Animal testing is a topic generally ignored by the cosmetic industry and their consumers. It’s swept under the rug and not talked about, or if it is, it involves companies dancing around the issue. Or slapping a statement on their bottles that claims the product wasn’t tested on animals, when in fact individual ingredients were tested, just not the final product. The misleading market and incredible amount of new products every day make it difficult for consumers to know what beauty products are truly cruelty free, or why it’s so important that consumers support cruelty free companies.
According to Kenneth Motville, a representative for PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals], over 100 million animals are tortured in labs each year, the majority of that for the cosmetics industry. Animal testing is pretty gruesome, and if you have a weak stomach, I would not recommend googling the subject, as many of the photographs shown are very graphic depictions of some of the torture and pain animals go through during testing. Animals such as rabbits, primates and even horses are prime candidates for cosmetic testing, and often it can leave them with painful skin conditions and blindness. The animals are kept in small, dark, crowded cages with relatively little care and food.
There are very simple ways to stop supporting animal testing in the cosmetic industry. To be clear: there are no laws in place in the US that require cosmetics to be animal tested. Many companies that do participate in animal testing do so because their companies have been testing that way for decades. According to Motville, the European Union and Israel recently banned cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Peta.org even provides a list called “Beauty without Bunnies” that features hundreds of cosmetic companies that have cruelty free products. The list varies in price and types of products. One particularly well known one being the beauty company LUSH cosmetics, but includes makeup brands like Urban Decay and NYX. The list also includes companies like EcoTools that make cruelty free and environmentally friendly makeup brushes. The list also has an app version for use on the go.
Companies such as LUSH, according to their webpage, built the foundation of their company on the fight against animal testing. Before their company even started, their founders were fighting against animal cruelty, and because of that, LUSH never buys any raw products from companies that support animal testing. They have a wide range of products as well, from the widely popular “Bath Bombs” to shampoo and even hair dye.
According to Motville, even though makeup by Urban Decay generally ranges on the expensive end of the spectrum, there are makeup brands featured on PETA’s list that are completely affordable. The list includes the affordable brand E.L.F cosmetics (sold at Target) and NYX another brand with affordable makeup and a vibrant array of eyeliner and eye shadow.
It’s possible to buy all your beauty products from companies that are cruelty free. Freeman Beauty has dozens of brands under its umbrella with shampoo and even dozens of face masks for a little pampering. Now I wouldn’t recommend trashing all of your expensive makeup right away, but instead, as you use up your current products, switch to different cruelty free brands. Another great way to make an impact is by writing to your favorite cosmetic companies and say that you will no longer support them as a company until they stop animal testing. Small steps can make a big difference in how consumers shop. By slowly building up their cruelty-free makeup collection not only are they supporting those brands, but by avoiding brands like Maybelline, Cover Girl and Revlon, consumers make a statement about what is important to them.
By going cruelty-free, it’s possible for consumers to become conscious of more purchase decisions in their lives. Often once a consumer has learned the truth about animal testing it changes the way they approach the cosmetics industry. Animal testing is no longer necessary the way that it was 20 years ago—scientific advancements, like 3d-human-skin models, could completely replace the use of rabbit skin in lab experiments. Not only that, but according to LUSH’s website, non-animal testing methods are proven to be scientifically superior to traditional animal methods, and less expensive. Becoming aware of animal testing is the first step consumers make to join the fight against it. Especially in college it can be difficult when shopping to stop and think about your purchase decisions, but by developing conscious shopping habits now, later in life it will become second nature to make healthy and cruelty-free choices in the cosmetics aisle.
Photo courtesy of PETA.org