This winter has been a particularly harsh time with germs flying around, almost everyone seems to be coughing and sneezing and we all have to be aware of the need to wash our hands.
My place of work does not have vegan soap and being vegan and constantly aware of what products I use, especially when I have to spend eight glorious hours at work everyday, it became necessary to ‘bring my own’ soap. I have always toddled off to the loo, Dr. Bronner’s soap – in soapbox – in hand, and after a while this became a major pain in the butt so now I just leave it on the hand basin.
Only a short while after leaving the soap on the hand basin one of my work colleagues came out and said ‘I would have thought soaps would be vegan’. He had never stopped to consider what was in a bar of soap, not aware that soaps have unnecessary animal content, it could have glycerine, and/or lanolin, and/or tallow in it or all three, all of which are animal derived. Having the soap on the hand basin made my work colleague question what was in soaps – which in the scheme of things is really good to have people more aware. So now he knows about soap!!! I invited him to start using it too, there is no advantage in using animal products in soaps, possibly another ploy from the slaughterhouses to make more money from the suffering and death of the innocent. Vegan soaps are just as good and often better, especially if they are made with real essential oils. They feel nice, they smell nice, they lather well, animal-free, guilt-free. What were we thinking as humans? To have even had the original thought of plastering the remains of slaughtered animals over our bodies – to get clean? Ewwwwyuk.
A main concern when buying soaps is not to promote Companies that exploit animals to put their products on the market, i.e. Companies that use animals to try out their products on, generally when still in the trial or ‘toxic’ stage, onto the skin or into the eyes of the innocent slaves who have no choice or voice. Research for beauty is a disgusting and immoral thing to do, well actually animal research in general is immoral as they are subjected against their will to horrific experiments and a miserable and often painful life. There are other options for testing results of products which may in fact be a more productive form of research anyway as it has not really been proven that testing on animals is a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that the product is safe for human use.
Another concern of course when buying vegan soaps is the use of palm oil and where it originated, terrible to think that in avoiding soaps with animal products it may use palm oil from cleared rainforest. Please bear a thought to using palm oil – deforestation is causing Orang-Utans and other equally important insects and animals to suffer and die. Here is a quote from Palm Oil Action Group: “After logging rainforest habitat, palm oil companies often use uncontrolled burning to clear the land. In 1997-98 a devastating fire killed almost 8,000 orangutans in Borneo. Orangutans are predicted to be extinct in the wild in the next 20 years if the palm oil industry, deforestation and burning of peat forest do not change.” The Palm Oil Action Group is concerned about oil palm plantation development and deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
The Lotus Heart in Cathedral Square, Christchurch has a gift shop that sells Dr Bronner’s soaps and it is where I bought my bar of lavender loveliness (the lemon one is nice too!) for work. The small bathroom at work has a wonderfully lovely aroma of lavender.
For soaps at home I buy from a lovely wee shop in town – Blue Earth Store in Poplar Street (runs between Lichfield & Tuam Streets, not far from Madras Street). They stock a wonderful range of soaps which are produced in Ashburton by Blue Earth, all with tremendous smells and textures including names like Fudgey Fig, Gardeners Nut soap and Angels Love Cake. I use their Lavishly Lavender at the hand basin and the Carrot & Orange Cake in the shower and also use their Shampoo Smoothie for my hair, which lathers up really well and makes my hair light and fluffy. Although they do use palm oil, they assured me that they do everything in their power to use sustainable palm oil. I am going to one day complete my mission of trying all of their soaps – if I can just get past buying my favourites, I may even find other favourites. Blue Earth products are the cheaper option as the Dr Bronner’s soap comes with a hefty price tag.
SAFE Online Store stocks a good range of cruelty-free soaps and other skin care items and while you are there definitely worth a browse through their website at their other products as well.
You can always make your own, but lets face it, with the busy lives we live and the quality of the available vegan soaps, why bother?