This post is not about any recipes or food, but I thought it was appropriate to share it in Vegan MoFo. This past week, I gave away all of my make-up that has been tested on animals, or contained non-vegan ingredients.
This was a HUGE step for me and something that I had been conflicted about for a long time.
Let me back up and give some history on my LOVE for all things cosmetic. I have been a girly girl about my appearance for as long as I can remember. My mom likes to tell me how I would be upset as a toddler, if I did not have on a matching necklace, earrings and bracelet set before leaving somewhere. I always adored playing dress up and could not wait till I could have fun with make-up.
I remember very distinctly, when I was around 13, my mom saying, “you can wear make-up if you want, but you have to buy it all yourself.” That was all I needed to hear and I ran with it. I saved up money from baby-sitting and started experimenting with various colors, shades and textures. I loved glitter, shimmers, bright colors and coordinating everything with my outfits. It was a little out of control, and I cannot believe my mother let me leave the house with some of the crazy “ideas” I had at the time, but I am grateful she was allowing me to find myself as an individual.
I started building up quite a diverse collection of make-up and even after downsizing some of it as an adult, it was still pretty eclectic.
Once I had a “real” job, I started making my way to the MAC make-up counter, each payday. I was in heaven amongst their variety and quality. I was always there when a new collection arrived and I slowly started to build up a sizeable amount of their products.
I had worn a decent amount of make-up for a few years. Even as an adult, I would regularly have on a full face of eye shadow, blush, lipstick and sometimes even fake eyelashes, when going out somewhere.
However, over the past few years, I realized it started to matter less and less to me how much make-up I wore. I think part of it had to do with being more comfortable and happy with who I naturally am, and not feeling that I needed so much time and products to present myself a certain way. Another part of it had to do with how time consuming it can be, and my priorities shifted to prefer using my time other ways, especially in the mornings.
As I made the transition over to vegan, I had a few people ask if that meant I had to change out all my make-up. I had not really considered it to be an issue before, but once I started doing more research, I felt the guilt creep in about animal testing and using animal products on myself, even if I was not literally ingesting them.
I begin telling myself I would no longer buy a NEW products, that had been tested on animals, but I could not do anything about the things I already owned. This made me feel better for a little while, since I would start feeling anxious and uncomfortable when I thought of losing nearly all my make-up collection.
However, two concepts truly resonated with me, as I went through my yoga teacher training; that of ahimsa (non-violence, which is part of the yamas, the first branch of yoga) and that of non-attachments (discussed extensively in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras).
The branch of ahimsa, or non-violence is one I strive to really demonstrate in my life, diet, mannerisms, beliefs, ethics, etc. It is incredibly important for me to do good while I am on this earth, and at the very least, not harm. What I contained in my make-up drawer was representing that, and every time I thought of losing it, I made excuses and tried to rationalize it away in my head. I soon realized that I was far too attached to these “things” and therefore, should try to practice non-attachment, and be at peace with losing them. They are only material possessions, and being truly honest, I hardly used most of them anymore, so why was I so resistant about their loss?
I truly hate to be a wasteful person, and since the products were already purchased, I decided to give them away to someone who would be appreciative of them, my younger sister.
I did as much research as I could, and found PETA’s website the most helpful in figuring out which products were tested on animals. I gave away all of my MAC make-up, and a handful of other products.
I considerably downsized from two big boxes to one smaller one, which more realistically reflects what I will actually use.
I purchased a few new products. Sephora was very helpful, and they have a list on their website of which companies test on animals. I am happy to report, they carry very few make-up brands that do testing.
I did my best, and from what I can tell, these products are vegan and not animal tested. If I am wrong in this assumption, please let me know. I am still new to this and learning which are the animal friendly companies.
Clockwise from left to right:
Cover FX pressed mineral foundation
Urban Decay waterproof liquid eyeliner
Tarte Lip Surgence
Bare Minerals Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Eyeshadows in various shades
I am still getting used to the change. MAC has been my main source of make-up for so long and I am truly saddened that they still choose to test on animals. They have lost a loyal and enthusiastic customer.
However, I feel better about my choice and once I decided to do it, it was hard to figure out what my hang up was about it for so long. It’s interesting how strongly we form attachments to “things” and understanding my story behind my love of cosmetics helped a bit, but it felt so much better to let go and try to follow my ethics and heart of not doing anything to cause violence or harm to another living being.
Any recommendations on vegan cosmetics?
Congrats and I so feel you on this one! I recently did this with all the leather shoes & belts that I had purchased before going vegan. Giving them up was hard, but I did not feel right wearing it anymore.
As for makeup, I love ELF. They are super cheap, vegan and contain no animal by-products. I used to go to Urban Decay for my fun make-up but they are now owned by L’Oreal, who does test on animals 😦 But everyone has to draw their own lines and I know a lot of vegans who still buy UD. Too Faced and Tart I believe are both independently owned and have lots of vegan products and don’t test on animals. I happen to love Too Faced as well, it’s just a little too pricey for me at the moment to indulge too much!
Wait, so does UD test on animals, or only Loreal.
Thanks for the ELF info, I have so much to learn still!
As far as I know… UD does *not* test on animals, although not all of their products are vegan. L’Oreal tests some of their products on animals (although they have a whole line of hair care products that are totally vegan and cruelty-free). I’ve heard from a lot of vegans that they stopped buying UD simply because they don’t want to support the parent company who does testing… although IMO it’s still important to show them that there is a demand for the cruelty-free products, so hopefully they’ll test less and less!
Beautifully written! I hope one day I can make this transition as well. You are so inspiring, Angelina!! BTW, your flawless soft skin doesn’t need it anyways 😉 xxx
Awwww…thank-you, Steph! 💚
I had no idea Sephora had that option! I had been wrestling with animal cruelty issues versus having decent makeup that wouldn’t make me feel like a hippie. I do caution you against PETA though – their philosophy isn’t in line with anything I believe and while it may be “cruelty” free, they usually prefer to “humanely” kill the animals they rescue.
I agree with you on that point about PETA. I don’t take everything they say as my own rules, but they did have the best resource, I could find, for this situation.
This is going to sound like a very ‘newbie’ question but, how on earth do you test make-up on animals?! That’s always kind of confused me. I mean, in what way is it especially dangerous (or possible) to accurately test it on them?
I don’t use very much MAC makeup as I find it very expensive and more than my budget allows, but I do use a couple things on occasion (I use one particular eyeliner a lot). I’ve never been conscious of makeup ingredients which I know isn’t great, I really should make more of an effort, especially if it’s bad for them. I mean in general anything that is tested on someone without their approval I disagree with, but it would be worth knowing what the reasoning is that MAC actually does that.
Not a newbie question at all, it is confusing, because it is so unnecessary. There are other ways to test without having to harm anything!
This article gives a decent overview of it:
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