Cruelty-Free Products… The Review

So, it’s been about a week since my cruelty-free product shopping spree… it’s been a week of trial and error, as expected when trying out new products (even conventional ones). The lesson I learned was, ‘less is more’, in fact, that’ll be today’s mantra.

I’ve been having a running commentary in my head the whole week, and quite frankly, if I don’t get some of that information out on the page, I think I’ll have to question my sanity. So I thought I’d divide up the products into things usually used in conjunction with each other (shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel), based on a theory I have.

make-up, nail polish, face cleaner, face lotion

Face & Nails

I’ve been using jane and urban decay eye shadows for awhile (read: years), oblivious to the cruelty-free aspect of them, so I was very happy to learn this bit of information. I switched out my foundation for urban decay, it took a bit to get use to the application because even though it was a cream-to-powder foundation it came with a half-moon brush rather than a sponge like I’m use to with my previous brand. But remember the mantra… less is more, I soon learned the art of application and love this foundation. Next I tried out urban decay’s ink for eyes, now this stuff is cool. I was only brave enough to try out the black (zero) eyeliner, but it is awesome! I get a straight line easily on my top lid and then I make a smokey, smudgy line on my bottom lid, I’m very happy with this product. The other urban decay product I tried was the skyscraper multi-benefit mascara, I really like that this mascara curls my lashes while keeping them soft not clumpy… the down side is that this is not vegan, from looking at their page, it looks like none of the mascaras are vegan, so I may opt to swap this one out for a vegan one in the future… but it is cruelty-free and that is a step up from my previous mascara. ( If you go to the specific urban decay links, you’ll see that paw print I was talking about on my products I use page, that’s the ‘Marley paw print’ and it means it is vegan in addition to being cruelty-free. )

Next up, is the cleaning of said make-up off. I swapped out my previous brand for Kiss My Face clean for a day creamy face cleanser, this is not a soap so it does not lather. It was like a very slippery lotion, I massaged it on my face and removed it with a wet washcloth. It removed my eye make-up from my eyes with a bit of effort from the washcloth, but so did my previous brand. I’m pleased with this product. Next was the face lotion that I tend to apply after my shower in the morning and after washing off my make-up in the evenings… I switched to Lily of the Desert – Aloe 80 Organics aloe vera moisturizing cream. I had asked the sales person at Whole Foods for a thin lotion that did not feel greasy… that is exactly what I got. I am very happy with this product. The face wash and lotion leave my face feeling soft, and not dry… nor does my face feel greasy.

I like to wear nail polish on my hands and toes, I tend to shy away from pinks, I have candy apple red which I occasionally have on my toes, but never my hands, but mostly I like dark goth colors like black, gunmetal gray, and dark green. I also like springtime purples, also for my toes not hands. And I have a dark maroon that I like to wear around autumn, but usually on my toes not my hands. (What’s with the toes? I think I look at my feet a lot during yoga, so I like them pretty.) So when I went searching for cruelty-free nail polish and found out that OPI fit that bill, I was excited to see their espana line, which includes a dark blue, a dark green and a dark maroon. I picked up the dark blue (suzi skis in the pyrenees) and the dark green (here today… aragon tomorrow) ones. I really like these colors, it’s like wearing black nail polish but when the light hits it just right you can see the color. Again, not vegan, but cruelty-free which is a step up from my previous products. *Side note: Funny story, I was excited about the green one because I thought it read Aragorn tomorrow, I didn’t know what that meant but thought it was a LOTR reference… haha, no it reads aragon… oh well, maybe next time Viggo.

shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, anti-frizz gel


Ok, shampoo and conditioner seems to be the hardest area to please me. I have color treated hair, so I usually like to glop on the conditioner, sometimes it works, sometimes the conditioner makes my hair feel too heavy, sometimes the conditioner doesn’t seem like it moisturizes enough and I have trouble combing my hair. I currently use John Frieda, which is on the list for ‘finished products not tested on animals’ and ‘its parent company or suppliers may test on animals’… so I decided to give some cruelty-free shampoo and conditioners a try to ease my conscience. So far, I’ve tried Nature’s Gate and Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value (full disclosure: I tried kiss my face years ago). I didn’t pick up a conditioner from the 365 brand, perhaps my mistake. So I spent most of the week swapping back and forth between the two in an attempt to compare… between the two I like Nature’s Gate. Nature’s Gate lathered up and even though it felt squeaky clean, it didn’t feel as squeaky clean as the 365 brand. The 365 brand required more water and more product to get the lather I was expecting, so even though it was cheap, you needed more to do the job. After all that squeakiness I felt I NEEDED conditioner… but remember our mantra? Less is more, it felt counter intuitive, but when I used a bit less conditioner and didn’t leave it on as long it did a better job than if I glooped it on and left it on for the duration of my shower. My hair felt squeaky in the shower, but amazingly it was quite manageable towel-dried. The days I used too much conditioner, my hair felt ‘dirty’, for lack of a better word, just along the hairline as the day grew on, but on the days I used less and left it on for less time, my hair felt nice and soft throughout the day and didn’t feel ‘dirty’. So overall, I like the Nature’s Gate products.

Before combing my hair I usually use an anti-frizz serum (from John Frieda, as well), so that I can get a comb through… so see even with the conventional products I used massive amounts of conditioner then still felt I needed a leave-in conditioner to comb through… I also use the anti-frizz serum to calm down the fly-away bits. I think it is because I color my hair (I color it from a box, I don’t go to the salon), I’m curious to see the changes to my hair once I switch to a more natural hair color product (remember my theory?)… something I think I will do for my next color touch-up which is early October… don’t get the wrong idea… my hair looks good, natural, and healthy, not dry and frizzy… but back to the products at hand. So, I picked up an anti-frizz serum and a hair gel from Giovanni. Now I don’t care if it’s cruelty-free or conventional, any new hair styling product is going to take some trial and error… give it time. I figured out the right amount of styling product for me, and I am pleased… less is more. These products were able to hold my hair without it feeling stiff or gluey, which is exactly what I wanted… it’s not the 80’s anymore… For the finishing touches, I still use a conventional styling wax and hairspray… so those will most likely be switched out soon. I liked the light scent of the giovanni products, the hair gel smelled a bit like honeysuckle, even though I could not find that as an ingredient… perhaps the mixture of the other flowers just reminds me of honeysuckle… it is faint but nice.

toothpaste and mouthwash, shaving lotion, body lotion, shower gel, deodorant

Body & Teeth

I was very pleased with the Jason satin shower body wash… it lathered up quite nicely and I didn’t need very much to do the job… guess what… less is more. Really, I’m starting to see a pattern here, how about you…

I’ve been using Kiss My Face shaving lotion for several years now… I originally was looking for something in a container that would not rust in the shower… don’t you hate that rust circle the others leave? I was pleasantly surprised with the product too… it is not a foam, it is like a mix between a thick soap and a lotion, I really like it. You may have noticed that I bought a few ‘fragrance free’ products, it was my attempt to avoid smelling like I was beaten with a bouquet of flowers. I particularly bought fragrance-free body lotion because other lotions tend to sting after shaving, and the whole point of the body lotion, for me, is to sooth my freshly shaven legs. But fragrance-free does not mean unscented… and the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand has a very nice scent… can’t put my finger on it, but has jojoba and sesame oil and it is pleasant. As seems to be the pattern, I usually goop on the lotion, and of course, less is more with these products… at first I put WAY too much lotion on and it didn’t seem to soak in very quickly… the next day I used less and it was much better. My legs were smooth and soft, the lotion didn’t sting, and I didn’t have to wait as long for the lotion to soak in. I like this product, its light scent and minimal amount required is a nice change.

Deoderant… here’s where I was most, perhaps ‘warned’ is the word? But wrongly warned. Let’s talk first about my conventional antiperspirant/deodorant, shall we? During the summer I would wear spaghetti-strap tops, sweat, and then not want to lift my arm because even I could smell me… sound familiar? So I guess my conventional product didn’t do the job at all, right? Plus there is always that white streak that manages to get all over my clothes no matter how careful I am… so really what’s all the fuss about natural products? I think the Kiss My Face liquid rock deodorant did just a good a job as my old stuff, if not better. Plus it doesn’t leave a white mess all over my clothes, I’m glad I switched.

And last, but not least… toothpaste and mouthwash. I switched to Tom’s of Maine several months back, there was some trial and error, mostly due to taste preference… I did not like the peppermint mouthwash, it had a strange after-taste. I prefer the lemon-lime mouthwash (it tastes kinda like sprite), it also doesn’t sting like the stronger mouthwashes do. Lately, I’ve been unable to find lemon-lime locally, which upsets me, so I’ve been trying out the cinnamint, it reminds me of big red gum but still has a bit of that peppermint after-taste also it stings a bit, but it is manageable. I think I’m gonna order some lemon-lime from amazon, but the weird thing is that it is not available or even mentioned on the Tom’s site… this worries me. I prefer spearmint over peppermint in every way (candy, gum, and toothpaste) so that’s the flavor of my toothpaste. I prefer the gel to the paste… the cool thing about Tom’s of Maine products is that they have little trial size packages so you can find your preferred flavor. Tom’s of Maine does not have saccharine in the toothpaste like my previous blueish-green paste did, which is why I originally chose it… by the way does any one else find it weird that toothpaste needs a sweetener? So for cruelty-free and apparently cancer-free toothpaste, I choose Tom’s of Maine.

I hope this was helpful! πŸ™‚

So, I plan to switch my hair color product… has anyone used naturtint or manic panic?


9 thoughts on “Cruelty-Free Products… The Review

  1. OMG this review is worth printing out and saving…so much lovely unbiased info…thank you for taking the time, it was very helpful!

    I am still in high search for one thing: face cleanser. After not being able to rationalize my $30 bottle of Lancome on any level (price, eco-unfriendly, etc.) I have bounced around from Clean & Clear unholistic to TJ’s Desert Essence vegan but smells awful to Jason organics orange that I used to get at my old Rite Aid but now new CVS doesnt carry so it’s an internet only thing which annoys….do you have any rec’s for face cleanser?

    • Wow, what a lengthy review! I am stoked to hear that the liquid rock deodorant worked – I’m totally checking that out next time I need to buy some. I love my Nature’s Gate shampoo – I’ve found it’s hard to find stuff that lathers properly (like the 365 brand, apparently!), and Tom’s of Maine makes awesome toothpaste! I’m with you on the whole not-sweet thing. πŸ™‚ This was super to read, thank you!

      • Eve – My ‘taste-tester’ tried out the 365 brand (I bought if for him)… he said that he applied the shampoo, it seem like it got sucked in, so he rinsed it off… then reapplied the shampoo and got a lather. He does not have color treated hair, but I suggested he try the Nature’s Gate for comparison…

    • Hi Averie, I just wanted to tell you about my cleanser, which I adore… It’s the white tea cleanser by Korres Natural Products. I bought it at Sephora (is there Sephora in the states?), but here’s the product on the companies website:
      It’s super gentle on the eyes, great at taking off makeup, leaves my skin feeling nice, smells mild but pleasant, and is pretty affordable – a little goes a long ways! πŸ™‚ -Eve

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