Update: 01/20/2021 – this post has been updated due to a very informative comment. A company can claim that they are cruelty free and still sell in China… Because they pay for 3rd party animal testing. See more info here. This is incredibly sad to find out, as many of the brands I loved for years decided that selling in China is more important. I have updated this post to represent more accurate information and remove any companies I mentioned being cruelty free that are not.
In 2018, I made two New Years Resolutions that actually stuck. You can read about my first one here. My second resolution that’s stuck? Going cruelty free for my beauty routine.
I’ve always loved make-up. When I was a kid, I performed Hula in my mom’s Hula Company. She danced for many occasions (I remember a lot of holidays and company parties). The number one thing I looked forward to was getting to wear make-up. I only got to wear it during professional appearances and it was the coolest thing ever when I was 5 years old. I got lipstick and usually a shimmery eyeshadow (it was the 90s). I was hooked from day one. My mom’s best friend was a licensed cosmetologist who hadn’t had her first daughter yet so I got to be her living doll (much to my fathers’s dismay). When I entered high school, my mom finally let me wear make-up everyday. It was the early 2000s and YouTube Beauty Influencers weren’t around so I just tried to copy anything Avril Lavinge did. Boy was that a fun time.
I still remember my first expensive make-up purchase. It was MAC, obviously. Russian Red. That was my color. I probably owned at least 10 lipsticks from MAC back in the day and I thought I was SO COOL.
That was until I found out the reality of animal testing and the fact that MAC still does it. Here’s the types of things that are done to rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs, just to make sure we can find that perfect lipstick:
- Skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief.
- Repeated force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards such as cancer or birth defects.
- Widely condemned “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death.
At the end of their life of pure torture, the animals are killed by asphyxiation, neck-breaking, or decapitation. Pain relief is never provided.
Awesome, right? That’s what animals go through for us to get our make-up and lotions. When I read more into this, I was really disappointed in myself for not doing this research before. That day, I threw out everything that wasn’t cruelty free (dramatic? Sure. Necessary? Yes). I’m not telling you that that huge bottle of lotion you just bought should be tossed. Use up what you have, but please invest your time in looking for cruelty free options. There’s literally cruelty free for everything now! I feel like so many other companies really heard people and stopped doing all testings within the past few years. Target even has whole sections in their beauty aisles for cruelty free stuff. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
It’s so incredibly easy to find cruelty free items. Most companies will put it on the product (usually accompanied by a bunny) but if they don’t, simply google it. Companies have to state that they are not cruelty free. Did you know that there are several countries that have banned animal testing? Don’t kid yourself, the United States is most definitely not one of them cause duh, $$$. The European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, and Norway have all banned cosmetic animal testing. When is our turn? China is the only country that requires animal testing to be done on cosmetics (Fun Fact: Even if the brand itself does not do animal testing, if they sell in China, the government can remove their products from the shelf and test them on animals).
Okay. Now that you know how awful animal testing is (and the fact that over 7,000 ingredients that have been proven to be safe to use in our cosmetics and beauty products), are you ready to make the commitment? If you’re worried about money, a lot of brands are pretty cheap (I’m looking at you ELF) so you definitely won’t break the bank.
This was the part in my post where I gave you recommendations on makeup brands. Unfortunately, my go to research of “Is this company cruelty free?” doesn’t actually work. Companies can say they are, but then have a statement saying they “test on animals where required by law”, which doesn’t sit well with me. So here are some other amazing websites that have a comprehensive list and have done the research that I very much did not:
When in doubt, buy from a local, small business. My new go-to Google Phrase will be: “Does THIS BRAND sell in China?” If its a yes, then you know not to buy from this brand. I’m incredibly disheartened to see how easy it is to lie to people and say your company is Cruelty Free, but you still test on animals simply so you can sell your products in China.
Are there any companies you love that are also cruelty free? Share them below so I can check them out!