Vegan Beauty Products and Replacements for All Your Favorites — So if Your New Year's Resolution is to Go Vegan, You Might Want to Check This Out

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When I was contemplating whether or not to go vegan for real five years ago, the ultimate decision was thanks to a conversation with a naturopath/dietitian who basically said I needed to stop eating dairy immediately (you know, for my health and for the world). I was already vegetarian, so I decided this was a sign, and that I had to finally make the commitment... take the plunge. I'd been wanting to for ages, but was majorly stalling on the actual doing part of the equation. And I will admit, I was also concerned about the realities of vegan beauty products.In the time since, I have been making an effort at living my life in such a way that it affects other creatures a whole lot less. But I was finding it really hard to break up with my beloved cosmetics. Not everyone who chooses a plant-based diet is doing so for ethical reasons, after all — and, in fact, realizing that some people who choose to stop eating all animal products don't necessarily stop wearing leather is an important distinction to make. Although for me, that's exactly the case! At first, I didn't understand that there were cosmetic alternatives to my prototypical beauty counter finds that were vegan and animal testing free — and that were also made of ingredients that were less harmful to my body. I soon became overwhelmed by all of the ingredients that I didn't even understand. So if your New Year's resolution is to be a kinder human, to go vegan or vegetarian, or to "clean up" your beauty product routine, here are some tips to help you in your quest:- Understand which ingredients are not vegan: there's a great list here. If there are products that aren't labelled as "vegan," you can peek over to that list and double-check.-Remember that it's often easier to know which products are vegan: as opposed to memorizing the above list. Find some brands that work for you or that are easily available, and label which of their products are vegan! The brands in this slideshow are a good place to start. Leaping Bunny also certifies companies that don't test on animals, and that are generally vegan.-Separate "healthy" from vegan: French fries and chips are vegan, but I'm sure you wouldn't consider them "healthy" in most scenarios. The same thing goes for cosmetics — just because they're vegan, it doesn't necessarily mean they're free of toxins. If you're trying to avoid ingredients that may be harmful to you, make sure you know what you're trying to stay away from.-Be gentle with yourself and transition sustainably: replace things as they run out; don't toss your whole arsenal overnight! But if you live in a remote area or have budget constraints, don't worry about doing things perfectly all the time. If you miss an animal product on the ingredient list or can't find an alternative that you enjoy, try not to beat yourself up.

Image: Klaire de Lys

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