JESSICA WALKER

Wednesday 03, 2021

 


"All I urge, is that you research not just the products but the brand of the products before you make your purchase. I have found a brand that I can trust that umbrella’s other ethical brands that share the same values. This way I know that anything they stock is ethical and Earth-conscious before beginning my research." 

My Vegan Journey.



 

As my stylist got to work, we immediately connected over our passion for hair, and I had mentioned my recent aspiration for vegan haircare. “Funnily enough”, she said “all of the products we stock are plant-based, vegan and cruelty free”.

The month of November has been coined ‘Vegan Month’. The month was first established in 1994 to commemorate an idealistic movement. 50 years prior to today (November 1944) ‘The Vegan Society’ was created. Now, the month is used to draw attention to the world of veganism, reflect how far it has come and allow interested parties to trial eating green for a month. As a Mum, I try to encourage my kids to eat as healthy as possible every day. It started when they refused to really eat anything, including dishes they once loved! I started making comprehensive and flavourful vegan dishes that they end up loving, without knowing there is no meat involved. After a few months, I realised that I really enjoyed these meals and never really missed meat because I simply didn’t like it. Not only that, but my mood was also brighter, and I had more energy when I wasn’t being slowed down by dairy and fatty cuts of meat. This is when I decided that I would go vegan, and I would ask my family if this was something they wanted for themselves too. That was 4 years ago. Other than not liking meat anyway, I hated the idea of animals suffering and how I impacted the planet by eating something I didn’t enjoy simply because it was easier. It was through my search of vegan and cruelty free products that I found #Salonlove, but we’ll get back to that. 


If you go back 10 years, even 5 years ago, eating out at a restaurant as a vegan could be a difficult feat. The options consisted of potatoes, rice, and salad (without the dressing). Now, we have ‘Beyond Burgers’, truffle pizza and no fish sushi. The rise in influencer marketing and concern for our planet has encouraged restaurants to seek out alternative menus for vegans that don’t want to miss out. This has forced food brands to play catch-up and provide at home alternatives that vegans can enjoy at home. Entire companies are built off the back of the trend, producing plant-based meals. Even major fast-food chains are jumping on-board (Pret A Manger, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Subway). However, it is important to note that eating any of these options, fast-food or at home, does not mean you’re being Earth conscious. So, if that is a reason for going vegan, I would avoid. These places, although surely delicious are processed to provide mass consumption. Although no animals are harmed, they leave a larger carbon footprint and water foot-print mark in production and packaging. The best advice I can give for that is to opt for eating ‘organic’ and sustainably sourced. As these things go, other sectors of the market followed including the beauty industry. 


 

After a few years, I was fully vegan (you shouldn’timmediately make complete changes to your diet) and ready to start introducingthe same philosophy into my skin and haircare. During lockdown, I trialleddifferent clean-beauty and vegan brands but never really fell in love withthem. There was always something I wished different and just figured I wasbeing too picky and that maybe the market simply wasn’t advanced enough toaccommodate for everything I expected. Then July came and finally I could sitin a salon chair and relax. Unfortunately, my usual salon was fully booked andI’m too impatient, so I knew I had to find a new one. I did a google and founda salon in my area, not too far from the last one I visited and luckily, theywere able to squeeze me in for the end of the month. I needed a cut and stylewith a blow-dry. As my stylist got to work, we immediately connected over ourpassion for hair, and I had mentioned my recent aspiration for vegan haircare.“Funnily enough”, she said “all of the products we stock are plant-based, veganand cruelty free”. I kept quiet, not wanting to get my hopes up and let her getto work. Once she was done, I was left to admire my look and could immediatelysee the difference in my hair and how smooth and healthy it looked. It tickedall my boxes. I followed her to the counter and asked if I could purchase allthe products she used on my hair. I booked another appointment for 6 weeks’time and as I was leaving, joked that I’d see her in 4 for more shampoo. Thiswas when I was introduced to #Salonlove, where I could still support localsalons, follow my vegan haircare journey, and save time travelling back andforth to re-purchase. At the time, #Salonlove was still a baby, having only bereleased by Passion4hair the month prior, but I was confident that I hadstumbled across something great that I knew would impact my hair and skin carefrom now on. 


I had nailed down my vegan haircare routine and Sens.Us hadknocked my expectations out of the park. Now for skincare. I knew I couldeasily use Sens.Us and would love it all the same. However, #Salonlove hadthese amazing brands that would be rude not to try. Enter stage left, Malibu Cskin care. Vegan AND cruelty free. From facial cleaners to Vitamin C Serums, myskincare is covered and clean. I rest easy knowing that the products I usehaven’t been tested on an innocent animal and have been verified in sustainableways. I also use the Eufora Face and Body moisturiser daily and after theshower, one product that does everything. I couldn’t imagine using anythingelse and it helps knowing that what I put in, my salon gets back! Without thatstylist, I could very well have given up by now and would be using non-veganproducts that do nothing for my skin or my conscience. Don’t get me wrong,there are brands out there that consider their ethics and are just not veganand this works fine and it’s the way beauty has done for centuries. You don’tneed to be vegan to care about Earth, your home. All I urge, is that youresearch not just the products but the brand of the products before you makeyour purchase. I have found a brand that I can trust that umbrella’s otherethical brands that share the same values. This way I know that anything theystock is ethical and Earth-conscious before beginning my research. 


The past 4 years have been a whirlwind of learning, trialand error, and cravings! However, I am happy with how far my journey has come,from only looking for recipes that would encourage my children to eat a carrotto an entirely new lifestyle that leaves me feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Ihave more energy; my mood is brighter, and I am confident that what I amputting in and on my body is good for my health and the environment. I havemade it a responsibility to educate other people that are interested, withoutmaking myself a martyr. In the past, stereotypes have circulated that have madepeople hesitant to explore veganism and what that entails. Now is a better timethan yesterday to give it a go and consider how your actions could have animpact on everyone’s future.

The month of November was coined vegan month for a reason;now is the time to test it.