Beautopia: Why the search for cruelty-free is so hard | Part II

If you live in Toronto and are vegan or a health-nut (or just love to overpay for organic vegetables), you’ll likely be familiar with the Big Carrot, Noah’s or Whole Food. These three stores are probably your best bet for vegan friendly anything, really. If it’s specifically vegan friendly cosmetics or toiletries you’re after, these stores stock the most options. The brands are usually small and independent and for the most part unknown.

The makeup selection isn’t huge and I will be honest have never been enticed to try it because of how limited it is. I currently do use one of the skin care lines, Earth Science and I love it. Pacifica is probably one of the better-known brands, since it is even sold in Sephora, same with: Kiss my Face, Jason Naturals and Burt’s Bees. But like most products, you need to try out several brands to see what works for you. Despite having tried several of the shampoos, none have seemed to work with my hair. I colour treat it (and yes, the color I use is vegan), which limits me even further what I can use in my hair.

As a side note, currently, there are only two salon hair color brands that do not test on animals. One is Paul Mitchel but I haven’t found a salon in Toronto that uses their color and the other is Aveda, which is owned by Estee Lauder. There is definitely a chance that down the road Aveda may be required to test on animals if their parent company decides to sell in China. You can’t imagine how sad this makes me, as Aveda was started in the 70’s by Horst Rechelbacher, who’s vision for the company was to sell all plant-based organic products that were in harmony with the planet. It is so contradictory that a company like Estee Lauder purchased them and even worse that they may have to start testing on animals.

There are far better companies to support, like Lush, who not only lobby against animal testing but also have openly stated they would not do business with any company that conducts animal testing. They have also funded and recognized scientists who look for alternative methods.

But I digress.

While Noah’s, the Big Carrot, and Whole Foods are great options for those willing to take a risk on small independent companies, what happens if you’re looking for big name brands?

Luckily there are few options out there that can be purchased at stores like Sephora or The Bay. What I like about Sephora is that if you’re unsure if a brand is vegan friendly the staff will happily check for you.

Below is a list of animal friendly cosmetic companies:

List of cruelty free cosmetics

I recognize that some of these brands can be on the pricier side (an ever present unfortunate negative to the vegan lifestyle) and I don’t know too much about drug store brands, except that the majority of the big names are tested on animals, such as: Cover Girl, Rimmel, Revlon, Maybelline, L’Oreal and so on. But I did find this helpful resource: Cruelty-free Drug Store Brands.

I would love to hear from you if you have a reasonable online alternative, which is cruelty free and vegan friendly, or even if you know of any bigger name more easily accessible brands which I have overlooked or have recently become vegan friendly available in Toronto.

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