If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, you may have come across the concept of ‘ahimsa’. It means non-injury, but it goes beyond not causing harm to other human beings – it’s also about not consciously injuring any other sentient beings. For me, this also includes animals. I’m not completely vegan and I’d like to know where the hen lives that laid my breakfast egg, and where the cows graze who give milk for my cereals in the morning.
But more indirectly, it’s also possible to cause suffering when picking products from the supermarket shelf – particularly the cosmetics section can be a bit of a mine field. It’s usually possible to find basic items like cleansers, body wash and hair shampoo that’s labelled ‘cruelty-free’, but when it comes to decorative cosmetics things get tricky. Call me vain, but sometimes it’s just nice to put some make up or nail polish, but not at the expense of animals suffering for testing.
Relocating as much as we do doesn’t make this search any easier. We’ve lived in 6 countries on 3 continents (so far…) and while things are straight forward in some countries, such as the UK, they’re not in others (Malaysia being one example).
The most common scenario is this: You find a brand you trust, you buy it for years, and then you move – just to find out that they don’t exist/don’t ship to where you now live. This realisation is usually followed by a number of begging emails to family members and friends, or by taking an extra suitcase when travelling back home and stuffing it with two years’ worth of supplies. If you simply resort to buying what’s on the supermarket shelf, chances are the items are products of L’Oréal or Procter & Gamble (no matter what’s the actual brand name on the bottle – everything seems to belong to them).
I’ve always wondered how others do, where they shop, and how they find out about local, cruelty-free brands, particularly when we think of luxury cosmetics. The only reliable solution I knew of so far was PETA’s database of cruelty-free companies (you can view it here – helpfully, there’s also a list of companies that DO test).
Then I’ve come across a subscription box that puts together sample and full-sized items of luxury cosmetics, guaranteed cruelty-free and vegan. They search the market for you, put it all in a box – but don’t tell you beforehand what will arrive at your doorstep, so if you like surprises, this one might be for you. I’ve tried one of their boxes (which contained an eye shadow in a shade called ‘Ashtanga’, so I take that as a sign…plus a full-sized nail polish, facial oil which smelled lovely, and a trial size deodorant) and have to say I really do like the concept. The items are decently sized so that you can try out enough of the product to see if it’s for you, the website contains all the information about each item (including all the certificates and labels it received) and you can even buy the brands featured in the box straight from there.
They’re called PETIT VOUR (I know, I was puzzled too – but it’s a pun on the French concept of PETIT FOUR, a small assorted and decorated dessert, just with a V for vegan) and apart from being vegan and cruelty-free, items in all their boxes are also free from parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and sulfates.
So the idea is this: You get to know cruelty-free brands, you can try before you buy and decide if the product is right for you – and worth the upgrade.
It’s nice to know that even if you want to spoil yourself with the occasional luxury item, there are vegan options available. And as far as rabbits are concerned, I think they’re great just the way they are!
How do you choose your cosmetics and beauty products? Which ones are the brands you trust?