Savage Beauty By: Charlotte Park
When it comes to beauty, we know what we like. We have a global market that is continuously catering to our diverse demands and preferences from perfumes, shampoos, and creams to facial remedies like lipsticks, mascara, foundation, powders, and moisturizers. We have every conceivable facial accessory, cosmetic, and skincare routine within our grasp that is constantly produced by our favorite brands. As customers, we always strive for high quality, but are they necessarily “good” products worth buying? How do companies achieve such extraordinary high-quality products?
The answer: Animal testing, a controversial practice that is used to flesh out mistakes in experimental and established beauty products before making it accessible to the public.
Which Companies Allow Cosmetic Testing?
Maybelline, L’Oreal, Victoria’s Secret, Clinique, Estée Lauder (parent company of Clinique and Bobby Browne), and Mac are just some of the big-name brands that come to mind when we think of the beauty industry. These brands are the companies that continue cosmetic testing on animals. Besides its cruel and unethical nature, these experimental cosmetics are potentially more dangerous to animals since their body chemicals act differently from ours and cause more extreme reactions to the product’s toxic chemicals than our bodies do. These animals experience severe hair loss, skin damage, blindness, health problems, and, most commonly, death as a result of these experiments. Every year, over 100 million lab animals die from these tests that many experts state are still unreliable, and unable to produce the desired results most companies want. The EU, India, Taiwan, Canada, and New Zealand have banned animal testing for cosmetics, including the sale of any animal tested products. However, the US remains open to animal testing. But the problems arising in animal cruelty for the sake of beauty aren’t the only problem—some will label their beauty products in the disguise as animal friendly to increase their profits.
What Companies Are Claiming They’re “Cruelty-Free”?
Sephora claims they are against animal testing, yet their company policy states that they are open to it if it’s required by law. This brand is knowingly sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required. Victoria Secret was also for the longest time heavily against animal testing, but when they began to expand their business into China in 2014, they paid for their cosmetics to experiment on animals for the sake of expanding their market while still advertising as “cruelty-free”. OPI followed the same pursuit when it began to sell its premium nail polish in China too. In the US alone, the Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate “animal cruelty-free” labels, meaning companies can continue to experiment on animals while still appearing as animal-friendly brands.
So What Truly Defines a Company as “Cruelty-Free”?
The “Cruelty-Free” label is used by companies to tell people they are against the practice or the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. A company is guilty of animal cruelty if:
• The company itself is engaged with the use of animal testing.
•The company’s suppliers perform animal testing.
•Third parties (investors, outside companies) perform animal testing on behalf of the product’s company.
•The company tests on animals in places where it’s legal (and try to pass off as cruelty-free).
•Product is sold in mainland China (where animal testing is required by law).
This does not mean we should feel guilty for loving the makeup brands we prefer, let alone buying their cosmetics. After all, the cosmetic industry is a powerfully influential market that is constantly changing to fit consumers’ tastes, and these animal testing companies produce some superb high-quality products. But what we can do is to become more aware of where our product is coming from and whom they’re affecting. So if you have a little bit of spare time, research your favorite cosmetic brands to make sure they are cruelty-free.
Some cosmetic brands that create equally high quality and ethical products are Lush, NYX, Pacifica, and EcoTools (highly recommend you try Lush, it’s my absolute favorite!).
The product may be the main focus to consumers, but so should its ethics for those who want “good” cosmetics.