Body Confidential on the gifts that keep on giving
Long gone are the days when ethical gifting meant buying your hippy aunt a donkey sanctuary sponsorship. Conscious consumerism is on the up, with many brands opting to release more ethically friendly collections. Whilst the responsible shoppers of yesteryear may have been confined to the corners of the Body Shop, today’s ethical buyers can peruse high street brands, beauty and confectionaries safe in the comfort that their money makes a worthwhile difference.
If gorging on Xmas chocs usually leaves you feeling guilt-ridden, then try Amelia Rope’s chocolate with a conscience. The UK Chocolatier encourages Colombian locals to switch from farming cocaine to cocoa, offering farmers a stable and safe income. All of the cocoa used is sourced from Columbia, before it is infused with the brands signature unique flavours, including honeycomb and sea salt milk and quinoa. Bars start at £6, boxes start at £15 or you can get a regular chocolate fix with a chocolate subscription.
As if switching to a vegan lifestyle isn’t hard enough, without having to work out which wine you can and cannot drink – wine is sometimes finished with animal products to remove impurities and improve flavour. Gelatine, honey and lactose are all non-vegan friendly products that can feature in wine recipes. Fortunately, vegan wines are widely available at popular supermarket chains including Tesco and Waitrose, so check the label before buying.
Nothing says Christmas like a jam-packed festive hamper. So, for a luxury gift that gives back, try Belazu’s Christmas hamper; 20% of profits from hamper sales will be donated towards improving education in rural Morocco. The fine ingredients company popular with Michelin Star restaurants has long been partnered with the Belazu Foundation, a charity that sponsors schools in in the home country where many of its ingredients are sought. The hamper showcases 17 top Belazu products, 11 of which have won Great Taste Awards and costs £52.
Raw chocolate making set
For a festive treat that’s both creative and caring, try Indigo Nutrition’s Vegan Free-from chocolatier set. Organic, nutritious and deliciously dark, the dairy-free chocolate making set is packed with the purest natural ingredients and is high in feel good phytochemicals and antioxidants. Perfect for conscious eaters and cheat days.
Any beauty product bought in the UK and EU is by definition cruelty-free – animal testing for beauty products has been banned here since 2013 – however many brands still sell into areas where animal testing is required by law, such as China. Fortunately, there are some great brands available on the high street that refuse to test on animals; Bare Minerals, Barry M, NYX Cosmetics and Charlotte Tilbury all refuse to sell into mainland China, meaning they are genuine cruelty-free brands. These brands also offer quality vegan options amongst their makeup ranges, whilst Hourglass Cosmetics offers the ultimate blend of ethics and aesthetics with luxury vegan-friendly makeup.
Few people realise that NHS has its own skincare range. My Trusty is a sunflower oil-based line developed by NHS scientists and is clinically proven to help reduce the appearance of scars. As well as being perfect for eczema and rosacea sufferers, its cracking value at just £3.99 for hand cream and all funds go back to the NHS.
For the obligatory Christmas bath set, you can’t go wrong with Lush. The brand is well-known for its wide range of vegan and organic products, as well as its robust stance against animal testing. Not only do the glittery hand-made bath bombs, salty scrubs and mouth-watering lip balms look fantastic, but many Lush products are sold without plastic packaging to support the brands environmental ethos, whilst the solid cosmetics – shampoo, deodorant and mouthwash – help to reduce the amount of wasted water.
For the kids’ bath time, Child’s Farm offers cruelty-free bath products derived of 98% natural ingredients – you’ll find no parabens, SLSs or artificial colours in this kind-to-skin range widely available at Boots.
Vegan leather goods
If you hate leather but love fashion, then there’s plenty of ethical brands offering vegan-friendly accessories that are as beautifully made as they are sustainable. For elegant bags made with sustainable materials discover Matt & Nat; the brand’s bags are lined with nylon made from 100% recycled plastic bottles whilst cork and rubber substitutes are frequently used to ensure products are both stunning and sustainable. Combing covetable clutch bags with a strong sense of ethics, premier vegan brand Wilby offers a beautiful range of smart and sustainable bags all made in the UK.
British brand Vida Vida crafts luxury goods out from ethically sourced leather – the brand uses animals that have been slaughtered for meat, rather than using animals farmed purely for leather. The brand also has a strong charity initiative; for every £25 spent on their products, Vida Vida donates a school bag to children in the developing world.
Whilst you may not be able to give the covetable ‘gift of time’ this Christmas, you can gift timepieces that offer more than just a smarter take on time-keeping. Created from recycled wood that would otherwise have been thrown away, WEWOOD watches offer unique eco-friendly watches made entirely of wood. Plus, the brand plants a tree for every watch purchased, striving towards a goal of 100 million trees by 2020.
A natural shave
For a more natural shave, Arran Aromatics offers a selection of organic ingredients and alternatives perfect for your shaving routine. Made on the Isle of Arran to promote local employment, products are derived from sustainable palm oil and are 99% recyclable. Popular lines include the Lochranza Shave Stone & Soap (£25), a vegetable-oil based shaving foam that creates a natural lather and the Boar Bristle Shaving Brush (£22).
To get the beautiful glow of candles without the use of beeswax, discover Soy and Joy. The brand creates hand-poured soy wax candles complete with a buried charm that is revealed once the wax melts. The candles are free from coloured dyes and nasty paraffin wax, meaning they’re ideal for vegans and asthma sufferers, and the candles bring some extra sass to sustainability with positive slogans and affirmations.
You’ve adorned your Christmas tree with festive decorations and maybe a chocolate or two – but have you added your essential beauty buys? Alchemy Oils has released a Limited Edition beauty baubles set, complete with miniature versions of their signature hair remedies. Certified vegan by the vegan society and cruelty-free by PETA, flavours include Peppermint, Grapefruit and Amla (£11-12) designed to strengthen your hair from within. A secret Santa staple.