The Ghosts In Our Machine

Siobhan’s Ghost-Free Journey: Day 2

The next area Siobhan would like  to explore is Ghost-Free makeup and personal products.  As a student, Siobhan is looking for affordable and cruelty free products.  While we’re on this topic, we can also explore related areas such as clothing, shoes, handbags, household products, and personal products.    Although it’s so much fun to talk about makeup and clothes, animal use and testing for our products is a much tougher topic to consider  However, the awareness is growing all around us, and several countries have already banned testing on animals in the cosmetic industry.

Siobhan, where are you right now around this topic, and how can we help you make this transition?  Are there any areas you have specific questions about, or would like to learn more about?

We welcome the community to participate and share!

For the Ghosts,

Rosemary and Donna, GFJ Mentors

The opinions we express as GFJ Mentors are ours personally. We are not professional health practitioners.  Neither are we treating a specific health care issue.  That means we are not offering advice on health-care problems. If you  are experiencing a health-care problem, it is important to seek the advice of a health professional. However we are experienced, practicing vegans and we look forward to coaching you on your journey.


Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Hi guys! Day 2 of my ghost-free journey and this time when I go to order my morning coffee from Tim Horton’s, I will be prepared to add in my little box of almond milk instead of having to choke it back black for the ghosts, HURRAH!

    Animal testing for make up has always been a concern of mine, and I think the majority of society is against testing on animals. This isn’t something only confined to vegetarians and vegans, either, as everyone uses some form of self-care product or cleaning product. It does seem as though many countries are much more advanced in their mandatorily clear labelling of cruelty-free products, but us folks in Canada and USA are left to wonder and hope for the best.

    To make things worse, a lot of the articles I’ve read and photos I’ve seen about animal testing seem to be fairly outdated, and most major companies (ie Procter and Gamble) are fairly vague about their testing practices.

    Why are we still testing on animals in 2013 anyway? Do you think Canada will ever see the day when products have clear labels on all of their products, like they do in England?

    Can anyone provide me with a list of cheaper, easy to find make-up products that 100% do not test on animals?

    • Mentor Rosemary September 17, 2013 at 9:46 am

      It’s wonderful to see you taking care of yourself during your transition, Siobhan! This is not a test of deprivation tolerance, but hopefully an experience of exploration, adventure, curiosity and awareness! There is a whole assortment of new things to discover in this process…embrace and enjoy 🙂
      When it comes to make up and other products, it does seem confusing and unclear at times. Several smaller companies that were known to be cruelty-free have been purchased by larger companies, and then a decision needs to be made whether or not you use that product if the larger company tests on animals. Example: Aveda was purchased by Estee Lauder who tests on animals.
      I tend to rely on a few sources for information about products, but I’m sure there are more. Here are the links, and they also have phone apps for convenience while shopping .

      This is a recent blog that I found as well:

      • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        Hmm…some of these lists say that The Body Shop and Urban Decay don’t test on animals, but others say that they do because their ingredients undergo some sort of animal testing in the process, or they are owned by a larger company that tests on animals. Remember when MAC used to be cruelty free?!

        My problem is that I wear a lot of make up and go through it pretty fast, and I like to do strong bold looks…many of the natural organic cruelty-free companies do not offer bright, pigmented colours. I do know Sugar Pill has bright vegan eyeshadows for about 12-15 dollars per colour, but can anyone recommend a good liquid foundation? Preferably one that is medium coverage, as I tend to get redness around my face and dark circles under my eyes.

    • Mentor Rosemary September 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      After pondering your questions, it occurred to me that your point about “the majority of society is against animal testing”, but still we continue to use these products… is a point we can expand on.

      If it is true, that most people are against the mistreatment and testing of animals… why then, do so many people participate by eating, wearing or using products derived from animals? Melanie Joy is at the forefront of research in this area and explains the social psychology of how this operates. Do you know her work?

      Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pig, and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy, PhD


      • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        Hi Rosemary,

        In my opinion, I think the majority of people participate in the eating/wearing/mistreatment of animals out of convenience to their lifestyles. Most people prefer to be ignorant – I know every time I’ve lectured my family or friends they’ve acknowledged that they find bliss in their ignorance. So many people are afraid to watch PETA videos or see pictures (such as the ones Jo-Anne takes) because it shoves the reality in their face and makes them feel uncomfortable. People like to put all of that in the back of their heads because it makes it easier to get by in their daily lives without confronting any underlying holes in the system they live in or any flaws in their own character. And, for the most part, because they are too lazy and stubborn to make a change.

        Some people, when exposed to these issues, cannot live with the guilt and therefore refuse to support the industries and make changes to their lifestyle – even if it may not be the most convenient. I think it takes a certain type of person to do this…and frankly, I sure hope these people procreate!

        I have never heard of Melanie Joy, but I have read a similar book entitled “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat” and I would recommend it to everyone here!

  2. Judy Hurst September 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Hey Siobhan! Although, no longer a college student, I am on a budget, so I can appreciate your concerns about kinder cosmetics and personal care items when it comes to cost.

    I’m a big fan of the Jason line of products, for shampoo, body wash, etc…. I use Tom’s toothpaste and (sometimes) deodorant. And for makeup, which I rarely wear, I use various products. Which I purchase at a health food store in Toronto. Makeup isn’t such a huge issue for me, so I will splurge on it, as it lasts me a long time. All of the other personal care items I use, were purchased at Loblaw’s or one of it’s affiliates in the organic section and truth be told, don’t cost any more than the generic. Or at least not much.

    For cleaning products, I’m a big fan of pantry items, baking soda, vinegar, etc…. Search the internet for eco friendly cleaning, and you will find a plethora of items for cleaning that are already in your kitchen.

    Hope you are having a great day and enjoying this journey so far!


    • Mentor Rosemary September 17, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Judy! Thanks so much for sharing about this topic and using Canadian resources. I remember this was a significant focus for you when you were a GFJ participant! . We all learned so much during your GFJ about these products and the concerns behind them.
      I love make up!….and will spend the extra dollars on make up and personal products and less on cleaning products. Simple and homemade items can be transformed into cleaning products as Judy suggests. There are some who do the same for skin care! For example, using coconut oil for body/hair moisturizer, sugar for exfoliation, and oats/nutmilk for masks. This can be a whole lot of fun!
      Here are a few sites for that information:

    • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      I love Tom’s toothpaste! I have also been considering making my own flouride free toothpaste using household ingredients: apparently baking soda, coconut oil, and peppermint oil can be mixed together to make a good long-lasting, shelf-stable toothpaste. Has anyone tried this? I also love using vinegar for cleaning – I find it so much more effective than most cleaning products, AND it doesn’t leave that nasty nauseating smell afterward! Also thank you for introducing me to this Jason line, I’ve been looking on the internet and a lot of the prices are very reasonable.

      What’s that health store in Toronto that you mentioned called?

    • Julia September 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Toms of Maine is now owned by Colgate, which does test on animals.

      • Debra Roppolo September 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

        True. Again, it depends where you choose to draw the line. As more and more mega-companies buy smaller lines, it’s getting more challenging. But Jason makes some great toothpaste, including a whitening one that’s quite effective. Also, it’s mintier than Tom’s — I like my toothpaste minty!

        Back to foundation — Laura Mercier makes fabulous foundation and does not test on animals. However, it’s one hell of a splurge at around $50 or so. For me, a tube of foundation lasts nearly a year, so I don’t mind the expense.

  3. Danielle Legg September 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Happy day two Siobhan!

    I think one thing that came into sight for me when going vegan was the cost of products, and what cost really means. Like you, I’m on a pretty serious budget that rarely allows for wiggle, though occasionally wiggle room is there (which I love)

    Some people may think, for example, that LUSH ( is “too expensive,” but when you consider the real cost associated with producing a product; it’s really not at all. Your dollars pay the employees at Lush a fair, living wage. They buy from ethical sources, and organic whenever possible. You dollars support a company that absolutely REFUSES to back down on their animal testing policy. When I buy from LUSH, I feel like my dollars are saving the world!

    I think it’s important to consider this when you’re buying any products. Rosemary brings up “Parent Companies” like Estee Lauder owning Aveda, and that’s another thing to think about. Aveda does NOT test, but its parent company does. Does buying the brand that does not test send a clear message? I have to say it does. When a company produces two lines and one is purchased more often, it says something about that favored line. When you buy Aveda you’re saying “I don’t want cruelly produced products.”

    Also, have you heard of E.L.F. products? They’re cheapish, cruelty free, and some products are even vegan! I use a combination of LUSH, ELF and Aveda for my face/hair/body. I find that I use less of the LUSH and Aveda products, so they last quite a long time. OH! And Arbonne!

    • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Danielle!

      LUSH is definitely a great company for reliable products…I don’t find it too expensive, especially when it smells so damn good. Do they have make up products like eyeliner and foundation? I’m not a big eyeshadow or lipstick wearer.

      I have heard of E.L.F! Can you buy it in Canada? If so, where? Arbonne is new to me, but after looking through their website they seem like they might be my new go-to source for cosmetics…love that they’re Canadian, too! Have you ever tried any of the foundations from there? 53 dollars plus shipping and taxes seems like a lot to fork over…but if it’s good quality, it should last a long time!

      • Danielle Legg September 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

        Hey Siobahn 🙂

        I actually use Arbonne mineral foundation, and I LOVE it! I started using Arbonne when I started my own business with them! (which was late November/ early December last year) I don’t need much, and I still have the original product that I bought, so that stuff lasts!

        AND LUSH does have amazing eyeliner! Check out Emotional Brilliance! ALL of those seriously bum kickin colors can be used as liner!!

        • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

          Well, I think you just gave me a lot of new things to add to my birthday list this year! These are great, thank you so much 🙂

      • Mentor Rosemary September 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        There are so many wonderful, ethically sourced and affordable cosmetics available now, and the list is growing! A few of my favorites brands have been sold to larger, parent companies that test on animals. This is so frustrating!
        Such a shame that so many companies are choosing this route. As we are speaking, there are changes and additions to various lists of safe cosmetics…so keep checking reliable sources for current information.

        Aside from cosmetics and household/personal products, have you considered other common items, often made from animal products shoes, handbags, and clothing (leather, wool, silk )? What are your thoughts about this?

        • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm

          You’re right Rosemary, it IS frustrating when this happens! Especially with normally trustworthy companies like MAC and The Body Shop. And it’s also so sad that so many of the big drugstore companies that the majority of our society buys from DO test on animals, and yet most people aren’t even aware of it. When I talk about it with friends or family, their response is often something like “wait…what? Nobody actually tests on animals anymore” or “really? Isn’t that illegal?”

          The truth is that it SHOULD be illegal, and I can’t think of any other reason for it not to be aside from laziness and old-fashioned thinking. Is it really that cheaper?

          In terms of the other products you mentioned, I’m happy to say that I do not own anything leather, wool or silk…not just for compassionate reasons, but because of the price too! I have bought a leather belt which was from a second-hand store, and somehow I could justify it because I felt like at least it was being put to use instead of just sitting in a bin and being thrown out…but I don’t know, I still find it weird to basically be walking around with a refurbished cow strapped around your hips. What do you think of second-hand purchasing of silk and leather?

          • Mentor Donna September 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

            You bring up a very interesting topic, Siobhan – buying from thrift shops/second hand stores, etc. Many new vegans continue to wear their non-vegan clothing, etc. until it has worn out. Few have the financial resources to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe all at once. I think that you have to find your own comfort level – you mentioned that you find it weird to walk around with a refurbished cow strapped around your hips. We often have an internal battle (for lack of a better word) between what we think (justifying the usage) and how we feel.
            How do others feel about or deal with this issue?

  4. Marla Rose September 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I have to admit that I am lazy so I tend to buy from brands where I don’t have any questions, such as Zuzu. I also pull up the Cruelty-free Face website on my phone if I am looking for something different.

    • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you Marla. Zuzu actually has quite a big selection at fair prices…awesome!

  5. Mentor Rosemary September 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, Marla. I think it is easier to stick with a brand you’re comfortable with and know. I recently purchased ZuZu mascara and lipstick (super pigmented)…both fantastic! Once I run out of my Urban Decay Naked foundation, Zuzu is next up.
    Siobhan, here are the links: (also listed above in earlier post)

  6. Mentor Donna September 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Hi Siobahn – Happy Day 2! There are numerous companies out there that are truly cruelty-free. A lot of great links have been listed above. In addition to these, I would recommend checking out the following website:

    ForAnima is basically a vegan Amazon – 1 stop shopping for many vegan products. Since they do the label reading for you, all you have to do is pick out shades of lipsticks, etc. They seem to have a nice range of prices too.
    A company that you might want to check out is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
    I thought of them when you mentioned that you like strong looks.
    Another possbility is to check out vegan cosmetics on etsy

    • Siobhan September 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Hey Donna,

      I had no idea that OCC didn’t test on animals! That’s great, because I’ve always loved their stuff.

      Dude, Foranima is now my favourite website…screw Amazon. Thank you for introducing me to this!

      • Mentor Rosemary September 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        I just love this last post of yours, Siobhan! 🙂 Now, that’s the spirit!

  7. Kelly September 18, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Welcome to the Ghost Free Journey Siobhan!! One thing I found after going Vegan is that my skin is a lot better so I don’t have to wear as much make up!! LUSH does have foundation and so does Arbonne… both cruelty free.

    PS – I work for LUSH so might be a bit biased but the stuff is so darn good!!!

    • Siobhan` September 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      I wear make up more as a means of self expression than covering flaws…but LUSH has loads of products I’d love to experiment with!

      I am so jealous you get to work there, it’s like a scented heaven on Earth.

      • Kelly September 19, 2013 at 3:32 am

        I love a little color too!! It is a scented heaven!! 🙂

  8. Adrienne September 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Siobhan- I’m a bit of a product-junkie myself. I love love love tarte cosmetics, and their products are vegan friendly. There are also some reasonably priced animal friendly brands making their way across the pond. One example is Simple Skin Care. More and more brands are making it easy to tell if they are vegan and not tested on animals. Sometimes if I’m not sure, I just contact the companies. I have been surprised how many of my favorite brands are actually vegan, without advertising that fact. Hurraw chapsticks are the balm! (Please forgive the pun).

    In terms of once great companies selling out to known animal-offenders, I think we need to push for changes at a policy level. It’s happened in Britain and the EU, and I think Canada and the US are next. I think the general public are much more receptive to legislation protecting animals from cosmetic testing than some other animal rights issues, so I believe a day will come when it is banned.

    • Siobhan September 19, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Hey Adrienne,

      I also love Tarte and Simple Skin Care! I’m surprised that vegan companies wouldn’t openly advertise that fact, weird!

      Do you think there should be a law where companies who do test on animals are forced to put that on their label? I feel like that would force a lot of businesses to change their testing procedures just to avoid that public shame.

  9. Ashley January 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Siobhan,

    So I’m sure my in-put is a little delayed on this topic, but I’ve recently progressed my diet to pescetarianism gradually making my way to a full vegan diet. I recently also decided to make the change to an organic cruelty free make-up unfortunately I could only find one brand local to my area that was budget friendly which was Physicians Formula Organic Wear. After a lot of research and review reading I decided to make the purchase & I’ve been wearing it for probably about 3-4 days now, I must say this stuff is amazing my complexion is already a million times better! Coverage wise it does take some getting use to it evens out skin tones well however does not conceal well, I do believe they make a concealer though according to their page. Organic anything is pretty limited in my area so CVS is literally the only place that sells it here. The products I’ve purchased so far are the translucent compact powder (compact made from recycled cardboard!), mascara (amazing!), and foundation creme/liquid (sort of like a BB cream but a little more liquidy) I’m not sure what type of skin type you have but the translucent powder is definitely a MUST HAVE I have oily skin & it keeps my face shine free all day after one application, with other products I would have to reapply by lunch. Hope I helped widen the options, good luck on your journey!