As part of my efforts to decrease my 'fashion footprint' as it were, I've become a lot more conscious about where I shop. I used to spend hours in Primark and Topshop on a Saturday, and whilst many high street brands have really bucked up their ideas when it comes to the labour side of manufacture, there is still a bit of a question mark over the environmental impacts that these brands create. Whilst some are taking steps to reduce damage to the environment through changes in production methods, the 'fast fashion' ideology is so readily ingrained that it seems unlikely that there will be a complete step change. In that regard, I have tried to play a small part in consciously making a change myself - buying less, buying British made products where I can, and also buying second hand - through charity shops and apps like Depop, to prevent more clothing going directly to landfill.
All of this, and I hadn't really paused for thought about my beauty routine. Actually, this is a real ethical and moral minefield, and I hadn't for a minute thought of the impacts that the products I use day to day were having. When I looked at the contents of my makeup bag, and did a bit of research online, I realised I had been unwittingly using products that had been tested on animals and this did not sit well with me. So, I thought I would take a look and see what replacements I could make.
I've been a long-term customer of The Body Shop - remember those little bath pearls you could get back in the 90's? And even the word 'Dewberry' brings back memories of that sickly sweet scent. They haven't always had the best rep, and to be honest, it looks like they might have hit the skids again recently with the publication of their yearly profits, but they do have some great products, and they are 100% cruelty free - it was their selling point. Despite now being owned by L'Oreal, who do test their products on animals, The Body Shop have staunchly resisted. Chinese law stipulates that beauty products sold there must be tested on animals, and The Body Shop currently refuse to sell there on this basis.
I've been using this Ginger shampoo for a couple of months. It's an anti-dandruff one, and I found it completely calmed my sensitive scalp which took a bit of a battering after I bought a handful of drugstore shampoos. I couldn't get on with any that I tried, and in desperation I turned to this one, having read rave reviews on it, at being great for calming a sensitive scalp. After the first wash I noticed a difference, and this is the second bottle I've bought. It costs £8 for 400ml, which isn't cheap, however it lasts such a long time - I bought the smaller bottle beforehand in case I didn't get on with it, and that lasted for a couple of months. I think a testament to how good it is came up when I was shopping in store and a couple in front of me in the queue bought every single bottle of stock from the store. They actually asked the sales girl to go out to the back and she bought out a couple of packs of bottles, and they bought them all. I hope it's not about to be discontinued!
The idea of a banana conditioner is a bit of a strange one, but when you see that this one is mixed with community trade honey and Ecuadorian bananas, you get the idea that it might be pretty good for your hair. My straw-like ends were immediately softened, and the smell is just delicious (if you like the smell of bananas!) It left my hair super soft, and at £5 for 250ml is reasonably priced, too.
I will gradually be replacing my go-to beauty products with cruelty free versions as I use them up, so I will make sure I document the ones that I find, to see how the cruelty free versions compare. I would love any recommendations for cruelty free brands that I can try; I'm already a big fan of Lush as well as The Body Shop, but let me know if there are more that I can check out!