This week a petition is doing the rounds pressuring Maybelline to stop animal testing. This is something that is close to my heart so I thought I would dedicate a blog post to it.
A few years back I made a new year's resolution to stop buying cosmetic products that had been tested on animals, and unlike biting my nails or training myself to do the splits, this is one I have actually kept to ever since. So why bother? Well, I am not here to flood your newsfeed with pictures of diseased animals because people get very upset about that (personally I think if you don't like it then you should try and stop it happening, but anyway....) but I will say that this side of the beauty industry is not pretty.
The testing of make-up is not the application of finished make-up onto bunnies, it is the systematic torture of animals, including dogs, rabbits and mice, by applying concentrated chemicals into their eyes and onto their skin. Personally I don't see why the dog thing upsets people more than the bunnies but it seems to tug at the heart-strings more.
I don't even know where I stand in the pharmaceuticals debate so I am not talking about that here. I am not educated enough to understand whether or not drug testing could be done solely on humans but I know for a fact that cosmetic products can be, so that is why I made this resolution. And stuck to it. If you don't think it can be done, then I invite you to look in my make -up bag and bathroom cabinet and think again. There is not a single product that I haven't found in a cruelty-free form. So how do you get started?
Get yourself down to your local shop, then start looking at those labels...
Leaping bunny: The simplest way to ensure all your make-up is guilt-free is to look for the 'leaping bunny' on the back of the packet.
Company/product name does not test any of its products or ingredients on animals, nor do we commission others to do so: Perfect! This is also a green light, and it may feature on products without a leaping bunny if the company hasn't applied for one yet etc.
Company/product name does not test any of its products or ingredients on animals: The company doesn't carry out testing themselves, but they may well pay other companies to test itsfinal products or ingredients
This product not tested on animals: the final product (e.g. eyeliner) has not been tested, but the chemicals used to make it may well have been.
Nothing written: Assume the worst...
So what are the rules? Well that all depends on what approach you take, and this part comes down to personal choice. I personally take a company-down approach to what I buy. This means that not only do I exclude products and ingredients that have been tested on animals, I also exclude products made by companies that commission testing, and if a range of products is produced or owned by an animal-testing company, I will not buy those products, regardless of whether or not those products or their ingredients have been tested on animals. Most companies are quite shady about disclosing their policies, as they are aware it puts off consumers, and for that reason I err on the side of caution and do not buy from companies with ambiguous statements either.
"Great! I will just go to the Body Shop!" I hear you cry... Ah the Body Shop. They get their own section and everything. For years they were the pioneers of cruelty-free cosmetics. They even gave out little brown "against animal testing" bags and we all rejoiced. Then they were bought by L'Oreal. And nobody lived happily ever after. I stopped buying from them and so did many others.
China is another sticking point. China is an exciting and growing market for companies and this means they are all rushing to sell their products in Chinese shops. Unfortunately, China has this bizarre rule that all cosmetic products have to be tested on animals before they are able to be sold. Yes really. So now I have had to add to my list of excluded brands any that sell in China. This means I have said a teary farewell to my Estee Lauder blusher and my Origins tinted moisturiser for good. Worth an honourable mention is Dermalogica, who ended up retracting their products from China due to its policies.
All in all it can be a bit of a minefield, so I have made you all a handy flowchart to cut out and keep:
If you are really stuck for where to shop, then these are my fail-safe options:
1. Superdrug own brand, including GOSH make-up
2. Barry M
3. Marks and Spencer own brand - including their perfume (perfume can be very hard to find)
4. Sainsbury's own brand products, especially their shampoos and soap - includes cleaning products. (Their pet foods are tested for taste, but only by happy cats and dogs who are getting a free meal out of it)
5. Phil Smith hair-care
6. Liz Earle
7. Waitrose own brand - also includes cleaning products
8. Boots No7 - this is a difficult one, because Boots do have a pharmaceutical business in China, however, I have researched into it, and it doesn't seem that they are selling any cosmetics in China. I could well be wrong and will update accordingly.
9. Dermologica - Handy if you have adult acne like me
10. Topshop (and all Arcadia group) cosmetics
I suppose I should put something here about this being my own opinion and other disclaimers. All I would ask is that you think about what is written above and if you have the ability to make a change, then consider making it. Be the change you wish to see in the world.