Animal testing within the beauty industry is no longer a big secret. Consumers around the world are waking up to the reality that some of the biggest brands on the planet take part in inhumane practices and they no longer want to be apart of it. As a result, people are demanding cruelty-free products and brands are listening, with the cruelty-free market expected to continue growing over the next few years.
If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to cruelty-free products, then there is no better time to start.
But, where do you even begin?
What brands are cruelty-free?
Do you have to get rid of all your make-up?
Where do you buy cruelty-free cosmetics from?
What’s all this talk about China and parent companies?
In this post, learn five simple steps to take when making the switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle.
#1 – Start Slow
Once the initial feeling of “where the heck am I supposed to start?” fades, you’ll soon start to feel all the excitement associate with beginning a cruelty-free life. As tempting as it may be to dump all of your non-cruelty-free cosmetics in the bin and jet off to your local Superdrug to re-fill your makeup bag, it’s best to take things slow.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. First, use up what you already have and then replace it with cruelty-free alternatives when the time comes. As fabulous as is that you want to go cruelty-free as soon as possible, you also don’t want to be wasteful unnecessarily.
Gather all of your products and take stock of what you already have. Are some of your current products already cruelty-free? How can you tell? This brings me on to my next point…
#2 – Make Sure You Do Your Research
Honestly, Google will become your new best friend. When you’re first starting out, you aren’t going to magically know which companies are cruelty-free and which ones aren’t. Frankly, it can be quite a headache and it is definitely a learning process.
The best way to find out if any products you already own, or if your favourite make-up brands are cruelty-free, is by doing your research on Google.
Check out what other people are saying about the company. Read up on reviews and blog posts, as there is probably already somebody else that has written about the brand or product that can give you an insight into their animal testing policies.
A few of my favourite websites for doing research includes Logical Harmony, who has a very impressive cruelty-free brand list and also lists whether the company uses Vegan ingredients.
Another favourite of mine from my early cruelty-free days is Cruelty Free Kitty who also has a handy little guide to cruelty-free brands. They also regularly update their readers if a company is no longer cruelty-free and often emails companies directly to ask them about their policies.
A word of caution; if you’re searching for a brand’s animal testing policies, don’t just base your research on what is written on the company website. Unfortunately, the ‘official statement’ from the brand isn’t always clear-cut and to the point, so it’s better to look at a few different sources for the answer and recent news stories for the most up-to-date information.
#3 – Learn About China and Parent Companies
Let’s talk about China. If you’ve been doing your research on which brands are cruelty-free, then you might have heard the words ‘China’ and ‘Parent Companies’ being thrown around a lot.
So, what does this mean?
Put briefly, cruelty-free brands fall under three different categories; independent, owned by a parent company that IS cruelty-free and owned by a parent company that ISN’T cruelty-free.
A parent company is essentially a company that owns the brand and they can either be cruelty-free themselves or not. For example, the makeup brand Too Faced is CF, but they are owned by Estée Lauder who isn’t CF.
There are reasons for and against supporting brands owned by parent companies which you can read about here. At the end of the day, as a cruelty-free consumer the choice is yours. But, I’d recommend doing your research so you can make a well-informed decision.
As for China, many shoppers are often shocked to find out that animal testing is required by law in China for all foreign cosmetics brands. This means that all of the big American and European cosmetics brands that are currently selling in China conduct animal testing before they can physically sell their products over there. Some of these big brands include MAC, Benefit and L’Oreal.
#4 – Look for the Leaping Bunny
If you want to avoid animal-testing, then it’s worth knowing the different logos, what they mean and who is verifying them. Not all logos are the same though so it’s worth knowing the difference.
Leaping Bunny: An internationally recognised program that requires brands and their ingredient suppliers to commit to strict set of standards and mandatory audits by an independent assessor. Leaping Bunny also doesn’t allow brands that use their logo to sell their products in foreign markets that require animal testing, such as China.
PETA: PETA’s Beauty Without Bunny Program is one of the most-well known cruelty-free program / logos. In order to be approved, applicants must fill out a short questionnaire (consisting of 8 questions) and sign a statement of assurance.
Choose Cruelty-Free: An independant, non-profit organisation, Choose Cruelty-Free is an Australian based company do approve brands with an international presence. One of the smallest organisations, the key differentiator about CCF is that they won’t accredidate brands who are owned or associated by non-cruelty-free brands. CCF requires brands that use their logo to fill in a questionnaire, application for accreditation and a legally binding contract.
#5 – Don’t Sweat Mistakes
Let’s be real. There will probably come a time when you’re going to make a mistake when switching to a cruelty-free lifestyle, such as buying from a brand that you thought were cruelty-free when they aren’t. You’re only human!
You have to keep telling yourself that you’re still learning. It can be so easy to get disheartened, feel like a failure and want to give up, but don’t let one mistake knock you back. Going cruelty-free is a whole new way of life and you aren’t going to be an expert overnight.
The fact that you’re trying to make a change for the better is what matters.
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