The final week before Christmas is a busy time for shopping. I know I will be scrambling to pick out gifts for my friends and family this weekend! As if the stress of finding the perfect present was not enough, the cruelly obtained fur, wool, leather, and cosmetic products can turn the mall into a minefield! So in this guide, I will provide some pointers for shopping cruelty free, my favorite stores, and a few gift suggestions. Good luck with your holiday shopping!
Why Shop Cruelty-Free?
That angora sweater is so cute! I need those leather boots! But Revlon’s lipsticks are so nice! Why should I care that they aren’t cruelty-free and vegan?
At the end of the day, these things are just things. No, your life does not depend on you getting those boots into your closet. There are other lipsticks out there. The good news is, your favorite stores carry plenty of other cruelty-free, stylish alternatives that work just as well! A sweater, pair of shoes, or an item of makeup is not worth someone’s entire life. If the tables were turned and you were in the animals’ place, you would hope for compassion, too.
How do I know if something is cruelty-free and vegan?
First, read the label. It is an item of clothing, the label should be around the collar, waistband or sewn into the side of the garment. Check either side of the sole of the shoe or underneath the tongue to find what materials were used. If the garment contains leather, wool, angora, fur, silk, or down, leave it on the shelf.
For makeup and personal products, first read the ingredient label to check if it is vegan. Avoid beeswax, milk proteins, albumin, or casein. For a complete list of animal products to look out for, look here. To check if the product was tested on animals, pull out you phone and conduct a quick google search. Just type “Does brand-name test on animals?” It only takes a minute, but saves lives! Items marked with a leaping bunny or the bunny with heart ears are cruelty free but not necessarily vegan.
Which stores carry the best variety of vegan and cruelty-free gifts?
This depends upon your geographical location, price range, and person you are shopping for, but here are a few of my favorites:
1. Bath and Body Works.
All Bath and Body Works brand items are cruelty-free. They do not test their products on animals; however, their sister company Victoria Secret does. They carry plenty of wonderful body lotions, perfumes, spa products, and candles. Most are vegan, but not all, so be sure to read the ingredients. They even carry men’s products, too! The price range is quite affordable. You could definitely find a nice gift for under $20. I would highly recommend this store for your holiday shopping!
2. American Eagle Outfitters
This store has a great selection of vegan sweaters for women and men. Their jeans are amazing as well. The price tag is a bit steeper here (most items are $30-$50); however, I think the quality and durability make the expense worthwhile. They carry perfumes and colognes as well. However, their animal testing policy is very vague, only saying they are “against animal testing.” This could mean that they comply with animal testing policies when it is required by law, so I do not recommend purchasing their personal products.
H&M carries a huge variety of vegan, cost-effective clothing items. They recently stopped manufacturing products containing angora, which is a huge win for animals. They still carry wool and leather though, so beware. They carry a wide variety of styles for men, women, and children, so you are sure to find something nice if you look hard enough!
Ulta is my favorite place to buy makeup because they carry both high end and drugstore brands. So I can get fancy with Urban Decay, or I can go budget-friendly with NYX. In addition to makeup products, they carry spa and hair items, as well as many nice holiday gift sets. They also have excellent deals in their online store that are unavailable in store, so you can pick out your holiday gifts from your couch. 😉 They do carry brands that test on animals, so be aware of this while you are shopping.
This store is completely cruelty-free, but does carry products that contain animal ingredients. They carry a wide variety of body, hair, cosmetic, and fragrance, gift sets, and bath products. Conveniently, all of the products that are vegan are marked with a “V” symbol on their website. Their products are not terribly pricey and high quality, too.
Help!! I have no idea what to get!
Shopping cruelty-free and vegan is not restrictive at all. There are many awesome vegan and cruelty-free gifts in every store. Here are a few gift suggestions!
1. Holiday Treat Stocking
Single gifts can be hit or miss sometimes, especially if you are shopping for someone picky. By assembling a stocking full of smaller gifts, such as candy, cosmetics, and technology items, there is bound to be something they like. This gift is also very easy to personalize depending on the person.
2. Quality time
Material things cannot compare to spending time with friends and family. So instead of buying a physical present, you could purchase tickets to see their favorite band in concert, a small outing, or a night out to dinner and a movie. Spending time together during the holiday season can be the best gift anyone could ever receive from you!
3. Giving to a Cruelty-Free Charity
Despite our efforts, not everyone will be shopping cruelty-free this holiday season. Many animals are losing their precious lives for the presents people scramble to buy and soon forget about. Equally unfortunate, many people living in our own communities cannot afford to buy presents or food at all. To bring more happiness to the world, you can donate to a cruelty-free charity in a loved-one’s honor. Just make sure the charity does not test on animals, donate livestock, or discriminate against people based upon race, sexual orientation, or any other identities.
A great idea would be sponsoring an animal at a local farm sanctuary! Farm sanctuaries are nonprofit and rely upon donors to support and rescue animals from horrifying cruelty. A small donation can help to give an animal the life of peace and safety it deserves. For an extra special treat, you could go on a trip to visit the animals at the farm sanctuary together!
This is Jefferson from the SASHA Farm Sanctuary in Michigan! You can sponsor Jefferson and his friends here.
A present that cost someone’s life is no present at all. Please make this holiday season joyful for everyone by only purchasing cruelty free and vegan products.