After years of dismissing emotions of discomfort and guilt around the idea of consuming products that involved inhumane ways of obtaining them in the first place, our resident blogger Kuzmoz decided to make sure she’d own none while also shedding light on alternative options.

“Two years ago, at 29, I started to take extra close care of my skin. It was the first in my life where I developed a skincare routine… and right before doing that I gave myself a couple of days to assess one of the biggest steps in my life; I wanted to go cruelty-free. 

This step was huge for me. For a person that adored M.A.C. lipsticks and had a range of hair products (none cruelty-free), I was about to uproot myself, but it had to be done; and for it to happen effectively, I had to sit down and be completely transparent with myself and ask: “What is really holding you back, Xeina?” 

Nothing. There wasn’t a reason grave or strong enough to hold me back; and so, the very next day, on a chill Friday afternoon, I threw out everything in my disposal and drove to the nearest Body Shop, which to me is a Godsend. I knew of its ethical programs and fair-trade policies and of course, their cruelty-free status. Although I’m also aware of the red flags surrounding the brand (i.e., their mother company), initially I told myself … baby steps… this cleanse is a lifetime commitment, to get comfortable at first, I will have to make do with the basics. 

It’s been 2 years now, and I can confidently say that I have mastered my way around the products that work best for me; I also feel like I have aged backward; my skin sure has been feeling it. Here’s the breakdown of what I now own and swear by:

Skin*

I alternate between two brands. From the first: The Body Shop – I use a little bit from their 3 main skin care lines, Drops of Youth (my solid day and night routine), Oils of Life (at night mixed with the earlier), and Roots of Strength (under-eye cream). 

The second, I found by coincidence at Boots: Botanics, which has 5 product lines: Organic, All Bright, Hydration Burst, Radiant Youth, and Triple Age Renewal. Sadly, I’ve only managed to find the first 3 ranges available, and they aren’t very well stocked; but if you ever manage to find their Organic Firming Mist – GET IT. I’d also recommend their Hydration Burst Day Lotion with SPF 15 for summer. From their All Bright range: the facial wipes, the day cream for all-day use, and foam wash.

Makeup

My base makeup needs like cotton pads, makeup remover, lipliners, blush/lip tints, and brushes are all from The Body Shop. However, when it was time to splurge a little and indulge in makeup heaven, I made myself a list of favorite cruelty-free brands:

KIKO Milano: Highlighters, liquid eyeliner, and their velvet formula liquid lipsticks. I also get most of my face sheet masks from them, I highly recommend Zoomania- Make me glow- and Bubble Maker.

Anastasia Beverly Hills: Her lipstick formula is super solid and long-lasting, you will rarely need to reapply. Her eyeshadow palettes are very versatile in their shades, and I love how each one is a standalone fictional character.

ILIA (main photo): I came across ILIA Beauty at The Reading Room at Al-Shaheed Park. They are not stocked in Kuwait, but you can order them online. Ilia is absolutely the cutest; their formulas are very creamy and rich in texture. It’s the only brand I ever considered buying a tinted moisturizer from; long lasting and does not stain.

NYX: I go to NYX for one purpose: dramatic looks. Their glitter eyeshadow powders are the best, and they are packed with pigment.

Other honorable mentions that I know are cruelty-free but haven’t tried much: Tarte, Too Faced, Fenty Beauty, KVD, Hourglass, Urban Decay, Charlotte Tilbury, The Balm. (I’m only mentioning brands I know are available in Kuwait).

Hair*

This was a tough one. There aren’t a lot of options available here for this category, and you’re going to be looking for them aimlessly as they are not regularly stocked in supermarkets. However, here are some of my favorite finds:

Inecto: Available in some Boots branches. This brand is hydration MAGIC, so rich and nourishing. They sell 2 main shampoo mixtures: coconut, and argan. They also have the best heat protection spray EVER… but I was only lucky once to have found it. I highly recommend this brand for all the curly heads out there; you guys will love it.

Aveda: Their boutique is located in The Avenues Mall- Phase 4. Aveda is a world-renowned brand known for healing and rejuvenating hair products using the power of plants, and if this is what you need, I suggest trying the Damage Remedy range. Since summer is fast approaching, and we all know how dry EVERYTHING can be… invest in their Dry Remedy range as well- it is super refreshing, and you’ll notice that from the very first use. 

Lush: Speaking from experience -the only time I used Lush products in my life- their purple shampoo “Daddy-O” is one of the best, it did a fantastic job at maintaining my silver blond locks back when I dared to have that color. So… if you’re a silver fairy looking to go cruelty-free but fear to lose your new awesome hair color, don’t worry any further – “Daddy-O is the way to go.” Lol, I’m sorry… I had to. Please continue reading.

*A quick honorable mention to the latest brand to open its store in Kuwait for hair and body products: Le Labo

I hope this guide helps kickstart your cruelty-free journey with confidence, the same way it helped me. I’m still learning and discovering new brands, and I firmly believe that if we collectively stand for something, significant positive changes will show. With that being said, that’s why… this is only the beginning of ‘The Great Ethical Cleanse.’ Stay tuned for part two of my journey of changing my world and habits towards a more ethically sustainable lifestyle”.