5 things I learned: the reality of going cruelty-free with your beauty regime
In recent months, I’ve become a lot more conscious about the products I’m choosing to spend my money on.
From clothes to food, I’ve tried to become more aware of where stuff is coming from and how it's made.
However, while these changes were fairly easy to implement in my wardrobe and food cupboard - when I looked at my cosmetics, I really had no clue about the brands I was choosing to buy from.
Yes, completely naïve to the products I was using, I decided to start from scratch and see how difficult it would be to go completely cruelty-free.
Here are five things that I learned...
1) It’ll cost ya (but not that much)
The presumptive downside of this challenge was that it might have a devastating effect on my bank account, with me having to say goodbye to hundreds.
Heading straight for The Body Shop, I had a list of items I wanted to buy and a general budget of €80 in mind. I thought I was being a bit optimistic seeing as I was starting totally from scratch but I was determined.
When you think about cruelty-free cosmetics, The Body Shop is definitely the first place you think of.
Stocking up on a very basic makeup kit, my core skincare products, and some added extras in the form of a face mask and some facial oil, I had the majority of my routine, and then some, sorted after one stop and with the relatively inexpensive bill of €100 (bar a few luxury purchased - I just couldn't help myself!).
2) Plenty of choice
After The Body Shop, I headed to Lush.
Yes, it was a treat for the nostrils and it was nice to explore products I had never used before.
Grabbing a basket, I stocked up on shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, some dental hygiene products as well as a bar of soap.
With those, I had my core pieces.
Afterwards, I wandered into a local pharmacy to check out the selection of cosmetics brands. And to my surprise, I realised the likes of Wet ‘n’ Wild, NOTE, Sleek and KISS are all cruelty-free, so naturally I bought a few more bits for my makeup bag (I clearly can't help myself).
In 2013, the EU introduced a ban on the sale of all cosmetics developed using animal testing.
While the ban applies to all brands who use animals to test their products, regardless of where in the world they carry out the tests, there are still brands that make use of various loopholes to get their products sold, so make sure to keep an eye out for the cruelty-free symbol on the packaging.
3) You won't have to bin everything
I was relieved to find that many of the products I already owned were cruelty-free without me even knowing it.
Like many Irish women, I try to be budget-friendly when it comes to cosmetics, so brands like Catrice, Essence, and NYX are all heavily featured in my makeup bag.
Thankfully, they are all against testing on animals so they were allowed to stay put.
4) Keep it capsule
The biggest realisation of this challenge was the fact that I own far too much shit.
Yes, I’m your classic hoarder and still have some foundations from my college days (don't judge me).
However, starting with a clean slate wasn’t as unsettling as I imagined it to be.
Working from a capsule beauty regime actually resulted in me using more products.
Without the intimidation of dozens of products looking at me, I was more inclined to do the extra skincare steps that I normally reserve for weekends.
I also got a little more experimental with my makeup during the week, adding illumination drops to my foundation and a lick of eyeshadow to my lids, which is a lot of effort for me.
Moral of the story, I don’t need all the products I have, so the clear-out starts this weekend.
5) It's easier than ever
With more brands in a variety of price brackets embracing the cruelty-free ethos, there really is something for everyone.
A small change in your routine can make a huge difference.
However, with 80 percent of countries still allowing cosmetic testing on animals, there is still a long way to go.
But by supporting cruelty-free brands and being more conscious about what you're buying, you are sending a strong message to manufacturers that animal testing has no place in today's society.