Vegan Wonder

Ditch the Cruelty: A Comprehensive Guide to Replacing Animal Products in Your Home and Personal Care

The Case for Replacing Animal Products

If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary and thought, “Man, I’d really love to help animals, but I don’t know where to start, and also I really want to wear mink coats and use beeswax lip balm,” then this guide is for you.

It’s time to get acquainted with some of the most common animal-derived ingredients in household staples — you might be surprised by how many products contain them — and their humane, plant-based alternatives. You’ll be able to switch out items in your home and personal care routine with ease, and you won’t even miss the animal stuff.

Understanding the Ethical and Environmental Impact

Animal agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, and it also comes with some pretty gross ethical issues like inhumane living conditions and needless suffering and death.

Many personal care and household products contain animal-derived ingredients, some of which are completely unnecessary. Here are some of the most common offenders to look out for, along with their vegan, cruelty-free alternatives.

Cosmetics and Personal Care

Makeup and Skincare

Luckily, the vegan beauty space is booming, with tons of brands offering high-quality, plant-based options and plenty of natural, cruelty-free ingredients to choose from.

Some of the most popular vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands include:

  • Tarte
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills
  • Fenty Beauty
  • Jane Iredale
  • Physicians Formula

When it comes to skincare, there are lots of natural, plant-based ingredients that are super nourishing and effective. Some of our favorites include:

  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Tea tree oil

As always, it’s important to make sure that any products you buy are cruelty-free, so look out for certifications from organizations like Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Cruelty Free International.

Now, let’s talk hair care.

Hair Care

Many shampoos, conditioners, and styling products contain ingredients like lanolin, beeswax, and keratin, which are derived from animals. While some of these ingredients can be plant-based, it’s important to check the label to make sure.

Some vegan and cruelty-free brands to look out for include:

  • Kevin Murphy
  • Bamboo Body
  • Aveda
  • Lush
  • Shea Moisture

You can also check out this list of vegan hair care brands compiled by Logical Harmony for even more options.

Household Cleaning Products

I know what you’re thinking: “How could anything derived from animals make my house cleaner?” The answer is: they often don’t, and they’re completely unnecessary.

Surfactants, which help break up dirt and grime, are a common animal-derived additive in cleaning products. However, there are plenty of eco-friendly, plant-based surfactants out there, like those made from coconut oil, that do the job just as well.

When shopping for cleaning supplies, look for products that are free of animal-derived ingredients and are labeled as cruelty-free. Some brands to check out include:

  • Seventh Generation
  • Method
  • Mrs. Meyer’s

For laundry day, you can find vegan and biodegradable detergents at most grocery stores. Just make sure to read the label and avoid any products that contain animal-derived ingredients like lanolin and enzymes derived from animals.

As for wool dryer balls, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives, like rubber or silicone dryer balls, that do just as good a job of reducing drying time and wrinkles.

Home Furnishings and Textiles

Bedding and Linens

If you’re in the market for new sheets or a cozy blanket, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of vegan and cruelty-free options out there.

Some ethical bedding brands include:

  • Boll & Branch
  • Coyuchi
  • Patagonia
  • West Elm

And if you’re looking to upgrade your pillows, don’t worry — there are plenty of alternatives to down feathers, like synthetic down, wool, and memory foam.

Clothing and Accessories

When it comes to clothing, there are a lot of ethical, plant-based fabrics and materials to choose from, like:

  • Organic cotton
  • Linen
  • Hemp
  • Tencel (made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus trees)
  • Recycled polyester

It’s important to make sure that the clothes you buy are made from 100% of the fabric you choose, since some brands will mix plant-based fabrics with animal-derived ones.

When shopping for clothes, look for brands that are transparent about their materials and production processes, like Patagonia, Everlane, and Reformation.

And, of course, avoid any animal-derived textiles, like leather, silk, fur, and suede.

Transitioning to a Cruelty-Free Lifestyle

Making the switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle can be a gradual process, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not able to replace everything in your home overnight.

As you use up old products, take the opportunity to replace them with something kinder and gentler on animals and the planet. And remember that just because a product is vegan, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sustainable, so be sure to check the packaging for eco-friendly certifications like USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and FSC-certified.

Sustainable Shopping Habits and Resources

When you’re shopping for new products, make sure to read the labels carefully and look out for any of the animal-derived ingredients we talked about earlier. Some are more obvious than others, so do your research and get familiar with some of the less commonly known animal derivatives.

There are also lots of resources out there to help you navigate the world of vegan and cruelty-free products. Some of our favorites include:

  • Logical Harmony, which offers a list of vegan brands in just about every product category
  • The Vegan Society, which offers a list of products and brands certified as vegan
  • Cruelty Free Kitty, which offers a list of products and brands certified as cruelty-free

And, of course, if you can buy products secondhand, that’s always a more sustainable option.

Making the switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle can be overwhelming at first, but once you get started, you’ll be amazed by how many options there are for cruelty-free, plant-based alternatives to the products you use every day.