Enough with the avocado cushions and almond milk baubles already. Here’s a handy guide to the best vegan gifts for women.
No matter how well we know someone, there are always going to be times when you need gift ideas. Maybe it’s a birthday or a wedding anniversary. It could be a baby shower or even a graduation party. Or maybe you’re just feeling extra generous and want to treat your best friend.
It can be extra tough to find suitable options if you’re buying a gift for a vegan, as you may need to put in a little time and research to get to grips with a company’s ethics, sustainability and cruelty-free policies, since all that ties in with veganism.
The following recommendations take all of these important elements into account. Just like you, we always consider the ethics and eco-friendliness of a product and company before purchasing a gift for friends or a family member. If you’re looking to treat a fantastic woman in your life, here’s a guide to the best vegan gifts for her that you can find in the UK, in 2021.
Cruelty-free self-care products
Self-care products will always show up on a ‘vegan gifts for her’ list. There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding how they aren’t always vegan, with many using animal-derived ingredients (like beeswax, collagen and carmine) as well as being tested on animals.
Recently, however, there has been a shift away from animal use, as new eco-conscious brands and longstanding cosmetic giants have begun introducing cruelty-free makeup. Social media has also seen a rise in vegan beauty bloggers, like Amber George and Jaineesha, both of which are championing the cause publicly.
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Here are some of the best brands you can buy vegan self-care gifts for women from.
Bleach London was founded by hairstylist Alex Brownsell and labels itself as “the world’s first salon focused on colouring rather than cutting”. Its entire haircare range is PETA-Vegan approved and part of the Beauty Without Bunnies programme, which certifies it as cruelty-free.
The brand only uses recycled or recyclable packaging and has removed single-use brushes and bowls from its home kits. It has also introduced a glass bottle refill station at its salons and a bottle-free shampoo bar. Bleach London offers beaching, toning, colouring, maintaining and care kits, as well as some great additional tools for dying hair.
Ethics is the name of the game at Revolution Beauty. The brand is big on inclusivity, having incorporated customer feedback into product development and featuring employees and super fans in brand communications. “Makeup matters, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or sexuality,” the company says on its website.
It has swathes of clearly labelled and easy-to-search vegan products, including makeup, hair products and gift boxes. Every vegan product is marked with a V next to its image. You’ll find foundation, face brushes, instant hair colour, concealers, lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, and a lot more. The fruity face masks are to die for.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop has a long list of vegan, eco-friendly products and everything sold is cruelty-free too. It’s a fully vegetarian brand that has taken a strong stance against animal testing from the beginning and has been leading the charge to eliminate it for decades. And around half of its products are vegan.
We recommend its Himalayan Charcoal and Drops of Youth for face products, British Rose and Satsuma for body care, and Shade Adjusting Drops and Coconut Bronze Tan for makeup gifts.
Natural essential oils
Who doesn’t love essential oils? They’re incredible for aromatherapy and can be applied on the skin or enjoyed through a diffuser. These oils retain the flavour of the plant they’re extracted from but the way they are made is important, as any that go through a chemical process aren’t considered an essential oil.
There are many brands that sell cruelty-free essential oils. Look out for the Leaping Bunny logo or a mark of vegan certification to ensure they are both cruelty-free and plant-based.
Oils4Life has a massive directory of essential oils; it’s got every flavour you can dream of. But more importantly, it has a strict ‘no animal testing’ policy, with all its natural ingredients coming from vegetable-derived and botanical sources. It goes on to state that it doesn’t work with any research organisation or supplier involved with animal testing either. It’s certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny trademark.
The website has an entire section dedicated to the ingredients used in the essential oils. It has some incredible ‘absolute’ oils that make for a beautiful gift for women, which includes scents like jasmine, lavender and oakmoss.
dōTERRA is a giant in the trade and offers a wide variety of essential oils. While it isn’t 100% vegan — using animal-derived ingredients in certain products — it condemns animal testing and doesn’t associate with any organisation that conducts it. While it sells its products in China, the brand says it doesn’t come under China’s mandatory animal testing law, as the products are imported as food additives and not cosmetics.
Its essential oils, however, are fully vegan. What’s great about this brand is that apart from single oils like basil, cassia and celery seed, it also offers proprietary blends. These can be combined with the roll-on essential oils to make for a beautiful gift set.
Fast fashion has seen its share of criticism in recent years. Textile production contributes more to climate change than the global airline and shipping industries combined. The industry is responsible for 8% of the total carbon emissions. And in a survey conducted by Fashion Checker, it was revealed that a staggering 93% of brands aren’t paying garment workers a living wage.
Thankfully, sustainable and eco-friendly clothing is on the rise. Companies big and small are getting in on the act, but there are a few creative brands that are truly leading the revolution.
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A pioneer in sustainable fashion, People Tree has been producing ethical and eco-friendly garments for over 30 years. It’s a flag-bearer in fairtrade fashion, with 93% of its cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard.
People Tree’s Essentials range is diverse, with eco-friendly jumpsuits and bodysuits. Its underwear line is quite affordable too, while its skirts, dresses and blouses feature some incredible designs and patterns. Best of all, every single garment shows what material is used, right underneath it.
Minimalist, simple and clean. Baserange manufactures high-quality garments from natural fibres and recycled materials. It only uses natural and biodegradable ingredients like cotton, bamboo and linen, and describes its clothing as “modern basics”, “clean lines” and “easy silhouettes”.
The brand believes that its commitment to clean lines fashion would minimise its environmental impact. It offers socks, bottoms, pants, dresses, jumpsuits and accessories like scarves and face masks, as well as sustainable lines of underwear, swimwear and loungewear.
Pico produces vegan, high-quality essentials and everyday goods that make for great gifts. This is another minimalist brand, and has divided its work into projects. The first is for underwear, made in a small South Indian factory; the second focused on indigenous cotton to produce bath sheets and hand towels, in collaboration with a cooperative in western India; and the third, currently in the research stage, looking at the British fibre industry.
Its underwear and towels are made from fairtrade and organic cotton and fully vegan materials. All of these are fully traceable back to their source.
Vegan leather has been unstoppable, with numerous brands using innovative materials to make alternatives to animal-based leather. Apple skin leather originates from Italy and uses apple waste from local plantations. Cactus leather is a lot more popular, used widely around the world and pioneered by Desserto in Mexico. More companies are innovating with pineapples, mushrooms and even discarded temple flowers. There’s even cell-based leather, produced by companies like Modern Meadow and VitroLabs.
This rise in plant-based leather has also given birth to a growing number of plant-based bag brands. Here are a couple of the best vegan bags to gift women.
Miomojo is an ethical, sustainable and vegan fashion brand from Bergamo, Italy. It employs a variety of faux-leather materials made from apple skin, cactus leather, recycled glass and plastic bottles, as well as fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial waste.
It places a huge emphasis on animal charity, donating a portion of its profits to Animals Asia, Four Paws and Mercy for Animals and works with multiple animal sanctuaries and rescue centres. So far, the company has donated €200,000 to charity.
We recommend its latest Prima Linea line, which exclusively uses leathers made from apples and cacti.
Wilby is a leader in sustainable and vegan fashion in the UK. Its website has sustainability ratings for every product, all its bags are PETA-Vegan Approved, and the full spectrum of packaging solutions are made from recycled matter. It uses organic and eco-friendly materials in most of its products, like organic cotton and lining, recyclable cloth, eco-friendly backing and cork leather.
If your girl-friend or significant other is looking for a clutch, these vegan bags are the perfect gift for her. The cork leather faux crocodile skin and snakeskin bags are particularly stylish, durable and light.
Chocolate is universally loved. While a lot of dark chocolate is automatically vegan, many brands include ingredients like milk powder in their bars, which make them unsuitable for plant-based fans.
That being said, plenty of names are innovating with ingredients to come up with vegan chocolate in all forms: dark, milk and white.
Lindt is a leader in the global chocolate industry. While most of its dark chocolate isn’t vegan (it uses a combination of milk fat, milk protein, milk powder and lactose), there are a few flavours that are and make for a wonderful birthday gift. The Excellence 70%, 85%, 90% and 99% Cocoa bars are all vegan, as are the Caramel & Sea Salt 70% and Raspberry & Hazelnut 70%.
Lindt also launched a range of vegan milk chocolate last year under its brand Hello. These bars are made with oat milk and include three flavours: Hazelnut, Salted Caramel, and Cookie.
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Galaxy, another chocolate giant, is known for its smooth and creamy bars. For years, it has provided luxurious chocolate bars to legions of consumers, but in 2019, it opened up its catalogue to vegans too.
The Mars-owned brand launched a vegan milk chocolate range, initially with three flavours, though it has now expanded the line to five, which includes Caramelised Hazelnuts, Caramel and Sea Salt, and Smooth Mint. But our favourites are the Smooth Orange and Crumbled Cookie.
Among local companies, there’s NOMO, which stands for ‘No Missing Out’. It’s a vegan and free-from brand that’s suitable for people with gluten and nut allergies. It buys Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa using the ‘mass balance’ production model, meaning it can buy more cocoa from farms, which benefits the environment as well as the farmers.
It’s also a corporate member of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, which supports people at risk of severe allergies. Its three main chocolate bars include the Dark Chocolate, Creamy Choc and Hazelnut Crunch, while smaller bars include the Creamy Choc, Caramel & Sea Salt and Fruit & Crunch. Most of these use rice powder as a replacement of milk powder.
This is a big one. Bath bombs make perfect gifts for the vegan friend in your life. They’re bright, colourful, fragrant and soothing; just what one needs on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The days of boring scents, lacklustre fizz and chemical compositions are over too.
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The first name that comes to mind when talking about bath bombs is Lush. 80% of the company’s products are vegan, and Lush is well-known for its staunch stance against animal testing, its ethical buying policies and naked packaging. Bath bombs are amongst the brand’s most popular products.
Fragrances range from avocado and marshmallow to unique options like CBD and sex bombs. The bath bombs also come as part of vegan gift sets, and if you buy products worth £45 or more, you also get free delivery.
Rebel n Rose
Rebel n Rose is a Yorkshire-based company founded by an owner who has a dairy and nut allergy. All of the bath brand’s products are sodium lauryl sulphate-free, ethically sourced, vegan and cruelty-free. The packaging only consists of recycled paper and cardboard too.
It has an array of bombs ranging all the way from a rainbow cloud bath bomb to a video game controller-shaped bomb. It also offers bath shots, cauldrons and bath eggs.
Water bottles may seem generic on this list, but there are a host of companies manufacturing sustainable and zero-waste variants that your vegan friend would appreciate. After all, plastic bottles accumulate in landfills and contribute to global warming. Plus, any active types will be the first to tell you that you can’t have too many bottles and that hydration is essential.
The following brands make eco-conscious bottles that look great:
Probably the most creative option out there is H2O2, which makes vegan, flat water bottles with a carbon-neutral model. It replaces synthetics with renewable materials wherever possible, calculating its transportation emissions and delivering via bike within a 5-mile radius. With every purchase, it works with Carbon Footprint to plant a tree in schools in South East England.
These water bottles are made from BPA- and BPS-free Tritan plastic and vegan leather. Better still, these can be personalised with names, dog prints, logos and quotes, making them a wonderful gift for vegans that have a mantra.
One Green Bottle
One Green Bottle is an eco-friendly brand supplying stainless steel bottles and lunch boxes. It was born out of a need to eliminate chemicals leaching into plastic bottles, the disposal of which further contributes to the amount of plastic debris in the environment. It uses stainless steel for its toxin-free, non-leaching, odourless and taste-free qualities.
None of the brand’s packaging uses plastic, and it became part of the Plastic Positive campaign last year — for every bottle it sells, it removes 25 single-use plastic bottles from the ocean. One Green Bottle’s products are perfect for gym-goers and sports enthusiasts. It also makes corporate branded and white label bottles.
If you can’t find a gift for the woman in your life here, you might be buying for the pickiest vegan ever. So make it easy on yourself and just ask what they want.