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Are you doing Veganuary this month? I’ve noticed that Veganuary is becoming more and more of a ‘thing’ in recent years, and as a vegan myself, I’m more than happy about this. Not only am I glad to see more and more people trying out veganism, on a personal level I love all the vegan specials that are brought out in cafes and restaurants this month. It’s great to have extra options to choose from!
Naturally, food is the aspect of Veganuary that gets the most attention, as food forms the main chunk of what being vegan involves. Some vegans only follow the diet aspect, for example, if they are vegan for health rather than ethical reasons. But for many, veganism is not just a diet, it’s an ethos that encompasses their whole lifestyle. This means it includes all the products they use and consume, such as clothes, cosmetics and personal care products, not just the food they eat.
If you are doing Veganuary this month, you might decide to dive in deep and take into account the non-food-related aspects too. So let’s take a look at some swaps you can try this Veganuary!
Doing Veganuary? Here Are 6 Non-Food-Related Swaps To Try
You might not immediately think that perfume wouldn’t be vegan, but in fact, many mainstream perfumes contain animal ingredients. Often, it’s hard to tell because they just come under the ingredient ‘parfum’ and what that actually contains is kept secret. Therefore, if you want to make sure your perfume is vegan it’s best to buy from a dedicated vegan brand, such as Dolma Vegan Fragrances.
Dolma is an independent UK fragrance company that produces 100% vegan and cruelty-free fragrances for men and women. Their fragrances are sustainably and ethically produced and the ingredients are all safe for humans, animals and the environment. It’s a company you can feel confident buying from, knowing that it won’t be having any negative impact on you or the planet.
A couple of years ago I was gifted the Discovery Box Set of all 12 of Dolma’s women’s fragrances. It was great fun trying them all out and my favourite in the whole set was First Rain. So when Dolma recently got in touch for this collaboration, I opted to receive a 50ml bottle of First Rain.
The scent of First Rain is supposed to evoke nature, and is inspired by the forest. This is how it is described on the website:
A strong base of mossy woods transports you deep inside a magical forest scene. Uplifted by the green balsamic notes of galbanum touched with whispers of jasmine, this earthy creation melds mind and nature. First Rain Perfume is grounding – a deep connection to Mother Nature.
I agree that this perfume smells earthy, but I think that it also smells quite citrussy. It’s a fresh and youthful yet sophisticated scent. The glass bottle is simple and minimalistic, displaying its sustainable ethos, yet it still looks stylish and luxurious.
I really like everything about this perfume and company! I will be wearing First Rain throughout January and into the spring – I think it will make a great spring perfume because it is so fresh and of course with the reference to ‘first rain’ – no doubt we will get plenty of that!
2. Clothing and accessories
The majority of clothing, shoes and accessories are vegan, but the main non-vegan materials to watch out for are wool, silk and leather. It’s likely that you have a few of these materials lurking in your wardrobe! Luckily, there are plenty of vegan alternatives to all these materials.
For vegan knitwear, there is plenty made from polyester or acrylic, but these materials are bad for the environment because they are ultimately types of plastic, and they also shed non-biodegradable microfibres when washed which can harm the environment. Instead, look for cotton, hemp or Tencel knitwear.
Satin provides the silky texture that you’d get from silk, but again, try to find satin that is made from cotton rather than nylon or polyester. For leather, there are alternatives made from plastics as well as more sustainable options made from a diverse array of materials including cork, leaves, fruit waste and recycled plastic.
This might all sound complicated but it’s actually pretty easy to find vegan clothing, as clothes are usually labelled with what material they’re made of. If you try to shop from sustainable brands where possible, you’ll likely find the sustainable vegan alternatives rather than plastic-based ones.
3. Shower and bath products
Shower gels, bubble baths, soaps and other personal care products can often contain animal-derived ingredients such as lanolin, animal fats, beeswax or honey. Despite this, personal care products are some of the easiest things to find vegan versions of, because they are usually clearly labelled and there are plenty of vegan options around. If you’re doing Veganuary and you need a new shower gel, take a moment to check the label first.
A surprising number of make-up products contain animal ingredients and still more are tested on animals, which most vegans would agree makes them not vegan. The easiest way to find vegan make-up is to search online for which companies are vegan and cruelty-free, as it can be difficult to tell just by looking at the packaging. Watch out for nail varnish too as that often contains animal ingredients, for example, guanine (which comes from fish scales) and carmine (made from crushed beetles).
This is obviously related to food but I’ve included it as it’s not quite in the food category. Also, it’s not something you’d expect to contain animal products but it sometimes does. For example, some wines and beers use animal products like egg whites, milk proteins or isinglass (derived from fish) in the production process. Despite these products being filtered out of the finished product, it still means the drinks are not vegan as animal products were used to make them (and traces may still remain).
So unless you happen to be doing ‘dry January’ as well as doing Veganuary, why not check the labels and pick up a vegan beer or wine next time you are shopping for alcohol?
Again, this is related to nutrition but is not food. Some supplements are not vegan – some obvious examples are cod liver oil or marine collagen. There are vegan alternatives to most non-vegan supplements, for example, many marine nutrients can be sourced from algae.
Aside from the more obvious non-vegan supplements, many supplements that you’d think would be vegan are actually not because of what the capsule or casing is made of. Often, soft gel capsules are made from gelatine, but there are vegan alternatives available.
What swaps will you try this Veganuary?
To end this post, I want to stress that in my opinion, going vegan doesn’t mean throwing out all the non-vegan products and clothes you already own. A big reason many people go vegan is out of care for the environment, and it’s always going to be more sustainable to use what you already have before buying something new, whether what you already have is vegan or not. After all, if you already own the product, it won’t make any difference now whether or not you use it.
For example, I have been vegan for several years but I still own a few clothes and shoes that are made of non-vegan materials, that I bought before I went vegan. They are not in good enough condition to give away to charity, but they still have plenty of wear left in them. I plan to keep them and wear them until they are worn out. Then, I will replace them with vegan alternatives.
So if you’re doing Veganuary this month, please don’t throw away and replace everything you own that’s not vegan. But if you do happen to need a new perfume, a new pair of shoes or some new cosmetics this month, why not get into the spirit of Veganuary and try something vegan?
A special shout out goes to Dolma Vegan Fragrances. Why not pick up one of their beautiful vegan perfumes such as First Rain, or try out their Discovery Box Set? They offer 15% off your first purchase if you sign up for their email list.