May 07, 2015

Unite "Boing" for Curly Hair

At my hairdresser's shop a few weeks ago getting a trim, we got to talking about choosing cruelty free products, and the different brands she sells in her shop. I was very pleased to discover that almost all of the brands she sells are cruelty free. One such brand is Unite.

Always being on the hunt for new curly-hair friendly products, I went home with a bottle of "Boing" curling cream. Well, let me tell you, this product does NOT disappoint! My hair, while it *looks* like I get out of bed, shake my head and end up with this wild head of curls, actually takes some very precise product use and care to avoid looking like this:




I use a microfibre towel, and "plop" my hair down on it while it's still wet, but has been finger-combed. I let it sit for about five minutes or so, while I put lotion on, etc. Then, I put the Boing (I do love saying that!!) and scrunch it up. I mostly let my hair air dry, but I do use a diffuser in short bursts to "plump" up the curls and dry the front enough so that I can put a curl in the front part (long bangs, I have the worst cowlick that, left untreated, scares small children).

Boing is one of the best curly hair products I've found since I went cruelty free. It has a purplish colour, pleasant scent, and a creamy texture. Once your hair is dry, it is a teensy bit "crunchy" but not in a bad way, and all you have to do is hand-scrunch the curls, and the crunchiness is gone, but soft, frizz-free texture remains. And my hair smells delicious all day!

I don't remember the exact price I paid, but it was in what I think of as "normal" range for stylist-purchased hair products. I will buy this again, and I'm excited to try more of their product line!

Unite can be found here: http://uniteeurotherapy.com/ or at your stylist's salon.





April 02, 2015

Let's Talk Toothpaste!

A while ago, one of my friends asked me what kind of toothpaste I was using now that I have gone cruelty free. I still had a stockpile of stuff I bought at Costco once upon a time, so I didn't have any suggestions, as I hadn't tried any yet. When that ran out, I was excited to try some new-to-me, cruelty free brands.  So far I have tried two of them, and here is my review.

Kiss My Face Triple Action 

Cool Mint Gel flavour


This is the better of the two that I have tried so far. I actually really like this, and think it will be my new brand of choice. I have other Kiss My Face products, and really like all of them so far (reviews to follow!).

This had a nice, minty flavour, but not that “artificial” overpowering mint flavour that “commercial” (aka non CF) brand toothpaste has. There was another hint of something in it – perhaps the tea tree oil? But it wasn’t too strong and  didn’t burn my mouth but my mouth did feel nice and clean afterwards. It does foam a little bit but nowhere near what commercial brands do.

It was a mostly clear with a slight green colour – not unpleasant at all. It is also fluoride free.

Here is a little blurb from Well.ca:

With shockingly great taste, Kiss My Face Triple Action Fresh Mint Paste Toothpaste helps your mouth feel healthy and fresh with Antioxidant Defenders and nature's most trusted ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, Olive Leaf Extract, Xylitol, Silica, Peppermint.
Perfect for the whole family!
Benefits:
·        Removes plaque with Xylitol & Tea Tree
·        Whiten with Icelandic Moss
·        Prevent tartar build up with Zinc Citrate
·        Gluten Free
·        Vegan
·        No Animal Testing
·        Paraben Free
Ingredients: Vegetable Glycerin, Water, Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Calcium Carbonate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Cetraria Islandica (Iceland Moss) Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Stevia Rebaudiana Extract, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Citrate, Potassium Sorbate

You can buy it off Well.ca for $7.29. I have seen it at my local health food store (shout out to The Vitamin Farm, who carries many CF brands!!) and Planet Organic here in Edmonton.

Yes, it’s pricey – double (if not more) than conventional brands. I have found that I am paying more for many household items, in order to remain cruelty free. That’s something I would like to address in a follow up post, in a couple of days. Also, I want to do a post on Well.ca – so stay tuned!!


Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste 

Powerful Peppermint flavour





This one was not as good as the Kiss My Face toothpaste. I found it had a rather odd flavour; there was still a minty flavour, but there was something else - almost like artificial sweetener flavour – it’s difficult to describe. The toothpaste itself came out white, and foamed slightly less than a conventional toothpaste.

I will use the tube, because this was about $7.00 as well at my local health food store, so I don’t want to waste it. It’s not so unpleasant you can’t use it. But I probably won’t buy it again.

There are many other CF brands that are easy to find, here’s a few that I found on well.ca with a quick search:


  • Logona (well.ca)
  • Green Beaver
  • Tom’s of Maine (note: Tom's of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive a non CF-parent company – they remain independent and are still Leaping Bunny certified, but I think it’s important to note so you can decide for yourself if you choose to support them or not)
  • Desert Essence
  • Nature’s Gate
  • Redmond Earth Paste

There are many more CF brands that make toothpaste, and these can all be found at places like organic food stores (Whole Foods, Planet Organic, etc.) and local health food stores. There is one small health food store in the downtown mall close to where I work, that has dozens of CF brands. They are much easier to find than you think.

I am finding that so much is trial and error – but once I find a brand I like, it’s so worth it. I am using more “natural” products now, with less “evils” like parabens, and I feel good about that. 

Have you tried any CF toothpaste? Share your experiences in the comments - I'd love to hear them!

March 04, 2015

Tints of Nature Hair Colour - Review

I have been colouring my hair since I was a teenager. I've had it all, from black, to blonde, to red, even green, blue, and pink!

The last few years I've stayed a more natural colour, and as my hair started to go more grey, *gasp*, I went with highlights to help cover the re-growth.

Since going cruelty free, one of the challenges I faced was how to continue to colour my hair. I didn't want to change my salon, because I adore my stylist, but I needed a hair colour that was cruelty free. Also, I'd been getting allergic reactions to hair colour, and wanted something more natural that I wouldn't react to quite as badly.

Some people say, just stop colouring. But I'm not ready to give into the grey quite yet!

I tried henna. Now, I know most people swear by it, but I hated it. It made my hair feel like straw (although that may have been the weird clarifying mud I put in it before colouring it) and I didn't see much of a change in the grey.

A quick Google search led me to Tints of Nature. Cruelty-free, more natural than most. Sounded too good to be true. The website was full of information and FAQ about this seemingly lovely product. The only problem was, where to buy. You could order it off the website, but the shipping prices made it cost prohibitive unless you bought six items (either colour or other hair care like shampoo etc.). I wasn't willing to do that until I tried it first.

One day at one of our organic markets here in town, I found that they carried most, if not all, of the Tints of Nature line. YAY!! (Planet Organic for those in Edmonton - I believe Whole Foods carries it, and I have seen it at other health food stores, and although they have limited stock, most are willing to order it).

The first colour I tried was a nice auburn red. I mixed two colours, a 6R and 7N - they say to use an "N" colour to help cover grey. My hair turned out a beautiful shade of darker auburn. Perfect!


(That's me after the 6R and 7N mixed application)

Grey was 100% covered. And when it faded, it faded to a red-then-blonde type shade.
Very pretty!

The smell wasn't overpowering - I was able to apply in my small bathroom with the door half shut and wasn't overwhelmed by the fumes. Also, very minimal allergic reaction! There are still some chemicals in this, but it is ammonia and paraben free, and made up of mostly natural ingredients. One other thing - any colour I spilled on the floor, counter or wall (yes, I'm super messy when I colour my hair) wiped up easily. And any I got on my face came off without scrubbing! I would recommend putting some lotion around your hairline before colouring.

I have since used it again, using it to colour my hair a very dark brown. The result has been equally beautiful. There are reviews out there that say the colour will be darker than on the box - this is true, but only slightly darker. I have found that to be true of almost all box do-at-home colour, and it will fade a bit over time, depending on how often you shampoo your hair. Also, the second time I used it I had zero allergic reaction.

If anyone is looking for a home colour that is more natural and gentler on your hair than drugstore colour, I would highly recommend Tints of Nature.

They make permanent colours, semi-permanent colours, and a lightening/highlighting kit. I have only tried the permanent colours so far.






February 09, 2015

Companies That Test Infographic

Ok, so it's not really an "infographic" per se, but I couldn't find another word that accurately describes the picture that is the subject of this post.

There are a lot of questions about which companies test their products on animals. And the answer can sometimes be overwhelming. Beagle Freedom Project created a poster that lists many of the popular well-known companies that test on animals.

People are quite often surprised by the companies on this list. It's one thing to hear a name or two, but quite another to see dozens of companies all laid out in one place.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does list the major companies that still conduct animal testing. I hope you find it helpful.



January 29, 2015

Cruelty Free Cleaning: My Reviews and Experiences

A few of my friends have been asking me about cruelty free alternatives to their usual cleaning products. So, what better way to "introduce" this blog, than by making my first post about cruelty free cleaning?

Who doesn't love a clean house? Sadly, so many of the popular and readily available brands of cleaning products are made by companies who still conduct testing on animals. Thankfully, I have found a lot of companies that don't. Here are some of my favourites:

Laundry

I love, love clean laundry. I don't love the actual doing of laundry quite so much, but in order to have one, you have to do the other.  When our house went CF, one of the first challenges I faced was replacing all my usual laundry products. We have six furry "kids" in our house, so there is a lot of laundry, including dog and cat blankets, and there's always fur everywhere!


Method is my absolute, hands-down, new favourite cleaning product company. When we gave up dryer sheets, we had a really hard time with static, and hair staying on clothes after washing and drying. My husband said he liked the smell of the laundry better without the overpowering chemical smell of dryer sheets, and I agreed, but I missed the static free-ness!

We found this: Dryer Activated Fabric Softener Spray. It's SO awesome! Gets rid of the static, does not smell too overpowering, and is super easy to use. And, no more waste with all those dryer sheets! I love this stuff. I mean, LOVE.

They have so much other stuff I can't wait to try. They don't make soap "pods", which is too bad, because I do love the convenience of pods. I have found them at Safeway, Winners, and Canadian Tire.

(sorry about the stock photos, I didn't have time to take my own; I wanted to get this post up as soon as possible!)


Seventh Generation laundry soap is divine. I love that it comes in this cool recycled cardboard shell type packaging. If you have to separate your recyclables it might be a bit challenging, as inside the shell is a plastic bag of sorts, but nothing's perfect! We have used it in our HE washing machine with no issues. It smells good, too! For those of you that love the little laundry pods (I do!!) they make those too, as well as an "Oxyclean" type product. I have found these products at Safeway and Canadian Tire. They are also Leaping Bunny Certified.




Nature Clean is a Canadian Company, and that makes them awesome in my books. I have their liquid dish soap under my sink right now, and it's great. Smells great, too! They are Leaping Bunny certified.


I did have a little adventure with The Honest Company; I ordered one of their bundles, and really liked the laundry stain spray, and they had these reusable dryer sheets that were pretty good. But I found the subscription style of ordering too restrictive, as well as the international surcharge for orders just didn't make sense, when I can go out and buy things right here in Canada with ease. So I cancelled it. If they ever came to Canada though I wouldn't hesitate to purchase some of their products. I really loved the healing balm.


General Cleaning

I used to be addicted to Lysol Wipes and Spray. With six animals in the house, there's always something that needs cleaning. But I thought about all the garbage that's in those products, and the fact that my dogs and cats regularly lick various surfaces in my house, not to mention I touch all those surfaces!! And there's the whole animal testing thing too, which is kind of the point.

I have started using the simplest, easiest cleaning product of all, on all sorts of surfaces in my house: Vinegar, Water, and Essential Oils. That's it. Everything gets clean, nothing toxic is being sprayed in my house, and the essential oils allow me to customize to my favourite scents, and mix it up as often as I want. I'm going to be making my own wipes too. The interwebs are full of fantastic recipes and ideas!

I am also going to be trying more Method products. I would not hesitate to use their stuff in my house, around my family.

I have found a lot of recipes for furniture polish, they're mostly the same: Olive (or some other suitable) oil, Vinegar and Lemon Juice. I haven't gotten around to trying it yet, but if you do, comment and let me know how it works! I might try it this weekend.


So, that's it for my first ever post on this Blog. Hopefully it will be just the first in a long list of posts that people will find informative, entertaining, and useful.

I welcome any comments you may have below, I love talking about being cruelty free and helping to spread the word about animal testing.