It was a sad day in Smalltown, America. Heavy grey clouds hung in the sky, too sad and disheartened to move on. Our heroine, with puffy-eyes and tear-stained face, said her silent goodbyes. Her quest, though valiant and honorable, has claimed its first victims and she mourned the loss of her dear friends, The Duchess of Olay and Lady Maybelline.
Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but The Great Beauty Product Purge has certainly left its mark on my cosmetics and toiletries. If you’ve read the rules you’ll remember that No. 4 states all toiletries must be cruelty free. This includes my collection as it
currently stands stood at the time. So a week ago, I did the thing I was dreading most at the start of my year-long journey. I compared my cosmetics collection to the Cruelty-Free Companies and Products list. I have to admit that while the results were largely within the realm of my expectations certain things truly surprised me.
If you want to live cruelty-free you can pretty much say goodbye to drugstore cosmetics. That’s right ladies. Cover Girl, Almay, Neutrogena, etc. It doesn’t matter which end of drugstore price spectrum you run, none of them are on the cruelty-free lists, and neither are their various umbrella corporations. This was, sadly, not a surprise. What did sadden me was the lack of Olay on these lists. (I checked several different ones, and then their website.) Olay has been my trusted skin care line for the past 9-12 months, so I suddenly find myself without a skin care line. But never fear ladies! There is still a budget-friendly cosmetics option. I was absolutely thrilled to discover that E.L.F. Cosmetics proudly displays the cruelty-free bunny. Not only are their cosmetics and products a bargain, but they’re now widely available at Target stores across the country. (Ideal for those situations where you drive 3 hours for a job interview, only to realize you’ve forgotten your make-up. What? You’ve never done that? Oh, well neither have I…) Seeing E.L.F. on these lists was a good surprise.
A not-so-good surprise was the discovery of how many of my favorite, more up-scale products were not represented on these lists. MAC, Benefit, NARS, and Laura Mercier were all found to be cosmetic contraband. Benefit and NARS especially surprised me because their websites boast not testing on animals, however their umbrella corporation animal-tests on both ingredients and finished products. This led to the dilemma of “if a product is cruelty-free but the company isn’t, is it within the rules or is it contraband?” Ultimately I had to say that yes, it counts as contraband. It broke my heart to say goodbye to one of my favorite eye-shadow pallets, but ultimately I believe it’s truly cruelty-free if the company that makes it is not.
So what does this leave me with? Too-Faced, Urban Decay, and Stila are all safe, along with the E.L.F. collection I’ve built. (With most products being $1.00 a piece, they’re a little tough to resist.) I have the beauty basics covered. My hair care is covered, even if I did have to part with a large amount of styling products. That is thanks in large part to a miraculous product which I’ll cover later. Surprisingly, I still have both of my fragrances of choice. I was expecting the designer fragrance to be okay, but fully expected Bath & Bodyworks to make the “no list.” Way to go, B&B! I’m also left with a rather large bin of contraband, for which I now must figure out an acceptable fate.
I was also left needing to replace some products. Skin care products aside, at the end of this product purge I was also in need of basic things I hadn’t really thought about being affected by this whole process. Things like toothpaste, antiperspirant, and shaving cream were never really a blip on my mental radar. Now, they were a legitimate reason to run to the (locally owned!) health food store.
Oh, and on the way home I stopped into a thrift store where I found this little guy. Now he sits in my bathroom as a reminder to double-check all products before I buy.