When you were putting on your make-up this morning were you thinking about what was on your face? Many women (and some men) don’t give it a second thought. We don’t want to give up our rich pigments, smooth application, and staying power of our favorite war paint. Some of us would consider reenacting the bunny scene from Fatal Attraction ourselves before giving up the only foundation that matches our skin tone. You don’t have to sacrifice quality when buying cruelty-free cosmetics. Whether you’re Vegan or munch meat you will find common ground at the make-up counter. Here are 10 reasons you need to know so you can make better decisions:
1. Animal Cruelty
We may have a picture in our mind of a group of chimps sitting around the lab looking like they’re ready for RuPaul’s Drag Race. Girls these are not little queens of loveliness and style. They are having unspeakable horrors brought upon them, all so we can feel pretty. Animals used in laboratory testing are bunnies, mice, hamsters, and sometimes dogs. These animals are not having spa days. They don’t sit around with cucumber slices on their eyes while getting an aromatherapy shampoo. They have harsh chemicals rubbed roughly into their freshly shaved skin. They aren’t given pain control, and anyone who has heard a rabbit howl knows it is the most gut-wrenching, haunting sound you will ever hear. Bones are sometimes broken when they are held down and forced to breathe poisonous fumes or have lethal chemicals poured into their eyes. After all this, we may still have serious reactions to our lipstick or mascara.
2. Healthier Skin
Whether it’s putting on make-up or applying skin care products, the end results are the same. We use cosmetics to look and feel attractive. Animal rights aside, using vegan products are much healthier for your skin. We need to remember, the skin is our largest organ. If you look at a label and see an ingredient that would harm your liver or spleen, imagine the effects it will have on your skin. Vegan products have more simplistic and natural ingredients. So, unless you’re allergic to nuts or carrots, vegan cosmetics are hypoallergenic.
3. Vegan vs. Cruelty-Free
Once you begin looking into more natural products you will find there are two main types of animal conscious beautifiers, vegan and cruelty-free. Vegan is defined as having no animal-derived ingredients. Cruelty-Free means that no animal testing was used. Neither of these are to be confused with the term “all natural”. Animals do derive from nature. Although they are being used in an unnatural way, this does not cross the “all natural” line. An easy way to know if a product is cruelty-free is to look for a bunny symbol. The CCIC created a standard for cruelty-free products and this is their seal of approval.
The average woman puts over 500 chemicals on her body every day. These toxic chemicals seep into our pores and can cause cancer, birth defects, damage to brain or lung cells, even obesity. We all know beauty is pain, but this is taking it to the extreme.
- Butylated hydroxytoluene causes skin and eye irritation.
- Formaldehyde, the fluid used when embalming a dead body, has been linked to asthma, cancer, and immune system damage, to name a few.
- Fragrances are the catch-all phrase for phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine system causing obesity. Phtalates are also linked to developmental defects and delays.
5. Make-up Brushes
Have you ever thought about where they get the bristles for all those fluffy brushes? Prepare for major ick! The most commonly used fur is horse, mink, goat, badgers, ponies, and squirrel… tail. Yes gentle reader, you have been rubbing animal butt fur all over your face. Technically it’s tail fur, but if you have ever woken to a cat butt in your face, you know it’s semantics. When it comes to brushes do not get lulled into the “all natural” ploy. Synthetic brushes have come a long way, and do a much better job than their stiff plastic predecessors. Synthetic may cost a little more, but when compared to applying your make-up with animal butt on a stick… if you need this sentence to be finished you may need to seek professional help.
There are several myths surrounding cosmetic animal testing. These myths are possibly circulated by companies that still use animals for testing cosmetics. They are meant to confuse consumers and to keep money flowing into their already fat corporate wallets.
- “It’s the law.” The law does not require companies to test cosmetics on animals. On March 11, 2013 the European Union passed laws banning the importing and sale of animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients. This will hopefully be the beginning of worldwide change.
- “Animals are set free after being used.” There are no farms with wide, open spaces for former lab animals to roam free. The fact is that most animals die during testing. Batty Koda in the movie Fern Gully taught us the perils of being a lab animal. Look up “The Batty Koda Rap” on YouTube.
- “There are no alternatives.” Companies can use ingredients that have already been tested and proven safe. There are also new technologies available that can test new products in a fraction of the time that it takes when using animals. Companies simply must make the choice.
7. Top 5 Companies that Use Animal Testing
There are large companies that continue to use animal testing. Here’s a list of the largest and most well-known:
- Max Factor
- Johnson & Johnson
8. Cruel-Free Companies
There are several companies that are dedicated to being cruelty-free or vegan. Although some may advertise themselves as a cruelty-free or vegan company, they may only have certain products in their line that meet the criteria. This is where controversy arises. For people who are 100% vegan, ingredients such as, beeswax and honey are not an option. Be sure to read ingredient labels before purchasing to make sure a produce meets your standards. These are a few companies on the cruelty-free list:
- The Body Shop
- Urban Decay (Some vegans have boycotted UD since it was bought out by L`Orèal.)
- Too Faced
- Pin Up Girl
- Ecco Bella
- Hard Candy
We all know what a cold, hard bitch karma can be. I’m not saying a lipstick-wearing bunny with bloodshot eyes is going to come after you with its big nasty teeth, but once we know better we should do better.
10. What You Can Do
Be a conscientious shopper and know what you are buying. Take the time to look at labels before making a purchase. If you want to check on a company’s cruelty-free status, check animal rights websites for a list of approved companies. Use your money to vote for cruelty-free products. After learning the secret horrors behind some cosmetics, you may want to take a more active stance. Sign online petitions or write your own letters to the powers-that-be to have laws changed in your area.
Decide what choices you are comfortable making, and don’t be too hard on yourself. No one can be 100% vegan 100% of the time. Although we may choose to only purchase cruelty-free or vegan items we can’t completely remove ourselves from all animal byproducts. Even stores like Whole Foods have a meat department. However, the inability to totally remove ourselves from our furry friends’ plight is no excuse to make your own poor choices. Buy cruelty-free cosmetics to save an animal, to save your skin, to save your conscience, or to save yourself from the lipstick-wearing bunny with bloodshot eyes coming at you with its big nasty teeth. It doesn’t matter what your reasons are, just do the right thing.
You can start doing your part by simply sharing this article with your friends and family. It won’t take you more than a few seconds and you will help spread a compassionate message.