remember that you want to look for a trustworthy, reliable certification and not just a label, such as "not tested on animals" as this really means nothing. You can check our article on How to survive in the Cruelty-free certifications world, which will help you compare the most common cruelty-free certifications. Also, you want to look for a Vegan label to make sure the product you will be purchasing doesn´t contain any animal-derived ingredients.
4. Write down a list of all cruelty-free companies that are accessible to you, either in stores or online, and their vegan options.
This way you will get familiar with the cruelty-free companies and over time you will be able to know immediately which brands to support and which ones to avoid.
5. Download the Leaping Bunny App.
This is so useful when buying from new brands and companies you do not know much about. Having it on your phone, you will be able to see if the brand is on the list or not and quickly decide on what to purchase.
6. Sometimes it will be difficult to find alternatives to all the products you were used to buy.
Some things, such as wax strips, deodorants, nail polish etc.. can be really challenging to find, so my tip is to either changing your habits or buying multi-use products which can do the job. I am not saying you should stop using deodorant- for goodness sake- but you can start shaving your body instead of waxing- which is what I did - or if you used a shaving cream to shave your legs and it is hard for you to find a specific alternative for that, then simply use a cruelty-free oil, a shower gel or a cruelty-free hair conditioner instead. It is actually all about changing your mindset first.
Although nowdays it is way easier to find alternatives to pretty much all products than it was seven years ago when I turned vegan, some categories are still lacking on options. It will get better over time, as way more brands are turning cruelty-free and launching more vegan options, but sometimes you just have to go with what you have and accept the fact that we need to have patience, as there is still so much to do and fight for.
7. Join the Realness of Beauty community and stay updated with the latest news, trends, inspirations and guides to help you with the transition.
Knowing where to find information and/or products is always a win!
As I have mentioned earlier, it is really all about changing and doing it the best way you can. Nobody is perfect, so doing something with good intention is better than doing nothing.
Keep going on supporting certified cruelty-free brands, together we can change what is still so wrong in the beauty industry giving a clear message!
We will be there to help you! Let us know in the comments what you think and if you are currently struggling in transitioning or in finding a good alternative to specific products.
Write us to get support and advices, it is essential to create a community that takes care of one another: only this way we can get stronger and truly make an impact!
xx Much Love