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    Is PETA’s Cruelty Free List Legit?

    There has been a lot of discussion in the cruelty-free community about whether or not PETA’s cruelty-free brand list can be trusted. I don’t always agree with tactics and stances PETA has taken on other issues but setting that aside, I wanted to learn more about their cruelty-free cosmetics brand list.
    After researching post-market testing in-depth with several sources, I have come to realize that China’s post-market testing is no longer a major risk. In fact, post-market testing on cosmetics can happen here in the US (and in the EU). Much more on that here. It seems a lot of the cruelty-free community’s mistrust of PETA has to do with post-market testing. So that barrier being taken out of the way made me take a second look at PETA’s cruelty-free brand list.
    You can read my thoughts at the end of this article. As always, I try to be unbiased, flexible in my thinking, and fact-based in making determinations.
    Notes from my interview with PETA Senior VP, Kathy Guillermo
    Kathy Guillermo is Senior Vice President of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. A 31-year veteran of PETA, Kathy leads the organization’s work to end the use of animals in experiments. Her many victories include shutting down the construction of a massive monkey-breeding facility in Puerto Rico and exposing the abuse of animals at a North Carolina product-testing laboratory, Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc., which led to the closure of the facility and the adoption of hundreds of dogs and cats into good homes. She is the author of the 1993 book, Monkey Business: The Disturbing Case That Launched the Animal Rights Movement.

    What are the requirements for a brand to be approved as cruelty-free (and to be added to PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies list)?
    They ask that the brands do not in any way conduct, commission, or allow tests at any point in development, and suppliers must do the same. Companies sign legally-binding statements attesting to this. Suppliers change and they come and go. Larger brands may have 10,000+ suppliers. PETA does not require documents from the suppliers themselves, but they require that the brands have language in place with every supplier that mandates the no animal testing policy. They require the brands to give them their language before they are approved. Most of them put this in their contracts with their suppliers. 
    Ingredients can sometimes be required to be tested (by ingredient suppliers) in the EU for other purposes – such as their inclusion in a chemical (non-cosmetic) product (this is not supposed to happen under EU regulations, but it has – see sources below). This could be an environmental purpose or a worker safety issue investigated under REACH loopholes. One example (that is luckily not happening often), is that when an ingredient reaches a certain tonnage, it has to be tested (under REACH).
    PETA would disqualify a brand if it was buying from a supplier that has tested due to these laws. PETA has challenged these laws and does not believe they are valid under the European animal testing ban.
    Sources for all of this info here. There is more info here (but please be warned – there are graphic images on the next two links): animal tests still happening in the EU and action you can take to help.
    Do brands pay to join the program? If so, how does that work? 
    There is no charge to be listed. There is a one-time $350 fee if brands want to license the logo. This helps to pay for PETA’s administrative and legal fees.
    How is the program different from Leaping Bunny’s program?
    According to Kathy, PETA was initially part of Leaping Bunny/CCIC when it was being established 25 years ago. Their designers actually designed the Leaping Bunny logo. The discussions broke down about what the requirements should be. Specifically, how long ago an ingredient could have been tested on animals in order to approve a brand. PETA believed 5 years was too long because it was making it impossible for some brands to get approved. [Editor’s note: currently Leaping Bunny requires a fixed cut-off date for testing but there is no limit on what that time is – it could be 1 day or 5 years.] They wanted to encourage brands to stop testing and join the program. Today, PETA makes sure not to allow brands to do all their testing and then try to get certified. They investigate and work with brands who have evolved, and have ended animal testing. Companies are always innovating and going into new markets so it’s the commitment to being cruelty-free going forward that is important to them. 
    Are companies required to recommit each year? Are they audited at all after they sign up? 
    Not every year. Every couple of years they check in to make sure policies are the same and have them sign a new agreement. It depends on the company – if they are in constant contact, they may not have to. All companies are required to sign a legally binding agreement. But, they have caught companies lying and have removed them. There are a lot of whistleblowers that help with this. PETA has exposed companies who have paid for tests in China without telling anyone. 
    How do you assure that brands are not conducting pre-market and post-market testing when entering China? 
    PETA started the first investigations into brands that were conducting animal tests in China. They work closely with IIVS (Institute for In Vitro Sciences). The scientists at IIVS help to train Chinese scientists on using non-animal testing methods. PETA has very few companies on the list who are currently in China (see below).  As we all know, there are certain parameters to allow for no animal tests – products have to be manufactured (or final product assembled)  in China and there can be no “special-use products”. When working with large companies like Unilever and P&G, they know that the brands are very well versed in the laws of China.
    PETA-Certified Cruelty Free Brands Selling in China:
    Eco & more
    Lisa Rabbit
    Dove (Unilever)
    Herbal Essences (P&G)  
    Wet n Wild 
    Physicians Formula
    First Aid Beauty
    Editor’s note: the Chinese have just released the new CSAR (Administrative Measures for Filing of Non-special Use Cosmetics) and my colleagues and I are still trying to determine what they will mean for PRE-market testing in China going forward. Some have said that pre-market testing is coming to an end, but that is not clear to me yet. We are currently trying to interpret new guidelines from the NMPA. Here is PETA’s statement on this.
    Another important note – Kathy says that brands would be given the opportunity to remove their products from China if post-market animal tests were required. I asked Harald Schlatter (Director Scientific Communications & Animal Welfare Advocacy at P&G) about this, and he said, “We have been told by Chinese authorities that no products of other P&G beauty brands have been tested on animals over the past couple of years. While there is no 100% guarantee, they told us that in case of a health-related consumer complaint, they would reach out to us to provide further safety perspective.  If they then believe more is necessary, they would consider follow up testing, but usually patch testing with human volunteers, not animal testing.“
    But the fact is, officials are not requiring post-market animal tests anyway (see my previous article on post-market testing in China). Kathy says post-market testing has been mainly to ensure products are not counterfeit. In that case they wouldn’t need to do animal tests – they would just analyze the product. There is the potential for complaints about safety, but products that have been on the US or EU markets for years would not be likely to have issues. And if they did, the brand would be able to decide what types of additional tests would be done, or would have the option to pull their products from the Chinese market.
    Do you have any assurances from officials in China that testing can be avoided? 
    IIVS has relationships with officials in China. But this is not really necessary (see above). In 2014 China allowed pre-market testing to be avoided under the parameters mentioned above. PETA has an Asian division. (a PETA affiliate called PETA Asia). PETA checks the Chinese database to make sure no pre-market tests were done before they approve new companies. They also look at when a product was first registered for sale in China and what types of products they offer (no “special use products” allowed).
    Do you note if the parent co is cruelty-free on your list? I see for example that Too Faced says Estee Lauder but it isn’t noted that Estee Lauder is not cruelty-free. 
    Kathy thanked me for the suggestion and is going to look at this and possibly make updates to the list.
    Do you note if the brand is vegan?
    Yes, they note if a brand has signed their paperwork guaranteeing all of their products are 100% vegan. Going forward, brands won’t be called “cruelty-free” unless they are vegan AND not tested on animals. Companies who do not test on animals, but are not entirely vegan will be called “not animal tested”.
    So, can PETA’s cruelty free list be trusted? My thoughts and bottom line.
    So after talking to Kathy, I personally feel better about trusting PETA’s cruelty-free cosmetics brand list. I do feel that it is more lenient than Leaping Bunny’s cruelty-free list, mainly because they are vetting the brands on behalf of the suppliers rather than the suppliers themselves. But they are requiring legally binding documentation from the brands. And the brands are required to then supply language to their contracts with their suppliers. They are not auditing every year, but they are checking in on brands and removing them if they find any issues.
    To compare and contrast, I had an interview with Kim Paschen from Leaping Bunny and will be publishing an article with information from that discussion soon.
    At the end of the day, ANY cruelty-free brand list (including my own) has to take brands and suppliers at their word. All we can do is call them out if we discover lies and discrepancies and I think that we are all on the same team in that sense. More

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    Amazing Cruelty Free Brands You Didn’t Know Were on Amazon

    With so many of us shopping online these days, there’s almost no need to step into a store when everything we want and need is available at the click of a button. I don’t know about you, but I love receiving packages and relate to that meme of the lady sitting by the mailbox with her purse in her lap waiting for my goodies to arrive — maybe you do too!  That dang Amazon prime shipping always seals the deal for me!
    Cruelty Free Brands on Amazon
    To fuel your online shopping needs and keep you safe at home on your couch, I’ve rounded up some amazing cruelty free brands that you didn’t know were on Amazon!

    Pacifica Beauty
    This 100% vegan, cruelty-free, clean beauty brand not only carries skincare for the face, but a huge variety of makeup, body care, and wellness products all at affordable prices. Not to mention some of the cutest packaging that adds to the overall appeal of this compassionate beauty brand.
    Some of my favorites are the Cherry Velvet Matte Setting Powder and their Underarm Deodorant Wipes. I find the setting powder works well for minimizing pores and controlling shine on my combo skin without making other areas of my face dry. The underarm wipes are always a nice refresher to use throughout the day and smell really nice.

    Ilia
    If you’re looking for a clean beauty brand with a minimalist, skin-centric approach, Ilia beauty offers some of their award-winning products on Amazon. Ilia pride themselves on developing formulas that not only perform beautifully on the skin but offers a benefit to it as well by using natural and organic ingredients. 
    Their Natural True Skin Serum Foundation is a huge hit for clean beauty lovers with its light-medium coverage and natural skin-blurring abilities. Ilia Beauty is gluten-free, dairy-free, and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. 

    Kosas
    Another clean beauty, skin-focused cosmetics brand is Kosas. The company believes taking care of your skin should also include the makeup you use on the regular. Their botanical formulas not only are carefully formulated to create effortlessly beautiful looks, but are designed to nourish the skin at the same time.
    I’ve yet to come across a lipstick that is comparable to their Weightless Lip Color that feels like silk on the lips with beautiful color payoff. 

    Glamcor Riki
    You can’t have flawless makeup if you can’t see what you’re doing! Access to natural sunlight is the best bet, but when you’re doing your makeup (or let’s be real – plucking tiny hairs) in the evening, a Glamcor Riki mirror is just what you need.
    You can find the Glamcor Riki Skinny Mirror on Amazon. It comes with a 5x magnifying attachment and magnetic phone clip so you can film your own makeup tutorials.

    Anastasia Beverly Hills
    If there is one brand that knows how to make brows on point, it would have to be Anastasia Beverly Hills. ABH became famous for patenting the golden ratio method for brow shaping and developed not only brow products for a customized to each person look, but a full line of color cosmetics that keep us on our toes.
    Need defined waterproof brows to get you through your busy day? Check out their Dip Brow Pomade! Or something a little softer to draw in singular strokes? Their Brow Wiz is a good choice!

    REN Skincare
    Finding skincare that works for sensitive skin types can be difficult, which is why UK-based REN Skincare came about. REN skincare uses only sustainably sourced components to produce clean formulas that avoid skin un-friendly ingredients, like synthetic fragrance or sulfates.
    What products make the brand popular and is a best seller not only at Sephora and Amazon? Their Skincare Ready Steady Glow Tonic, an AHA toner that exfoliates with the help of lactic acid and willow bark extract while azelaic acid helps impart a healthy glow. 

    Sunday Riley
    Visible results are what we all hope for when we invest in skincare and that’s what Sunday Riley strives to give. Using active ingredients at potent enough levels to produce notable changes in our complexion with science-based formulations — all while avoiding questionable ingredients and giving back through their Sunday Shares Initiative.
    Snag their famous Good Genes Lactic All-In-One Treatment (with free Amazon Prime one-day delivery!) that clarifies, smoothes and retexturizes in one easy step for plumper, more radiant, younger-looking skin. 

    R+Co
    Looking for salon-quality hair products? R+CO was developed by a team of editorial and salon stylists that know exactly what your hair needs to keep it looking gorgeous. All their products are color-safe, heat and UV protective, vegan, and gluten-free.
    Say hello, to sleek and smooth hair with their Television Perfect Hair Shampoo and Conditioner.

    Stila
    Used by celebrity makeup artists and beauty lovers all around, Stila is a brand we’ve all grown to love since the ’90s. They have so many amazing products and in my opinion, are underrated! 
    From their cult-favorite clickable lip glazes to their best-selling budge-proof Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, Stila offers something to create signature looks for each and every one of us. 

    Grande Cosmetics
    Can’t get your lash extensions right now? Tired of using false lashes and want to grow your own? Grande Cosmetics has received praise over the years for its results-producing lash and brow treatments. That further led into the brand developing other makeup hybrids that enhance the lips, hair and face!
    Get those lashes growing with their Grande LashMD Lash Enhancing Serum.

    Perricone MD
    Developed as part of a three-tier system of wellness, Perricone MD products are known for their powerful and cutting edge formulations that have gone through extensive clinical studies. Their antioxidant-rich products fight free radical damage and reduce the signs of aging due to inflammation at the cellular level.
    What product is a hot seller all around? Perricone MD No:Rinse Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner that visibly tightens pores and leaves behind a matte finish. 

    PMD
    Love tech-y beauty tools? PMD is famous for its premier at-home beauty devices like their personal microderm (exfoliation tool), PMD Kiss, and PMD Clean sonic cleansing tool.
    The PMD Personal Microderm Classic is a great place to start if you are looking to even skin tone, reduce blemishes, and reduce fine lines all without having to make a visit to a professional office. It may not create the same exact results but keeps their customers pleased making them loyal fans of the brand. 
    What cruelty-free brands have you discovered while shopping on Amazon before? Are you using any of the ones I shared above? Share in the comment section below! More

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    Are We Getting Closer to an Animal Testing Ban in the US?

    We are all watching and waiting for an animal testing ban in the United States. I feel that we are SO far behind with this, and the US needs to catch up to the almost 40 other countries (including the EU) who have enacted bans. These bans are not without their loopholes, but they have made a difference. We are making progress, year by year, and it’s time for the US to ban all animal testing for cosmetics.
    What is the Humane Cosmetics Act?
    The Humane Cosmetics Act prohibits new animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients and prohibits the sale in the United States of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. (Read more from the Personal Care Products Council here.) It is not without its loopholes:
    • Prohibits animal testing and bans the use of evidence from animal testing to establish the safety of a cosmetic or cosmetic ingredient unless there is no non-animal alternative method or strategy recognized by any Federal agency or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for the relevant safety endpoints and other very strict criteria are met.
    • Requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promote scientific advancements in this area.
    • Bans cosmetics manufacturers from including “cruelty free” claims on their packaging if animal testing data was used to establish the safety of the product or any of its ingredients.
    • Creates a national uniform standard for animal welfare.
    So would our products be safe without animal tests?
    Absolutely. There are differences between the species, so many of the animal tests out there are not even applicable for humans. This is an older article, but it explains some of the alternative tests that can be used for cosmetics safety. PETA also has an in-depth article on animal testing alternatives here.
    The Humane Cosmetics Act was first introduced in 2014. In 2019 it reached the US Senate and House of Representatives. Sad that it’s moving so slowly, I know. But it is gathering more support from brands, who are pushing for change. If you want to do more, you can easily send a message to your legislators here:
    Please take action for animals:
    Send a letter to your representative asking them to co-sponsor the bill via the Humane Society of the United States
    Humane Society’s Update
    The following is from a press release put out by the Humane Society of the United States:
    This week, we reached an important milestone with 300 independent companies now officially endorsing the Humane Cosmetics Act, in addition to nearly 600 member companies of the Personal Care Products Council, which also supports the bill. The measure would end animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients in the US and prohibit the import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere in the world. Most of the endorsements come from small businesses that are already proving that high-quality cosmetics can be formulated without testing on animals. But the list also includes industry heavyweights such as Unilever and P&G, and known brands such as H&M and LUSH.
    Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States and Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund wrote in their joint blog today:

    “Cosmetics companies can choose from thousands of ingredients that have a history of safe use to create new and innovative products the cruelty-free way. For new ingredients, animal tests are increasingly being replaced with non-animal methods that are often quicker, cheaper and more reliable as predictors of toxicity in humans. But there is a more fundamental reason to replace conventional animal tests for cosmetics products like shampoo and mascara—the tremendous suffering they cause as rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs have substances variously forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin. They are often left to suffer for days on end without any pain relief.”

    Cosmetics companies are already obliged to comply with laws in California, Nevada and Illinois, which ban the sales of cosmetics newly tested on animals. Nearly 40 nations, including member states of the European Union, Australia, Guatemala, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey, have also passed laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetics testing on animals, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Humane Society International and its partners worldwide.
    This bipartisan bill has already been introduced in the House and the Senate.
    Here is a list of companies who are endorsing the Humane Cosmetics Act: More

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    The Best Cruelty Free and Vegan Beauty Products

    in Acne-prone, Body, Combination Skin, Dry Skin, Hair, Lifestyle, Makeup, Misc, Nails, Oily Skin, Skin, Vegan on 07/27/20

    My editorial content has been sponsored by RetailMeNot, however my review and opinions are my own.

    People always ask me what the BEST cruelty free and vegan product in (insert category here) is. That’s a very hard task because there are so many great products out there! And there are a lot of factors involved (skin type, hair type, scent preference, etc.).
    When RetailMeNot asked me to write an article on the best products out there, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pick! I decided to go with my favorites, while also taking into account which products are popular with friends, family and the online “hive mind.” I also took into account which products could be purchased at major retailers like Amazon, Sephora and Target.

    In addition to sharing my favorites in several categories like “best cruelty free lipstick”, “best cruelty free hair products”, “best splurge”, “best value”, and others, I also included several of my favorite Black-owned cruelty free brands (most are woman-owned as well).
    I would love for you to check out my article, and share it if you like it! You can view it here. Let me know what you think of my top cruelty free beauty picks, and if you like this type of article, I’ll try to do more of them here on My Beauty Bunny! More

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    Easy Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese

    This Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese is a great, addictive and easy to make vegan substitute for traditional feta. Delicious in salads or on its own as a snack or appetizer!

    I recently got a major craving for my Greek Style Tomato Cucumber Salad, so I began searching the web for an easy vegan feta recipe. Sadly, I couldn’t find one that seemed to exactly fit the bill. Some seemed great but were a lot more work than I cared for; I’ve been feeling a tad lazy in the kitchen lately! As for the super easy ones, most were merely just cubed tofu, marinated in oil, lemon juice and vinegar, and called for very little salt… I mean hey, let’s face it: feta cheese is crazy SALTY! And tangy. But mostly, salty! So surely you can’t go making fake feta cheese without adding a liberal amount of salt!
    Since I couldn’t find what I was after, I decided to create my own version, using not oil and vinegar as a marinade, but brine and salt. This, is what I figured would come closest to what feta should taste like. And the experiment turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself!

    Now I’m not gonna lie to you: this does NOT taste exactly like feta cheese and you’re not going to have anyone fooled with it either. BUT, it does have a super tangy, salty flavor to it that’s very reminiscent of the real deal, and a real firm, squeaky texture that’ll keep you coming back for more!
    In salads, it definitely does the trick! but it’s also delicious as is, so it makes for a fantastic snack or appetizer, especially if you’re going to serve it with a handful of mixed gourmet olives and crusty bread!
    Just one word of caution before you embark on the project: although this vegan feta is super easy to make and will require almost no effort on your part, it does need to marinate for at least 48 hours! So yeah, you are going to need to plan ahead if you are going to make this.
    Perhaps you should make a double batch? Just because, you know…

    You need to first remove the tofu from its packaging, then drain and press it for at least 1 hour to release excess liquid, and then pat it really dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
    Now, if you didn’t happen to own a tofu press, don’t go running to the store just to get one… You can very quickly set up a little rig that’ll work just as good:
    Grab a cooling rack and place it over a container of some kind, to collect all the liquids that’ll drip. I chose to use a glass loaf pan, but practically any container will do!
    Next, place your block of tofu onto that cooling rack and then place a small plate or other flat object right over that block of tofu… 
    Finally, place a heavy object, such as a large book or a cast iron skillet, over that plate or flat object. Now simply put that entire rig aside and let your tofu slowly drip away for about an hour. 

    Once it’s good and pressed, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place it in a medium sized bowl.
    Then, in a glass measuring cup, combine all the ingredients for the brine, stir vigorously with a whisk and pour that right over the cubed tofu.

    To make my brine, I chose to use sauerkraut brine, olive brine and lemon juice for a really tangy base, to which I then added nutritional yeast — for a bit of cheesy flavor — a little bit of garlic powder and a generous amount of SALT. Because yes, feta is supposed to be salty! But don’t worry though… this vegan feta is far from being overly salty. In fact, I probably could’ve added even more, but I think you should start with this amount and then if you feel you want more, go ahead and add more next time.

    Now place the tofu in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 48 hours. Yes, that’s 2 days! You want that tofu to really absorb the flavors of the brine, and I’m afraid 2 hours just won’t cut it this time. You could even go as far as leave it in there for an extra day or two, if you wanted to. Trust me, this tofu is in no rush to get out of its salty bath!

    Once your tofu is done soaking, drain it really well, then add about a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to it, as well as a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs (or your favorite dried herbs), a little pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a dash of red chili flakes, if you’re a fan…

    Technically, you could use your vegan feta right away, but if time permits, I suggest that you put in back in the fridge for a few hours, to give those newly added flavors a chance to mingle with the others and develop to their full potential!
    Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week (but really… I give it an hour or two, tops!)

    Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese

    This Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese is a great, addictive and easy to make vegan substitute for traditional feta. Delicious in salads or on its own as a snack or appetizer!
    Servings: 4

    1- 14 oz package extra-firm tofu, pressed

    For the brine

    Remove the tofu from its packaging, drain and press it for at least 1 hour to release excess liquid, and then pat it dry with a clean towel.

    Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place it in a medium sized bowl. In a glass measuring cup, combine the ingredients for the brine, stir vigorously with a whisk and pour over the cubed tofu.

    Place the tofu in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 48 hours, then drain well.

    Add the olive oil, dried herbs, black pepper and red pepper flakes to the drained tofu and stir delicately until evenly coated.

    You could use your vegan feta right away, but if time permits, put in back in the fridge for a few hours for flavors to mingle and develop.

    Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

    Calories: 96kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 540mg, Potassium: 185mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 1mg

    If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
    You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes! More

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    Cruelty Free Summer Beauty Favorites

    Unpopular opinion – I DO NOT like summer! I am not good with heat – I feel like my brain is melting. Summer in Los Angeles with a crappy air conditioner that can’t get the room cooler than 84 degrees is such a bummer. I need a summer home in Iceland or somewhere north of the equator!
    My family and friends call me the polar bear because I can’t deal with hot temperatures. But this polar bear still wants to look cute in the summer, so I’ve rounded up some of my favorite cruelty free summer beauty must-haves for ya!

    When it’s hot, and I’m dehydrated, my hair gets super dry and easily tangled. I have fine hair and don’t want to weigh it down, but I also have curls that need a little more moisture. I have found the Ivy & Elder Wave Spray and Leave-In Hair Mask to be the perfect combo.
    The Wave Spray is a quick and easy way to get those beachy waves without a lot of fuss. And the Leave-In Hair Mask feels like a body cream in texture, which scared me at first. I put about a nickel-sized amount on damp hair from mid-shaft to ends, and surprisingly the cream is EXACTLY what my hair needs! It curls up beautifully and is not weighed down in the slightest.

    Since we’re talking about hair products, I also have to mention R+Co Thickening Spray and Dry Shampoo Mist. I DO NOT want to break out the hair dryer and diffuser when it’s hot. And with the quarantine, I’m not doing much hair styling anyway.
    The Thickening Spray is easy to use and smells good (kinda earthy). I spritz it on the crown of my head when my hair is wet for some extra volume up-top. Sometimes I use it all-over if I want really big, Texas-sized hair!
    The R+Co Dry Shampoo Mist is my favorite dry shampoo at the moment because it’s got a gentle floral/citrus/vanilla scent that is not overpowering. There’s no heavy aerosol spray to make me choke or give me headaches. And it doesn’t leave a white mess. My hair actually feels clean when I use it – not perfumed.
    I’m definitely hooked on this Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free hair brand and I want to try more of their products. Their Watermelon Wave Spray looks amazing!

    Since it’s summer, a lot of you are on team oily skin. Welcome! I live here year-round! Farmacy Deep Sweep is a deep pore cleaning toner with salicylic acid, moringa seed extract and papaya enzyme to exfoliate and clean out those pores!
    I also really like their Daily Greens Oil Free Gel Moisturizer. As an acne-prone gal, I have never been a big oil-fan, and if I do use oils, there are only a few I trust. So in general, I like a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer like this one. It has moisturizing and exfoliating ingredients to keep pores clear.
    Farmacy is clean, cruelty free and these products are vegan.

    The COOLA Scalp and Hair Mist is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” type of products. You spritz it on your scalp (your hair, your part or wherever you’ve got skin showing) to keep it protected from sunburn. It’s easy to use and not greasy.
    It’s vegan, reef-safe, broad-spectrum, 70% organic, water-resistant, and made with natural oils to protect your hair and your scalp from UV rays. It’s a chemical sunscreen (not a physical sunscreen), so just something to be aware of.

    Since we’re on the topic of non-greasy sunscreens, Verabella’s MoistureScreen SPF 45+ is at the top of the list! It is waterproof, broad-spectrum, non-greasy, and smells like cucumbers. Most importantly it leaves ZERO white cast so it’s great for all skin tones.
    It is an underground cult favorite of celebrities and supermodels. I know this because I help the company with their social media (give them a follow!), and I hear about the A-listers who swear by this stuff!
    It comes in tinted and un-tinted varieties. The tinted version goes on easy and doesn’t look like makeup. My husband uses both, and it’s so thin, you’d never notice, even if he applied it in a hurry.

    Milani Fruit Fetish lip balms come in several delicious flavors. They aren’t sticky, but they do feel like a balm (if that makes any sense). They are cruelty free and vegan. They have a sheer tint of color (some darker than others) but not very noticeable once you put them on (for me anyway).
    My favorites are Dragonfruit Peach and Strawberry Lemonade. You can find them at Ulta (but they are sold out as I’m writing this).

    My face is oily year-round, but ESPECIALLY in the summer. Too Faced’s Primed and Poreless powder keeps my skin looking matte and blurs my pores (which is good because I have very textured skin).
    It’s very finely milled and translucent and doesn’t make me look “over-powdered.” Definitely a fan of this one!

    I guess no summer must-have list during the times of COVID-19 would be complete without hand sanitizer. Wild Pure by Ellis Day is the BEST SMELLING hand sanitizer I’ve come across (and I’ve tried many)! It is scented with bergamot, which I think is one of the best scents on the planet.
    It’s cruelty free, vegan, non-sticky and made with 70% ethyl alcohol to keep the germs away.
    I’m also trying out their Phage Serum, which kills the bad bacteria on your face while keeping the good ones happy. I’m hoping it can help clear up my cystic acne, because let me tell you – it sucks to be 40 years old and still dealing with acne! More

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    Vegan Potato Salad

    Tender chunks of potatoes in a yummy creamy dressing, with just the right amount of crunch and tanginess! This Vegan Potato Salad is easy to make — ahead of time too — making it the perfect option for picnics, barbecues and potlucks.

    Who doesn’t like a good potato salad, right? I don’t think I’ve ever actually met anyone who didn’t like potato salad. And I don’t think that I’ve ever met a potato salad that I didn’t like, either!
    There are probably as many different potato salad recipes out there as there are individuals making it, and we each tend to have our own personal preferences. Me? I’m a real fan of the classic version, with a creamy tangy mayo dressing, a little bit of minced red onion, a handful of sliced celery and a generous amount of chopped dill pickles!
    But you know what? As simple a dish as potato salad can be, it’s still fairly easy to mess things up. But with just a few very simple pointers, you’ll be able to avoid common mistakes and learn how to get it perfectly right, every single time!

    THE SECRET IS IN THE… POTATOES!
    First off, be sure to use the right potatoes for the task, in this case: waxy potatoes! These potatoes tend to be on the small side and have thin, smooth skin,  so you don’t even need to peel them, although you could if you wanted to, but they would only lose flavor and nutrients. They also have a firm and creamy flesh, and since waxy potatoes are relatively low in starch and high in moisture, their cells remain intact when cooked, which causes them to hold their shape very well when boiled or baked.
    Also, just like pasta, potatoes absorb water — and salt — as they cook. Adding plenty of salt to the cooking water will ensure that every single starch particle in the potatoes gets infused with salt, resulting in a potato salad that’s well and evenly seasoned. How much salt should you add to your water, you ask? Enough that it tastes like the sea, is what I say.
    Additionally, starting the potatoes in cold water will ensure that they cook evenly. If you were to start them in hot or boiling water, the outside would most likely fall apart before the center has had a chance to completely cook. This would result in a potato salad filled with hard lumps of potatoes covered in mush. Not my idea of a great potato salad!

    So cut your WAXY potatoes into bite size chunks, rinse them well and then put them in a large pot. Cover completely with COLD water and SALT generously. Bring the water to the boil then reduce to a rapid simmer, cover that pot loosely and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
    Once cooked, drain the potatoes and be sure to let them cool completely. → Adding mayonnaise to hot potatoes would only cause it to melt and go all oily on you. No bueno!

    In an ideal world, you would cook your potatoes the previous day, or at least a few hours ahead so they have plenty of time to cool down. But if this was not an option, don’t despair: all is not lost! To cool your potatoes in a pinch, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Perfect crime!
    You could also rinse the potatoes under cold running water or plunge them in an ice water bath, but I find this makes the potatoes somewhat watery and less flavorful. When hot, the “pores” of the potatoes are wide open and they will absorb whatever flavor you throw at them. I don’t think that you want this “flavor” to be that of water…

    WELL… AND IN THE SAUCE, TOO!
    While your potatoes are chillin’, take the opportunity to chop your celery, onion and pickles, and then make that super yummy creamy dressing. Simply combine a cup of vegan mayonnaise, some apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and a few herbs and spices (listed below in the recipe card) in a medium bowl and give all that a good whisk.

    When the potatoes are good and cold, place them in a large mixing bowl, along with the celery, onion and pickles,…

    …and then pour in that super yummy creamy dressing; Toss very delicately until all the potatoes are well coated and all those ingredients are evenly distributed.

    Technically, your potato salad is now ready to be served, but if time permits, you should definitely place it in the fridge for a few hours to give all those tasty flavors a chance to meld and mingle.
    This potato salad can totally be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days.

    Vegan Potato Salad

    Tender chunks of potatoes in a yummy creamy dressing, with just the right amount of crunch and tanginess! This Vegan Potato Salad is easy to make — ahead of time too — making it the perfect option for picnics, barbecues and potlucks.
    Servings: 8

    US Customary – Metric

    3 lb new potatoes (or other waxy potato variety), cut into 1″ pieces
    2 stalks celery, sliced
    1/2 of a medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 cup chopped dill pickles, about 2 medium

    For the creamy dressing

    Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces, then rinse them well and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes completely with cold water* and add enough salt so that your water tastes like the sea; it’s imperative that your water be fairly salty!

    Bring to the boil then reduce to a rapid simmer, cover loosely and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

    Once cooked, drain the potatoes and let them cool completely.**

    Meanwhile, chop your celery, onions and pickle, and then make the creamy dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and giving them a good whisk.

    When the potatoes are cold, place them in a large mixing bowl, along with the celery, onion and pickles, and then pour in the dressing; Toss delicately until all the potatoes are well coated.

    You can serve your potato salad immediately, or place it in the fridge for a few more hours to give those flavors a chance to meld and mingle.

    This potato salad can totally be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days.

    *Starting the potatoes in cold water helps them cook more evenly. If you were to start them in hot or boiling water, the outside would most likely fall apart before the center has even had a chance to cook. That does NOT make for good potato salad…

    **To cool the potatoes faster, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. You could also rinse them under cold running water or plunge them in an ice water batch, but I find this makes the potatoes watery and less flavorful.

    Calories: 321kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 417mg, Potassium: 757mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 470IU, Vitamin C: 38mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 2mg

    If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
    You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes! More

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    Black-Owned and Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

    I’ve been doing my part to learn more about who actually owns the brands I buy from, and particularly which brands are owned and run by men and women who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). I think it’s important to support these entrepreneurs, CEOs and their employees with my dollars, and not […] More