Lately I have been making the effort to make our house a little greener. No huge changes – if I’ve learned anything about myself it’s that big dramatic changes don’t last – but a little bit of something every day to make the world a better place. With my new greener lifestyle in mind, I was taking a shower one day and out of the blue I thought, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if my shampoo is cruelty free!” I used organic, not tested on animals shampoo for years, but when they stopped making my preferred brand I was out of the habit of checking labels so I just started buying whatever looked good. I checked, and sure enough, there was no happy rabbit on the bottle.
It really bothered me. As soon as I was clean and dry, I did a little research and realized that almost all of our personal care products were probably tested on animals. If you look, nearly every shampoo, lotion or soap is made by Johnson & Johnson or Proctor & Gamble, both of which still use animal testing. Even toothpaste gets tested on animals. So I decided then and there we were making the switch.
Again, there would be no big sweeping changes. Throwing out everything we were using seemed both wasteful and disrespectful somehow. Like, if I just threw it out then the cats and rats and bunnies had suffered for nothing (does that make sense?). I reasoned that if I just started replacing stuff as it ran out, we could make a more gradual transition. Easy, right?
It has been surprisingly difficult. Some changes were easy. I like Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and bar soap, and we always have Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap in the house. Dr. Bronner’s is a little too strong for my taste as a soap, but it makes a fantastic shaving lubricant. I also found a shampoo that I liked right off the bat. Where I am running into problems is with conditioner, moisturizer and deodorant. Every single conditioner I have seen in the organic section has alcohol in it. When I use hair products that contain alcohol, my hair starts out dry as straw, and then, at about the twenty-four hour mark, I blink and it gets uncomfortably oily. I have been treating the last half-inch of my Aveeno conditioner, that makes my hair all soft and smooth and pretty, like precious, precious gold.
Aveeno also makes the best facial moisturizer I have ever used. I have sensitive skin, and it was a huge revelation to me that there was such a thing as a lotion that didn’t leave my face all pink and aggravate my acne (how totally unfair is it that you can still get zits when you are over 35?). I have tested some different moisturizers, but I have yet to find one that doesn’t leave my skin flushed and/or slightly sticky feeling. The remainder of my Positively Radiant has also joined the precious, precious gold club.
As for deodorant, it seems that the people who make organic, cruelty-free odor protection don’t believe in antiperspirant. It may not be necessary to smell good, but I like sweating less. Nobody feels fresh with big ole’ pit stains.
I hadn’t realized how attached I was to my beauty products until I found myself trying to rationalize keeping them. If it is a proven product, they won’t still be testing it on animals, right? But then I feel totally shallow. I made the commitment to myself that I would go cruelty free and I don’t want to make a group of animals miserable just so I can have soft skin. And so the search continues.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Have you found the perfect, affordable, organic beauty product? Please tell me what it is and where you got it. If I don’t find a new conditioner soon, it won’t be pretty.
(Author’s note: I made this choice about my own personal habits, for my own personal reasons. While I think it would be great if everyone went cruelty-free and forced the big companies to change their practices, I will not judge you or anyone else for the products you choose to use.)
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Dr. Bronner’s soap image from www.drbronner.com