The term cruelty-free makeup is being acclaimed a lot by countless brands. But the question is; How cruelty-free is a cruelty-free makeup brand?
Due to the awareness about the beauty industry, transparency is in huge demand. Hence, millennials are advocating for cruelty-free zones in regards to beauty.
In essence, cruelty-free means brands not testing the products or the ingredients on animals. However, there isn’t any legal definition of it. Certainly, we all are aware that the beauty industry is notorious for testing on animals. Although many went cruelty-free over the years, there still might be loopholes in their claims.
Let us break it down:
The Market Can Determine The Brand’s Animal Testing Policies
The Chinese market is a growing market for the beauty industry. Naturally, many brands will hop on the opportunity train and sell their products there. However, China requires animal testing on all imported beauty products. Many major beauty brands claim to not test on animals but do sell their products in China.
For instance, in 2017, NARS confirmed it would be making its products available in China. As a result, the company received some major backlash from the consumers. NARS was considered a cruelty-free brand, before expanding into the Chinese market. It is the last main country to require animal testing on cosmetics.
In contrast to China, the European Union, in 2013, banned the sale and import of cosmetics products containing ingredients tested on animals. The ban was meant to encourage the other countries to do the same and to look for other testing methods. Similarly, India, Norway, and Switzerland have comparable laws in place.
Animal testing isn’t compulsory in the U.S., but it’s not banned, either. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not need cosmetics to have premarket approval nor does it require cosmetics to be tested on animals. Instead, the FDA instructs cosmetics manufacturers to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products.”
The Label Of “Cruelty-Free” Can Be Deceiving.
Due to the urges from millennials to have cruelty-free zones; some companies have a ‘cruelty-free’ logo or ‘not tested on animals’ written on their labels. That might not be so true. There are many ways a company might be testing on animals. Whether it’s in their control or not, and not be fully transparent. Some of the ways companies might be swindling the consumers are;
1. THE FINISHED PRODUCTS
The final product being sold on the shelf is a finished product. It’s rare for this to happen today, but finished products were often tested on animals.
If the label says, “Finished product not tested on animals”, it does not determine they’re cruelty-free. Other companies might also state “not tested on animals”, which is even less precise.
2. THE INGREDIENTS
Final products have a host of ingredients, some of which may have been tested on animals. Ingredients which are already considered safe, might not be tested on animals. However, for the new ingredients, the companies might want to test them. Hence, creating major problems for millennial to have Cruelty-free zones.
3. THE SUPPLIERS
The suppliers the companies get their raw materials from might be testing on animals. As a result, it is upon the company to ensure they source the material from cruelty-free suppliers.
4. THIRD PARTIES
If the companies are not testing themselves, others on their behalf might. As discussed before, companies selling their products in China are abiding by the policies of testing cosmetics on animals. Hence, they aren’t cruelty-free.
5. THE PARENT COMPANY
The parent company of a brand, who claims to be cruelty-free, might not be the same. A major example being; L’Oréal is the parent company of NYX who is cruelty-free, unlike L’Oréal themselves.
The Chance For Cruelty-Free Beauty Aisle Isn’t Completely Lost
Although, the urges for cruelty-free beauty zone by millennials on various platforms on the internet isn’t going unheard.
Some of the big companies who are indeed complying with China’s animal testing rules, claim to be funding initiatives from ethical alternatives. Some are even working with the Chinese authorities to modify the animal testing requirement.
Apparently, L’Oréal over the past 25 years has invested over $1 billion to help develop cruelty-free testing methods. Also, the company owns brands like IT Cosmetics and Kiehl’s.
Estée Lauder owns Clinique and MAC. It is working in partnership with a non-profit research lab in the U.S called Institute for In Vitro Sciences. They are working to develop and advance non-animal testing methods.
How to spot the fake from the real?
As a millennial, it can be hard to have a zone of true cruelty-free makeup. Thus, here are some few ways to help you decipher the fake from the real.
Many companies use a bunny logo to indicate they are, which might be false. There are only 3 trustworthy rabbit logos you should look for.
They are the following: The Leaping Bunny logo, PETA’s cruelty-free logo, and the Choose Cruelty-Free logo. So, any other logos which aren’t from an accredited company might be fake.
Although rare, some companies might have those three logos displayed unlawfully without any official certification from the organizations. Thus for that, you’ll have to check the databases of the organizations to truly authenticate.
- Leaping Bunny Compassionate Shopping Guide
- PETA’s Cruelty-Free Company Search
- Choose Cruelty-Free List
Some brands might not have any logo but still, be verified by the Leaping Bunny or PETA. As the companies have to pay extra to display the logo. It is best to check the databases of those companies.
Email The Brand
The other way to know if the brand is cruelty-free or not is to ask them the right questions through email. Facebook, Instagram or Twitter are not the best places to question the company. As the person who handles the social media account might be the one answering the questions.
Make sure to keep the email short, concise and have close-ended answers. The tone of the email is polite, friendly and should show a genuine interest in the company. This was you are more likely to get a reply instead of the brands just ignoring the email.
Before purchasing any product, research the company thoroughly.