Some OnMilwaukee.com readers may already know that my soap box, so to speak, is using products that haven't been tested on animals. Last time I wrote about my search for a cruelty-free antiperspirant, I received all sorts of e-mails saying that animals were put on this Earth to be our Guinea pigs (pun intended), and how stupid it was that I espouse the value of cruelty-free cosmetics without being a vegetarian (which I am not).
Anyway, if animal testing doesn't get your goat -- sorry, last pun of this blog -- then you can stop reading right now. But if you, like me, prefer to use cosmetics that haven't been squirted in the eyes of cuddly bunnies, then this is for you.
Ladies, you are lucky when it comes to the availability of cruelty-free cosmetics. There are tons of high-quality products you can use. But dudes, our options are more limited, and usually much more expensive. I've spent years refining this list, and I'm glad to share my personal best-of-the-best grooming products that will clear your conscience without breaking the bank.
Shampoo: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Apparently, this shampoo is designed for "dry scalp," but it works great for normal hair types, too. I love this stuff because it literally tingles on my head and wakes me up in the shower. It's not "White Rain" cheap, but it won't cost you an arm and a leg, either, and it's available at those mall salons or all over the Web.
Styling product: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Grooming Pomade
See above. This product does the trick just fine, as long as my hair is short. Once it gets too long, it's a fight between product and "Jew Fro," in which my Jew Fro always wins.
Face wash: Every Man Jack Face Wash, fragrance free
Cheap and available at Target, this face wash also contains salicylic acid, which seems like a good thing to have in a face soap. I use the sensitive skin, unscented stuff, and admit that this is a little bit of a splurge, since regular soap cleans equally well, right?
Shaving cream: Every Man Jack Shave Gel, fragrance free
See above. I've used all sorts of fancy and less fancy shaving creams, and I'd put this stuff up against any of them.
Razors: Haven't tried them yet, but Wally, Spike and Personna Tri-Flexxx Razor
This is the lone area in which I resort to a grooming product that does test on animals. I use the Gillette Fusion, and while I hate the implication of the company testing on puppies, I have sensitive skin and require a great razor. Maybe someday I'll give these three cruelty-free razors a whirl.
Soap (splurge): Red Flower Icelandic Moonflower Body Wash
I first experienced this awesome smelling soap at an upscale hotel in Phoenix, and I wrote about it in a subsequent OnMilwaukee.com Recommends. It's pricey -- about $25 at Bay View's Future Green, and after I used up all the little bottles I "liberated" from the hotel, I figured that was the end of my Red Flower experience. Fortunately, some friends read my review and bought me a bottle for my birthday. The stuff is so concentrated that I'm still using the same bottle five months later. The scent is a little overpowering, but it's really great.
Soap (bargain): Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap
The gold standard of soap, you can wash laundry or brush your teeth with this stuff in a pinch. Or, if you're bored, you can just read the insane ramblings on the label. Prices vary wildly for Bronner's, but it's so concentrated that you can cut it with at least 75 percent water. The lavender scent is nice, but the peppermint is super-intense and extremely tingly. After a shower with stuff, you'll feel very, very clean. And there's a Wisconsin connection to Bronner.
Toothpaste: Tom's of Maine Natural Antiplaque plus Whitening Gel Toothpaste, Peppermint
By now, you can probably tell that peppermint is my current flavor of choice. I've been a big fan of the unsweetened Tom's of Maine for years, and when I use regular, old toothpastes on vacations, it tastes too much like candy. Tom's is available everywhere, but I prefer the plastic dispensers to the metal tubes (too much waste), and that variety is harder to find. I usually stock up at The Vitamin Shoppe by Mayfair Mall.
Antiperspirant (splurge): Jack Black Pit Boss Antiperspirant
This was the genesis of this blog. To the best of my knowledge, there are only two antiperspirants that call themselves cruelty-free. You can find tons of deodorants, but if you want to stop the sweat before it starts, this is it. At Sephora or online, you're looking at almost $20 ... but in its defense, Pit Boss is also the strongest antiperspirant I've ever used. Two swipes, literally, are more than enough for any situation. So a 2.75 ounce container lasts a very long time.
Antiperspirant (bargain): Mitchum Smart Solid
Mitchum is owned by Revlon, which doesn't make a big deal of the fact that it doesn't test its products on animals. I think Mitchum changed its formula at some point, because it used to be bullet-proof against sweat, but now, not so much. I think all the scents smell like a French cat house, so I go with unscented as my backup antiperspirant. It's cheap and available everywhere, but doesn't hold a candle to Pit Boss.
Bathroom cleaners: Anything and everything from Method Home and Seventh Generation
Pretty much everything Method makes is awesome, and it's readily available at Target. It's a little pricey, but not too bad. Seventh Generation is great, too, but costs a lot. I like their daily shower cleaner better than Method's, but either line makes my bathroom smell more like a spa and less like a swimming pool.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.