Winter can be tough on a veganista. That’s why I get a little help from these beauty products– it’s ok to declare you need a little help sometimes!
It’s important that the beauty products you use be free of harmful preservatives that can easily seep into your bloodstream and become toxic.
My motto is, if I can die from eating it (not recommending you go around eating lotion and soap now xD), or I can’t pronounce it without pausing, it’s not fit to go on my body.
If you’d like to easily check how toxic a certain ingredient is, the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database is a handy wiki to use.
Now, the best tool to combat winter blues is most certainly lip balm.
I would’t call myself a lip balm addict, but I can certainly appreciate a well-made lippy stick when my pucker gets chapped.
A key ingredient to avoid when purchasing lip balm is petroleum. I always wonder why people think it’s ok to slather the same stuff you pump into your car for fuel on your lips. Gross!
My favorite widely available vegan lip balm is most certainly Yes To Carrots. Not only do they come in a variety of yummy flavors, but the balm with SPF 15 uses natural Zinc Oxide, which is one of two mineral sun protectant ingredients on the market (the other is Titanium Dioxide).
It’s rare to find a mainstream lip balm that doesn’t have harmful nano-particles as the SPF ingredient… so when I saw that YTC didn’t use yucky avobenzone or homosalate, I immediately bought a bunch!
The other ingredients are pretty great too… the main ingredients consist of beeswax, coconut oil and olive oil, which results in a smooth spreading application and none of that messy stuff. The regular balm without SPF does spread more evenly, since the Zinc Oxide does tend to make the consistency a bit more bulky.
The balm retails for about $3.49, which is not too bad, but it could be a bit cheaper.
Yes to Carrots also makes lip gloss and tinted balms, their newest product being a line-reducing lip treatment (not that I have lines, but I would probably try just because it comes in blueberry :P)
2) The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil
Ok, so I’m not a Body Shop fan really, since they do use parabens in many of their products. Thankfully, most of their massage oil products are free of the hated ingredient, so I unabashedly indulge.
This oil has a pleasant light tiare flower scent (which is one of my favorite low-key scents… not too strong and still statement-making for daily use :) ), with real Tiare Flower Extract.
It makes a great after-shower moisturizer, and it’s easy to apply, since it is an oil. Less greasy than most oils, the mix of sweet almond and coconut oils as the primary two ingredients makes you feel like you’re on a beach, drinking a piña colada (if only!).
I generally like oils better than lotions, since the first ingredient isn’t water (which I think it a waste of $), and it can also be used when massaging (doesn’t everyone need those like, 5 times a week?).
It can also be used to add sheen to hair, which I do sparingly (my hair type doesn’t really need extra moisture), or as a bath soak (which I don’t do because I think it’s a waste of product), if you prefer that.
The oil is quite pricey at $20.00 normally, so I advise you to subscribe to their emails for when they have those special sales (which thankfully, is often).
*Note: vegans who avoid bee products should avoid this product.
Famous worldwide for their natural products, the Jurlique Rose Hand Creme often goes out of stock when the colder months roll around.
Out of their three scents, the others being lavender and citrus, rose will always be my favorite (lavender a close second though!). The scent is not overpowering and very feminine.
The consistency of the creme itself is optimal for on-the-go moisturizing when your dry hands need some loving. It sinks easily into the skin and doesn’t leave much residue.
Besides the hefty price (quality is expensive!) of $25.00, what I dislike most about the product is its packaging.
It comes in a recyclable metal tube which is not optimal for travel or toting in a purse, since it easily gets crushed and upon opening, the lotion oozes out from the trauma.
The metal also splits when you bend the tube after a while, causing leaks and wastage of the product.
For this reason alone, I would say it should be relegated to using at home… though when we most need moisture is when we’re outside, so I have to take major points off for inconvenience.
If you can get past the price, the lotion is a great investment for soft skin.
It comes in 40 ml and 125 ml sizes. The larger size retails for $49.00.
For frugal folk, I recommend purchasing the hand creme trio from Sephora for $48.00, which includes three 40 ml tubes in each scent.
*Note: vegans who avoid bee products should avoid this product.
4) Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter
If I have a weakness, it would be body products that smell like oranges. I’ve been through a pink-grapefruit-scented-everything phase and outgrew that… but there will always be a place in my heart and on my nightstand for a jar of orange-scented lotion.
Pacifica’s formula features shea and mango butters with a heavenly orange-y smell that isn’t gaudy or childish… rather, you smell quite juicy after application.
It goes on smoothly and sinks in quickly, though it is a little thin in consistency for my taste, less a “butter” than a “lotion.”
If you are a fan of the brand like I am (I also own two of their perfumes and have purchased like 20 bars of soap at one point… yeah I can get a little body-product crazy xD), you’ll definitely find this scent to become part of your roster.
Pacifica’s products are not too mainstream, but they are carried in natural food stores and Sephora (as is Jurlique).
The butter retails for $18.00 for an 8 oz. jar, which is a generous amount for the product you get (of course cheaper is always better, right?)
The Pacifica website also has sales and offers from time to time, so be sure to sign up for their email alerts (which comes with a free lip quench lip balm!)… I’ve gotten a gift set with full-size products for 60% off (they let you coupon-code stack ;) ), so it’s worth it!
5) 100% Pure Vanilla Bean Buttercream Body Scrub
Winter means dry skin, and dry skin means dead flaky skin cells, which isn’t very attractive.
Body scrubs are pretty much indispensable this time of year to ensure fresh, smooth skin, and 100% pure body scrubs are my choice to do the dirty work.
Chock full of good-for-you plant and fruit extracts, the scrub is even safe to consume (would it disgust you if I’ve actually tasted it? :P), since it’s pretty much made of ultra-fine sugar granules and cane juice.
Using the scrub can prove a bit tricky: since it is a natural product, the sugar grains settle to the bottom of the container, so you have to use a spoon or finger to gently combine the top layer of butter with the scrubbing particles. It can be a bit inconvenient, but I don’t mind!
The primary ingredients are shea and cocoa butter, along with extracts of pomegranate, açai, hazelnut and vanilla, among others.
The smell is heavenly: it most resembles a toasted vanilla marshmallow in scent, and leaves behind a great sheen on your skin, which means you can do double duty by not having to use a moisturizer afterwards.
When using the scrub in the shower, be careful: the mixture of oils does make the tub a bit slippery.
The line is available at major Duane Reades, but other than that, it’s pretty rare to see it in a regular retail store. It comes in a lovely medley of different “flavors”: coffee kona, mangosteen, green apple and white peach, to name a few. Their skincare and makeup line is also stellar.
At $25.00 for 16 oz, it is pretty expensive… but just knowing that the ingredients are totally natural and certified organic by the USDA should make you feel a bit better about the extra cash (and I’m sure you’ll feel scrubby-clean afterwards too!)… considering there are a lot of overpriced, not-organic and chemical-filled products on the market for way more *cough cough La Mer cough*.