Beauty industry love a catchy phrase, especially one that is a bit ambiguous. The phrase “cruelty free” is the most confusing. Anthonia Ademuyiwa is a cosmetics chemist, and formulator. “There is no defined definition of ‘cruelty free’, and there is also no regulatory agency that oversees its use.” Does this mean that the final product was not tested on animals or that animals weren’t used at any stage in the development process? Does a vegan product have to be cruelty-free?
Although many makeup companies claim that their products are cruelty-free, they do test on animals. If you are looking for cruelty-free products, it is important to ensure that the product has not been tested on animals. It also doesn’t need any ingredients that have been taken from animals in a way that could cause harm. We have compiled a list that includes brands that test on animals, but which are often misunderstood to be cruelty-free. We answer the most pressing questions that are likely to arise before we get started.
Why are makeup companies testing products on animals?
Animal testing has been controversial for years. Some brands claim that animal testing is necessary to make cosmetics safe for humans and to determine the safety of ingredients. Others believe it is cruel, unnecessary, and inaccurate. Despite the fact that almost no American brands test on animals and it has been banned in the European Union since then, one reason why you still get all these hits is China. China’s regulatory bodies require animal testing for both imported and domestically made cosmetics. Multiple makeup companies test on animals. It is important for all to be aware of the processes used on products they use every day.
What is the process of testing makeup products on animals?
The animals tested can vary in their testing methods. The most commonly used animal “test subjects,” for cosmetics, are mice, rats, rabbits and guinea-pigs. The chemicals are applied to the skin of shaved rabbits or into their eyes without using pain medication. Repeated force-feeding is used to give mice high doses of chemical compounds. These tests are used by researchers to detect signs of general illness and specific health risks such as cancer or congenital disabilities. These tests can last for weeks or even months.
The “Lethal dose” test, where rats are forced to eat large amounts of substances in order to determine the amount that causes death, has been widely criticised. Although cosmetic testing of dogs and cats has been banned, scientists still used kittens for parasite testing. Animals that do not die in the testing process are often killed afterward, sometimes in cruel ways and without pain treatment.
Many brands test on animals. Many beauty brands that once used to be cruelty-free now test on animals in order to enter markets where it is mandatory to do so. Some brands have been tested for years, but are mistakenly labelled vegan and cruelty-free. This will allow you to get rid of products from such a company.
L’Oreal is not a cruelty-free company. It can perform animal testing by itself, through suppliers or with a third party. L’Oreal’s FAQ about animal testing is notoriously misleading. “L’Oreal does not test any of its ingredients or products on animals anywhere in the world,” they claim. However, they do market their products in China where animal testing is required for foreign cosmetics.
L’Oreal has many other brands. Some of these brands are sold in China. They all follow the same animal testing policy as required by law. Others, however, are cruelty-free regardless of the policy of their parent companies.
Benefit is one of the makeup companies that tests animals. However, everyone seems to think it is cruelty-free. Benefit claims that they don’t conduct animal testing. The benefit is not cruelty-free if this claim is made alone. Benefit stated that they had paid for animal testing in China for their products and don’t test animals on any other animals than required by law. China’s mainland requires animal testing. Their products are also sold in China. Benefit products can also be found in Sephora stores across China. The company does not plan to leave China.
Maybelline has the same animal testing policy as L’Oreal, its parent company. Maybelline’s animal-testing policy says that final products and ingredients are not tested on animals. No third parties can test for them unless required by law. Their suppliers are not included in this policy.
Maybelline permits third-party animal testing when required by law. It is therefore not cruelty-free. This means that Maybelline’s finished products will likely be tested on animals by the Chinese authorities in mainland China.
NARS used to be a go-to brand for many who were concerned about cruelty. They changed their animal testing policy to accommodate their plans to enter China earlier this year. NARS will not test animals unless required by law. This implies that they are no longer cruelty free.
NARS may offer vegan products, however, it is not certified cruelty-free by any organization.
Rimmel London claims they are “anti-animal-testing,” but their products are made in China. Rimmel will follow all international safety laws. Even if that means selling in China.
Rimmel London confirmed that they don’t test their finished products on animals. However, they also stated that they do so in mainland China, where it is required by law. It also doesn’t mention their sources or the substances.
MAC is a well-known makeup brand that does not test on animals. They are cruelty-free and are widely available. MAC claims it has no involvement in animal experimentation, but this is misleading.
Estee Lauder owns MAC and it is sold in China. China has a law that requires animal testing. This is sufficient evidence to prove they are not cruelty-free. It may offer vegan products.
Clinique is a mid-priced makeup and skincare brand that can be found at Sephora and Ulta as well as other counters around the globe. Estee Lauder is the owner of it. The company’s official policy regarding animal testing is to only use animals when legally required. Animal testing is mandatory in mainland China. Clinique is also sold there.
Clinique is not cruelty-free and may test animals directly or through a third party. Clinique does not test on animals but they may do so through third parties. Although they offer vegan products, they are not certified cruelty-free.
Giorgio Armani is owned by L’Oreal which conducts animal testing. Giorgio Armani and their parent company are not cruelty-free. Their website states that Giorgio Armani doesn’t test its products on animals, but this is false.
Giorgio Armani products are available in mainland China. They are therefore not cruelty-free as they have been subject to animal testing. It has not been certified by any organisation.
Avon claims it was the first major cosmetic brand to stop testing animals almost 25 years ago. However, they are licensing and paying Chinese officials to test their products on animals in China so that they can sell them there. Although they claim to be concerned about animal welfare, it seems that this is part a clever strategy to hide the fact that they do not practice cruelty-free.
Avon is not owned or controlled by a parent company which conducts animal testing. It has also not been certified cruelty-free by any organizations.
Estee Lauder is the owner of La Mer, a luxury skincare and makeup brand that is extremely expensive. They also conduct animal testing when required by law. Because they are made in mainland China, their products are not cruelty-free.
Although they offer vegan products, they are not cruelty-free. La Mer products are made from top-quality ingredients. However, 100% pure products can offer alternatives.
How can I tell if my makeup has been tested on animals?
It is possible that you have seen the terms vegan or cruelty-free used a lot when searching for new makeup products. Many brands may not be cruelty-free, but it is possible. It is difficult to determine who uses animals for testing purposes, as the word “cruelty free” is not regulated. We have tried to simplify it for you into a few points that will help you make an informed decision about what you should buy.
- Product research: Start by doing your research. Although there are hoaxes all over the internet, the internet is more likely than magazines or books to give information about whether a product was tested on animals.
- Check the Brand: Cruelty free companies will proudly display their certifications online. Look at their FAQs and About Us pages if you are unsure about a brand’s legitimacy. These pages should provide you with the information you need. If the information seems unclear, double-check with their parent company. Although smaller brands might not be able to conduct testing, they are often owned by larger corporations.
- Look out for the Leaping Bunny Logo: This is the easiest way to find out if your product is cruelty free. The three organizations that regulate certified brands are PETA (Choose Cruelty Free), and Leaping Bunny. You can be sure that you are purchasing cruelty-free products if you see these logos. Be aware of false logos that you find on the internet, especially from companies with questionable business practices. Labels that state “no animal testing” and “cruelty free” are not relevant. These statements are not legal and can be used without official approval.
- Email the Organisation. This may take more work than others but companies that have nothing to hide will be eager to provide you with information about their products. You can send an email or DM them on Instagram to get your answer. The brand should be able to provide evidence to support their claims. If you receive an unsatisfactory, unclear, unpleasant, or indifferent answer, then you have pretty much received your answer.
It is easy to choose an ethical path of action, even for non-essential items such as cosmetics. It’s a great way to stay on top of all things by keeping up with animal rights groups, their official logos, certifications, etc. Before you leave, make sure you check for makeup companies that do not test on animals. Do your research the next time you need to find out if a company is cruelty-free.