I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but I’ve been putting it off because the cruelty free topic is a bit of a mine field. Over the past few months I’ve been noticing a lot of other bloggers and youtubers mention that they only use cruelty free brands. I was a little confused, it’s 2016 surely every cosmetic brand is cruelty free these days, right? Well apparently not. So I decided to do a little bit of research on the matter, because who in the world wants cruel makeup!? I’ll be totally honest I’m still not 100% on whether the makeup I’m using is cruelty free or not, but I’ll share with you what I’ve discovered.
Cruelty free vs Vegan
One of the many confusing things I stumbled across during my research was whether a brand is cruelty free or vegan. Is it the same thing? Can a brand be one and not the other? Well annoyingly everyone seems to define them a little differently. From my understanding cruelty free means that the product is not tested on animals. Where as vegan means that the product does not contain any animal products (such as bees wax, honey etc) AND it is not tested on animals. So a product can be cruelty free without being vegan but it cannot be vegan without being cruelty free***. A lot of the time you will find that a brand is cruelty free but only some of its products are vegan.
(***Edit: Actually, because the term is not regulated it is possible for a brand to state that they are vegan because of the products they use, but in fact not be cruelty free. To be completely clear check that the product states that it is both.)
The Confusion with Cruelty Free
The main problem I’ve encountered when determining whether or not a product or a brand is cruelty free is that nobody is ever going to admit that they love to test on animals. It’s always worded in a way that seems as though it is cruelty free. In 2013 the EU banned the sale of animal tested cosmetics, so I naively believed that meant that all makeup would be cruelty free from that date onwards. Sadly that is not the case. There are ways around this ban. Companies can still test their products or ingredients on animals as long as they do not do these tests or sell these products in the European Union. An easy way to know whether a brand is cruelty free is to find out whether the brand is available in China, as all cosmetic products sold in China must be tested on animals. So a lot of brands say that they are cruelty free “except for when required by law”. Or some will claim to be cruelty free but they have third parties doing the testing, so although they may be “cruelty free” the cruelty is still happening. Finally the last problem I encountered and probably the most infuriating is that some brands are genuinely cruelty free, however they are owned by a parent company that is not. For example urban decay has always been cruelty free but it was bought by L’oreal who are not. So it leaves you with the moral dilemma of whether or not to support that brand, because at the end of the day your money is still in L’oreal’s pocket. It’s a tricky one.
How do I know if what I’m buying is really cruelty free?
So if like me after reading all of that you’re more confused about cruelty free and vegan cosmetics than you were to begin with, you might be unsure as to whether your makeup has been tested on animals or not. Well I’ve found logical harmony to have the most comprehensive list of brands. They are also very clear on whether the brand is vegan or just cruelty free. The best thing is that their list is updated every week so you know it’s the most recent information available.
As you can see the subject of cruelty free and vegan makeup is a bit of a complicated one, and I’ve just scratched the surface of it here. I think it’s great that people are becoming more aware of the issue too. Although I am not vegan or even vegetarian I do feel strongly that something as superficial as makeup, as much as I love it, shouldn’t be tested on animals. So now that I’m a little more knowledgable on the matter I’m going to try and make the change to cruelty free cosmetics. I won’t be throwing away all of the makeup I already own so you may still see some pieces on my blog, but I will try to buy only cruelty free from now on. Luckily some of my favourite brands, such as Illamasqua, Anastasia and Kat Von D are vegan and cruelty free. On the other hand it’ll mean saying goodbye to brands like MAC and Estée Lauder which will be heartbreaking. Hopefully though these brands will see that more and more people are making the decision to go cruelty free and eventually one day animal testing will be a thing of the past!
Thanks for reading everyone, let me know if any of you guys are cruelty free and which brands you love.