This Shit Rules: My Mostly Vegan Face, Pits, Skin and Lips

Welcome to This Shit Rules, wherein members of the Autostraddle team open up to you about the beauty products they couldn’t live without.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was vegan and that included my face and body-ody-ody products. Being vegan for the past 10 years has introduced me to some killer (or, rather, humane) products that I might not have picked up otherwise. It has also proved beyond a reasonable doubt that vegan does not necessarily equal “more natural” or “better quality.” I may eat dairy and eggs again now, but I’m sticking with these perfect vegan products, suitable for carnivores or vegans or anyone in between.

LUSH None of Your Beeswax Vegan Lip Balm


If I, wanna try, a vegan lip balm tonight, it’s none of your beeswax! Squirreling away lip balm in every conceivable place is a good-bad habit of mine. My desk, every purse, my jacket pockets, my car. If your lips are dry, hit me up. I probably have some lip balm somewhere on my person. While I will settle for drugstore chapstick, I love this fancy LUSH lip balm. It makes your lips so soft and delicious with extra virgin coconut oil, murumuru butter and carnauba wax and a yummy citrus-vanilla flavor. It feels good on your lips, too. Smooth, but not greasy. Delish.

Buy It on Amazon: $19.99

JĀSÖN Nourishing Cocoa Butter Crème


You know this shit is good because it’s called “crème.” Seriously, though, lather up all your skins with this. It even makes my elephant elbows soft. I keep a jar in my desk at work for dry office building winters.

Buy It on Amazon: $7.45

Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Deodorant with Lavender Oil


This is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. If you sweat and smell a lot and want your deodorant to keep that on lockdown, this may not be for you. I sweat, but not really in my pits that much and I’m not very smelly, so I don’t even wear deodorant on most days. When I do, I reach for this. It smells strongly of tea tree oil with light notes of lavender. The stick goes on totally clear and doesn’t rub off on clothes. The tea tree oil is really refreshing and kind of tingly. This deodorant also comes in a roll-on version.

Buy It on Amazon: $15.91

Mary Kay Gel Liner in Black


When I wear makeup, I wear almost exclusively Mary Kay makeup. Once upon a time, I sold their makeup, which was kind of a creepy pyramid scheme, lez be honest, but I got great discounts for my personal use! I was super disappointed when they discontinued their black liquid liner. How was I going to create perfect cat eyes?! They introduced a gel liner, though, and I am quite happy with it. It’s waterproof, smearproof, dries quickly, and glides on for precise liner looks. The pigment is a bold jet black. When I really need it to stay put, I set it with some black eye shadow or finishing powder and it is, truly, flawless. I once wore it for hours in the pouring rain and it didn’t budge. All my other makeup slid off, but my dramatic wings were on point. (MK is kind-of vegan. The products are free of animal ingredients and all products in the U.S. are cruelty free. However, MK doesn’t have a cruelty-free rating anymore because they have to allow animal testing on their products in China due to Chinese regulations.)

Buy It on Amazon: $15.00

Mary Kay Facial Highlighting Pen


Don’t worry. I’m not going to list every Mary Kay makeup product I use, but I have to give a shoutout to the facial highlighting pen. It sounds weird, but it really works to reflect light in your “shadowy” spots. I use it instead of concealer under my eyes when I am looking a little less than optimally well-rested (and can muster to strength to put on makeup). You can also use it to highlight your cheekbones and the sides of your nose and whatnots if you’re into that.

Buy It on Amazon: $7.00

Natur-Tyme Facial Wash with MSM & Alpha Hydroxy Acids


I special order this facial wash from a natural food store in Syracuse, NY. It is their store brand and it is the best face wash I’ve ever applied to my forward-facing epidermis. It exfoliates without being too harsh for my combination oily-dry skin and without those little bead thingies. It ain’t cheap, but a little goes a long way. I go through a bottle every 5-6 months, washing my face twice per day.

Buy It from Needs: 4 oz ($10.99)

Natur-Tyme Moisture Creme with MSM & Rose Hip Seed Oil


This is my favorite facial moisturizer from the same line as the Natur-Tyme facial wash. It is not even a little greasy, absorbs quickly, and makes my skin feel like a cupid angel baby’s butt.

Buy It from Needs: 4 oz ($15.19)

Aura Cacia Cleansing Tea Tree Oil


Just straight up tea tree oil, mmkay. I dab a little on a cotton ball and dilute it with plain ol’ water. I always have some on hand. I use it to freshen up after a hot day or as a natural alternative to deodorant. It works as an anti-fungal and antiseptic on small cuts, rashes, dandruff, and lots more. Some people don’t like the strong herbal smell (people like my partner), but I think it smells clean and fresh.

Buy It on Amazon: $7.99

Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel


Witch hazel is magical. If you don’t want to spring for lightly-scented and alcohol-free Thayers, just get regular witch hazel from your closest drug store or grocery store. I use it as a daily toner and to treat acne and skin issues.

Buy It on Amazon: $9.29

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KaeLyn is a 40-year-old hard femme bisexual dino mom. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, over-caffeinating herself, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Upstate NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a scaredy cat, an elderly betta fish, and two rascally rabbits. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 230 articles for us.


  1. Been looking for a natural deodorant that doesn’t involve a battle in the morning (I.e. Covered in dust) will have a look at this. Also love Mary Kay skin colours, great if you’re pale but unusually coloured like myself.

  2. Mmm, that lush lip balm is gooooood stuff. I’m also a fan of their Ultrabalm, which is also vegan! Keeps my hands (and everywhere else) from falling victim to this terribly dry winter air.

    • Witch hazel is the best. I want to marry it. And tea tree oil. A poly marriage with tea tree oil and witch hazel.

    • Yes! What are the chances we can get an A+ video of team members lip syncing to this song? Or a parody type? Taking gals home with me tonite? No? Maybe? I wouldn’t be mad if you you guys did it. Cats pajamas, fans, biting lips and boob caressing. Everybody would win you guys.

      • I will pass this request on to the management. Haha. You should submit this in the A+ Priority Contact Box!

  3. Concerning the highlighting pen, could anyone enlighten me – how do you figure out what shade you need? I’ve never been asble to figure that out and every such item – things like foundation etc too – I’ve bought so far has been the wrong shade.

    The only real solution I could think of is to ask a store clerk, but I’m rather terrified of speaking to salespeople and would prefer to avoid that if at all possible.

    • I’ve had these same types of issues with finding the right shade, because my skin is light with yellow undertones, and for a long time I just didn’t even have the vocab to describe it. I also think most makeup used to be made for pink undertones. I found that the best solution was to go with a tinted moisturizer, so just a hint of, hopefully not the wrongest shade. If you go full coverage and it’s the wrong color it’s too obvious. But if you want full coverage or to experiment more, I would buy from somewhere that has a good return policy. And if you buy online you don’t have to talk to anyone about it!

      • Honestly try Mary Kay, can look at colours online. I’m as pale as you get but only pale colours in the UK are for those with pink undertones. My Concealer looks yellow on my hand but works.

    • I don’t wear lots of stuff on my face because I got tired of trying to find a foundation that matches the yellow/olive undertones of my skin. I think Cover Girl has expanded their line. I’ve had some luck with Mary Kay, too, in the past. I wear a loose mineral powder instead of foundation. It feels better on my skin.

      However, that was not your question. The MK highlighting pen can and should be lighter than your natural skin tone. It only comes in four tones for this reason. I have olive/yellow skin and find the MK Shade 2 works for me. If you have pinker undertones, the Shade 1 would be your best bet. For dark olive skin, Shade 3, and for dark brown skin, Shade 4. Luckily, you don’t have to match your skin shade perfectly. You want the pen to be slightly lighter.

      Here’s more info on using the highlighting pen:

      For finding your foundation shade, in general, it helps if you can go someplace that has testers out so you can try a few different shades. Match the shade to the skin on your jawline. If you live somewhere with a Sephora store, you can go in and touch EVERYTHING (even if you don’t buy) which is super fun and better than holding bottles up to your face and guessing. Unless you are very pale and have pink undertones, most people have yellow/olive undertones.

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