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Whether it’s medicine, cosmetics or other types of products, animal testing is a serious problem globally.
Cruelty Free International reports that about 192.1 million animals were tested on in 2015 in the name of science. This includes 80 million lab animals who were experimented on or killed for their organs and tissues.
While many makeup brands have gone cruelty-free and several countries have banned animal testing—such as Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Israel, India and Taiwan—more needs to be done to prohibit cosmetic animal testing throughout the rest of the world.
As a consumer, you have a choice: Buy makeup from companies that choose to test on animals, or vow only to buy cruelty-free products. Here are six benefits of buying cruelty-free makeup instead.
Conventional cosmetics typically include parabens and other synthetic ingredients that can be harmful to you.
Parabens are a type of chemical that’s used to preserve cosmetic products and prevent mold. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not employ special regulations for chemical ingredients in the cosmetic industry. Additionally, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), ingredients—other than color additives—in makeup products do not require FDA approval before going to market.
On the other hand, cruelty-free products usually have far more natural ingredients that are better for your skin and your health. When you think about it, even if you wash the makeup off your face at the end of the day, you’ve still worn products with harmful ingredients for hours at a time.
Check your makeup products and try to avoid cosmetics that list the following ingredients:
For decades, animals have been subjected to cruel experiments and procedures to measure the safety of ingredients in cosmetics and other household products. It’s important to note that rats and mice aren’t the only animals found in labs, either. Dogs, monkeys, rabbits, cats and pigs are just some of the other species commonly used for testing.
According to the Human Society International (HSI), about 155 million animals are used in laboratory experiments annually worldwide. However, the exact number is unclear since many laboratories refuse to publish this information.
Lab animals are typically confined to tiny cages and poor conditions. The HSI also highlights typical procedures these animals undergo, such as toxicity experiments, chemical or drug exposure, food and water deprivation, surgical procedures and behavioral experiments that cause distress.
By choosing cruelty-free products, you can rest assured that whatever makeup you’re wearing was created without animal abuse.
When you decide to purchase cruelty-free cosmetic alternatives, you’re essentially sending a clear message to the makeup industry that animal testing is unacceptable.
For example, all of COVERGIRL’s beauty products went cruelty-free in 2018 after consumer demand to end cosmetic animal testing picked up steam. They also don’t sell their products in China because of ongoing beauty-related animal testing requirements.
Cosmetic companies care about where you spend your money, and clearly, they won’t get your business unless something changes in their practices. If enough people stand against cosmetic companies who test on animals, it paves the way for cruelty-free products to become the norm.
You may be surprised to learn that it’s unnecessary to buy beauty products that have undergone animal testing. In fact, there’s already a long list of companies that started as cruelty-free or have recently been certified cruelty-free.
Currently, the Leaping Bunny Program lists over 2,000 cruelty-free cosmetic brands, making it easy to find a new line of products to use in your beauty regimen.
As for those who claim that testing chemical components on animals is necessary to ensure they’re safe for humans, cruelty-free Milani Cosmetics argues that over 7,000 safe, previously-tested ingredients exist for brands to choose from and that it’s mainly a profit scheme.
Reliable alternatives to animal testing are also available, such as cell and tissue cultures and advanced technological models. Another option is in vitro testing, which is standard practice throughout Europe’s cosmetic industry where animal testing is banned.
Cosmetic brands that continue to experiment on animals tend to argue that in vitro is too expensive. However, cruelty-free companies already use in vitro and clinical trials on humans to test their products.
Switching to cruelty-free products allows you to enhance your cosmetic practice and make smarter, more mindful product decisions.
That’s not to say there aren’t endless makeup options that are cruelty-free. You’ll just have an opportunity to be more thoughtful about what you buy. If your bathroom vanity is exploding with concealer, eye shadow, lipstick and makeup brushes, a move towards cruelty-free makeup is a prime opportunity to clean it out and take a minimalist approach.
A new approach to your cosmetic routine may mean using less makeup and buying only the essentials. You won’t just be making conscious makeup choices; you’ll generate less waste.
Let’s not forget about other products we use that aren’t makeup. Shampoos and other hair products are also regularly tested on animals. You can find plenty of hair products that are cruelty-free with less harmful ingredients that are better for animals, the environment and you.
If you’re making smarter choices about how many cosmetic products you buy, you’ll obviously find yourself saving money. However, there is a misconception that cruelty-free products are more expensive in general.
The truth is many cruelty-free brands are budget-friendly. You may be surprised to find out that high-quality, affordable cruelty-free cosmetics are available at your local drugstores, such as E.L.F., Milani, COVERGIRL, Burt’s Bees, LA Girl and NYX.
Burt’s Bees also has a skincare line, while you may also consider cruelty-free hair products from Cake Beauty, Hask, Not Your Mother’s, Paul Mitchell, Suave and Dove.
Cruelty-free products certified by an accredited third-party organization—PETA, Leaping Bunny or Cruelty Free International—will be labeled as such with their respective bunny logos, making shopping for cosmetics much easier.
However, not all cruelty-free certifications are created equal. For example, Leaping Bunny’s standards include:
Meanwhile, PETA only recognizes companies with no animal testing or animal-derived ingredients in their product lines.
While Cruelty Free International has a similar set of certification criteria as Leaping Bunny, they allow the sale of products in Chinese markets where animal testing is required.
Other logos and symbols you may want to look for include Vegan Action, the Vegan Society and the Vegetarian Society.
Between the immorality of testing on animals and the numerous options available for cruelty-free cosmetics, it’s a simple decision to make to switch to makeup alternatives that are safer for humans and animals alike.
Considering that several countries have banned animal testing from cosmetic manufacturing, it’s a good idea for you to jump aboard, as well, and begin making a difference in your beauty regimen. Your choice to shop cruelty-free will drive positive changes in the cosmetic industry.