Cruelty-Free Back-to-School Basics

Your guide to kicking off the new school year with a clear conscience.

With summer winding down, we’re not just ushering in autumn, but the back-to-school season as well. For years, I’ve thought of September as a clean slate—even after I was done with school. So whether you or your kids are heading back, or you’re into that clean slate feeling yourself, why not make a new school year resolution to go cruelty-free?

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Build the Perfect Shower Caddy

Assembling the perfect shower caddy for the dorms is an essential part of heading off to college. After all, shower time is some of your only guaranteed alone time! For a primo experience, here are just a few of my favorite animal- and environmentally-friendly personal care products:

For shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, try something from JĀSÖN, Method, Yes To, or EO Products—all of which can be found at Target. EO even makes a three-in-one shampoo, body wash, and shave lotion combo! Giovanni also makes some of my favorite hair care products that feel luxurious—but aren’t luxuriously priced.

For toothpaste, check out Nature’s Gate, hello®, or Desert Essence. Desert Essence also makes mouthwash and floss!

For great smelling, moisture-rich body lotion, try something from Pacifica or Shea Moisture—two brands you can find at—you guessed it—Target.

For facial cleansers and scrubs, give options from Alba Botanica, Beauty Without Cruelty, Mineral Fusion, or Pacifica a try. Hawaiian Detox Scrub, BWC Facial Cleanser, and Sea Elements Eye Makeup Remover are all part of my daily routine.

Finally, round out your caddy with Moisture Shave from Kiss My Face. It’s a budget-friendly alternative to that weird chemical foam-in-a-can stuff, and it’s gentle on both faces and legs.


Bye, Bye to Body Odor

Whether it needs to stand up to sports or everyday sweat, a good deodorant is integral to your comfort. Since going cruelty-free, one of my biggest hurdles was finding an effective deodorant. The search ended when I discovered Schmidt’s, a small company based in Portland, Oregon, that began in the founder’s kitchen. Effective everywhere from a packed summer subway car to a 15-mile hike, Schmidt’s can be found at natural grocers or ordered direct. You can even set up a subscription so you never run out!


Say No to Germs

Unfortunately, back-to-school is synonymous with back-to-germs. For natural and effective germ busters, try a purse-sized hand sanitizer from EO Products, or a variety of sanitizing wipes from Savvy Traveler. Not only are they both eco-friendly options, but they smell better and are gentler on your skin than the traditional stuff.


Clear Eyes with a Clear Conscience

Whether you’re new to the world of contacts or not, use the new school year to make your eye care bunny-friendly. The aptly named Clear Conscience not only makes contact lens solution, they sell non-prescription eye drops, too.


Guy-Friendly Goodies

If you’re sick of the floral smells that dominate the personal care market or searching for cruelty-free beard oil, rejoice! Several companies have you covered. For bath products, try Bulldog or the men’s line from Burt’s Bees, both of which can be easily found at places like Walgreens. For facial hair grooming products—and even razors and shaving brushes—check out Badger. And for something upmarket and luxurious, give Lush Cosmetics a go—it’ll be well worth the splurge. As a bonus, know your money is going to fight animal testing.


As always, this is just a small selection of my favorite cruelty-free products. For a complete list, head to the Leaping Bunny, or download their free cruelty-free shopping app for your Android or Apple device.



Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock




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