Ten Questions with Madeline Alcott of Petit Vour

Ten Questions with Madeline Alcott of Petit Vour

Receiving my monthly Petit Vour beauty box is always one of my favorites. These adorable pink boxes arrive with lovely cruelty free and vegan items inside that are carefully wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a bow. Recently I got to ask Co-Founder and CEO Madeline Alcott some questions about Petit Vour and her vegan beauty favorites.

  1. As the founder of Petit Vour, a subscription box that includes only cruelty free and vegan items, you are clearly a compassionate person. How long has veganism been a part of your lifestyle? I’ve been vegan for about 6 years now, but before that I was vegetarian and before that pescetarian. It’s been quite a journey!
  2. Petit Vour has grown a lot over the past year! It’s been amazing to watch! What inspired you to start Petit Vour? I was inspired by so many things. Back in fall ’09, I was a model in the first ever vegan fashion show organized by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (VAUTE) and Kristin Lajeunesse (WTF Vegan Food). Being surrounded by vegan gamechangers definitely inspired me to think outside the box. I wanted to be part of the movement, but more importantly, I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done. Fast forward 3 years (early 2012), I realized there was a significant void in the beauty market. Luxury, high-performance, vegan beauty was nowhere to be found. I had a nagging feeling that if I could create a beautiful space that held only the finest vegan beauty products, vegans and non-vegans alike would flock to check out the goods. By launching a luxury vegan beauty box and online shop, we could attract quite a number of beauty devotees and encourage cruelty-free shopping, supporting our ethical brands, and saving animals from exploitation. Win, win win!!
  3. A lot of my readers may not be subscribers (yet!). 1) What can someone expect to see in the monthly boxes? 2) What makes Petit Vour stand out? 1) Each box holds a variety of products, ranging from makeup to haircare (about a $35 value, generally). It’s important to us that our members feel pampered from head to toe so we cover a lot of categories month-to-month. 2) Performance and presentation set our cruelty-free box apart from the rest. We have a high attention to detail, ensuring that every box conveys a feeling of luxury and compassion. We work with brands that strive for performance that would rival even the most well-known cosmetics in the industry. It’s quite a task, sifting through products to find the best, but the reward is tremendous. Imagine the positive shift if makeup counters, artists and bloggers went cruelty-free!
  4. Of all the items that you have featured in the boxes, what are some of your absolute favorites? Now THAT is a tough question! I am a huge fan of super serums–Lina Hanson, MUN and KYPRIS are my favorites. They are so luxurious and truly effective. NCLA has an incredible range of colors that are so much fun. I also love how the clever names enhance the experience of painting your nails (Cloudy With A Chance Of Sprinkles, anyone?). Gr8ful SkinCouture is my go-to when I want a luxurious mud mask experience. As for vegan beauty brushes, nothing beats Kelley Quan. I used to use MAC brushes long before I knew about cruelty-free living and, I have to say, Kelley Quan matches up! I should probably stop now, but I could go on for quite some time :)
  5. Petit Vour is making the shift towards more natural items. Why is this important to you? We’ve always had a focus on natural products, but now we’re seeing the importance of highlighting WHY. It’s so easy to compare drugstore products to natural luxury products and only focus on the pricetag. The truth is, the pricetag is what it is for a reason. We don’t just look for products that are as naturally made as possible, we look for ingredients that work, and ingredient combos that overachieve. Cheap fillers inhibit performance, parabens and formaldehyde releasers threaten our health. We value superior ingredients and (truly) compassionate companies over the pricetag. Ten Questions with Madeline Alcott of Petit Vour
  6. I’m assuming that, like most of us, you carry a small stash of beauty must-haves in your purse. What favorites do you carry with you at all times? Gressa Lip Boost in Bare. The color is so sexy, but in a subtle, effortless sort of way. Also, I just received a spritzer by My Daughter’s Fragrance and I am obsessed! A light, pretty scent makes me feel so put-together and feminine.
  7. What does the future look like for Petit Vour? Do you plan to stick to beauty, or do you want to expand into other areas? Beauty is our priority, but we’ll see! I mainly want to focus on making cruelty-free shopping fun, effortless and inspiring. Classic, feminine beauty for women of substance is our thing and we want to keep pushing in that direction. It’s totally niche and we love it. Every business needs their space and we found ours. It rings so true to our hearts.
  8. What beauty item are you currently obsessed with? EVOLVh and YAROK haircare! I’ve been shifting to a more natural haircare routine and it feels so good. I can practically hear my hair whispering words of gratitude.
  9. What is your all time, holy grail, beauty product? If I could only wear one product for life, it would have to be one of the super serums–by MUN, Lina Hanson or KYPRIS. There are many days where I want to go “naked face” (that’s what I call it). A clean, properly moisturized face draws out natural radiance, which I love.
  10. They say that perfume can tell you a lot about a person. What is your signature scent? I love love love My Daughter’s Fragrance! I’m wearing it right now. It has a very classic, elegant, feminine feel. I think it’s a universal scent that so many people would love. It’s friendly and approachable, which I try to be every day! :)

I also have a very exciting announcement to share with readers of Logical Harmony. I am curating the July Beauty Box with Petit Vour!! If you have not yet signed up to receive the boxes, be sure that you do soon! In the sign up process, there is a field to ask how you heard about Petit Vour. Enter Logical Harmony in this field to receive an extra bonus in your July box!

Images courtesy of: Petit Vour

China Takes First Step Towards Ending Animal Testing

China Takes First Step Towards Ending Animal Testing

Today China enacted the first steps to reduce animal testing. This is not a ban on animal testing, but the start of potential changes to the animal testing laws in China. Previously it was required by law that all cosmetics sold in China be tested on animals.

The new regulations state that ordinary cosmetics produced and sold in China will no longer be required to be tested on animals. This change will affect only pre-market items, meaning before they are delivered onto store shelves or to consumers as a finished product.

What exactly does this mean? 

The first thing to understand is what ordinary cosmetics are. These items are also called non-special use. As defined by the Chemical Inspection Regulatory Service (CIRS), ordinary cosmetics include general hair care, nail care, cosmetics, perfumes and skin care. Under this change, only ordinary cosmetics that are manufactured and sold only in China will be allowed to use alternatives to animal testing.

Non-ordinary cosmetics will still be required to be tested on animals. This applies to items that are manufactured and sold only in China, as well as those sold in other markets. Non-ordinary items, also called special use, are products that claim to have a functional use on the label. This includes hair growth, hair dye, hair removal, hair perms, fitness, deodorizing, sun block, skin-whitening, and skin pigmentation.  A glance through many skin care, hair care, and cosmetic bags around the globe will likely reveal many items and brands making these claims.

To learn more about what these definitions mean and how they could impact brands with this change, please read China’s Cosmetic Definitions – How could they affect animal testing laws?

Another great article for background is Updates on China’s Potential Change in Animal Testing Laws.

Brands producing ordinary cosmetics will now have the option to use non-animal test methods that are deemed valid by the European Union. They can, if they like, still submit products to the Chinese government for animal testing. If a brand produces some non-ordinary cosmetics, these items will still be required to be tested on animals.

This change will not affect international brands. Brands who sell their products outside of China will still have to agree to mandatory animal testing of their products. This means that many major cosmetics companies, such as L’Oreal, Revlon, Coty, Estee Lauder, MAC, and more will not have a change in their animal testing stance.

At the same time as they are simplifying these pre-market testing requirements, post-marketing animal testing requirements are being increased. Because of this, many brands who sell in China will still be required to submit their products to regulatory animal testing. This also means that ordinary cosmetics may still be tested on animals by the Chinese government.

This will have no affect on brands who currently manufacture items in China but export all of the items and do not sell their products there. These brands have not had to submit to animal testing and will not have to submit their products to animal testing in the future.

This will also not affect online retailers who ship in finished and packaged goods into China from a foreign source. These items are currently not required to be tested on animals, and they will not be required to be tested on animals with this change.

The chances in China are still a great step forward. It’s important to keep pushing for more change!

Vegan 4th of July Recipes

Vegan 4th of July Recipes

A lot of people will be firing up the BBQ or starting some briquets this weekend to celebrate July 4th. I think it’s always best to have a variety of side dishes prepared. If you are hosting guests, it is an easy way to be sure that they all have something that they will enjoy. If you are a guest, bringing a side is usually always welcomed by the host. Plus, then you know there will be at least one vegan friendly dish for you to enjoy.

In this post are some of the top recipes from Logical Harmony that will be perfect to add to your 4th of July party, or any summer BBQ or party for that matter.

How to Make Skinny Raspberry Lemonade

This skinny raspberry lemonade is perfect for summertime and only takes a few ingredients. You can drink it as is, or add in some champagne, white wine, or vodka.

Raspberry Tangerine Kimosa (Kombucha Mimosa) Recipe

The perfect way to start any long weekend is with a mimosa or kimosa. Using this raspberry tangerine kimosa recipe, you can make it either way.

How to Make Kale Stuffed Mushrooms

These kale stuffed mushrooms are simple and easy to make – perfect for a last minute addition or when you need to bring a dish but have a busy schedule.

How to make Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower is my go-to dish for BBQ’s. Who doesn’t love buffalo sauce? This dish even pleases the non-vegan crowd.
How to Make Truffle Kettle Corn

I don’t know about you, but I love popcorn. Seriously. There’s no occasion where popcorn is not appreciated. Especially this truffle kettle corn.

How to Make Curry Chik'n Salad

This easy curry chik’n salad sandwich is one of my childhood favorites. It was a picnic staple of my Grandmother’s and I think it’s still delicious today.

How to Make Buffalo Seitan

If cauliflower isn’t your thing, this recipe for buffalo seitan is the perfect alternative.

Roasted Vegetable & Kale Salad with "Honey" Vinaigrette

For the person who loves to have a variety of salads ready, or the person who loves to bring a salad, this roasted vegetable kale salad is a great option. It would be great in the summer with roasted artichokes and zucchini.

Garlic & Ginger Tofu with Coconut Rice

A vegan version of a food truck favorite, this Garlic & Ginger Tofu with Coconut Rice will please all of your guests.

Vegan Yellow Curry with Quinoa

Cooking for a crowd? This yellow curry with quinoa recipe will make things a lot easier as you can make very large batches with minimal effort. That gives you more time to relax and enjoy that tangerine kimosa!

How to Make Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Tacos

These cornmeal crusted tofu tacos are simple to make, look pretty on your plate, and are the perfect replacement for the summer fish tacos that so many love.

Vegan Mango & Raspberry Sorbet Recipe

This mango and raspberry sorbet uses 3 ingredients and is surprisingly a breeze to make. It’s one of my favorite items year-round.

#NCLAxLogicalHarmony Nail Wraps!

#NCLAxLogicalHarmony Nail Wraps!

I am so excited to share this news with everyone! If you follow me on Instagram, then the cat’s already out of the bag. Any reader of Logical Harmony knows that NCLA is one of my favorite brands out there. They offer super cute and high quality nail polish and nail wraps that are both cruelty free and vegan. I am lucky enough to have the pleasure of announcing an official collaboration with them!

There are now two NCLAxLogicalHarmony nail wraps! One set is pink gingham with white daises. The other is pastel mint and pink with several patterns overlaid in white – gingham, polka dots, hearts, and cats.

How perfect are they? Now I want to wear nothing but these wraps all the time!

#NCLAxLogicalHarmony Nail Wraps!

One night my boyfriend, Justin, and I were having one of those, “If you didn’t have anything to risk” type conversations about the future of Logical Harmony. He is always very optimistic about things with Logical Harmony and has these amazing ideas that I wouldn’t think were possible in a million years! This idea was one of them. Without him, I never would have thought that this idea was even possible much less would I actually see these nail wraps! Thank you for all the support, Justin. It means the world to me.

NCLA has been one of my favorite brands for a very long time, so being able to do this collaboration is incredible to me. Thank you so much to the NCLA team for the hard work towards these amazingly adorable nail wraps!

Want to get your hands on these NCLAxLogicalHarmony nail wraps? Both NCLA and myself will be running giveaways! Be sure to follow NCLA and Logical Harmony on all social media channels to stay in the loop!

You can stay up to date with NCLA on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTubeInstagram,  and Pinterest. Be sure to follow Logical Harmony on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Photos by Justin M.G. Mendez

An Update on the Cruelty Free Status of Milani & Jordana

An Update on the Cruelty Free Status of Milani & Jordana

Since Logical Harmony first posted about Milani cosmetics stating that they may use ingredients tested on animals, the cruelty free community has been all over the topic. Milani and Jordana were recently approved for the PETA cruelty free list. However, at this time, they will remain on the Brands to Avoid list here at Logical Harmony. The reason for this is due to inconsistent information and unclear responses being offered by Milani. As well as them not fully answering the questions that many brands (all featured on Logical Harmony and included on the Cruelty Free Brands List answer without issue).

Since that post was first published, I have exchanged countless emails with higher ups at Milani and had a lengthy phone call with their Chief Marketing Officer. Since they received their PETA certification, PETA did send me a press release but has not been responsive to my questions about what their certification covers.

I’ve been talking to Milani/Jordana for several weeks. At this time, I am still not comfortable promoting them as cruelty free. The original statement I received from them stated that their ingredient suppliers may test on animals to comply with regional laws and regulations (such as REACH). Since that time I have received many different statements from them, but none that contradict that statement. Even when asked directly about this specific statement. The number of responses that I have received combined with the amount of times they have avoided answering my direction questions, or told me directly that they will not answer some of the specific questions, makes me very uncomfortable.

I noticed that the statement provided in the PETA press release stated:

The companies have provided PETA with written assurances that they do not conduct, commission, or pay for tests on animals anywhere in the world. Both will also carry PETA’s cruelty-free logo.

This statement only pertains to Milani and Jordana themselves. It does not cover ingredient suppliers or other companies that they may work with. I asked PETA specifically for clarification about this statement and if ingredient suppliers were covered. I also asked if PETA required a certification from the ingredient suppliers. Leaping Bunny requires an independent investigation into the ingredient suppliers of brands, so I know that it is possible. I have not received a reply from PETA with clarification or answers to my questions.

When I spoke to Milani on the phone about 3 weeks ago, I was told that they had just started to ask their ingredient suppliers about their animal testing stance and did not expect to have confirmation from all of them for at least one year. Milani has not addressed my questions when I asked if this was completed and if they had received confirmation from their suppliers. Nor did PETA reply when I asked if they were aware of any outreach to the ingredient suppliers that Milani uses.

Even when I have asked Milani directly I have not been able to get them to discuss their ingredient suppliers stance on testing on animals. I was told that because their ingredient suppliers are located in the EU, they do not test on animals by default and that it had not been looked into by the brand since the 70’s. As many are aware, the ban on animal testing in the EU is not a complete ban and it is still possible that ingredient suppliers may be testing on animals to comply with laws. Which is the statement included by Milani customer service representatives that caused this whole issue.

PETA also has brands listed as cruelty free that state that they do test on animals when required by law or to comply with local and regional laws. I think that they do amazing work, but they do not provide transparency into their certification process in the way that others such as Leaping Bunny do. This makes it hard to tell what a cruelty free certification from PETA really means about a brands practices.

As many of you are also aware, it’s very easy to get most brands to provide detailed information about their stance on animal testing. Most have absolutely no issue with answering the specific questions that I ask and many are even happy to send along details from their suppliers to me. So the lack of a consistent and clear response is very concerning to me.

For those who are interested, here are the specific questions that I have sent to Milani multiple times –

Are Milani/Jordana finished products tested on animals by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?

Are Milani/Jordana products tested on animals during the production process by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?

Are any ingredients used in Milani/Jordana products tested on animals by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?

Are any ingredients used in Milani/Jordana products been tested on animals by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company to comply with any laws and regulations?

Does Milani/Jordana require their ingredient suppliers, affiliate companies, or 3rd party suppliers to go through a certification process of any sort to show that they do not test on animals? How does Milani/Jordana know that their ingredient suppliers, affiliate companies, or 3rd party suppliers are cruelty free?

Are any ingredients used in Milani/Jordana products tested on animals, or do they contain ingredients that have been tested on animals, by Milani/Jordana, an ingredient supplier, an affiliate company, or a 3rd party supplier in order to comply with laws such as TSCA, CEPA, ELINCS, EINECS, REACH, NICNAS, SCCP, etc?

Are Milani/Jordana products sold in any markets where animal testing is required by local law and regulations?

Is Milani/Jordana currently working towards a cruelty free certification? If so, which one is the brand in the process of filing for? 

Does Milani/Jordana use animal ingredients in their products? If so, what animal ingredients are used in Milani/Jordana products? Is a list of vegan options (free from all animal ingredients, including beeswax and honey) available?

The most recent response that I received stated –

In response to your inquiries, please be advised that Milani does not sell its products in any markets where animal testing is required by local law or regulation.  Milani never has tested its products on animals, and never has allowed others to test its products on animals.  All Milani cosmetic products are manufactured by reputable suppliers who do not use animals for product or raw material testing.  In this regard, Milani is a PETA “cruelty free” company.

The issue that I take with this statement, and have clarified to Milani, is that in saying that their suppliers to not use animals for product or raw material testing does not cover ingredients. Many ingredients that are included are not raw goods. For many cosmetic ingredients, the “raw ingredient” is the beginning process. These raw ingredients are often combined to make the ingredients of the cosmetics. Since Milani and Jordana are not natural brands and they produce color cosmetics, their ingredients are comprised of multiple raw ingredients that have been combined. A raw ingredient is the simplest form of an ingredient available. For example, lanolin is a raw ingredient, but it can be combined with other raw ingredients to create lanolin derivatives. These are no longer raw ingredients. It is these items that, under the EU REACH law, may be tested on animals as required by law. Which is what was originally stated by the Milani customer service department.

Fellow cruelty free blogger, Phyrra, has similar feelings after Milani was unresponsive to her direct questions as well. You can read her post, which clarifies on her thoughts and her experience with communication.

I do not feel comfortable labeling Milani or Jordana as cruelty free. I have expressed this to the brand multiple times and stated that I would have no problem endorsing them as cruelty free if they would respond to a specific question set (that all brands who are featured on Logical Harmony or listed as cruelty free have answered in detail). In each case, it’s questions about their ingredient suppliers that are either not answered at all or not answered in detail. Because of this, despite their PETA certification, I do not feel comfortable promoting either brand as being cruelty free.

As always, I feel that everyone needs to decide what is best for themselves. I do not think that anyone should take any certification, even one from Logical Harmony, with blind trust. I think it is very important that all consumers understand a brands stance on animal testing with facts provided by the brand. Do your research, talk to brands, and in the end decide what is right for you.