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Finding Hard-to-Find Products
Suggestions for deodorants, razors, mascaras, and other tough items!
Some products aren't easy to find in cruelty free form, due to lack of selection, affordability, or effectiveness. "Which products are the hardest to find?" was asked on Facebook, and the most common answers were (in order): mascara, high quality makeup, deodorant and anti-perspirant, salon quality hair care, sensitive skin care, and razors.
Here are specific suggestions for these products. For other possibilities, check the Brand Finder option on the main menu to find cruelty free brands that carry these elusive items.
Anticipating the question "can products that cheap be any good?", the answer is "yes." In the cosmetics industry, the price rarely reflects ingredient cost - most cosmetics ingredients are cheap. Rather, cost mainly is a function of two things: the size of the manufacturing run (if you manufacture in large batches, your cost per item is cheaper than if you do small batches, because the main cost is in the setup, which is the same whether you have a large run or a small run); and the price point chosen by your marketing department, which is purely a marketing decision (if you are going for the high-end market, you set a high price regardless of costs, because a low-price product won't sell in a high-end market). You often hear brands defend higher prices by saying cheaper brands use "cheap fillers," but it's more likely the cheaper brand just has a larger manufacturing run or a different target market.
Joe Blasco, FACE atelier, and Kett Cosmetics are the professional makeup lines among the Leaping Bunny brands. All are highly regarded by makeup artists and used for TV and movie work, on fashion runways, and for professional photography. FACE atelier is especially great for high-definition.
Both brands are inexpensive and pretty widely available. Crystal deodorants are easier to find, at CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens. Crystal has a local store locator at the bottom of the Crystal home page. Locally, Kiss My Face is mainly available at grocery stores that lean toward natural products. Check the Kiss My Face local store locator here. Selection will vary among stores, so it's best to call the store first to see if it has the product. Both brands are also available online at discount retailers such as Vitacost.com, iHerb.com, Pharmaca.com, and LuckyVitamin.com.
Anti-perspirants are regulated as over-the-counter drugs (because they contain active ingredients to reduce perspiration), and so undergo more extensive testing (sometimes including animal testing) than most other products. For this reason, it's difficult for them to obtain Leaping Bunny certification. The only Leaping-Bunny-certified anti-perspirant on the market is made by Tom's of Maine. It's called Naturally Dry Anti-Perspirant Stick.
Salon Quality Hair Care
Paul Mitchell is the salon quality Leaping Bunny brand. The real Paul Mitchell products are available only in salons, so use the salon locator on Paul Mitchell's site to find one near you. You may find products that appear to be Paul Mitchell at major drugstores, Walmart, Target, and online sites, but they don't come from Paul Mitchell, who strictly controls distribution to salons only. If you don't buy it in a salon, it may be counterfeit, even at well-known stores like Walmart, and may have very different ingredients than the real Paul Mitchell.
For sensitive skin, look for simple, fragrance-free products with few or no plant extracts (except nut oils may be okay) and with the proper pH. For why these criteria are important, see Gentle Products for Sensitive Skin. Here are products that fit that description.
Cleanser: A super simple formula is Magick Fragrance Free Cleanser for the Chemically Sensitive ($10.95/16 oz). Another simple, gentle cleanser is Basic Clear Hair and Body Wash, from Essential Wholesale and Labs. They only sell this in bulk, but it's cheap at $35/half gallon. Essential Wholesale and Labs is not a brand, but rather a supplier and manufacturer for many cruelty-free brands. Because they aren't a brand, they aren't eligible for the cruelty-free certifications, but they are verified cruelty free: Because they supply cruelty free brands, they have had to verify their status.
Moisturizer: Simple moisturizers are the pure nut oils and butters, such as argan oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil. Brands with pure oils include Acure Organics (unscented argan and marula oils), Desert Essence (jojoba oil, but NOT their tea tree oil, which is not a nut oil and is the #1 plant contact allergen), and Mode de Vie (unscented karit oil, which is liquid shea butter). Oils tend to be reasonably priced. The regular retail prices for these are Acure Marula Oil - $15/1 fl oz (30 ml); Desert Essence Jojoba Oil - $14/4 fl oz (120 ml); and Mode de Vie Karit Oil -$29.90/ 6 fl oz (180 ml). Discount online retailers often have them for less.
If you have highly sensitive skin, a good simple, totally plant-free moisturizer that you can make yourself is glycerin diluted in water. Glycerin is one of the two best moisturizing ingredients for skin, because it can bind water within the skin (hyaluronic acid is the other ingredient that can do this). I don't know a cruelty free brand that offers glycerin as a product, but you can find glycerin at the suppliers to these brands. For example, Mountain Rose Herbs sells vegetable-derived glycerin for $8.50/16 oz. Essential Wholesale and Labs also sells vegetable-derived glycerin, for $9.95/16 oz (from certified organic soy). For diluting the glycerin, try 1 part glycerin to 2 to 4 parts water, but it's okay to add more water to reduce any tackiness. Don't use glycerin alone without water, because it needs water to work properly - glycerin can't bind water within your skin if it doesn't have the water! Make the mixture in small batches, enough for just a week, since you aren't adding a preservative.
MCS. If you have highly sensitive skin or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), your best option may be the Magick Botanicals line (which no longer uses botanicals because of sensitivities, but retained the name). This brand, developed for the MCS community, has become their go-to brand. The DIY glycerin-in-water moisturizer may work for you, too.
Makeup: Gabriel and ZuZu Luxe (both owned by Gabriel) have simple formulas that have worked well for people with sensitive skin. The simplest of the mineral makeup lines, Modern Minerals and Alima Pure, are also possibilities. Their mineral makeup contains just titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica, and iron oxides. (Loose mineral makeup is not recommended if you have asthma.)
Sun screen: Look for zinc oxide, which has low risk of skin irritation. Zinc oxide is not only an excellent, full-spectrum UV blocker, but it's also a good anti-irritant. It's been used for diaper rash for ages! If you can't find a good zinc oxide sun screen, next choice would be titanium dioxide, which is another excellent, full-spectrum UV blocker with near zero risk of irritation - it is inert. Products that have worked for those with sensitive skin are Kiss My Face, Face Factor SPF 30 ($12.95/2 oz retail, $8 at online discounters - be sure to get the SPF 30 formula, not the SPF 50 formula), DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30 ($25.95/2.5 oz retail, $15 at online discounters), and Suntegrity's 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen - Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($45/1.7 oz).
Deodorant: Crystal Body Deodorant, the original line, has just one ingredient: potassium alum (aka mineral salts). It also gets good reviews for effectiveness and is super cheap, at $6.99 for a stick large enough to last a year.
Here, I've mentioned the simplest of products, but you may be able to tolerate products with a few more ingredients, ones that feel more like the products you're used to. For potentially suitable products, check the Brand Finder - Sensitive Skin page. That page lists cruelty-free brands with at least a few simple products. In the More Info link for each brand, you'll find the name of the specific products with the simple formulas. Always be sure to check the ingredients with the brand, though, because formulas can change quickly in this industry.
Preserve, Personna. MyBeautyBunny researched this and found these aren't tested on animals. Razors aren't covered under the Leaping Bunny and other certification programs, because they don't undergo toxicological testing like other personal care products do. Preserve makes razors, and Leaping Bunny has certified them, but the certification is for their floss/dental products. Call companies directly to learn if they test their razors on animals.
Disclaimer/Disclosure: Mention of companies, web sites, and products does not imply endorsement by me or this site. Please make sure you are comfortable with a company before purchasing from it. A good resource for this is the Better Business Bureau. I own WhiteRabbitBeauty.com, but in this article, I have tried to set aside that role and write only as a consumer looking for the best products at the best prices.
Notice: This site was developed and is hosted by White Rabbit Beauty, LLC, a retailer, as part of a broader public goal to make cruelty free products more accessible. We strive to make this an independent resource for cruelty free consumers. Here, we take the consumer's point of view, enabling you to find the best cruelty free products at the best prices at as many stores as possible. The site also has a direct advocacy role, providing news and information to help you take action to end animal testing.