Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buying Vegan Bath and Beauty products on a budget

Image: caseywest via Flickr
With concepts like extreme couponing becoming mainstream, a vegan is left to wonder: How do you get a good deal on your everyday beauty products when most of the cheap products either not vegan or are tested on animals? There are many great ways to save on vegan beauty items, but you just have to know where to look. Read on for some simple strategies you can use to become a vegan beauty bargainista.

If you like to hunt for deals...
  • Take a look at the clearance section next time you're at your local health food store. Although vegan items can be hit and miss, you can score great deals on seasonal soaps or closeout hair products.
  • Sign up for mailing lists for your favorite brands, especially if they have an online store. You'll be first to know about sales and promotions.
  • Keep an eye out for "Try Me Free" offers and other rebates. I've seen vegan and cruelty-free companies participate in these types of promotions; just look for special "peelies" or "hang tags" on packages. Although more rare, these special offers can often be found in drugstores or superstores.
  • Join eco-friendly flash sale sites such as Vegan Cuts, Pure Citizen, and Loving Eco. They often offer soaps, beauty products, and other vegan items from new and emerging companies.
If you need it now...
  • Look for store brand items, such as Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value shampoos and conditioners. Prices for these products will often be lower than name-brand items, even if they are on sale.
  • Buy items that are always cheap, such as cosmetics by E.L.F. Although quality can vary, there are several items (such as their mineral lip liner) that perform well against high-priced competitors.
  • Purchase a sample or trial size. Sometimes a small amount is all you need, so there's no reason to pay for more. Also, when ordering online, I recommend samples first so you won't have much to lose in case of an allergy or color matching issue.
  • Do a quick check online for a discount. Check to see if the item is available in bulk via Search sites such as for coupon codes when buying online.
If you're crafty...
  • Consider making your own beauty products. Many can be made in less time than it would take to go to a store! There are many fantastic places to find DIY recipes. Check out this article on DIY Vegan and Eco-Friendly Beauty Product Resources. Save even more by buying in bulk and getting a few friends together for a DIY party!
Remember, if you're new to vegan products, it can be incredibly expensive to switch overnight. Consider making the shift gradually, as each of your "pregan" (aka before you went vegan) products run out or expire. If you can't bear to use your stockpile of animal-tested toothpastes, I encourage you to give it to those in need. A few ideas to start: a local womens' shelter, a homeless shelter, a friend on a tight budget, or even a food bank.

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