It's been about a year since I decided to really go for 100% cruelty-free makeup. The start was typical bright-eyed excitement over making an ethical change, but the complicated nature of what's considered cruelty free, various certifications, and parent companies settled in quickly (read the article at the bottom of this post if that's got you dizzy already.)
This is all to say that this past year has been more about research and looking through dozens of reviews for replacements of my staples, more than actual shopping. Though tedious, it's something I've gotten used to and trying out new products can be a lot of fun. Here are some of my thoughts on what I've been trying out lately:
Yes To shampoos and conditioners have been the biggest surprise on this journey. With very curly, dry hair I thought I'd never find a drugstore combo I'd like and haven't even tried one for years, sticking to salon favorites whenever I run out. I was in a pinch a month ago and the bottle of Coconut Oil & Argan Oil conditioner looked promising enough to give a drugstore option a try. The conditioner is thick and has a ton of oils too that add moisture and shine to my curls. This Tea Tree & Sage Oil shampoo is great as well, I feel clean but with no uncomfortably squeaky hair in sight.
When I'm wearing my hair curly I've been using the Jane Carter Solution hair nourishing cream as a leave-in conditioner. It smooths over most of my frizz and leaves my hair soft rather than crunchy, but I'm not sure I can get over the strong smell. I guess one of the oils and I just don't mesh well, and I think I'll have to search for something new once this one runs out.
I've been turning to Pixi Beauty for replacements of a lot of my favorite staples. Before I started to transition all my products, I had already been using the Glow Tonic which has really helped with my skin texture, and I've gone through about 4 tubes of the Eyebrow Tamer gel as well. I've struggled a lot with finding a good mask, and this Glow Mud Mask is alright. It's great against acne, but burns a little too much for my sensitive skin. I've come to love using the Beauty Cream before my night moisturizer, but I'm not sure if it really does anything. It may just be a nice ritual.
Something that's been an absolute score is the Milani Eye Primer. I was really sad to give up my Nars primer, but the Milani one works just the same keeping my eyelids free of oil and my eyeshadow in place. The only real drawback is it's not translucent, but I haven't had an issue with it looking weird on my skin. The Velvet 59 Exotic Lotus eyeshadow palette is nice as well. I've used the brown and purple tones frequently. Unfortunately, the champagne color (Princess of China) doesn't show up as well and comes off as just glitter.
Like Pixi, I've been continually turning to Drybar for any hair products I need. The Sheriff hairspray, Hot Toddy blow dry cream, and the Mai Tai Spritzer sea salt spray are all great for styling my hair when I straighten it and they all smell seriously incredible (I usually skip perfume when I'm using any of these.) I also have the Baby Buttercup hair dryer which is all the power of a normal dryer in a compact size. I'm not as skilled with a curling iron, but the 3-Day Bender has been user friendly and heats up really quickly every time I've used it.
Any cruelty free recommendations? The search for a great mascara is still on.