Grooming was never something that I was particularly interested in in my twenties (ah, the power of youth), but as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate a good haircut and glowing skin, especially since I'm in the business of promoting a healthy vegan lifestyle.
Long gone are the images of the "crunchy" vegan. Today's PETA staffers dress in business wear and hold advanced degrees.
As the number of people embracing a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle continues to grow, personal-care goods that aren't tested on animals and don't include animal-derived ingredients, such as lanolin or beeswax, are increasingly making their way into bathrooms across the country.
Here are some of my favorite vegan products from brands that don't conduct or pay for cruel tests on animals:
I moved to Los Angeles from London a few years ago because I love the sun. But I have to be careful about the damage it can do to my pale English skin. 3rd Rock Essentials' All Natural Zinc Sunscreen is the best natural, organic, and toxin-free SPF 35 sunscreen I've come across. It's made with food-grade ingredients, and of course, it's totally free of any animal-derived ingredients.
Natural Body Wash
I keep really active: I play soccer a few times a week, I swim, I go to the gym, etc. I'm in the shower a couple of times a day, so I want to use a gentle cleanser. Right now, I'm using the Sport Body Wash from Herban Cowboy. It lathers nicely, smells great, and leaves my skin feeling fresh.
I really like the gentle exfoliation of the Scruff Rescue Face Scrub from Max Green Alchemy. I've been using it for a few months now, and my skin definitely feels softer. Its ingredients are 100 percent botanical with no harsh chemicals, and of course, it's vegan and isn't tested on animals.
Fair Trade Serum
To help repair my sun-damaged skin, I use a touch of Gaffer & Child's Hydrating Serum last thing at night. I love that it's packed with essential oils to help keep my skin glowing and feeling supple. The company's motto is "Give a Damn," so you know its products are vegan and cruelty-free as well as being fair trade and almost always locally sourced.
I often get dry hands, so I like to keep a hand cream in my desk drawer and in my car. I was given the Umbrian Truffle Hand Cream from SKIN&CO Roma as a Christmas gift, and I love it. It smells great and soaks in immediately so that I don't leave grease on my keyboard or steering wheel.
Ben Williamson is the Senior International Media Director at PETA. He's an animal rights communications professional, breaking news, investigations, and exclusive animal stories in publications such as The New York Times, The Economist, and Los Angeles Times. Outside of animal rights PR, he plays soccer, tennis, cycle and SUP. You can usually find him working on the roof of PETA's L.A. headquarters or at The Cock 'n Bull in Venice, CA, watching his beloved Manchester United.