A couple of years ago, in 2016, when I was fresh out of grad school, jobless and seeking some way to make an impact, I stumbled across a viral video depicting a rabbit in a guillotine-like contraption with eye drops being forcibly put into it’s eyes. Maybe I was naive, but I had never realized that cosmetics that I used everyday were being tested on animals. This video and revelation blew my mind and I went down a rabbit hole of research. (Pun intended.) As I sat on my bed beside my beautiful, rescue hound, Honey Bee, I couldn’t imagine someone putting her in a choke hold to see if the chapstick I wore would give her a rash. I was sold.

My sweet Honey Bee – photo taken by
Captured by Casey Photography.

This video made by Lush is not the original video I saw, but it’s a good place to start if you are curious about the #becrueltyfree movement.

The first thing I did was go through my current collection of cosmetics and throw away the products that were not cruelty free which proved to be a good idea for two reasons: 1) Almost all of my products were expired. 2) Almost all of my products were not cruelty free. I want to mention that I now understand that it was wasteful to throw away products that were not expired just because they were not cruelty free. Today, I would use the rest of that product and then not repurchase it.

As I was going through my cosmetics and googling whether or not a certain company was cruelty free, I noticed that certified cruelty free products are marked with a rabbit on the back. There are a couple versions of this rabbit logo and they can often be faked. Products can be certified cruelty free by PETA or by Cruelty Free International; checkout the bunny logos at the websites listed.

If I’m not sure if something is cruelty free, I will do more research before I purchase it. I also end up sticking to the same brands that I know are cruelty free, so I usually don’t have to worry about it. And to be clear, products can be cruelty free without a bunny logo on the back, but may require some more research, as I said previously, or some reading of the fine print.

Being cruelty free has not been easy, but I’m trying to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and use my dollar for good. I’m going to list some of my go-to cruelty free products below, so you don’t have to stumble as much as I did in the beginning. I am also going to list where I buy the products; some of them are more specific than others but all can be found online.

Household Cleaners (Yes, even these are tested on animals.)

method – We use the dishwashing liquid, the all-purpose cleaner and the laundry detergent in liquid form. Target usually has a decent sized collection of their products.

Seventh Generation – We like the cleaning products, but the laundry detergent made Logan’s skin itchy, so it was a no-go.

Skincare/Body Wash or Soap

Alba Botanica – My whole family uses their reef-safe sunscreen and I have used their pineapple face wash before. Surprisingly, I find Alba Botanica mostly at Martin’s. I also like their spray sunscreen.

Everyone – Their lemon body wash is actually the most divine scent on this planet and it makes my skin feel really soft. It’s usually available at Martin’s and Target.

Megababe – If you have thigh chafe, look no further. I think most of us thick chicks have used deodorant to stop thigh chafe, but that’s not good for our lady bits, as I have recently found out. Megababe smells fantastic, does not have aluminum in it and WORKS. Megababe can be found at Target and Ulta. The Bust Dust is a yes for me as well! The spray bottle is very convenient. But, the deodorant made me have a bad reaction in my arm pits.

method – They have by far my favorite body washes! All the scents are magical and are available pretty much everywhere.

Pacifica – I am currently using their aromatherapy roller ball perfume and their rose water facial spray. I can usually only find this at Target.

Shea Moisture – I use their face moisturizer regularly and have used their body wash and body lotion. I buy the products that are for moisturizing and usually include aloe vera. You can find their products pretty much everywhere. They even end up at TJ Maxx sometimes. I have read not-so-favorable accounts of this brand by Black people and I am not sure where I stand with this company ethically at the moment, but I do like their products.

Hair Products

Maui Moisture – I started using Maui Moisture shampoo on a whim, but I never regretted it. Their hibiscus-scented line is simply divine. I love the smell of it and am so happy when I use it. I like most of their scents and use the conditioners and curl creams as well!

Shea Moisture – I regularly use their shampoo, conditioner and scalp scrub of all different varieties, but usually for anti-frizz and for curly hair. My husband also uses their beard balms and oils, shampoo and conditioner. They also have good shampoo bars and bars of soap for the body. Once again, pretty much anywhere, but the biggest selection is usually at Target. Shea Moisture is my go-to hair brand.

And remember don’t be cruel!