Animal Welfare

My Stance On Cruelty Free Makeup & Animal Testing

Nars, who are owned by Shiseido
As a lot of you probably already know, I only buy cruelty free beauty products. I do not buy leather/suede either and have been vegetarian since I was 14; animal welfare has always been very important to me. I first went cruelty free with my makeup this March, and I’m almost ashamed to say that. But the only reason I didn’t do it sooner was because I didn’t think about it properly before then/wasn’t alerted to the fact that so many brands test on animals – even those who claim they don’t. While I know posts like these are sometimes difficult to read if you aren’t cruelty free yourself, I urge you to carry on reading and hear out my opinion.

How Do You Know Who Tests On Animals?
Selling In China
When I went cruelty free in March, I thought it was going to be really hard. As a beauty blogger and YouTuber (and total makeup addict) it seemed almost impossible to carry on as normal when I was about to cut out so many brands. The main way in which I cut these brands out was to find out who sells in China. If you didn’t already know, China is the only country that requires animal testing to be carried out by law. So, if a company sells in mainland China, they test on animals. No exceptions. Lots of companies carry out animal testing and still give the impression of being cruelty free by using this loophole. The ones that mislead you in this way will often put something similar to this in their animal testing policy:
“We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law.” (Clinique’s website)

This is an example of a company that gives the impression of being cruelty free, but is not. The only reason for companies to sell in mainland China and compromise animal welfare is for money, just for the record, and lots of 100% cruelty free brands such as Charlotte Tilbury have proven it is simply not necessary to sell in China if you want to be successful. I know progress is being made with this and hopefully Chinese law will catch up with everyone else in the near future.
Too Faced, who have recently been bought by Estee Lauder
Being Owned By Parent Companies Who Test On Animals
So, selling in China is one way to take away a brand’s cruelty free status, but there is another way which has come to my attention recently. When I first went cruelty free, I used websites like Cruelty Free Kitty and Logical Harmony (my two favourites) to check if each individual brand was on their cruelty free lists (linked on website names), and if they were, I accepted them as 100% cruelty free. But some aren’t, and this is where things can get a bit confusing.
There are two types of “cruelty free” brands. One is 100% cruelty free, where ยฃ0.00 of your money will go towards animal testing. These brands include Hourglass, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kevyn Aucoin, Charlotte Tilbury, Milani and lots of other great brands. The second type is a cruelty free brand being owned by a parent company that is not cruelty free. For example, L’Oreal (not cruelty free) owns The Body Shop (cruelty free). So, even if you buy from The Body Shop, some of your money will end up at L’Oreal and eventually be used to fund animal testing.
This is where some people, including myself before last week, are getting tripped up. Even if a brand does not sell in China and brands themselves as cruelty free, they may be owned by a bigger company who do test on animals. The two big names to look out for are L’Oreal and Estee Lauder as they have bought lots of the best cruelty free brands.
Another point I want to make is that, before I went cruelty free, somebody actually slated me for buying from MAC when they themselves are not cruelty free. This past year, MAC has received a lot of hate for animal testing, but just because they have had the most media coverage does not mean they are the only ones doing it. Please, if you’re going to preach to someone about why they shouldn’t buy MAC, check your bathroom cupboard because I’m almost positive there will be something in there that does exactly the same thing. I’m all for everybody having their own opinion and leading whatever lifestyle suits them, but do your research before pushing it on someone else.
My Decision
With these facts known, it’s each to their own. The reason I have chosen to not buy from cruelty free brands that are owned by companies such as L’Oreal and Estee Lauder is that I feel, if I’m going to go cruelty free, I don’t want a single penny of my money to fund animal testing, so I would feel wrong buying from places like The Body Shop. An argument some people make is that if you’re going to take that stance with makeup, surely you can’t buy from supermarkets like Tesco and Waitrose because they sell meat products. My response to that is I totally agree, and feel a bit hypocritical, but makeup is a really easy place to start. I think the key thing here is to accept that no one can lead a 100% ethical lifestyle. We can make positive changes to our consumerism and try our best to make ethical decisions, but some way or another our money will end up in the hands of someone we probably don’t want it to; that’s just the way the world works. However, I won’t let that dampen the positive changes I have made, and will continue to make.
So, the change I made last week was sparked when Too Faced, my favourite makeup brand of all time who have a very passionate stance on animal testing, were bought by Estee Lauder. Becca have also recently been bought by them, another of my favourite cruelty free companies. Even though Too Faced confirmed that they themselves will stay cruelty free, it really upset me that they would want to associate themselves at all, let alone be bought by a company that has no problem with testing on animals.
However, I then realised I wasn’t actually sure if any other of my existing favourite “cruelty free” makeup brands were owned by such parent companies. After mere minutes of research, I discovered most of them were. I thought about arguments from both sides but came to the decision that I would no longer buy from these brands unless bought second hand, to ensure that none of my money is going to their parent companies. I will also no longer promote them on social media or my YouTube channel, or use them in makeup tutorials.
Charlotte Tilbury, a 100% Cruelty Free Brand
I know that another argument of cruelty free buyers who DO buy from these brands, is that if we continue to buy from places like Too Faced, Becca, etc., then hopefully Estee Lauder etc. will realise that cruelty free is popular and selling in mainland China is not necessary. To be totally honest, while everyone is entitled to their own opinion and argument, this just does not work for me personally as I would feel like I was copping out. As I previously said, I don’t want a single drop of my money to be spent on animal testing and it would be if I continued to buy from those brands.
However, I will buy these products second hand from Depop as they are still cruelty free; the only reason I am not buying from them is that I don’t want my money going to Estee Lauder, L’Oreal etc.
I know animal testing isn’t important to everyone, but when it comes to cosmetics, it’s just not necessary. The fact that there is only one country left that requires it by law says something. If you are at all considering making the change, I promise you it’s not difficult and once you’ve done it, you barely even realise or miss the brands you cut out.
If you’d like any recommendations, high end or affordable, just ask and I’ll be happy to advise as I’ve found some great products through being cruelty free! The Superdrug own brand is also a great one with a huge range of really cheap (but great) products. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue so if you have anything to add, please don’t hesitate to get involved. I’d also love suggestions for more cruelty free related videos and blog posts.
Thanks for reading!

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