So a few months ago, I was at the store with Deacon and needed to buy eyeshadow. (I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but I have a few standard things I wear to work so I don’t look like I’m 12 years old.) So I went to pick up the Maybelline palette that I usually wear. Meanwhile, Deacon was googling things on his phone. Then he looks up and says, “You know, they’re not cruelty-free.”
I was really irritated at first. It wasn’t something I had ever thought about. I just bought the makeup I knew that I liked and that worked well for my everyday wear. I ended up just getting the eyeshadow anyway.
Since then, it’s really weighed on me. It’s the kind of thing that is hard to ignore once you do start thinking about it.
So after a ton of research, I’ve decided to go cruelty-free with all my products.
(including cosmetics, skincare, hair care, soap, deodorant, etc. pretty much everything except for toothpaste)
This does not mean that I’m throwing away everything in my makeup bag. I’m going to continue to use what I have. But when it runs out or when I need to buy something new, I’m going to consciously buy cruelty-free products.
So what is cruelty-free?
Well, it’s complicated.
The definition: manufactured or developed by methods that do not involve experimentation on animals.
Easy, right? A bottle says NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS, and it’s cruelty-free. Simple.
Except it’s not.
The main issue: a company may claim to be 100% cruelty-free even though their parent company still tests on animals.
A good example of this is Nyx Cosmetics. They’re known for being cruelty-free, but they were bought by L’Oréal in 2014, which does test on animals.
Now, there is divided opinion on this subject. Many people say that your money is a vote, and if you’re buying Nyx then you’re sending a message to L’Oréal that you’d rather buy cruelty-free. I respect that, but I don’t really feel the same way. If I have a choice between buying from a company
that is 100% cruelty-free and a company that is owned by someone that tests on animals, I’m going to choose the former. That’s why when possible, I’m going to avoid buying from companies if their parent company tests on animals.
But what if they only test on animals if required by law?
“Required by law” = they sell in China.
For the past six months or so, I’ve been using Organix Hair shampoo and conditioner and have really liked it. And on the back of the bottle, it says NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS. It’s there, in all caps. But it’s not true.
A lot of companies that claim to be cruelty-free say that they “only test on animals when required by law.” This really means that they choose to sell their products in China. China is the only country that requires products to be tested on animals. If a company sells in China, then they are not cruelty-free.
But wait! It’s certified by PETA!
A lot of people think that if a product is on PETA’s list, then it must be cruelty-free. But PETA’s list is not really that reliable.
To get on PETA’s list, a company has to “sign PETA’s statement of assurance or submit a statement verifying that neither they nor their ingredient suppliers conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products.” The problem is that these claims are not verified. Many companies on the list buy from suppliers that are not cruelty-free, sell in China, and/or are owned by companies that are not cruelty-free.
Leaping Bunny’s list is more reliable than PETA. They’re more selective and require companies that sign to agree to independent audits so that their claims can be verified. That said, a company can still be Leaping Bunny certified even if its parent company is not. And the market is changing all the time, so be aware of companies that were formerly Leaping Bunny certified that have since undergone changes, such as Burt’s Bees.
So why go through all the trouble?
Is going cruelty-free starting to sound like a chore? Why not just buy what I want to buy? Is it really worth all the research/headache/stress/etc.
Yes, it is. Even though it’s definitely going to be easier to just buy whatever you want to buy, animal testing just isn’t necessary for products to be great. And even though it can be complicated, there are brands out there and resources to help along the way. Most of my information comes from CrueltyFreeKitty.com, where the author is constantly researching and updating and compiling lists to make the whole process much easier.
But please note that even though this is my decision, it doesn’t have to be yours. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty about the products you love. (I really love Maybelline, and it’s hard to give them up!) You do you.
That said, as I make my switch, I’m planning to do some comparison posts of what I was using vs. what I switched to, so keep an eye out for those if you’re interested in learning more! And if you’re already using cruelty-free brands, be sure to leave me your favorite product in the comments.