Sunday, November 20, 2011

Animal Testing and Your Cosmetics

UGH! What a topic for me to chose to blog about today. It is a topic that I feel is important. But, it's also a subject that has a very fine line between educational and preachy. I promise to make my very best attempt to stay on the educational side of the line.

I believe this is a topic you need to educate yourself in and make your own decision about. No one can make this decision for you as it requires you to sacrifice some favorite products (the upside being that you get to find some new faves)!! When I first made the decision to go cruelty free I found it difficult to find information without horrendous pictures. I understand people are trying to make a point, but when I already don't believe in animal testing I don't want to see photos of maimed bunnies whilst doing my research.

I've turned this into a two part research. The first part, which is what this post is all about, is the elimination of products from companies that directly test on animals. I plan to start researching which raw ingredients are tested on animals and then doing another product elimination after (hopefully there will be any products left!!!), but I thought that would be a far too large project to do all at once. I also am NOT going into the testing of animals for pharmacological purposes. There are laws requiring the testing of animals for these products and I am currently not trying to change that, just attempting to make my beauty station a little bit more friendly.

So, a little background on me and my beliefs: I think it's one thing to use animals to find a cure for cancer (I don't like it, but I don't think it's as bad as using an animal to see if my moisturizer will give me a rash). I think that some pharmacological animal testing has helped us to make leaps and bounds in medicine, but it still makes me sad. The only non-cruelty free product I am still using is Sensodyne toothpaste as I have horrifically sensitive teeth, and I haven't found another toothpaste that helps yet. I am a flexitarian, which means I eat meat if my body tells me it wants it, but I make a good attempt at eating non-animal proteins often. I choose knock-off UGGs that are made from synthetics and, while they aren't as cozy, I feel good that I'm not wearing Mary's little lamb. I also believe that it's entirely your choice whether you feel comfortable consuming or wearing animals.

Image courtesy of

Once I discovered which products were animal friendly (most of my cosmetics, YAY!) and which were not (most of my skin care products, BOO!) I didn't immediately toss all the cruel products out and run out to buy cruelty free ones. I feel like the companies only care if you BUY their products. So long as you buy them it doesn't matter if you toss the product or use it. So, I returned any back ups I had and am in the process of using up any already used products.

It is not required by law to test non-medicinal ingredients on animals. However, some companies make this choice based on the ease of testing (you don't need to recruit people that don't mind a rash!) and sometimes based on the cost-effectiveness. There are other tests that can be performed - human study groups can be put together (with a lot of wavers!) and there are many tests they can run on human tissue created in the lab or donated. I won't go any further into this portion, but if you're interested - Google is your best friend!

It's much harder to find out that a company tests on animals than to find those that don't. I would say easily 95% of companies that don't test on animals advertise it either on the actual packaging of the product or the box that the product comes in. That was my first indicator when I was sorting my products. There is no particular symbol that is used, in fact many just say "Not Tested on Animals." Here are a few examples of the symbols:


Courtesy of

These (and other similar) logos can usually be found by the expiration date located on the back of the packaging. If you can't find one of these logos I recommend going to the product's website and checking out the FAQ before banning it from your stash.

If all else fails PETA has a fairly comprehensive list of cruelty free products. Beware of sad photos on that website though!!! PETA also has an iPhone app called BNB or Be Nice to Bunnies for $2.99 which divides all the products into cruelty free and non-cruelty free as well as by category. I LOVE this app for when I am in the pharmacy buying shampoo and can't remember who is cruelty free. I was surprised by some of the non-cruelty free products (Playtex tampons - really?). I also found it was much easier to find "kind" products in higher end lines (ie - things I could buy at Sephora) than drugstore lines (bye bye beauty budget!!)

I won't make an enormous list here, but I thought I would just list a few products from each category.

Non-Cruelty Free (BOO!)
  • Clairol
  • Clean & Clear
  • Crest
  • L'Oreal
  • Maybelline
  • Neutrogena
  • Vichy
Cruelty Free (YAY!)
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Clinique
  • Essie
  • MAC
  • Ole Henrikson
  • OPI
  • Revlon
  • St Ives (cruelty free and vegan)
  • Too Faced
  • Urban Decay
There are a ton of others on both lists so do your research! Once I've got my skincare regime working for me again I will do a "Bunny Friendly Skincare" post. As I mentioned before it is pretty easy to find out who does not test on animals. I have never seen "WE TEST ON ANIMALS" written on the back of any product.

I hope you guys enjoyed this and it wasn't a preachy information over load!! Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see more on this topic in the future. Happy Sunday!!!

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