Guest post by Hannah Aston
Cosmetics. Skin care. Whether self-expression or self-indulgence drives our love for them, we all use beauty products. But how many of us think about whether what we buy is cruelty-free?
Affordable daily luxuries are the goal for most people. More often than not, we don’t stop to think about what’s actually in the make-up we use. Fair-trade supermarket produce is one thing, and something that is easy to recognise. When it comes to the beauty industry, however, animal testing rarely factors into our busy lives. Sometimes it is difficult to wade through the myriad of government legislation and fuzzy stances on animal testing by large corporations.
When it comes down to it, many of us are guilty of opting for cheap over ethical. However, we may not have to choose between affordable or cruelty-free any longer.
Where Is Animal Testing Still Legal?
Animal testing in Europe is regulated by the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. International campaigns by organisations such as Cruelty Free International (the group behind the Leaping Bunny certificate), strive to ban cruel practices on animals all over the world. Recently, their hard work is gaining traction. In Europe, Norway, Israel, India, Taiwan and New Zealand cosmetic animal testing has been banned. Unfortunately, companies that export to China are still required by law to test on animals before distributing there. This is something to watch out for when purchasing from large-scale beauty brands.
How Do I Know Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?
An influx of high street brands and high-end cosmetics companies are starting to provide ethical products that don’t test on animals at all. Understanding how to recognise which brands do test on animals is sometimes where the confusion starts. For example, The Body Shop has always maintained a firm stance on animal testing – despite being owned by parent corporation L’Oreal, who do test on animals. It used to be that finding guilt-free beauty products took serious work. But now, some of the best cruelty-free brands are those many of us will recognise.
The Natural Collection at Boots is a personal favourite, offering cruelty-free products at incredibly affordable prices. The Body Shop, again, are staunchly against animal testing. Lush also actively campaign against the use of animals for cosmetic tests in-store and online. Other cruelty-free brands are: Nyx, Illamasqua, Bare Minerals, Elf, Soap and Glory, just to name a few. Even high-street powerhouse Primark were recently certified as cruelty-free, which means being affordable and ethical just got even easier. Several other top sources for cruelty-free, ethical brands, and those to avoid include:
Cruelty Free International is one of the leading organisations against animal testing. It is widely considered an animal ethics authority. Their Leaping Bunny programme is one of the best ways to immediately determine whether a company is cruelty-free or not.
The Humane Society provides a list of ways you can support cruelty-free companies, every time you shop. Though this organisation is based in America, they work internationally to advocate the ban on animal testing in all scientific procedures.
Choose Cruelty-Free is an online Australian organisation, working towards phasing out cosmetic animal testing by providing resources for conscious shopping.
Why Go Cruelty-Free?
When it comes to cosmetics and skin care products, ethical issues such as animal testing are not only immoral, but unnecessary. Painful and often inconclusive tests are performed on animals in laboratories in order to test their safety for use on humans. This is not restricted to the beauty industry, either. Many products we use in our day to day lives must be tested before they can be sold. Unfortunately, many of the tests currently performed can be replaced by non-animal techniques, which do not facilitate the suffering of hundreds and thousands of animals every day. Understanding Animal Research provides in-depth information about what animal testing is, and alternative methods.
Fortunately, compassionate living is now becoming easier than ever. Conscious living is growing in popularity. Beauty regimes, healthy eating, and mindful living are just a few of the avenues cropping up in popular culture supporting a more ethically-minded way of life.
An increasing number blog posts by conscious shoppers and individuals are cropping up. Social media is over-whelmed by sources of information about animal testing. Up-to-date campaigns for those wanting to get involved can be found with a few clicks in a search engine. Exposure in influential magazines (Elle, Cosmopolitan) means an ever-increasing number of people are becoming conscious of the issue of animal testing in the beauty industry. Online sources are everywhere! A quick scour on any search engine provides so many cruelty-free and vegan-friendly names.
While it can be tempting to become lost in the myriad of information, the easiest thing to remember is to look for the bunny! The Leaping Bunny is internationally recognised and should be your first stop to finding cruelty-free personal care products.
5 Things You Can Do Today to go Cruelty-Free:
Use PETA’s free app – easy, accessible information on which brands test on animals.
Animal Ingredients list – get familiar with what products to look out for and avoid.
Follow the work of PETA and Animal Aid – two of the UK’s leading organisations for the ethical treatment of animals
Leaping Bunny programme – read up on their approved list of cosmetics brands
Support the Humane Cosmetics Act – the campaign to stop cosmetic animal testing in the USA.
In a world where we have a wealth of information at our fingertips, making conscious choices about the way we live really couldn’t be easier or more important. Compassionate and affordable beauty is well within our grasp.