With constantly trying to save money and live as frugally as possible, it is sometimes hard to remember that at one time I was signing petitions against animal testing, and vowing to never let anything tested on animals ever touch my skin.
The recent horse meat scandal has however reminded me that there is a good reason for animal welfare and ties in rather well with this article, which has been somewhat of a ongoing project for me.
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I wanted to find out, if as well as 'living life on a budget' something which has been enforced upon me – and countless others – could I also 'live life on a budget, cruelty free' in other words could I find everything I needed for everyday life cheaply and on that all important budget which was not tested on animals?
Of course nothing is ever simple and there are different levels of no animal testing – probably the most stringent is that set down by the BUAV, where companies must jump through numerous hoops to prove their products and the ingredients in them are cruelty free – for a more detailed look at what the BUAV demand take a look here: http://www.gocrueltyfree.org/shopper. Some manufacturers will state their products are cruelty free, however they are unable to apply for the BUAV approval mark (look for the Leaping Bunny), as some of their processes and ingredients used will not satisfy the BUAV. I decided to initially work from the BUAV's list, seeking out the best prices and goods, with an acceptance I would 'work' my way down if items were too pricey for me. I have always taken the view that the world isn't’t perfect, and neither am I, but I will do my best and a cruelty free product that doesn't’t meet BUAV's standards is better than a product from a company which gives no thought whatsoever to the plight of animals tested in the name of beauty.
The more research you do, the more confusing it can become. Many of the brands we know and associate with being cruelty free, such as Body Shop and Smashbox for example, have been bought up by large parent companies (L'Oreal in Body Shop's case) whose record on animal testing is very much on the dodgy side.
My criteria is only including items I have actually tested myself, and sticking to 'living life on a budget'.
So here goes:
Superdrug: I am starting with the easy one! I have been using Superdrug products for many years, and yes I did start using them because I knew Superdrug didn't’t test on animals. I use whichever ones are on special offer!
I particularly love the Naturals shampoo and conditioner range which I have been using for some time now, as Superdrug has a long time offer instore – two for £1.49 (99p each) for 300ml bottles. That even beats the 99p and pound store prices and the products are genuinely some of the best I have used; and I speak as one of those idiots (imho 😉 ) who has been known (in the dim and distant past!) to purchase hair shampoos and conditioners from my hairdressers, with the promise they will do miraculous things to my hair – and stop press they cleaned my hair and conditioned it!
Superdrug, are currently also offering their Source Shower gels at £1.55 (250ml) for two (99p each) – this offer again beats the pound stores, and the shower gels are lovely smelling scrummy.
But rather than use this article as a advert for Superdrug, which it could easily become, because if you add their Beauty Card to the mix, and start collecting points when you shop, you can really start to see some savings. But, I wanted to delve deeper, my money saving mantra as always been 'show no loyalty' and my affection for cruelty free Superdrug products could possibly be border on loyalty!
Summary: BUAV approved
Very good offers on full range, as well as above, check out their face creams, body lotions and bath products, good deals and scrummy smells!
So I continued on my quest to see if my budget could stretch to other brands.
Sainsburys is also on the BUAV approved list, and if you are looking to squeeze as much out of your pound as possible 49p for their Sainsburys Basics 1L shampoo is very hard to beat. They are also offering two 250ml shower gels for £1.50, I tried the Sainsburys Fruits Cranberry Body Wash and it was a very nice shower gel, smells nice and didn't’t dry my skin out, this double act of shower gels is good because it is across a large range which means you can buy for the man in your house who doesn't’t wish to smell of cranberries!
(I have used Sainsburys Whitening Toothpaste which at 65p for a 100ml tube is another very good budget wise choice)
Summary: BUAV approved
Good offers on a smaller than Superdrug range, products of a good quality.
Remember here value and fitting products a tight budget is what I am looking for – Paul Mitchell hair products are also on the list, but fall out of the budget category with a loud bump!
The Co-Op has been on the BUAV approved list for a long time, and they do offer a full range of products – but you will see the Co-Op feature more heavily in the next coming article about household products. I find the Co-op own brand beauty products lack a certain 'coolness' and actually are not extremely keenly priced – however if you want a nice smelling soak for less than a quid at 91p for 1000ml Co-operative Sweet Lilac Bath Creme, although having the slight aroma of your grandmother about it, makes for a relaxing bath time!
I did also find in a friend's bathoom, and avail myself of the Co-Op's moisturising hand and body lotion (£1.29 for 400ml), its indistinguishable from a certain more well known brand and at £1.29 not too bad on price!
Summary – BUAV approved
Not as keenly priced as some own brand goods, but a good range.
I am sneaking this company in, simply because I love them! I don’t think an essential on anyone who is trying to save money is a face mask (they do a lot more than just face masks), but they are just delicious, and they are very keenly priced (really they are), available online and very often on offer in shops such as Wilkinsons, they are a way of grabbing a bit of pampering 'me time' for about £1.49! (they offer on their website 4 for 3, with the cheapest free, and free delivery on orders over £10.00). As I don’t like face masks that dry out or need peeling off, I just Love with a big L their Aloe Vera Face Spa, it comes as a fabric mask you lay over your face, my skin is lovely and smooth after and I love the refreshing qualities of the Aloe Vera.
Montagne Jeunesse isn't’t necessarily a very budget brand, but the prices are keen, the products great, the company is very committed to ending animal cruelty and works and campaigns towards this.
Summary – BUAV approved
A range of keenly price very lovely products – one of my personal favourite companies!
I could find with quite a lot of ease products on the BUAV list to satisfy the hair and body side of things, lotions and potions reasonably priced of a good quality are available. Below is a list of companies whose products are on the BUAV list, but whose parent companies are not, and whose prices mean if you are looking for a serious bargain you might struggle, but I have at one time or another used their products and found them to be often times a smelly, luscious delight!
- The Body Shop – despite its parent company, The Body Shop's products are still not tested on animals
- Burts Bees – (parent company (Clorax) is not cruelty free). They make great Christmas and birthday presents, always being part of Boots 2 for 1 deals!
- Liz Earle – that home shopping favourite is owned by Avon, a company which for many years claimed to be cruelty free, but who in 2012 had to withdraw this claim after being challenged. Liz Earle products are without doubt high end, high quality and carry the BUAV mark.
Make-up and cosmetics is a somewhat harder list to fulfill, those of us who daily 'put our faces on', have our favourites, and it is harder to get the same results sometimes with cheaper products, which use cheaper ingredients. But, with a little hunting, I have again managed to stick within the BUAV list and find some really good products at good prices.
Marks & Spencer's own brand products carry the BUAV mark, and their make-up is reasonably priced (not terribly cheap), but perhaps most importantly, it is really very good. With Mother's Day looming, I took a look at their gift sets (note: I did not on this occasion purchase any items, but I have in my make-up bag, M&S lipsticks and eye shadows, all of which are of a high quality), and at £12.00, their Autograph Face Palette with 9 eye shadow shades, 6 lip colours and 2 powder blushers, applicator brushes and a useful mirror would make a gorgeous gift for any mother who likes to go out looking her best! Marks & Spencer also stock a large range of toiletries and perfumes, all BUAV approved, perfume is another hard product to find not tested on animals and their range priced at around £6.00 to £55.00 is varied and smells lovely, their scent Isis has been a long time favourite, and is always in my handbag.
Summary: BUAV approved
Stocking make-up, perfume, bath and body and face creams, M&S's range is extensive and although its never going to be the cheapest, in recent years M&S have made a real effort with their pricing, and if you want quality at a good price you can count on M&S.
I have had to really delve a little deeper and spend some time sampling and looking at companies and products I had never before heard of, and I am kind of glad I did! I found LilyLolo.co.uk, a British based company making mineral based cosmetics. I tried their Mineral Foundation SPF 15, and I LOVE it (it really does deserve those capitals!). At £12.49 it falls within the mid-price bracket, so not full on bargain, but nonetheless a good price for what honestly feels and performs like a far more expensive make-up. At the moment the foundation is all I have tried, but their lipsticks at £7.99, eye shadows at £5.29, mascara at £9.99 and blusher at £7.29 is all on my list. They do on their website have a sale area, and offer free delivery on orders over £50.00, have a loyalty point scheme and are currently giving away a free eye shadow with orders over £25.00. Lily Lolo is my new must have more of brand, and being cruelty free, its on the top of my list!.
Summary: BUAV approved
A great find, a new British company with ethics, lovely products.
Beauty Without Cruelty have been around for a long time (over 30 years), they make good quality make-up and skincare products, continually updating and improving their range, they are again mid-priced, I tried a Silver Range Moisturising Lipstick which at just £5.95 was a really nice, long lasting lipstick. Like Lily Lolo above, I haven't tried more of their range, but their foundations and powders are well priced at between £4.95 and £11.99. I know people who have been using this range for many years, and who swear by it.
Summary: BUAV approved
Prices to fit a budget, a range that keeps on being updated to keep in line with current trends and really good products go to show why BWC keep going and doing what they do so well!
I was really pleased that I managed to stay within BUAV's approved list, if you interested in finding out more about cruelty free products, whether on a budget or not! The links below should help you. I haven't delved much beyond the basics, but you will find manufacturers of everything in your bathroom and make-up bag, some will be better than others, and some expensive that others. But I cant help thinking spending a little time researching has got to be worth it!
I though a lot before I wrote this article, being anti-animal testing was such a huge part of my teenage years, I couldn't help but wonder if that is where it should stay, I knew as time had passed, and I had grown older that I had slipped; my bathroom and house were full of items that I would have balked at when I was seventeen. But being anti-animal testing on cosmetics and household products shouldn't’t be a teenage fad, and testing, researching and writing this article has reminded me of that, showed me that even though today's climate does mean many of us are living in straitened times, with a little research and some forethought you can live life on a budget animal cruelty free.
BUAV – http://www.buav.org/
Go Cruelty Free – http://www.gocrueltyfree.org/
Not Tested – http://nottested.co.uk/index.html
Peta – http://www.peta.org/