Beauty Without Pain
Why, When and How to go Cruelty Free
There you are standing before all the pretty colors, powders and claims. Like a kid in a candy store you want to try them all at once!
Whether it’s your first time or your one-hundredth there is nothing quite as exhilarating as the makeup aisle, not for the idea that you can “cover up” but rather for the idea that there are limitless possibilities to play with!
Makeup is another form of creative expression. Our face is the canvas that represents to the world who we are at any given moment in time.
The good kind of experiment where color and shapes combine to set the tone for mood, presence and confidence and that includes all you Ziggy Stardust’s out there!
The bad kind of experiment? The one that lurks out of sight and out of mind as you go for that lipstick or powder, an “inconvenient truth” — to borrow a phrase that is as horrible to imagine as it is to grasp and contemplate its reality.
I’m talking about the archaic practice of “testing” on animals for cosmetics.
Animal Testing for Cosmetics
By the 1940s, after multiple consumer related incidents that led in some cases to blindness, skin infection and death, Congress passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that required every product to undergo testing before it could be released.
However, animal testing is not required by law or the FDA. What is, is that safety is “demonstrated satisfactorily” though many alternative means to animal testing have yet to be approved by the FDA that would satisfy their requirements on the safety of ingredients.
Rabbits, mice and guinea pigs are most commonly tested for cosmetic purposes, though cats and dogs can be used to test toxicology tests. The results from animal tests can be quite variable and difficult to interpret because they have very different bloodlines, body types and genetic patterns.
Considered timely, not cost effective and wasteful:
A test for reproductive toxicity can require a total of 2,600 rats.
Skin sensitization tests require as many as 32 guinea pigs or 16 mice.
Irritation and corrosion tests are performed on 1–3 rabbits.
There are nearly 50 non-animal tests that have been validated for use, with many more in development. Offering results that are not only more relevant to people, but more efficient (results can be seen in as little as a day whereas animal tests can take months even years before usable data is gathered) and cost-effective.
Bans and Practicality
In 1998 the United Kingdom banned the cosmetic testing of animals followed by the EU in 2009. India, Israel, New Zealand and Turkey also have bans in place.
This often times brings up the question of how and why not the United States?
First of all there is a list of “safe to use” ingredients that have already past the consumer safety tests, often times having already been tested on animals.
Many U.S. based manufacturers have stated that they are either moving away from or are no longer testing on animals, however when selling in a larger global market (think China) law requires animal testing therefore certain brands cannot claim cruelty free status.
What can I do and how do I know?
The FDA defines cosmetics as “articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions.”
So a lot of basic beauty and upkeep products, things you probably have in your cabinet right now, fall into this zone of “stringent safety standards”.
Fear not! There is something you can do about it, even if you’re standing in the shopping isle right now pondering one product or another. It’s call Cruelty Cutter By the Beagle Freedom Project ( Which your app purchase goes to help raise funds.)
An app that gives you the power to be an informed consumer, all you have to do is scan the product at hand and it will instantly tell you if it is cruelty free of not.
But wait there’s more! Cruelty Cutter also gives you the power to get you voice heard and your impact known. If your scanned product is one that is using animal testing you can send a pre-written email of protest to the company, then share the finding and pledge to boycott via Facebook and Twitter.
If the product is animal friendly? Well you can post abut that too! Showing where your dollars are going, showing the manufactures what consumers really want in their beauty regimen.
Wait it gets better! With each social sharing you earn “Doggie Dollars”. Collect 100 and cash them in for a cool promo coupon from our favorite cruelty-free companies.
So thanks to technological advances both consumer and manufacturer have it within their capability to take a stand and evolve with the standards. In this ever growing world or “conscious consumerism” transparency is more important then ever.
Just because it is how something has been done doesn’t mean it’s how it has to be done. We are in the age of expansion, ingenuity and the creative thinker, doer, user. Let’s keep it going.
This article is not affiliated with Cruelty Cutter — I just think it’s awesome and wanted to share!