It’s vegan, but… – NEW IN: a Love Beauty and Planet Face Cleansing Gel Review

If you are a regular reader you will know that I love discovering cruelty-free, vegan products. I do believe that this is where the future is not just of the beauty industry but the planet too. I see a tendency where putting the vegan label on products is becoming more and more trendy but I am worried about huge corporate companies like Unilever and L’oreal hiding behind that label, jumping on the vegan bandwagon, patting themselves in the back for doing something seemingly good without truly integrating the idea of being cruelty-free or veganism into their ethos. The question is, can a product be vegan if it is sold under helm of a large company that is not cruelty-free?

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In the truest sense of the word, no, it can’t be vegan because the whole point of veganism is to minimize harm to animals and if a company can be associated with animal testing in any way they can’t call themselves vegan. Unfortunately, there is no legislation in place which prevents brands doing this. A product can only be called truly vegan if it is cruelty-free too but if the goal is to create a cruelty-free, vegan beauty world then normalising veganism and creating demand is king. If the demand is rising for these products, big companies like these will see an opportunity to cash in on it and will create more supply turning cruelty-free and vegan in the process but maybe I am naive thinking that. CEOs of big corparate brands don’t wake up in the morning rubbing their hands together, twirling their moustache thinking how many animals they can hurt on the day, they just want to create a lucrative business. At the end of the day, they want to make money and they will go where the demand is so as consumers we can decide where to put our money. And if we demand more cruelty-free, vegan products, that’s where they will see big business.

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I think the important thing right now is to educate the public about the fact that you cannot separate veganism and being cruelty-free so they don’t get confused by all the labelling so later when shopping they can make an informed decision. You can also sign The Body Shop’s petition here  for a global ban on animal testing to help things move forward.

During one of my latest Boots run I picked up a cleanser from Love Beauty and Planet which is a new release to the store. It proudly states at the front of the bottle ‘It’s vegan!’, but as I turned the bottle and saw that it’s sold by Unilever which is certainly not a cruelty-free corporation.

Despite none of Unilever’s finished products being tested on animals, the individual ingredients are and they sell some of their brands in China where animal testing is required by law. Also, they may not be doing the testing themselves but their suppliers are testing their ingredients on animals on their behalf. However, some of the brands under the Unilever flag are cruelty-free and not sold in China. These are Dermalogica, Murad, REN, Shea Moisture, Seventh Generation, Schmidt’s Naturals, and Nubian Heritage, they are PETA certified, Dermalogica, Schmidt’s Naturals, and Seventh Generation are Leaping Bunny certified.

Love Beauty and Planet seems to be a new brand, it carries the vegan logo but there is very little information about it. Vegan means, it has no animal products, but is it actually cruelty-free? Well, it is unclear. When I messaged the brand asking if their suppliers test on animals and whether they sell in China they said “Our products are sold all over the world.” and “Love Beauty and Planet does not test on animals.” which is pretty tight-lipped and vague to me and instantly makes me think they are not 100% transparent. I’ve seen other’s asking for this information too and they received the following reply: “Where some testing is required by law or currently unavoidable, we aim to minimize the number of animals used.” which means that Love Beauty and Planet has the same animal testing policy as their parent company, Unilever and implies that they test on animals.

Having said that, there are a lot of vegan products out there that do not carry a vegan label. It’s way too complicated, isn’t it? All this sends a confusing message to the public, no wonder it’s hard to tell what labels mean and which one to trust since transparency is still not the beauty industry’s biggest forte.

After this lengthy intro, let’s get back to Love Beauty and Planet, and my review. LBaP was launched by Unilever in December 2017, they claim to be a vegan, environmentally conscious, eco-friendly brand doing a range of personal care products like cleansers, masks, shampoos and conditioners. I picked up the Coconut Water, Mimosa Flower Gel Cleanser because it sounded like it will be a nice one for a refreshing, hydrating morning cleanse.

Here are the details of how I got on with it:

Packaging: recycled plastic, 100% recyclable lightweight bottle with a practical pump dispenser.

What it is: hydrating gel cleanser blended with Coconut Water and fragranced with Moroccan mimosa flower.

What it does: suitable for a refreshing morning or second cleanse.

How to use it: take a pump of gel, add water, massage it onto the skin then wash it off.

Who it is for: normal, combination, slightly oily skin, it is not for the dry skin types for the reasons below.

How it worked for me: unfortunately, this cleanser didn’t really work for me because as soon as used it my skin had a dry, tight feeling to it and after checking the inci list I am not surprised that much, Sodium Chloride, that is used as a thickening agent, is the 4th ingredient and it seems it affects me more than SLS. So after the first few tries, I stopped using it altogether. Fragrance is also quite high up on the inci list, so tread carefully if you’re sensitive to that. I feel a bit bad when some products don’t work out for me because I like giving good reviews but in this case, I can’t give too much of a feedback, unfortunately.  This doesn’t mean it won’t work for anyone, of course, it might just be my skin. It smells nice though.

Value for money: good, you get 125ml for £7.99 in Boots stores.

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