This is a list of the products that we use regularly – tried and tested favourites. I’m sure the list will grow over time, so keep an eye out for updates, but we’ve kept it short to showcase the best of the best, in our opinion.
We’ve covered the minefield that is ‘cruelty-free’ on the blog before -for the avoidance of doubt, the products below are mostly certified (leaping bunny or PETA), and/or don’t trade in China and/or don’t have parent companies who test.
Method – we use their all-purpose spray and their air-freshener, but we’ve also tried their shower spray (good, but hardly an essential), and washing up liquid (again, it’s good, but the shape of the bottle makes it really hard to get the last of it out, and it feels like extraneous plastic too.
Ecover Washing up Liquid – Ecover have popped in and out of the BUAV approval list in the past for use of invertebrates, but they’re firmly in there now and this is a solid washing up liquid that goes a long way. If you’re lucky enough to have a stockist near you, you can also get refills in your existing bottles, to save on packaging. UPDATE March 2016: this product now contains whey (why?!), meaning it isn’t suitable for vegans. We’ll be finding an alternative, and posting that here.
Astonish Oven Cleaner – the entire Astonish range carries the Leaping Bunny logo, which is a real bonus for a good value cleaning range that is pretty widely available.
Shower & Body
Washed Out Soap Co soap – we’ve raved about their products before, and we have bars of their soap in our kitchen and bathroom, and one in our shower. The Barista is our particular favourite for the shower as it wakes you up a treat, and the gentle exfoliation means super soft skin all day long.
Maida Vida cocoa body polish bar – another one we’ve mentioned before, this has quickly become a staple, though more of a once-a-week job than a daily shower staple, as it’s so decadent and so effective, you probably won’t need to use it every day. If you’re as lazy as me and find moisturising post-shower a bit of a chore, this is the product for you.
JASON powersmile – hands down the best toothpaste I’ve ever used, it leaves your teeth and mouth feeling properly clean, and visibly whitened (despite not using any of those baddies to whiten your teeth – no bleach, no fluoride)
Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 – something of a hero product, I’ve yet to work out what all 18 uses are! A great shower gel, which also makes a good laundry detergent, and even serves as washing up liquid in a pinch.
Green People Shampoo and Conditioner – finally, a shampoo and conditioner without SLS, which is untested, and which doesn’t leave my hair feeling greasy or dry (or both!). The products have little or no fragrance and are really gentle on the scalp, and really effective. You only need a tiny bit, so a bottle lasts a long time. I’ve got quite unruly curly hair, but since cutting out SLS it’s far more manageable, so I now don’t use any other hair products at all to tame it.
JASON Apricot Face Scrub – this can be tricky to find, but it’s worth it when you do – it’s a gentle scrub with a nice scent and a creamy texture. The exfoliation comes from apricot kernels, so no plastic balls clogging up our waterways and oceans.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter – a classic. Easy to find, inexpensive, smells like chocolate. What’s not to like?
Green People Deodorant – we’ve worked our way through a lot of different deodorants (and even tried making our own), and this is by far our favourite.
AESOP Sun Protection – SPF 50, and smells deliciously of mint so you feel fresh all day, even when it’s hot and sticky out.
Make up and cosmetics
B. – I’m on the hunt for a new foundation since REN sold to Unilever, but everything else in my make-up bag comes from Superdrug’s own range, B. The products are all cruelty free and really clearly labelled as vegan. They’re also really well priced, and very effective (the eyebrow pencil and under-eye concealer are the two products I absolutely always wear, and the B. Loud mascara is amongst the best I’ve ever used). Like so many cruelty-free brands (and brands generally, as it goes) the range of shades is really limited, especially for darker skin tones. We’re going to cover this in a separate blog post, with a willing guest blogger! 🙂
Touch and Such Exceptional Facial Oil – the difference this has made to my skin is really significant, and it’s really reduced how much make-up I feel I need to apply, as my skin tone appears more even, and my dry patches and breakouts have slowed right down. You can read more about it in this review.
Mr Masey’s Beard Oil – a chance visit to Brighton brought this lovely little company to our attention, and the owner is genuinely committed to running a cruelty-free business, which is great to hear. As well as his own products, he also stocks vegan shaving brushes and other accessories too – they’re not always shown online, but drop him an email! We’ve reviewed this in the past, here.
Mr Masey’s Fragrance – Mr Masey’s first venture into fragrance is a great success – the scent is warm and deep, and lasts all day long. Great value for a cruelty free fragrance, too.
Make up lists are pretty personal, so if you’re still searching for that perfect product, here are some other handy lists:
- Vegan Beauty Review: http://www.veganbeautyreview.com/crueltyfree-companies
- Logical Harmony: http://www.logicalharmony.net/cruelty-free-vegan-brand-list/
- Mo’Adore http://www.moadore.co.uk/p/cruelty-free.html
- Cruelty Free Kitty: http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands/
Store Cupboard Essentials
We thought it might be handy to list some of the items we consider staples for a complete (and tasty!) vegan diet. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but rather the handful of things we suggest new vegans get their hands on to help their transition.
Engevita Nutritional Yeast (‘nooch’) – the B12 enriched one is a great cheat for getting enough of the vitamin all carnists will ask you about when they hear you’re vegan. It also has a great savoury taste and goes well in/on everything from baked beans to stir fry.
Liquid Aminos – great in place of soy sauce, I find this brings a slightly deeper almost smoky flavour, that livens up gravy and sauces as well as being great on tofu or in a stir fry. It’s gluten and yeast free, so great if you have allergies or intolerances, and contains loads of essential amino acids (which are the building blocks for protein, and really crucial for loads of important things in our body like brain function and muscle energy production).
Flaxseed – a great source of Omega 3, loads of minerals including Calcium, Zinc and loads of others. Having no discernible flavour, flaxseed can be slipped into anything and everything; we put it in pasta sauce, smoothies, cereal…the list goes on.
Marmite – even Marmite haters will be able to appreciate the depth and colour a teaspoon of marmite lends an onion gravy, and it’s also a source of B12 (I didn’t even tell Lew it was in there until I’d made him about 6 roasts with it…)
Sacla Free From Pesto – really easy to find and absolutely great for those days when you’re at a bit of a loss. Gives a lift to a full English, great on some toasted bread with fresh chopped toms, or dolloped on a big bowl of pasta. Really handy to have around.
Grape Nuts – my nan always used to eat these, and their appearance put me off. However, as an adult I love them – they have a gentle malty flavour and keep their crunch in the plant-based milk of your choice. They also have loads of protein and other good stuff – great to add to muesli or granola if you don’t fancy a whole bowl.
Coconut Oil – go virgin cold pressed, and know that you get what you pay for with coconut oil. It’s great in baking and for frying, and it’s also good on hair, dry skin, and apparently even whitens teeth.
Vegenaise – other brands are available, but this is our current preference! The Plamil ‘egg free’ range is slightly easier to find, and also includes a pretty good garlic version if you’re so inclined.
Lotus Biscoff Spread – not something that most people would consider an essential, but sometimes we all need something sweet, and this caramel-tasting spread is the perfect vegan solution. It’s made by the same people who make those little biscuits you get with coffee (which are also vegan!)
Other Lifestyle Things
We use a steam cleaner for loads of our household chores, because it doesn’t require the use of any chemicals at all, just water, and it’s really effective. Sometimes we help it along with the products mentioned above, but it’s worth considering the investment if you’re keen to minimize chemical use at home.
We get our energy from Ecotricity, and I urge you to consider this too. They are really great value for money (we’ve seen a notable reduction in our bills since we switched almost 2 years ago), and they reinvest profits into developing eco-friendly and sustainable energy sources – they even send a quarterly update on their activities so you can make a connection between the bills you pay and the good it does. The owner is vegan and they sponsor the world’s first totally vegan football team and ground (no, seriously!). The customer service is unparalleled, too.