You might think that the whole vegan/ plant-based lifestyle is a here-today-gone-tomorrow fad, but let me tell you that more and more consumers are opting for ethical, cruelty free or vegan products. This is no passing fad. This is the way that consumers, like you and me, are heading and in my book that’s a good thing.
We have pioneers like Anita Roddick to thank for The Body Shop, which opened its first store in the summer 1976, as a means of making money for her and her two daughters. In a time that was the hangover from the hippy movement and before it was cool and hip to be socially and ecologically aware, Anita was creating cruelty free products and recycling the containers they came in. I have to confess I was giddy with excitement when The Body Shop came to my town and spent all my time in there. Then, almost 20 years later, Lush Cosmetics was born, and like The Body Shop has taken then globe by storm. You always know you’re near a Lush shop, because you can smell it two blocks away!!!
If you’re thinking of exploring a more ethical lifestyle, cosmetic or body care routine, then check out these brands from around the world, which you maybe surprised to know fly the flag for cruelty free.
Cosmetics and body care are BIG business there’s no doubt about it. In the UK alone in 2015 Unilever, who’s brands include Carex, Dove, Lux and Imperial Leather, accounted for a 48% share of the soap, bath and shower gel market. That equates to a staggering £676 million! Unfortunately all of these brands have somewhat dubious animal testing ethics and often languish at the bottom of rankings for this. Other brand names to be wary of include Lynx, Simple, Sanex and Boots Soap & Glory.
In some countries it is now MANDATORY for companies, that are deemed cruelty free in their own country, and indeed accredited for being so by the likes of PETA, to test their products locally on animals. This creates a real problem for companies who want to expand into these markets, but who are steadfastly against animal testing. Profit and growth over ethics…. ALWAYS a dilemma!
Other times one brand within a company can be cruelty free, take Garnier for instance. They recently brought out their vegan range and their official statement says “There are no animal or derived ingredients or by-products in Garnier’s vegan formula and of course, Garnier does not test on animals, anywhere in the world.” However, Garner is a subsidiary of L’Oreal (the world largest cosmetics company) which does test on animals.
If you want to be 100% sure that the products you are using are not tested on animals you can check them on the PETA, Cruelty Free Kitty or Ethical Consumer. You can also look out for the leaping bunny logo from Cruelty Free International which will give you peace of mind that your product is indeed cruelty free. You could even join the #BeCrueltyFree campaign.
This post is all about becoming ethically aware when it comes to cosmetics, so I don’t want to get too preachy, but here are some startling facts about the cosmetic production industry which is certainly an eye-opener!
80% of the world still permits animal testing for cosmetics
The European Union countries have banned testing on animals since 2009
New Zealand banned animal testing nationally in 2015
China recently passed a law to make testing on animal mandatory for companies wishing to sell its products there.
The Cruelty-Free logo guarantees that the company is not animal testing anywhere in the world
Some companies are subsidiaries of those companies that do test on animals. I have included Urban Decay on my list which is 100% cruelty free, but who are a subsidiary of L’Oreal, which still tests on animals.
Fish scales are used to create iridescent lip colours and sparkling eyeshadows. Dead fish are used, so they could be deemed cruelty free although definitely not vegan!
Palm oil is linked to deforestation and human rights violations. Go for products containing sustainably sourced palm oil or avoid these products altogether if there is a kinder alternative
Avoid microbeads, which are now banned in the UK, but which are used elsewhere in products around the world. These tiny micro-plastics are increasingly being found in marine life, leading to concerns over them entering the food chain.
In the USA the FDA says that animal tests are not required to demonstrate the safety of cosmetics
In some countries particularly dogs in animal shelters are sold to labs for animal testing
Norway, India, Israel and Switzerland have passed laws to ban animal testing. And parts of Brazil, Guatemala, South Korea and California have also passed laws that ban or limit the use of cosmetic animal testing.
Avoid Parabens, which are basically preservatives that extend the life of your cosmetic product. They’ve been around since the 1950’s and there are links between parabens and breast cancer, as well as – like microbeads – they have managed to find their way into marine life through the products being washed into the sewage cleansing system