Friday, August 06, 2010

{Animal Cruelty-Free Product Overhaul, Part One}

I am so excited to be on this journey! I feel like getting informed about animal testing was
the hard part. But now, I can make what I perceive to be better, healthier, kinder choices
because of the information I'm armed with. It's liberating to make a well-informed lifestyle
change. I'm not 100% there. (I still have some leather bags and shoes, and I can't make
myself go vegan). But I feel like this is a wonderful step in the right direction toward living
an animal cruelty-free lifestyle. I love it!

I don't think my 'lil ole decisions are going to reform companies across the globe, but I
honestly feel like even one person doing a little does make a difference! I can sleep at night
knowing my choices at the store are not causing rabbits to be scorched and tortured.

So, I'm going through all my products to try and find out what of them are tested on
animals and what aren't. The ones that are animal-cruelty free (yay for them!!), I'll keep
using and being loyal to. The ones made by companies who do test on animals -- they're
outta here!

Fortunately, I've been replacing toxic cleaners with natural ones over the past several
years in the name of keeping a healthier household and because of the environmental
damage such products cause both through production and disposal. (Is it coincidence
that I get sick less and my psoriasis has never been better?)

My house isn't 100% natural though. So, it's no surprise I found some offenders -- products
made by companies who do animal testing. The list of such products is fairly small. Still, I
have or will be discontinuing the use of all of them. Of course, it's up to David to make his
own choices. I'm speaking here for myself. Below, the bolded items are ones I have used
that I now know DO TEST on animals. What follows is my plans to replace those products.
  • Listerine mouthwash -- We use this everyday and have for years. It seems to do a good job of killing germs, and it tastes okay. Time to try some alternatives! PerioWash in CinnaMint is my favorite replacement so far. I love it. It contains all kinds of goodness for healthy gums, which is a bonus, and it tastes great.
  • Oxi Clean -- I put a scoop in every load of laundry. It works well at getting out stains, even the ones I forget to treat. But give it up, I shall! I bought OXO Bright at Sprouts as my new replacement. It's double the price of Oxi Clean, but it's concentrated. So, you use a much smaller scoop per load. In the end, it'll cost the same or less than what I was using, and it does a fabulous job with my laundry.
  • Lubriderm body lotion -- Another thing we both use daily. I've tried a few natural lotions (paraben and fragrance free) in the past, but they've been a little sticky, not as creamy or just too expensive for me. I found what I think will be a decent solution with Everyday Shea. I got a 32 ounce bottle of for only $9.99, which is comparable to what we pay for Lubriderm. It's not quite as creamy as I like. So, I will keep looking, but in the meantime, this works.
  • Lancome -- I've been using their foundation, one of their shadows and an eye shadow base for a couple years. I found an eyeshadow by Stila that's comparable in color, and I switched to Smashbox foundation. I haven't bought a new eyeshadow base yet. Barb told me about one she likes. So, I think I'll try that next.
  • Maybelline -- Super sad about this. Damnit, Maybelline! I've used their eye liner and mascara forever. I've never found a mascara I like better, and the price is right. Time to look elsewhere though as my loyalty to them died when I found out what they were doing. So, I bought Almay mascara, and I like it. My only complaint is that the wand is too short, but that's something I'm getting used to. For eye liner, I had a hard time finding my color in a self sharpening applicator. I bought one by Stila in clove. It's darker then the one I like to wear, but it's a good backup until I find the right one for me. I'm still using my Maybelline eyeliner about every other day. I need to work on this one still.
  • Pledge -- No big loss. I only use this on our stainless steel fridge. It's one of the few non- natural cleaning products I still have in the house anyway. I have Method's stainless steel cleaner that I use on all our metal except for the fridge. For some reason, I don't think it works well there. Any suggestions? Right now, I'm just wiping it down with a warm soapy washcloth.
  • Febreeze air freshener -- I don't use this a ton, but it is nice to have something that I can use to spray away odors when you have three animals. I found this recipe for a homemade air freshener. I plan to give it a try asap. I'll let you know how it goes!
  • Arm&Hammer -- You'd think Arm&Hammer has a corner on the baking soda market, but there are other options. I replaced them with Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda. Problem solved! (Here's a little reading material for you on the topic.) I also used an Arm&Hammer toothpaste. I've now switched over to Tom's. I'm also using Tom's deodorant, bar soap and body wash. I love this product line. Everything I've tried from it is excellent. D likes it, too.
  • Banana Boat lotion -- Just use this for recently tanned or burned skin. No problem to give it up. I was surprised by this though. I thought of them as a more natural company.
  • Glade -- Have some of their plug-ins. I haven't used them much in the last year anyway. Time to pitch 'em and boycott them forever! Buh-bye.
  • Gillette -- Damnit! I just don't get it. What's wrong with these companies? David used their shaving cream, but I just replaced it with Nivea, which is found at Target and in the same price point. We both use Gillette razors. I still need to look for a replacement, which admittedly, this is something that's caused major heal dragging. I definitely want one with a stick I can keep and blades that are disposable. Suggestions are welcome!
It takes some time to go through products, find out if they're from companies that test on
animals and then shop for comparable replacements that are animal cruelty-free. So, I'm
starting with these, and then I'll move onto the rest.

I read a suggestion online that said if you're going to discontinue using a product because you
have learned they test on animals, you want to send a message to that company so they know
why you're no longer going to buy that product, perhaps someday encouraging them to
change their practices. They suggested mailing the unused portion of the item back to the company with a note expressing how you feel about animal testing. They also suggested
asking for a refund.

I've decided I'm not asking for any refunds. Afterall, I'm the one who bought the product
without initially doing the research, right? And I'm also not paying for postage to mail half
used bottles of stuff across the country. (That's a little over the top for me. ) But I think I
will write a quick letter that can be sent to each of them so they know they've lost my
business because of the way they do theirs. In it, I'll let them know I was once a loyal
customer, but I'm disappointed that they test on animals and will therefore no longer buy
things from their company. I'm also asking them to correct me if I'm mistaken about their
practices and to let me know if they discontinue all animal testing so I can support them
again as a consumer.

So, that's where I am so far on my journey to buy and use products that are not tested on
animals. I'm really glad I'm looking into this again. It's been years, since living in Dallas,
that I've done any research and shopped accordingly. It feels like the right thing to do, and
my conscious is feeling cleaner. And that's, well, better!

* NOTE: The two images in this post were found online through Google Images.


Kristi said...

You're doing a great job with making conscious, informed changes. I just don't understand why testing on animals needs to be done at ALL

elizabeth said...

good for you Sam!!

Shelle said...

it's pretty scary when you research this stuff. i had looked into foods as far as gmo's etc and found most the the big corps own most of the main brands you find in a supermarket...likewise all those you have'll be surprised to know most of them are p&g & kimberley clark (i know this from couponing). fragrance is the worst if you're buying anything frangranced you know there's 100 different ingredients right there...they are also the highest allergen. now the scary thing is...most of the corps have bought most of the organic companies out...whole foods is about the only place in my research that is truly standing in what they believe. it's all so sad but true!