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Tidbits Cruelty-free

Cruelty-free is the way to be!(Image Credit)

It’s getting harder and harder to find mainstream brands that are cruelty-free. We’ve lost a lot of brands this year to testing (including but not limited to MAC, Smashbox, Revlon, Sephora Brand, Mary Kay, Avon, Dermalogica), and it’s sad. I was so heartbroken over MAC that I sent them a handwritten letter, in addition to several emails.

I’m extremely grateful to Too Faced for their stance of always being cruelty-free.  I was so happy I cried when Urban Decay reversed their decision to sell in China. I greatly respect Lush for their stance, too. I’m proud to be a fan of Anastasia Beverly Hills for their stance.

I’m also very grateful to all of my indie brands who continuously raise the bar with being cruelty-free, having wonderfully pigmented products that perform beautifully at affordable prices. Not to mention their awesome customer service.

One thing that bothers me is that I’ve heard people say, even if X brand becomes cruelty-free, I wouldn’t buy from them. I feel like there MUST be incentive for a brand to change from the ‘Dark Side’ of testing to the ‘Light Side’ of cruelty-free. If a brand reverses their position and stops testing, they need to see that people will purchase from them. This is one of the reasons that I will support cruelty-free companies that are owned by non-cruelty-free parent companies. Some examples would be NARS, The Body Shop and OPI.

Now, I’m not here to preach the One True Way or anything like that. I think that you need to do what you feel is right for you. I lean towards the Harm Reductionist lifestyle. For me with beauty products this means that if a company says ‘except where required by law,’ I will not be purchasing from them. I was really upset when I purchased the Smashbox Shades of Fame palette because it had the cruelty-free bunny on it, only to find out that they are testing in China (hence the ‘except where required by law’). I am doing the best that I can to make sure that I state cruelty-free status on products that I review. I’m trying to point out whenever I find a great affordable drugstore brand that’s cruelty-free, like gud by Burt’s Bees or Milani.

When a company contacts me asking if I want to review their products, I immediately inquire if they are cruelty-free. If they are not, I decline to review their products.

I rely on Jen from My Beauty Bunny and Tashina from Logical Harmony whenever I find conflicting information. They’re awesome!

2013 is looming. March 2013 is supposed to have big changes in store for the UK with banning animal testing. I desperately hope this goes through. I want it to have a ripple effect on the USA, causing companies to stop testing. Like I pointed out earlier today in my Glossybox September review (by quoting Goh Ken Do), there is the in Vitro safety testing method, so animal testing is no longer necessary for cosmetics in this day and age.

What do you think about the number of mainstream companies that have lost their cruelty-free status this year? Do you think they’ll return to being cruelty-free?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue!

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  • Smashbox and Revlon…wah, I will miss you! Smashbox has my favorite face and eyelash primer and Revlon was my drugstore go-to since I thought they were CF! :(I am also glad that Urban Decay reversed their testing stance. It is CRAZY to me that one of the MAIN things they are known for was about to go out the window in order to chase the almighty dollar (their original press release was b.s. to me). I am still concerned that they only reversed their decision due to how unpopular the move was for the brand and therefore their bottom line, but am still glad because they have long been one of my favorites and I was truly be hurt by it.I became aware of cruelty-free cosmetics when I started reading beauty blogs a couple of years back. I went pretty hardcore for a year or so, but became discouraged by the flip-flopping (brands you thought were CF, but aren’t) and the idea that, even if the brand is CF, they may have acquired their formulas from companies that aren’t. I could literally run myself in circles. I even thought about going one level up and trying for CF in other areas of life, but that seemed harder to accomodate. I decided that since cosmetics are not “necessary,” I would concentrate my efforts there.Oddly enough, my boss kind of indirectly helped me put it in perspective. She fosters senior dogs for a senior dog rescue (my little Peke was one of her fosters) and hasn’t eaten meat since she was 16 (I think she’s 40 now). I saw her put something in the trash one day and I said, “Don’t you recycle?” and she said, “I’m only one person, I can only do so much.” And it’s true! Like you also said below, you can only do what you think is best for you. Am I perfect with CF beauty? No, but I really do try and I try to spread the word and tell my friends about my efforts, as well.Thanks for your blog because it helps people like me who are trying to support CF brands know where to keep an eye out!

  • I’m just curious to know how you feel about make-up brushes? I would have guessed that you only used synthetic brushes, but then I think I saw a duofibrebrush amongst your favourites? I’m not judging, just wondering where you stood in the matter. :)To me, a crueltry-free brand is a brand that doesn’t sell make-up brushes with fur.It’s not like they brushed the squirrel and collected the hair. My guess is that the fur comes from furfactories and in my opinion the animals in the testlabs are better off than the ones skinned alive. :,(

    • Elizandra I believe all the duofiber brushes that I’ve purchased are cruelty-free. I know that all the ecoTools brushes are cruelty-free (and they have some of my duofibers). I have a few fiber optic brushes that I’m not sure as they were purchased 3-4 years ago. My MAC brushes are not cruelty-free, but I’ve had them for 10+ years. Since becoming aware of the issues with brushes, I’ve chosen to purchase cruelty-free, such as Real Techniques and ecoTools and Urban Decay and Too Faced.

  • Everyone has made really good points… sometimes, with this issue, it feels like wading through treacle. I don’t buy products from companies that are not totally upfront about being cruelty free (basically I use your ‘Affordable Cruelty-free Brands’ list as a starting point) but I am also no saint, I just try to do what I think is right in my situation. It seems to me, at times, that this consumerist society we’re currently living in makes it really difficult to purchase responsibly. Companies – and not just the cosmetics industry – are allowed to be vague about practices  (because big business keeps the economy going) and a lot of society are just simply not aware of what it is they are buying or buying into. I consider myself pretty responsible in terms of my consumerist habits (my husband is an environmental sustainability cosultant so if I’m not responsible, I know about it soon enough!) but I still get caught out. The best I feel I can do is to keep educating myself, researching and keeping up with blogs like yours for when I don’t have the resources or time to research things myself. I’m so glad that someone with a voice in the blogosphere is taking this seriously and doing her bit to raise awareness. The more people that get that much more information means that that voice is stronger… it may take many years, but surely at some point these companies will get it that these practices are, firstly, not necessary, and secondly, not sustainable. Sorry, that was a bit of rambling!! There is just so much to say on this issue but … I need some sleep! Thanks Phyrra!! xox

  • Have you contacted Too Faced and what was their reply?  When I have a concern about a product that I love, I always contact the brand and see how they respond before I knock them off my list.  Thanks for the info, tho, on the orangutans.  They are such smart animals!

    • Suselew2 This is a good idea! Jerrod Blandino (co-founder of Too Faced) is a wonderful, sensitive guy. I’m sure he (or a member of his team) would respond to an email about this issue.

      • Phyrra Suselew2 That is a good idea.  It might sound strange, but ethexyl palmitate is not always derived from palm oil.  It’s possible that they don’t actually have palm oil or that it’s responsibly sourced.  I never looked into it, because they also contain parabens, which I’m trying not to use.

  • Somehow I missed Revlon. Ugh, that really, really upsets me. Their products are affordable and work for me, and can be found EVERYWHERE in my small town.  I love WnW, but only three stores in my town carry small selections of their products. At this point, snapping up Urban Decay on sale at Ulta (for some reason, we have an Ulta) is the best option I have. 

  • Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. The recent Urban Decay hoo-ha made me question my views on animal testing. Before I had a very loose idea who tested on animals and avoided the companies I *knew* did, but didn’t have the full picture. I’ve done more research now, and to be honest I think I’m more confused than when I began (!) due to companies trying to obfuscate the truth, but I have a new resolve. Every time I go to buy something, I Google several sources to find out if the company tests on animals. If they do, I don’t buy. The question is where to draw the line – if the parent company tests, if they’ve tested in the past, etc. etc. However I believe the way forward for me is to take the parent company out of the boycott, and instead send emails requesting the parent company stop testing. I think if everyone who is uncomfortable with animal testing were to apply gentle pressure to companies, there could be real change. I just have to say I LOVE your cruelty free stance and your blog is the first place I come when I need to reassure myself about a company’s cruelty free status if I see conflicting information. I was SO bummed to find out recently that Avon test. All I can say is, I’m going to be saving a lot of money!

  • I’m really sad about all the mainstream companies who are no longer cruelty-free. I feel like a slacker, though, since I had not heard that Revlon was no longer cruelty-free! Ugh. I just heard about Sephora Collection no longer being cruelty-free, and it bums me out. I’m a member of an online-makeup-lovers group, and it was really eye-opening to me to see how many people don’t care if something is animal-tested or not. Or if the products were made in locations that provide good working environments or not. Or what sorts of ingredients are in the products that they put on their bodies on a daily basis.In principle, I agree with you about supporting companies who decide to go cruelty-free. However, with Urban Decay, I just don’t get the joy now from using their products that I once did. It’s not that I want to punish them with a personal boycott, it’s more that I just have a bad taste in my mouth about the whole episode. And now with Sephora, I’m feeling a bit torn as well. On the one hand, buying brands there that are cruelty-free sends a message as to what things I look for in cosmetics, but on the other hand, any profits they make from me are going to a company that is no longer cruelty-free in its own make-up line. It’s really tricky to navigate and to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel and what my actions should be.And added to all of this are issues like what sydneyreadseverything mentions. I try really hard to avoid anything that uses palm oil or palm derivatives as well. And then there are ingredients that don’t react well with my skin, like bismuth oxychloride. All of these considerations sometimes leave me feeling like my options are constantly being limited, but in reality, that’s not the case. I’ve been so happy with 99% of the indie products I’ve started using in the past couple of years, and I don’t know that I would have explored them as much as I have if my mainstream options hadn’t been dwindling. In most cases, I have found their products to be superior to those from mainstream companies.Sorry for this to be so long and rambling! I’m really happy that you talk about this issue, though — creating awareness is such a good thing. I think that even if someone thinks they don’t care about the issue now, maybe at some point in the future they will, and the seed will have been planted through reading one of your posts like this one.

    • Sarsie My hope is by talking about it in a non-judgmental way I can raise awareness. I really appreciate your feedback.I’m irritated about Sephora because I just bought 2 cream blushes from them under the impression that they were cruelty-free (after reading a fellow blogger’s rave review).

  • I hate to say it, but if anyone here is concerned about cruelty to animals, there is more to consider than just animal testing.  For example, I love Too Faced eye shadows, but I stopped purchasing them because they contain palm oil products.  The palm oil industry is chopping down rain forest and burning it to make way for palm tree plantations.  They are literally starving, shooting and burning orangutans which are on the verge of extinction.  To me this is far more cruel than animal testing.  Many companies have palm oil in their products including MAC and Inglot.

    • sydneyreadseverything I agree. I feel like everyone who chooses to only use cruelty free products consider themselves saints, yet they don’t think about the ingredients used to make those products. Anything you use in your daily life is going to affect animals somehow. Right down to the soap you use, to the cleaning products you use, etc. Choosing to only use cruelty free products isn’t making a difference, you’re either taking away the fact that animals are being tested on or you’re taking away essential things animals need. It’s like the saying goes for vegetarians: If you love animals so much, why are you eating all of their food?

      • Meh2034 sydneyreadseverything I don’t think that I am a saint. I do choose what to purchase carefully. When purchasing my mattress last year (for example) I chose a bamboo mattress. At the end of the day, I can only do what I feel is the best course of action for me. And for me, that means making careful choices about what I purchase.

  • I’m so sad to hear about Revlon. I used to buy from them since they were on PETA’s list (which should be a pretty reliable source, right?), but now I can’t. It just frustrates me, and in this case, I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face. I’ve been buying only cruelty-free products for a few years now, and I started because of my dogs. (They’re beagles, and that’s the breed that’s the most tested on.) I do feel good about only buying from cruelty-free companies, but it’s just so frustrating that in this day and age, companies still feel like they have to test on animals. Somebody once told me that the main reason for animal testing is to make sure that the ingredients don’t cause adverse reactions in humans. Afterwards, the person followed up with these questions: Why are we even putting ingredients into products when we don’t know how they’ll react with us? Why don’t we just use ingredients that we already know won’t harm us? But I guess that makes too much sense.

    • TrippyPixie93 While I do check Peta and Leaping Bunny’s list, I also check with Tashina and Jen’s list, and I also keep my own list.I agree with you, we should use ingredients that we already know won’t harm us.

  • L’Oreal is the biggest offender in the makeup world.  They are actually fighting the EU laws regarding animal testing and trying to get the 2013 ban end date moved out further.  I agree with you on returning to a company who redeems themselves, except where it applies to L’Oreal.  They will never make a moral decision to ban animal testing unless they are forced by law.  I will boycott them and their child companies (Lancome, Shu Umera, YSL, Giorgio Armani, Maybelline, Garnier, just to name a few) forever.  They have made a public statement with their blatant efforts against stopping animal testing.

    • Suselew2 I look forward to the day that animal testing for cosmetics is no longer allowed. I feel that if Garnier, Giorgio Armani, etc were to go cruelty-free, I would support them. I stopped buying products from L’Oreal when I realized just how they were.

  • I feel the same way you do about when people say that they won’t purchase things from a company even if they choose to go cruelty free. I truly hope that companies like Loreal and Maybelline will go cruelty free, because brands like these are sometimes the only brands that women can afford or have access to. While I am fine with limiting what brands I shop with for the sake of going cruelty free, other people simply are not. And hopefully in the process of going cruelty free, they will change what ingredients they use. Many people are trying to stay away from harmful chemicals in their makeup, including myself. 

    • starshine715 One of the things I hope to accomplish with my blog is to show people that you can find affordable cruelty-free alternatives to L’Oreal and Maybelline. If you like the L’Oreal Everpure shampoo line, try the Marc Anthony line available from Ulta (for example).

      • Phyrra starshine715 I have a blog with the same purpose =) I use Yes to and Alba Botanica products on my hair. I will look into Marc Anthony for sure. thanks =)

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