It’s been a busy start to spring in our apartment (which our friend Molly has affectionately nicknamed the “BJ Supermarket”). We’ve been more productive than ever with clean-ups, new organization systems and personal projects (like finally re-stringing my ancient hand-me-down guitar, or Jar’s continued work on his model train layout. His birthday gift to me can be getting it the f*%^ out of the way of the guest bed).
We’ve also still got big plans, like what we want to do with the balcony, how we want to hang the rest of our art, and how we want our bedroom to evolve, style-wise.
As I’ve eased myself into this new living situation (quite comfortably, I might say), I’ve also settled on products that I’m most comfortable with for doing work around the house, and also, well, work on me. I’ve reviewed a few of my favourite household and personal products before, but I thought I might give an update on some things that have worked out really well for me — and some that haven’t.
I want to state that I’m not strictly a naturalist (is that the right word?) when it comes to my products, even though most of these products you will find are considered “clean” and “chemical-free.” The fact is it’s just easier to find vegan products that also fall under this umbrella — and it’s also easier to track which ingredients were tested on or derived from animals this way.
Note: None of the following products are blog sponsors and no money or personal goods have been accepted in exchange for positive reviews.
Earthpaste natural toothpaste in Wintergreen
- Price: $6.55
- Where I bought it: The Big Carrot
I’ll admit I’m a sucker for something just because it seems different. Earthpaste certainly sells itself as different. This is a clay-based toothpaste with no fluoride or foaming agents. It’s the foaming agents thing that makes the biggest difference (again: while I’m not strictly anti-fluoride, since most vegan toothpastes are fluoride-free, I’ve lived without it for years). You won’t get that big foamy texture in your mouth, which definitely feels different. I’m normally one to shrug at this — less foam doesn’t mean you’re less clean. But unfortunately that results in a really thin, runny consistency in the paste. There’s something about the clay that also feels gritty, which I personally don’t like on my teeth. I can’t speak to its long-term success, but I just found no matter what it was difficult to make my mouth feel “clean” after.
Bottom line: Would probably not recommend this product, but it’s more about personal preference.
Green Beaver Cilantro and Mint Toothpaste
- Price: $4.99
- Where I bought it: Noah’s (King/Spadina)
Yep, somehow I found a cilantro toothpaste. I actually rushed out to buy a new toothpaste after I decided I couldn’t take another day of the Earthpaste. I was going to go back to my usual Kiss My Face brand, but that was about $3 more expensive, and… I mean, cilantro, y’all. I’ll admit this toothpaste probably isn’t for everyone. Cilantro is already an acquired taste (I used to hate it, now I have it in/on everything!) and it’s not the most common thing to find in a toothpaste, but is a really unique taste. It’s still not as foamy as a conventional toothpaste (it’s more creamy) but it at least isn’t super runny, and a little bit of toothpaste goes a way longer way. After this tube is out I’ll probably spend the extra bucks on one of my older preferred brands, but it’s been a good trip.
Bottom line: Would recommend this product to anyone who likes cilantro, but it’s by no means an amazing toothpaste.
ELF Illuminating Eye Cream
- Price: $10
- Where I bought it: ELFcosmetics.com
Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I was having “some eye issues” lately? I’d been waking up with a lot of eye secretions (sorry, I know that word is nasty) and even crust on my eye that was so bad I could barely open them some mornings. I also experienced a burn on the outer corner of my left eye. I eliminated all of my face products and makeup for a bit and slowly re-introduced them, and the ELF cream started to look like the suspect. I also took a look at the one-star reviews of the product online (I tend to avoid both five and one-star reviews since they usually exaggerate a lot on either side) and found a lot of people said the same thing! Stinging, burning, redness, eczema… yeah. Anyway, ELF responded to my complaints almost immediately and offered a refund, which I have to say really impressed me on their part. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m really publicly not recommending this product to anyone with even vaguely sensitive skin (my skin tends to fall under combination/normal and isn’t very sensitive).
Bottom line: Would absolutely not recommend this product regardless of skin type or needs.
Attitude Daily Shower cleaner in Citrus Zest
- Price: $4.99
- Where I bought it: The Big Carrot
Moving into an apartment can be tough — even if the building management cleans your tub prior, one big clean session can’t quite get everything off the surface. Combine that with us both being, well, basic human beings who shower every day, and me being a girl who likes her bath (and bath bombs) it was really hard to get ahead with the tub. Admittedly, most vegan bathroom products I’ve tried don’t have the same scrubbing power as non-vegan ones (although I hated using traditional cleansers like Vim anyway because of how they irritated my hands). Every time I’d give a good cleaning session (that would wear my shoulders and chest out as much as a good climb would) it felt like I never got the grime fully off, then after one shower it was dirty again. Anyway, we spontaneously decided to grab this stuff at the Carrot one day. Upon first use we gave it a super thorough scrubbing (that’s recommended for very dirty bathtubs. I’d like to think our bathtub wasn’t “very dirty,” but still, we wanted to see results) and we now use it after every shower. Woah! Major difference. No grit, no weird shady shit that I try to convince myself is a shadow, just a nice, clean shower (and the smell is barely-there, so you don’t have to worry about some overbearing artificial fragrance).
Lush BIG shampoo
- Price: $27.95
- Where I bought it: LUSH (Queen/Peter)
I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I no longer have to shampoo my hair every single day. In fact, I’m down to about 1-2 shampoos per week. This shampoo has proven to be the best possible formula for my hair — which is of the Flat ‘n’ Floppy variety. Most shampoos intended for volumizing tend to dry my hair out too much (my hair has oily roots but once you get down to ear level you start to see the dryness/damage), whereas this is a mild enough formula that it doesn’t leave my hair feeling totally parched. A little goes a long way with this shampoo in terms of lather, and the sea salt sensation is actually really cool.
Bottom line: would recommend this shampoo to anyone with a flat hair problem!
One last thing: I had a few lipstick reviews to add (I’m a total lipstick junkie), but I’ve decided to do a separate post on my favourite vegan lipsticks. You guys have to hold me to that, okay?