I found myself in completely foreign territory. I was a grown up now. I had done my stint living overseas, I was back home, living with my boyfriend with no-one but myself to pass on the responsibility of the decision I had made. My boyfriend was supportive, though at first I don’t think he fully understood the necessity I felt towards it. He accepted the different new products I was bringing into the house – sometimes there may have been a sideways look or a wry little comment as he examined something for the first time – and he was especially skeptical when I started coming home with ‘hippy toothpaste’ as he calls it. But that was my first hurdle over. I had his acceptance and I was no longer in this alone. Yes, I still did most of the grocery shopping, so he didn’t really have a choice. But if for some reason I couldn’t do the grocery shop and he went instead, 9 times out of 10 he would buy the products he knew I would approve of. I remember he came home from a grocery shop once and proudly announced that he had checked for palm oil and ended up not buying whatever the item was because it contained palm oil.
I didn’t know where to begin. How did I start finding cruelty-free products? What do I do with the products I already own that are tested on animals? Is it going to be more expensive to start using cruelty-free products? How hard is this going to be? How available will cruelty-free products be?
First and foremost you need to find a starting point. For me, it was finding out which brands test on animals. Thankfully my old friend, Google was able to assist me with this and I discovered PETA’s cruelty-free search (which I have attached here). I found PETA really useful for finding companies that do test on animals. It became quite apparent pretty early on which companies I should be avoiding. Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Procter & Gamble own a lot of your everyday household brands and the majority of these brands unfortunately do test on animals.
- Johnson & Johnson own Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Aveeno and Listern.
- Unilever own Sunsilk, Tresemme, Dove and Vaseline.
- Procter & Gamble own Head & Shoulders, Gillette, Herbal Essence and Olay.
I have only listed a few of the brands that each company owns here and all of these brands test on animals. Another company you need to watch out for is L’Oreal, they try to come across as a cruelty-free company, but I assure you they are not. I suggest having a good look through PETA’s cruelty-free search.
Now that I had a starting point and semi-knew what I was doing, I would read the back of all the products I considered buying during a grocery shop. This ranged from shower gels, bench sprays and washing powder, to dish liquid, shampoo and toilet cleaner. Some products would have the PETA approved bunny logo, and I knew these were safe to buy. Others would have another form of rabbit logo and some just say ‘no animal testing’.
And here my friends, is where it gets a bit tricky.
Consumers know that animal testing is becoming less and less desirable so ‘no animal testing’ is the selling point for a lot of people. So when a product states ‘no animal testing’ or ‘not tested on animals’ people are more inclined to buy it. The issue with just stating that something is ‘not tested on animals’ without an accredited cruelty-free logo is that it doesn’t necessarily mean its cruelty-free. But do not despair, there is a solution to this.
You can email the company directly and ask them if at any point their product or its ingredients are tested on animals. And/or if their product is tested by a third party. If this is not your cup of tea, or you are feeling a bit lazy and wish someone would ‘JUST TELL YOU WHAT IS AND WHAT ISN’T TESTED ON ANIMALS!!!!!’ (because oh, have I been there…) you can refer to the SAFEshopper cruelty-free NZ website which is incredibly helpful. I have attached a link to SAFEshopper here. SAFEshopper have an extensive list of cruelty-free products sold in New Zealand. I have found other cruelty-free products that are not on this list but I won’t mention them just yet. I feel you are always safe purchasing Earthwise and Ecostore, these brands have the added bonus of making almost everything you need. Washing powder, shower gels, shampoo and conditioner, dish liquid. They basically make everything and then another bonus is that they are both environmentally friendly. YAY!
To buy cruelty-free products over non cruelty-free is slightly more expensive, yes. But it varies and its not unaffordable and there are always brands which are cheaper than others. Once you get yourself sorted and you know your stuff, there is actually a lot of cruelty-free choice. Supermarkets stock many cruelty-free brands, it’s just a matter of familiarising yourself with them and figuring out what you like. I finished using my existing products, I saw no point in wasting them. It isn’t achieving anything. Likewise if someone were to gift me some make-up or skin care that wasn’t cruelty-free. I would use it, perhaps not as often as my other products, but I see no point in hurting someones feelings. On that note, I would like to express how nonjudgemental I think this decision should be. I am not going to judge someone who buys non cruelty-free make up. Its nothing to do with me and it isn’t my place. I wont judge you if you just can’t give up that favourite mascara or your favourite face wash. Everyone is different and everyone’s journey is different.
Until next time,