Claims can be DeceptiveIt is not the easiest feat to find cruelty-free cosmetics. The degree of legitimacy depends on the label and who are making the claims. For example, a lipstick that claims “no animal ingredients” or even “100% vegan” is not telling you if they have tested on animals. Read up on eco-fashion, as the clothing industry can be similarly deceptive. Traditional makeup often includes ingredients that participate in animal suffering. Examples include:
- Lanolin (in moisturizer, conditioner and lipstick), which is derived from the oil glands of sheep forced to live in excess heat.
- Cystine is often used in hair care products, and it is derived from duck feathers, horsehair or animal urine.
- Urea also comes from animal urine or other “secretions” and can be found in shampoo, deodorant and dental care.
Know Your LogosEthical Elephant gives a good breakdown on what the logos actually mean. The pink bunny ears are verification from PETA and the outlined bunny is verified by Choose Cruelty Free. However, even these systems aren’t perfect as there aren’t auditing systems in place, requiring a trust in the applicant’s statement. There is a third bunny commissioned by Leaping Bunny that does audit, but this does not guarantee that a product is vegan. Animal testing has been completely banned in the European Union, so this outdated and inaccurate way of determining safety is by no means essential. The FDA currently leaves it up to individual cosmetic manufacturers to employ whatever testing is “appropriate and effective” for maintaining the safety of their products. (They also support the development and alternatives to animal testing). The Chinese government requires animal testing, therefore if a product is sold in China, it cannot be considered cruelty-free.
How to Choose Cruelty-Free CosmeticsIf the thought of cute guinea pigs being exploited makes you sick, two good ways to make a difference are:
- Change where your dollars go and purchase cruelty-free make-up and beauty products. Cruelty-Free Kitty offers a detailed guide of drugstore to high-end brands that are vegan and cruelty-free. For a more exhaustive list, Peta offers a detailed list of companies that do not test on animals and companies that are working on regulatory change.
- Sign petitions that will affect animal testing in your country. The Humane Society International even has a global pledge to sign as a support to end animal testing for cosmetics.