UNDERSTANDING CRUELTY-FREE COSMETICS
By: Niwrka P. - Brand Identity Designer | Skincare Professional.-
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Check for the Leaping Bunny logo to determine if your makeup is cruelty-free. The leaping bunny is an internationally recognized icon that is given after a company is certified by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC).
The CCIC checks to ensure that a cosmetic brand didn’t perform animal testing at any point in its production. It is a rigorous certification process that includes paperwork from the cosmetics company and its suppliers.
Another logo to look out for is the Caring Consumer bunny logo that PETA gives to cosmetics companies that have proven they don’t do animal testing. PETA keeps an extensive list of cruelty-free brands and those that are not.
Green vs. Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan
Cruelty-free, Vegan, and Green makeup are not the same; they all mean different things. Green refers to the environmental impact of production, such as the manufacturing process’s toxicity and the packaging’s recyclability.
Cruelty-free focuses on animal testing during the production of cosmetics. Vegan means that no animal products are used as the ingredients to make the product.
Animal ingredients are any materials that are derived or made by an animal. This includes animal fats, lactic acid from milk, beeswax, and honey. Other ingredients include:
Carmine: is a rich red pigment made from crushed bugs to create lipsticks, blushes, and food dyes.
Guanine: an iridescent blend made from soaking dead fish scales in alcohol that is mixed into nail polishes, eye shadows, and blushes to give a glittery effect.
Lanolin: This famous moisturizing agent comes from the oil in sheep’s wool.
We live in a world where, now more than ever, we need to be aware of our social and ethical responsibilities toward others and our planet. This responsibility is not just to other humans but also animals.
Even if you are not an animal lover, study after study has shown that animals are sentient beings. Sentient means they can feel positive and negative experiences such as happiness, peace, sadness, distress, and pain.
This realization is one of the reasons a majority of people now stand against animal cruelty.
But what many of us don’t realize is while we protest against animal harm, we use cosmetic products that still subject animals to unnecessary and often painful experiments.
Many of these big names have operated like this for years. They are forced to own up to their animal testing activities because of recent social outcry.
It is vital to start paying attention to which brands you purchase your products from and know where they stand ethically. When in doubt, keep it simple and invest in cruelty-free makeup.
Keep reading to learn about cruelty-free makeup and which brands are 100% cruelty-free certified.
What is Cruelty-Free Makeup?
Cruelty-free makeup is any cosmetic product not tested on animals during any part of its research, development, production, or quality control. This includes testing individual ingredients as well as variations of the final product.
Makeup brushes also use animal products, as most of them use the hair from horses, goats, boars, and even squirrels to make the bristles.
Even if the ingredients are ethically sourced, they are not vegan if they come from animals.
It’s important to note that just because a brand is cruelty-free does not mean it is vegan or green.
Just because a brand doesn't practice animal testing, doesn’t mean that this particular brand doesn't use animal-derived ingredients in its products.
Similarly, a vegan brand may practice animal tests or use a supplier that engages in said testing.
Either way, all these labels require certification, so always check the product information and watchdog organizations like PETA.
The Vegan Society, and the Rainforest Alliance, keep lists of brands that tick any or all of the green, cruelty-free, and vegan boxes.
Why is it Important to Go Cruelty-Free?
Cruelty-free products are essential because of all the problems surrounding animal testing, which is still a prevalent practice carried out globally even today. It is still legal in many places, and countries like China even require it.
Small animals such as rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs are bred specifically for this purpose. Cruelty-Free International suggests an estimated 115 million animals are utilized for animal testing worldwide. But even this number is lowballed because many countries have laws that don’t count certain rodents and rabbits in the final count. Cruelty-free makeup brands resolve many of the problems in the animal testing industry, such as:
End the Cruelty
Living in an animal testing facility takes a heavy toll on creatures because they are removed from the natural environment that they are instinctively born to live in. Many of the animals used are social creatures that generally live with others of their kind.
The highly sterile, clinical cages in laboratories these animals are forced to live in have a negative impact on their health, and they have been known to show signs of anxiety and depression.
Even the nature of the testing itself inflicts pain and suffering. Testing hazardous chemicals and unstable concoctions can lead to pain, injury, and in some cases, disease.
Do you know what the standard test for skin irritation is?
Dropping chemicals in a rabbit’s eye! It is horrifying to even think about.
End the Ineffective Practice
Another startling fact is that many of these cosmetic animal experiments fail. Many of them don't prove that these formulations are okay for humans. Testing on animals doesn’t even predict the way humans will react accurately.
9 out of 10 animal-tested trials fail at the human level.
End the Misuse
The Animal Welfare Act does not protect 95% of the tested animals. Very little information about how these animals are treated before, during, and after trials. No regulations guide what living conditions animals have to be kept in, nor is there any information on what they are fed and how they are handled. Hundreds of thousands of animals die in the testing process, and those that survive are killed at the end of the experiment.
Are Cruelty-Free Products Safe?
Cruelty-free companies mostly use ingredients that have already been FDA-approved; therefore, they are already making cosmetics with safe materials. Suppose such companies want to use an ingredient that is not FDA-approved. In that case, they use alternatives to animal testing to check the safety of their products. There are two types of testing methods:
In-vitro Method: This technique uses cell and tissue cultures taken from human volunteers. These cultures are subject to the ingredients and then studied for changes. Not only is this method cruelty-free, but it is also more accurate as it uses human tissue samples.
Silico Models: This is where computer models generate how biological compounds react when exposed to various chemical ingredients.
Certified Cruelty Free Makeup Brands
The companies mentioned below care about our four-legged friends and have some of the best makeup products. If you want to raise your vanity’s ethical profile, check out these brands.
Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s cosmetics line has topped many lists since she started it over a decade ago. And from day one, it has been certified cruelty free, with all of these products proudly bearing the Leaping Bunny seal of approval. Not only did Charlotte Tilbury create an ethically-conscious makeup line, but she also ensured that her suppliers followed suit.
Rihanna’s makeup line exploded onto the scene in 2018 and blew the makeup world’s mind with her inclusive range of products. Fenty Beauty is also cruelty-free certified, promising that neither its products nor ingredients are tested on animals. Also, its suppliers are not allowed to conduct testing on either. This is excellent news for all of you who, like me, have made the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizers a permanent part of your collection.
In 2018, CoverGirl, a giant in the beauty industry, became the most prominent brand to get the Leaping Bunny certification. This is a big deal, and it was further strengthened by CoverGirl pulling out of the Chinese beauty market, which requires animal testing by law. The fact that CoverGirl was willing to let go of such a huge business opportunity for the safety of those little critters won many hearts.
When Drew Barrymore started this beauty line in 2013, her mission was to make affordable beauty products that were just as good as high-end brands. Animal testing was never in the picture, as Drew Barrymore has been a loyal vegan since her twenties. She doesn’t use animal products, and there was no way she would let anyone test her products on another creature. My favorites from her line are the Chrome Crush Pressed Pigments eye shadows.
Since 1995 this British cosmetics company has been advocating animal rights for decades. Lush even has a Lush Prize that it awards to programs and people who fight to stop animal testing. They have various Vegan and non-vegan products that they ensure are ethically sourced and safe for the environment.
Dermablend is every makeup artist’s choice product for covering up tattoos and bruises, thanks to its impressive line of full-coverage concealers, color correctors, and foundations. This skin-safe brand is also on PETA’s list of cruelty-free companies.
Ilia is a woman-owned, cruelty-free cosmetics line that strives to be clean and green. Ilia works with the Pact Collective, encouraging consumers to mail empty beauty containers from any brand.
The packaging is broken down and recycled responsibly instead of ending in landfills. This incredible commitment, plus the fact that Ilia’s beauty products are made of top-of-the-line ingredients, makes it all the more alluring.
Tarte is fully embracing its ethical responsibility to the planet not just by being cruelty-free but also by fair trade. All the ingredients are ethically sourced so local communities can get a fair share of their hard work.
For example, Tarte’s maracuja oil comes from farms run by women who cold press seeds that would otherwise be thrown away.
So not only are they supporting women’s businesses, but they are also environmentally conscious. Once all these ingredients are sourced, they are used to create high-quality products without testing on a single animal at any stage of development and production.
Tarte’s commitment to the planet is why it has PETA’s seal of approval and why it tops many best beauty brand lists.
When Hourglass Cosmetics started in 2004, it was a cruelty-free brand that promised to reinvest a portion of its profits into the Nonhuman Rights Project. This nonprofit organization works tirelessly to ensure that animals' fundamental rights are met.
They took this commitment a step further in 2017 when they reformulated their entire line of products and removed every ingredient that comes from an animal.
This massive undertaking involved finding suitable substitutes for things like carmine, beeswax, and lanolin without losing the glowing complexion-perfecting concoctions Hourglass Cosmetics is known for.
As of 2020, Hourglass Cosmetics is officially a completely vegan, cruelty-free brand. I must admit Hourglass is one of my favorite brands.
In The End
We owe it to the planet that has sustained us for so long to take care of all the other creatures that live among us.
By being ethically conscious and putting our support behind cruelty-free brands, we are proving to all companies still animal testing that we won’t buy what they are selling.
As consumers, we create product demand; take time to re-evaluate your collection.
And promise yourself; You will look out for that Leaping Bunny logo next time you buy makeup.
Until Next Time!
Peace, Love & Light!
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Author: Niwrka P.
Brand Identity Designer | Skincare Professional.
Passionate about Design & Esthetics!