We are used to see makeup as a way to get prettier instantly and we often forget that the products themselves can have an ugly side. We’re not talking about packaging but current practices. Animal testing is still a common practice in the industry and, despite efforts to change them, the problem seems to be amplifying rather than reducing. Though there are companies that pledged to forgo animal testing, many of those companies are beginning to lose their ‘cruelty free’ designation as they make the decision to expand their market and sell to China, where animal testing to ensure consumer safety is mandatory.
To make matters even more confusing, consumers are often faced with a challenging decision even if they manage to find a product that adheres to these cruelty-free standards. It often becomes a matter of purchasing a product that is not tested on animals even if the parent company has a different global policy or forgoing the company’s products altogether.
Some believe that raising the sales for cruelty-free products will encourage industry giants to change their practices on the global scale and thus producing a significant impact on the industry once they see the effort is justified, while others think that doing so will only increase the profit margin of those who put profit ahead of ethics and morality. The decision is an individual one, but in either case it pays to know the changes that occur in the industry if this topic interests you.
For instance, PETA announced earlier this year that Avon, Mary Kay, Estée Lauder have returned to animal testing after two decades in which they prided themselves of refraining from such practices and have been consequently downgraded. The loss of the ‘leaping bunny’ symbol which reassured concerned customers now also extends to labels the companies own like MAC Cosmetics or Essie. Aveeno, Shiseido, Vidal Sassoon, ROC, Neutrogena, Clinique, Max Factor, Rimmel, Maybelline are just some of the brands that should be avoided by those willing to stop this practice.
Some companies like L’Occitane are making an effort to change China policies belonging to a gray area. There are also companies that have chosen not to sell to China given the fact that this would result in losing one of the strong principles that the label is based on. Urban Decay is one of the most recent examples as it currently decided to refrain from selling their products to China until a change in policies is made. BeautiControl, E.L.F. Cosmetics are also some of the brands that are currently cruelty-free.
As new acquisitions are made, the status of the brand changes throughout time and new labels are constantly coming up and staying constantly updated about changes is essential to ensure that your purchases reflect your beliefs. Fortunately, there are resources that make it easier to do that and help you fine tune your searches based on various criteria.
PETA.org updates the list of brands which do and don’t test on animals approximately twice a year and also makes a special note for completely vegan products while leapingbunny.org in addition to keeping updated lists of cruelty free companies also highlights brands that although don’t test on animals are owned by companies which don’t necessarily abide this standard to make the decision process easier. In the end, consumers have the power to vote with their money and demand companies to do the right thing.