It has been years I wanted to put together a list of the products I use. I am vegetarian but not vegan. I eat fish and dairies, as well as eggs in home made pastries. But when it comes to my cleaning products for the home, body and skin care, I am vegan. I have been researching all the products I was using and found out awful things. Carcinoginous ingredients, petrol derived products, health threatening products and the worse for me: animal by-products, awful vivisections and tests (when most of these tests can be made chemicaly with no arm done to anyone, but eh, it costs more and the corporation makes less profits).
I have tried a lot of brands, some are using the organic and vegan angle only in a marketing way: more profit. It is always about money.
I can't advice you a lot of brands but these I have research a lot. But I can link great websites like the Leaping Bunny and the Cosmetic database which really helped me to research the best brands.
My favorite brand is Desert Essence. Their products are not only vegan but they use only natural (pay attention to that because natural doesn't always mean healthy) and other safe products for you and animals.
So the prices may be a bit more expensive than your drugstore brands but it really worth the investment.
I especially love their body and hair products.
For bath products, I use Kiss My Face. They have some great bubble bath. Their shaving cream used to be great but they changed an ingredient and the texture was difficult to use. They also changed an ingredient in face moisturizers and it can provoke allergies in some people.
Edited to add : after a new search on Kiss My Face, I have seen they don't have the Leaping Bunny label (knowing also labels are what they are and sometimes can be just bought!!!). But they claim they don't test on animals. That being said, research their products. I was wondering why their prices stayed low I got it now. There is more and more armful (cheaper) ingredients in their products.
I also found that link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/fashion/expanding-efforts-to-keep-cosmetics-testing-from-animals.html?_r=2
Some of these companies though, to survive financially has been bought out by corporations, but they made the pledge to keep their product safe. I still like Tom of Maine ( mouth rinse and toothpaste) and Burt bees (bought by Colgate), especially their honey and milk hand and body lotion.
I still use 7th Generation recycled papers and other products, even though they made the choice to get contracts to distribute their products in Kroger and so on.
It may not seems a good ethical choice but at least it offers a greater availabilities of their product and it expose it too a greater audience, which cannot be wrong. I never got any allergies, nor my pets to any of their products and they really are made of great and simple ingredients.
There was a site fighting Kleenex in order to stop them hurting ancient forests. They won their battle and unfortunately the website is not updated since 2009 but is still a good source of information. You also have to research where the recycled paper comes from and how it is processed.
For my make-up, I do not have great choices and I am still looking for a good brand. Manic Panic products are vegan but I haven't use a lot, exept their white pressed powder, that is ok but cakes in the wrinkles... (their hair dyes are awesome).
I am pretty allergic to mineral make-up, they have most of the time nano particules which has been proven to get in your optic nerves and many other internal organs. Also when you know a bit about mineralogy, the mineral used are like some stones in which the structure can stay the same down to the microscopic elements. Some of the mineral parts are squares and angular types, and irritate eyes mostly.
That is what happened to me, I got serious internal lids abces and cornea problems, and pain of course. Most of the time, the incriminated ingredient is mica.
The best thing I can advice is research and more research. Boycott compagnies who torture animals, who use petrol derived products. Choose cleaning product that won't hurt the earth. This is some work, this can be time consuming. But for us, time is not money. Time is ethic, time is life, time is taking care of the planet we live on, time is protecting animals and their inhabitat.
Also I wanted to make a little shout out to my favorite artists. I really respect artists who are using their position and their money as a power to touch the greatest number.
Thom Yorkes of Radiohead had a wonderful impact for the climate changing and so many other issues, mostly in UK and against G8.
Trent Reznor donates so many of his money to a cause so close to my heart: rescuing Greyhounds. He has been auctionning so many of his instruments and other things to help Greyhound in California. He adopted 2 of them and has made several videos for Peta. Say what you want, this is the only case money is important and Peta, even if some of their methods can be contastable, does an amazing work.
If you have any questions or advice to share, don't hesitate!