I went cruelty free for a week


Since early last year I’ve been making a conscious effort to go completely cruelty free. While hesitant at first, after some research and digging I managed to discover some really amazing and inexpensive products. You don’t have to be rich to go cruelty free, nor do you have to be a staunch eco-warrior, a vegetarian or a vegan. I decided to go the whole hog for a week – using absolutely all cruelty-free products. Here’s how I got on.

Day one

So things have been heating up here in the UK, and with a holiday coming up soon I’ve been on the lookout for inexpensive sun cream to keep me from frying up like a tomato on a barbecue.  As a massive fan of Lush, I of course made a point to look in there, but was disappointed to find only a small selection that didn’t particularly convince me, though I did leave with a  gifted tester pot of their ‘Sesame Suntan Lotion’ in SPF 10 (which by the way smells amazingly like peanut butter cookies).

When I happened into Holland and Barrett, I was excited to find reasonably priced and cruelty free sun creams. Admittedly, ‘excited’ is an understatement given how long I’ve been searching for this, but you know things are bad when skincare products excite you to such an extent, so I’ve decided not to dwell.

The factor 50 cream wasn’t specifically labelled as cruelty free, so I was sure to investigate quickly beforehand on my phone. If you’re unsure about whether a brand tests or not, some of my favourite resources for checking are Cruelty Free Kitty, Peta’s Cruelty Free Database, Rabbit Recommended and The Leaping Bunny search engine. There are also some really good apps you can get that will make checking the legitimacy of a company’s cruelty free claims much easier on the go, such as Bunny Free and Cruelty-Free.

Day two

I needed to shower, and to do it cruelty free, so back to Holland and Barrett it was. In the same range I was also able to find a replacement deodorant, these guys have that covered too, as well as a bunch of other interesting things that are definitely worth exploring and testing out. They have a really diverse range of scent groups, my favourites so far being the coconut, rose and olive oil scented products.

Day three

When it comes to shower products, Lush has always been my go-to, which made searching for cruelty free shower goodies in there a piece of cake. Their shampoo bars and shower jellies go a long way, lasting ages if used correctly. Their solid shampoos and conditioners are also super convenient when it comes to travel: less liquids, less hassle. I made sure to grab a couple for my upcoming holiday to go along with the suncream I found before. I can forgive some of their prices on their convenience factor alone, however they do some really, really good smelling things that I can’t resist, so admittedly I ended up over-buying anyway (OK, admittedly, this wasn’t all one haul).

If you’re looking to spend a little less, there are plenty of alternatives. Superdrug’s own brand products have the leaping bunny seal of approval, and Original Source have some of the most heavenly smelling shower gels, all for very reasonable prices.

Basically, I was pretty spoilt for choice when it came to cruelty free shower products, nuff’ said.

Day four

Now, to make-up: First of all, one of the most obvious choices is Boots’ No.7 range, reasonably priced and with an ethical guarantee, what’s not to like? For more variety though, I’d definitely recommend Anastasia Beverly Hills for their amazing brow and contour kits. Too Faced also do adorable eye shadow palettes, and are currently very popular, so they’re definitely on my list of products to try.

I’ve only recently gotten into the whole contouring thing, but Anastasia Beverly hills makes it super easy, and I managed to find a kit for under a tenner on ebay that I’ll be forever grateful for. I’m still trying to get my hands on a Jeffree Star matte lipstick, but haven’t yet overcome my aversion to the horribly expensive shipping costs that come with them, as they only seem to be sold in US. Oh and let’s not forget NARS cosmetics – whilst a little more on the pricey side, they’re an excellent investment if you’re a MUA, or even if you’re just passionate about makeup and fancy a treat.


Day five

OK, so personal care products aside, I began to start looking at the bigger picture. Household cleaning products are admittedly much less exciting than the stuff you can use on your hair and face, but if you’re going to go cruelty free, why not go all the way? Funnily enough, a lot of charity shops stock cruelty free cleaning products.

I discovered Oxfam do a good range, and you’d be surprised how many independent shops, and even larger chain supermarkets stock leaping bunny approved goods. The key is to skim-read the labels, look out for the cruelty-free approval symbols, or check in advance with the handy resources I discovered before.

Day six

For the whole week I’d been trying to keep it cheap, cool, and cruelty free with my clothes, mostly by thrifting. While this isn’t necessarily the same as buying cruelty free, it’s still a more ethical and sustainable way of shopping. You don’t have to buy all your clothes second-hand, but it’s amazing what you can find. High street brands are becoming more environmentally sustainable though, so it’s worth reading up on H&M Conscious and New Look’s Sustainability policy if fashion is your passion.

Most of the things I found shopping this week were also from Oxfam and Helen & Douglas House. I managed to find loads of great high street brands in great condition for over half the price of what you’d get them for in store. Got to say I was pretty pleased with my loot.

Day seven

By the end of the week I’m by no means short of products to pamper myself with, so I decide to use some fresh face masks I got from Lush that I’m kept stored in the fridge for extra zing.

The verdict

While going cruelty free takes a little more effort, it’s really rewarding knowing that no buns are harmed in the process of making the products you love. Also, a lot more brands than I expected don’t actually test, so this is for sure something I plan on keeping up. Eventually I’ll run down the remains of the products I own that do test and hopefully be able to call myself completely cruelty free, it’s still something I’ll definitely be recommending to my friends and family.