An Idiot’s Guide To Make-Up: How I Made My Cruelty Free Make-Up Bag
So since I’ve been using more and more make-up I’ve started to refine my make-up bag and get rid of some of the crap I had before to make way for new things. I decided everything in my own make-up bag that was animal tested had to go, because there are so many other ways of testing shit now that I don’t believe Belinda the Bunny needs to die for my lipstick. So the first thing I did was I got myself on Google, and I separated out all the things that I believed to be animal tested. Sometimes a brand makes it very unclear but I got there in the end. It was actually a slightly bigger pile than I thought, which is a bit upsetting.
The trouble is that most cosmetics companies aren’t particularly forthcoming about their animal testing policies. It always comes on some deep dark secluded section of their site which is almost impossible to get to. So eventually I made a system on how I’d decide what to get rid of.
1. Loud and Proud
Some companies make a very big deal out of the fact that they don’t test on animals and it’s one of their USPs. If I can find such a statement within a minute of being on the website, then it’s probably fine.
2. Deeper Searching
Sometimes it takes trawling through the companies FAQs to find out whether they test on animals or not. If it takes me a while to find the topic then that’s not a great sign, but if I find it eventually then the wording of their statement has to be read carefully. If it isn’t a positive “We do not test any of our products or ingredients on animals ever and we don’t get anyone else to do it for us” then further research is needed.
3. Third Party Websites
If we’re getting to this point and still haven’t found anything, then the news is not good, and what I’m now looking for is a third party to confirm that the company probably test on animals. PETA and the Vegetarian Society are pretty helpful sites. Where this happened I will provide links to my sources.
And here is how I decided on each brand:
So normally on the websites of products I discovered to be cruelty free, there is a FAQs page and that is one of the first questions answered. They wear the fact it is cruelty free as a badge of honour, and on the Neutrogena website although there are FAQs, there is no mention of animal testing on it. Not a good start. I googled “Do Neutrogena test on animals?” and it took me to a hidden page of the website that has a vague statement about complying with EU cruelty laws since 2004.
But I thought it was a bit odd that you had to look so hard to find this so I thought it smelled a bit fishy, especially when you compare this to what you find very easily on the Benefit website on their animal testing policy, which is a statement opening with “Benefit does not test our products on animals,” and concluding with details of their research and active campaigning to end animal testing everywhere.
Benefit sounds much more convincing to me so I decided to look further into Neutrogena. When Googling “Do Neutrogena test on animals?” the first hit is one that states that the brand is blacklisted by Peta. This is backed up by the Peta website here. But why? I was so confused. I went on a third website called onegreenplanet.org which stated that although Neutrogena may say on some of it’s packaging “Not tested on animals” that the term is actually unregulated, and that their parent company Johnson & Johnson state “The use of animals in the development of our products is sometimes required to ensure products are safe and effective.” This is confirmed on the Johnson & Johnson website. I guess the call is yours to make, so I decided my Neutrogena hand cream had to go.
Estee Lauder and Benefit
The Estee Lauder website is much easier to navigate and it took me under 20 seconds to find the FAQs page, on which the top question is “Do you test on animals?” This looked promising, even the first couple of sentences of their statement are promising.
“We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf…”
Great Estee Lauder, well done!!!
“except when required by law.”
What follows is a couple of sentences about how although they’re committed to ending animal cruelty they’re also committed to consumer safety. So this one is a little more tricky, because this means that Estee Lauder exports it’s products into countries that require animal testing by law. To explore whether this was a normal stance for a company who claims they are committed to ending animal cruelty, I turned once again to the Benefit website. I looked under what countries it is possible to buy their products from, and I spotted both China and Brazil in the list. This rang alarm bells for me as I’m pretty sure that both those countries require any imported cosmetics to be tested on animals. I did a Google and the hits confirmed this here, so for me that was enough to put Estee Lauder out of the running.
But what about Benefit? Whose website seemed so convincing? I Googled “Is benefit cruelty free?” to see what third parties had to say and this site came up. As you can see their quote of the FAQs section of benefit is a little out of date but it does show that at one time the website said “We do not test our products on animals nor do we permit others to do so except where it is required by law.” NOT good. But the real clincher for me was that the site has a link on it to Chinese Sephora, where Benefit cosmetics are quite visibly available. I double checked with PETA and Benefit is on their list of companies that do test on animals at some stage or other, which means that my Estee Lauder lippie and my Benefit face scrub had to go too.
Maybelline is another brand with an elusive website, and even after hunting the site map I could see nothing that could help me. Maybelline do also appear on the ‘do test’ list on the PETA website so I was pretty convinced, but just to be sure I wanted to check to find a statement from the company itself. I discovered that Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal who I’m pretty sure I already knew was not cruelty free, but I went on the L’Oreal website. Under General Website on their FAQs page, they state that they no longer test on animals except…
“if regulatory authorities demand it for safety or regulatory purposes.”
Nooooooo I hear you cry. Not my vaseline!
Vaseline is such a household name that it is it’s own verb and noun now in the dictionary, but their FAQs avoid the issue of animal testing. Big surprise. So I went back to PETA to see what the deal was. It’s on the do test list. FFS!!!!!
I used vaseline for literally everything. I am so upset. I couldn’t believe it so I double checked the parent company Unilever. Finding anything about animal testing was difficult, and they try to distract you with long articles about how important they think product safety is. Eventually I found a hidden FAQs section where they answer the question.
‘Our commitment to ending animal testing is under-pinned by our research since the 1980s to develop alternatives to animal tests for assessing safety.’
I mean that shouldn’t be necessary really. It’s a yes or no question. Do you test on animals or not? The rest of the answer is equally vague but eventually culminates in the revelation that actually they allow their products to be tested by governments that wish to.
So I went on the Clinique website and couldn’t even find an FAQs page, even when I typed FAQs into the search bar. I typed in animal testing and again, nothing at all. It was back to PETA again and I found it on the do test list. But what I also found is that Clinique is owned by Estee Lauder, who I’d already looked at. So even if Clinique had been fine, I would not have been ok with the fact that the money I’d spent on it would be funding Estee Lauder’s animal testing policy. Because of this I wrote myself a list of major companies that I knew tested and found out who else they owned.
Estee Lauder- Bobbi Brown. Clinique. Bumble and Bumble. Grassroots. Jo Malone. MAC. Michael Kors. Missoni. Tom Ford. Tommy Hilfiger.
Unilever- Dove. St Ives. Tresemme. Vaseline.
Johnson and Johnson-Acuvue. Clean and Clear. Listerine. Neutrogena. Savlon.
Reckitt Benckiser- Clearasil. Durex (I’m sorry who the fuck is testing condoms on animals?). Veet.
P&G- Always (yes the sanitary towel company.) Aussie. Braun. Clairol. Dolce and Gabbana. Gilette. Gucci. Head and Shoulders. Herbal Essences. Hugo Boss. Lacoste. Max Factor. Nice and Easy. Olay. Pantene. Wella.
L’Oreal- Garnier. Giorgio Armani. Kiehl’s. Lancome. Maybelline. Ralph Lauren.
That’s exactly 50 companies. And that doesn’t cover even half of what PETA has on their website, so now I’m thinking where the hell can I shop????
Here is a list of PETA’s don’t test approved companies, which includes:
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Burt’s Bees
- Kat Von D
- Ted Baker
- Too Faced
- and many more. Check it out!
Please don’t mistake this as me saying wearing animal tested products is cruel and you should be ashamed of yourself. I do believe that we could all cut down a bit and that if we all did it companies would take notice. So, if there’s a brand that you love that you have found out tests on animals, go ahead and drop them an email. Ask them why they do and if they have plans to stop in the future. It would just be kind of cool to live in a world where we can be happy in the knowledge that nothing is dying in order for us to look fabulous.