This article was originally published on TheVine on 9th March, 2015.
As someone who strives to consume as many vegan and cruelty free products as humanly possible (though as a meat eater, this can only take me so far), it can often be a struggle to trust that what you’re putting in and on your body hasn’t also been put in and on Thumper and Mickey. You may think your Body Shop Cocoa Butter is ethical or that the cheap, gift-with-purchase nail polish is harmless, but the reality is that most brands test on animals. This extends well past beauty, too: your household cleaning products and even toothpaste from leading companies are all tested on animals before they make it to your local Coles or Woolies.
The testing of such products on animals usually involves the dropping/rubbing of some combination of ingredients into the eyes/skin of the rabbits, rats and other rodents used in such experiments. The Vegetarian Site lists the following as just some of the brands that buy into this mode of testing:
Proctor & Gamble (including Cover Girl, Herbal Essences, Pantene, Olay, Venus, Gillette and Vicks)
L’Oreal (including The Body Shop, Garnier, Maybelline, essie, Lancome and Kiehl’s)
Johnson & Johnson (including Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Listerine, Reach, Stayfree, Carefree and Bandaid)
Unilever (including Vaseline, Sunsilk, Dove, Rexona, Impulse, Lynx, Simple and Flora margarine spread)
A sure-fire way to find out which products are tested before you purchase them is to check for the Leaping Bunny logo on the item or download their app, while PETA has comprehensive lists of brands that do and do not test on animals. Another hack is to Google whether the product is sold in China; as that country requires all beauty products to be tested on animals prior to human consumption, it’s a safe bet that it’s not cruelty free.
So say goodbye to your Juicy Tubes, condoms (eek!) and the stationery that Romy and Michele made famous and hello to some viable alternatives that won’t cost you the earth and that are surprisingly easy to source.
Below you’ll find six categories of beauty products and some animal-friendly suggestions to make stocking your new cruelty free beauty cabinet a breeze.
Do you really want to be smothering your face in gunk that’s been smothering the faces of lab animals?
Cruelty Free Alternatives: There are plenty of brands you can find at your local Priceline that won’t make you lose sleep at night. Witch witch hazel products offer both skincare and makeup for oily and/or younger skin, and I especially like their makeup wipes and blemish stick, while Natio also has an impressive range. Their mineral powder foundation (be warned: light is not that light) is the best I’ve found so far, plus their sunscreen is ace. And have you been wanting to try Yes To or Aesop? Now you can, guilt-free.
A new skincare brand I’ve started using is Indeed Laboratories—a high-tech innovative brand—specifically Pepta-Bright skin tone enhancer and Hydraluron moisture serum. The small tubes will set you back about $35 each but I’ve been using mine for about six weeks now and there’s still plenty left.
It’s easy to grab a tub of Vaseline, a Maybelline Baby Lips or a cheap but effective Rimmel lippie but there are plenty of non-tested products to paint your pout with…
Cruelty Free Alternatives: … Such as playground staple of a bygone era, Lip Smackers, of all things! Since I found out that Bonne Bell (although that company has gone into liquidation and has been bought out by Markwins, who were certified cruelty free as of 2012) is cruelty free, I’ve been stocking up on all my favourite childhood flavours.
We hardly want to be forking out for shallow and expensive body washes and lotions when a jumbo tub of supermarket moisturiser will do the trick, but there are plenty of products under $20 that will last you months.
Cruelty Free Alternatives: I highly recommend any body wash or scrub from Lush, while for moisturising, I like Natio’s Wellness Body Butter. It is quite heavy, though, and leaves white marks on black clothes not unlike deodorant so maybe go with something lighter, like Dream Cream from Lush, for daytime.
Speaking of deodorant, most of your store bought roll ons and aerosols are tested on our furry friends, so I like U.S. brand Crystal. You can buy a three-pack on Amazon for about $US10. (When I’m doing an Amazon haul, I chuck in about three of those and it lasts me all year.)
It can be difficult to find quality mascara and bright eyeshadows that last the distance and aren’t going to irritate your eyes the way they would a lab bunny, but they are out there.
I searched for months for cruelty-free shampoo that cleansed my scalp and conditioner that actually conditioned.
Cruelty Free Alternatives: And I found them both at the Cruelty Free Shop, specifically the brand Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care. It’s a Beverly Hills brand, but support your local Cruelty Free Shop, why don’t you, and pick up some vegan dog treats, chocolate and candles while you’re there. In addition to their 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo and Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner, I also use Giovanni’s L.A. Hold spritz. As my hair is balayaged, instead of argan or Moroccan oil, I just use Bio Oil which is cheap and multipurpose.
Again, most of your celebrity scents and even more exclusive designer perfumes are tested on animals. Marc Jacobs Daisy and Britney Spears’ latest don’t look so appealing now, do they?
Cruelty Free Alternatives: The main criticism of Lush I hear is that the scents of their products overpower. This may be the case when wafting together in the store, but individually Lush has quite a smorgasbord of fragrances to choose from. I especially like Breath of God, which is a fresh, masculine aroma, while if you fancy a heavier, more romantic scent Imogen Rose is the one for you.
If your perfume tastes are on the more luxurious side or you find yourself in New York City with cash to splash, you can’t go past Bond. No 9. My favourite EDP’s are High Line (named after the Chelsea park), Scent of Peace, New York Amber and the simply titled Manhattan, which will all set you back at least $US280 for a 100ml bottle, but you can sometimes find them cheaper on eBay.
Forget Sally Hansen and—tragically—say goodbye to essie.
Cruelty Free Alternatives: She’s not easy to find in Australia, but Deborah Lippman has a crazy amount of colours that are worth the trouble available at Sephora, which ships to Australia. Closer to home, Kester Black is an Aussie-made, vegan and cruelty free company.
When I first decided to phase out my lab rat-tested beauty products and make the switch to a cruelty free lifestyle, it seemed like an insurmountable task. Through trial and error I managed to find the variety of trusty, easy to find and reasonably priced brands and products listed above. If you’ve wanted to ditch your nasty products of old I hope this list of alternatives makes you see that it’s not so hard to do so. So make the trip to your local Priceline or Cruelty Free Shop, like, yesterday.