A Rookie’s Guide To Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

While anti-fur movements and vegan diets continue to bring the noise, it’s no wonder so many of us are opting for cruelty-free cosmetics. More than 80 percent of the world still allows animal testing, though awareness of this issue is on the rise. Guess what? We’re just as prett-ay using cosmetics that haven’t been tested on fur babies as we are using those that have. So why not make the leap?

The key is not to be too hard on yourself, especially when first making the switch. According to a recent Nielsen survey, respondents chose “not tested on animals” and “all natural” as their top two priorities when purchasing cosmetics. With so many companies opting to go cruelty-free, soon you won’t even need to make the conscientious decision of purchasing these products (shout out to the EU, Israel and India). In the meantime, check out our rookie’s guide to cruelty-free cosmetics.

1. She Works Hard For Her Bunny

It’s all about those bunnies, and no, we don’t mean Holly Madison’s new book about her time in the Playboy mansion. The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (say that three times fast) Leaping Bunny Program oversees cruelty-free standards and controls the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo for companies producing cosmetic, personal care and household products. Basically if you see a bunny, you’re so in.

The Leaping Bunny Program swears that no animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers. Cheers, darlings!

2. That Testing Though

According to the Humane Society, registration of a single pesticide requires more than 50 experiments and the use of as many as 12,000 animals. Animals used in laboratory testing include bunnies, mice, hamsters and sometimes even dogs. This isn’t a day at the spa and these animals aren’t getting the celebrity treatment.

Bunnies have lethal chemicals poured into their eyes to test for irreversible eye damage. Mice and guinea pigs have harsh chemicals forced down their throats to test for oral toxicity. Most die within 14 days. Pregnant rabbits are killed and then have their pups extracted to monitor potential birth defects.

Even after all this maltreatment for the sake of human safety, we may still have serious reactions to our lipstick or mascara. Gross.


3. Some Cosmetic Companies Are Pretty Little Liars

Here is where things get awkward. A lot of companies say they don’t test their products on animals because they themselves might not. However, some do hire contractors to do the work on their behalf so they can tell consumers they don’t test anything themselves. Cue Tay’s “Bad Blood” entourage. Some merchandise might not have been tested on animals, but each individual ingredient was tested prior to formulating the final product. Beware of cruelty-free brands that are owned by larger organizations that do conduct animal testing (such as the case with Urban Decay, owned by L’orèal).

Do your research before heading out to the store. Studies show you’re more likely to save money doing that anyway.

4. Animal Testing Alternatives In The Works

Best believe that, when we need that, they’ll provide that. Researchers are actively working on alternatives to animal testing to prove product safety, such as computer modeling using cell tissue cultures. They’re basically the best.

While animal rights activists argue that these alternatives are readily available, this is simply not the case. But we’re getting there. In some countries, it is legally required for cosmetics to be tested on animals. This was the case in China just until a few months ago. The market is changing and companies need to find ways to stay relevant with consumers’ wants and needs.

5. More Reasons to Shop

Praise be to the heavens that the number of cruelty-free cosmetics on the market has increased considerably in the past decade. Hunting down those products in the store? That in itself is a sh*t show. Labels can be deceiving, and just as your “sugar free” diet soda sits on a throne full of lies (aspartame, anyone?), a lot of cosmetics companies do the same.

You can find a full list of cruelty-free products here. My bae (official for a few months now) is ILIA, a brand dedicated to creating the purest products available. Their tinted lip conditioners and lipstick crayons are what dreams are made of. LUSH is another fave (of many LD staffers) because who doesn’t want to sip on a glass of pinot grigio while soaking in a hot pink bubble bath?

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

6. Real Deal

The truth is that no one really likes animal testing, not even cosmetics companies. It’s a PR nightmare, freaking expensive and will hurt their market share overtime as awareness continues to grow. That being said, at the end of the day companies need to sell products that are safe to use and unfortunately, animal testing is the predominant way to prove product safety.

But times are changing. Thankfully, the amount of animal testing conducted in the beauty industry has dropped significantly in recent years and will continue to drop as researchers find acceptable animal testing alternatives. Soon, animal testing could be nothing more than a horror story of the past.

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