5 Ways to Switch to a Vegan Beauty Routine
When it comes to going vegan, most people think of their diet first. From discovering the vegan protein sources that work best for you, to learning how to read labels to track down sneaky non-vegan additives, making sure animal products aren’t a part of your daily routine means taking a comprehensive approach to what you do (and don’t) put into your body.
But there’s one surprising source of animal products many of us don’t consider when making the switch to a plant based lifestyle—your bathroom cabinet. The harsh truth is that many mainstream wellness beauty products contain animal sourced ingredients that simply aren’t compatible with vegan values. Want to keep your beauty routine as animal friendly as your diet? Here’s how to make sure your beauty routine is cruelty free in just five simple steps:
Learn How to Read Your Labels
The most important step in keeping cruelty out of your medicine cabinet is learning to read your labels. There are a few critical logos all vegan beauty and wellness enthusiasts need to know, like the vegan societytrademark which indicates that a product is completely free of animal ingredients, and the leaping bunnydesign, which lets you know that no animals were harmed via testing.
It’s also critical to read your labels to make sure there aren’t any sneaky non-vegan ingredients added to a product you might assume is safe. Animal ingredients commonly used in beauty wellness products include collagen, elastin, lanolin, guanine, glycerin, and gelatin—so if you see any of these ingredients double check to make sure they’re plant based alternatives and not animal sourced.
Support Cruelty Free Companies
When it comes to living a vegan lifestyle, we’re big believers in the power of voting with your wallet. Just as we encourage boycotts of companies that use animals to make money, we’re big fans of supporting beauty brands that make a point of being cruelty free.
Vegan hair care pioneers Vegamour is one of my favorite brands to support, with a full line of products for every hair need, all of them plant based, non toxic, and totally cruelty free. Whatever your beauty preferences, these days there are vegan brands for almost everything, so just do some googling to find the perfect fit.
Find DIY Solutions
While these days it seems like there’s a vegan brand for every beauty and wellness need, there might be times when a product doesn’t suit your mood or style. Whether it’s a fragrance you just aren’t into, or ingredients that stress out your sensitive skin, sometimes you won’t be able to find an easy vegan substitute to an animal sourced product you used to love.
Our solution? Get a little crafty. There are a ton of great books out there written by and for vegan beauty enthusiasts. Two of our favorites are the classic Plant Based Beauty and The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty, both of which are packed with easy, creative recipes for creating your perfect vegan and leaping bunny certified beauty products at home.
Switch to Vegan Staples
If you’re new to the world of vegan living, it can feel overwhelming (and expensive!) to swap out your entire skincare, hair care, and every other kind of body care routine all at once. Label reading and online research are your friends here (you might be surprised to find that you already own many vegan beauty products), but if you need to clear out the whole cabinet don’t feel pressured to stock up on everything at once.
Instead, we recommend finding multi-use vegan classics that you can tinker with to use for many products in your beauty routine, as you gradually find more targeted new products to invest in. Dr. Bronners is an old school vegan, against animal testing brand whose castile soap products are famously adaptable, so you can use them for a ton of different beauty needs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Want to switch to a new product but aren’t sure about the labeling? Can’t quite tell if an old fave is up to scratch? If you’re not sure whether a brand aligns with your values or not, just ask! Brands that put animal, earth, and ethics friendly practices at the center of what they do are often more than happy to answer any questions you may have—and if not, it’s ok to step back and reassess whether you might want to find an alternative.
Last but not least, making the switch to a vegan beauty routine is a little bit like committing to the vegan diet: it’s about the journey, not the destination. Instead of pressuring yourself to learn the perfect clean, vegan beauty practices for your hair and skin type overnight, take it one day at a time, and stay committed to the spirit of inquiry. Every step you take towards keeping your beauty routine aligned with your values is a step in the right direction.
Emily Beyda is a journalist, vegan enthusiasts, content writer, and the author of the novel The Body Double. You can find her on Instagram @emilybeyda