How insanely frustrating is it when you spend a fortune on new products… just to find that they don’t work? Aren’t your skin color? Leave your hair greasy? I’ve focused my efforts on finding “clean”, vegan beauty products for a few years now, and I’d love to share some of my favorite, effective products! Let me do the work for you… keep reading!
I have skin that isn’t excessively oily, dry, or sensitive, so I’ve never been too sure about which products I should buy. My skin is, however, acne-prone.
I struggled with bad acne from sixth grade through eighth grade. It wasn’t small breakouts, it was almost a rash across my forehead, with the breakouts happening on my nose and around my mouth. I tried doctor-prescribed pills, creams, and spot treatments. I changed up my diet. I worked out. Nothing seemed to work for me.
When I got my period at age 13, my doctor prescribed birth control to try to curb the acne. My mom and I were hesitant to have me start taking it so early in life, but once I began taking it, my acne cleared up in a matter of weeks. I’ve been on it ever since, and my acne has never been as bad as it was then. I still get breakouts and I have some acne scars, but it’s nothing like it used to be, and for that I am grateful.
So, when I search for products, I try to find products geared for use on acne-prone faces. A few other guidelines I use are as follows:
-cruelty-free (look for the bunny symbol!!!)
-vegan (the difference between cruelty-free and vegan is that cruelty-free means the product was not tested on animals, and vegan means it contains no animal products.)
-no sulfates, other unnecessary chemicals, etc.
-a low score on the app “Think Dirty”. I first discovered this app when a girl I follow on Instagram posted about it, and I was intrigued. This app rates beauty products on a scale of 0-10 on their toxicity, carcinogenicity, and allergens. It doesn’t have every product in the world, but I now screen all my products on this app before buying.
I’ve used Pacifica, Burt’s Bees, Say Yes to ___ (Tomatoes, Cucumbers, etc.), and plenty of other drugstore “clean” beauty brands, and they’ve all worked relatively well. I’ve never seen *incredible* results, but I’ve recently begun using some new products and I am really impressed! Most of these products can be found at drugstores or ordered online for very cheap.
I use Shea Moisture African Black Soap. I bought mine on Amazon, but it can also be purchased at retailers such as Target and Walmart. I use this bad boy twice a day, morning and night, and I use it before I use any other products. I also use it as body wash! I first learned about this product via a friend on Twitter. It smells amazing and is very inexpensive!
Acne Spot Treatment:
I used to use a regular spot treatment from Target brand, but it’s full of nasty chemicals that harm our skin, so I did some research. I wanted something inexpensive and natural, and I discovered the miracle that is apple cider vinegar! I use organic apple cider vinegar from Aldi. This website recommends mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 3 parts water, but because my skin isn’t very sensitive, I just eyeball about 1:1. I just use my finger to dab it on my problem spots, wait about 30 seconds, and wash it off. I also do this regimen twice a day, and I’ve seen a difference in as little as four days.
After washing my face and using a spot treatment, I tone my face with Thayer’s witch hazel with rose petal. I also discovered this treatment via a Twitter friend. I ordered this on Amazon but I believe it is also in Target stores! I squeeze a few drops on a cotton ball or a sheet of toilet paper and dab it on my face. It smells so lovely.
At night, I use Shea Moisture’s coconut oil moisturizer. I use just one pump for my entire face, focusing on my cheeks, mouth area, and nose area. It smells of coconuts and is so light!
This product has not been rated yet on Think Dirty.
I did a lot of research before purchasing a BB cream. I wanted it to be travel size, provide good coverage, moisturize, and be cruelty-free and vegan. The ONLY product I could find with high reviews was The Body Shop Tea Tree BB Cream–and I LOVE it. It was a little bit expensive but it’s totally worth the price. It finishes with a powdery, solid look, and most days, this is the only face makeup I use. It smells like lemons, too!
Shampoo & Conditioner:
I have used John Frieda’s shampoo and conditioner for redheads forever. However, while I find that it holds the red in my hair excellently, it doesn’t provide any volume and my hair is greasy after only a day or two, even with dry shampoo! They also both rate an ugly 9 on the Dirty Meter. I asked a couple coworkers for advice, and they recommended trying Lush bar shampoos and conditioners. That idea seemed genius to me, because it also minimizes the liquids I bring while traveling! In addition, I already know Lush to be a fantastic company and a friend to animals.
I went to the Lush store at the Mall of America and the saleslady recommended the Seanik bar for my thin, color-treated hair. I shit you not, I had people complimenting my hair left and right and I hadn’t even told anyone that I switched shampoos. I will never purchase another shampoo. It functions like a bar of soap, but you lather it into your hair. They are also kept in these handy little tins! (Also, they last for 60 washes!)
For conditioner, I use the Big conditioner. I don’t have many opinions about this product, except that it smells great! I love that all of Lush’s products are cruelty-free and most are vegan. I lather this in my hands (takes a bit longer for this product to lather, however) and wring it into my ends, avoiding my roots like crazy because I know how heavy and greasy my hair gets with conditioner on the roots.
These products have not been rated on Think Dirty.
I have been using Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Lotion for a couple years now, and I will never use another lotion. It keeps my skin SO soft and luscious. It can be purchased online or at typical drugstores.
For years, I used Secret’s prescription-strength deodorant. I don’t sweat a lot, but I noticed that when I did, prior to using the prescription-strength, I smelled like the drugstore deodorant I was using. I didn’t want to smell like deodorant! Using the prescription strength, I never sweat and I never smelled, but my armpits frequently stung, and I experienced a lot more razor burn. Basically, my body was rejecting the foreign, heavy chemicals I was lathering on my skin every day.
I wanted to find a more natural solution, but I was stuck. Did I want to be that vegan, with the rock deodorant that everyone knows doesn’t work except her?
I did some research. And what I eventually decided to do was stop wearing deodorant altogether for a few weeks, to detox my body from those harsh chemicals. I sweat. I smelled. I wore really thick clothes and heavy perfume to mask the scent. But after a while, I noticed something peculiar: I wasn’t sweating as much. I didn’t really smell. I’m not sure if this is a *thing* or not, but it happened to me.
I still wanted to have a deodorant as a fall-back, so I purchased Schmidt’s Rose and Vanilla Deodorant. I don’t wear it every day, and sometimes I’ll go a few days without deodorant at all. Sometimes on a day with heavy physical activity, I’ll put it on once or twice–with no stinging! I bought it at the Mississippi Market Co-op on West 7th in St. Paul, but it can also be found online here.
And last but not least, toothpaste:
I was using Tom’s natural toothpaste, which I was happy with, but as it ran low and I looked for travel-friendly options, I came across Lush’s toothy tabs. These babies are weird, I’m not gonna lie. Basically, you pop a tab into your mouth, chew it, wet your toothbrush, and brush like usual. While you don’t get that minty-fresh feeling, I swear my teeth have never felt so extraordinarily clean. Fr. The saleslady explained that the Boom! Toothy Tabs were the most popular, because they contain whitening charcoal.
This product has not yet been rated on Think Dirty.
What are your favorite natural, vegan, cruelty-free products? I’d love to continue to add to my routines! It takes a while to find a product I love, but it’s so exciting to find and adore new products. THANK YOU to all the companies out there who are transparent with their practices and ingredients. It makes a world of difference, and we are noticing!!