Santa Bunny

perfume and cosmetics counter decorated for ChristmasThe cosmetics sections of stores have beautiful Christmas displays. Toiletries, creams and bath oils are lovely and easy gifts to give almost anyone.

You can do it in one stop shopping in any drugstore or shop cruelty free logodepartment store. But look beyond the pretty packaging. Think of the how the products were made before you start loading up your cart. Look for the bunny or something saying that the product was not tested on animals.

rabbit's eye in cosmetic testThis is what happens to the animals who get sprayed in the eyes or lathered with potentially damaging ingredients so that you can safely stick cosmetics or cleaning products in your eyes. Most of these product formulas are long established and proven in the industry. Also other means of testing for adverse reaction now exist. Animal testing is not needed.

Finding cruelty-free products

Beagle with side shaved for lab testingAvoiding animal-tested products tested can easily be done, but you do have to read labels. Familiarizing yourself with company names that do animal testing can allow you to take shopping shortcuts by just avoiding those brands totally. Do you need to buy from the company that does this to animals?

St. Ives lotion no animal testing labelRevlon, Avon and Almay are some of the big cosmetic companies that do not do animal testing.* Neither do Physicians Formula and Smashbox. For lotions and cleansers, St. Ives**. Burt’s Bees** has a greatly expanded line of cruelty-free skin care. Body Shop products say they’re not tested on animals and that Fair Trade ingredients are used.

But Body ShopBurt's Bees display in Sears cosmetic section is owned by L’Oreal, which still tests on animals. That’s a situation where you have to make a judgment call: do you support the ethical branches of a corporation or boycott all lines.

Look outside the usual aisle

Tints of Nature organic cruelty-free hair dyeHair dye is not something usually given as a Christmas gift but may be part of holiday preparations. I had a hard time finding any hair dye made by companies I knew didn’t test on animals. Then in an aisle of the Atlantic Superstore, way across the store from other skin and hair products, I found a whole section of holistic, organic and cruelty-free lotions, creams, shampoos and conditioners – and two brands of hair dye. Wahoo!

By looking for the “odd” items in pharmacy, grocery and department stores, I found cruelty-free products in my own small towns without ordering online or going to specialty stores. The big names like St. Ives and Revlon are in the cosmetics sections, but there is usually a section somewhere with cruelty-free and/or organic less well-known brands. In the St. Thomas Zellers, for instance, I found that on the other side of the main cosmetics and toiletries shelves there was a whole section of organic and “not tested on animals” lotions and cleansers. They were no more expensive.

Make your own gift sets

As I did, you might find a whole range of neat stuff you never knew about.  If you basket of cruelty-free productsplanned to get pre-made gift baskets of toiletries as easy to buy and easy to please gifts, just put your own together. I found lots of small bottles, sample bath salts and facial packs and soaps. Put them in a basket or box with tissue and ribbon and voilà – a personalized Christmas gift basket.

* See update on changes in companies’ practices in Oct. 30/13 post.

** According to Vegan Rabbit, Burt’s Bees is another of the no-cruelty companies that has an animal-testing parent company. Also there is discussion as to whether St. Ives is still cruelty-free, but the labelling I have seen recently on some products still says no animal testing.

Click Cruelty-free Beauty for my Amazon links to available ethical products.

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