Dear EarthTalk: Do you have any recommendations for vegan health and beauty products?
— Janice T., Brooklyn, NY
The problem with many common personal care items is the toxic load they bear. According to researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one in eight of the 50,000+ ingredients used in many of our favorite lotions, lipsticks and lathers are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has no regulatory authority over cosmetics, consumers take their chances when they use personal care products.
One way to play it safe is to look for vegan health and beauty products, which are typically made from organic, all-natural ingredients, use earth-friendly packaging and don’t contribute to the harm of any animals. While vegan cosmetics tend to be a little pricier than their conventional counterparts, you get what you pay for with regard to your health and your conscience.
A perennial favorite of the eco-minded is Lush, a handmade green-friendly cosmetic company. Lush is famous for its all-natural, organic, vegetarian product line (80 percent of products are vegan-approved) including face and hair masks, cleansers, exfoliates, makeup and bath bombs. A few customer favorites from Lush include Ocean Salt exfoliating scrub and Cup O’ Coffee and Rosy Cheeks face masks.
Another vegan-friendly personal care products company is Mineral Fusion. Like Lush, Mineral Fusion has a full line and is also dedicated to using natural ingredients that make you feel healthy and beautiful. Mineral Fusion’s tinted moisturizer is elegant yet perfect for daily use with simple yet soft coverage.
Yet another great choice is Andalou, which uses all non-animal based ingredients in its shampoos, lotions, hair treatments, lip balms, masks and exfoliates—90 percent of its products are completely vegan. And unlike many of its competitors, Andalou discloses its full ingredients lists. A few favorites include Andalou’s Sponge exfoliator, Vitamin C BB beauty balm and Instant Pure Pore facial mask.
Another great health and beauty product many vegans swear by is organic coconut oil. This all-natural “cruelty-free” product is inexpensive and widely available and can be used for a wide range of health and beauty applications. You can eat it, use it as lotion on your skin and face, put some in you hair to help nourish dead ends, use as a teeth whitener and even as an organic makeup remover.
For more ideas, Vegan.com’s Makeup Guide is an exhaustive list of dozens of cruelty- and chemical-free face, hair, skin, nail and bath products. If you’re wondering whether or not a beloved product already taking up valuable real estate on your bathroom shelf contains ingredients that are unhealthy or bad for the environment, look it up on EWG’s Skin Deep, a searchable database of toxic ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products. Currently EWG rates more than 64,000 personal care products in Skin Deep.
Of course, there’s more to good health than what you put on the outside of your body. Eating fresh and organic ingredients, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly all promote good health and hydration to the skin. Living a balanced lifestyle will keep you energized and feeling fresh everyday.