Do you ever have one of those moments where you think of something and you feel a neuron deep in your brain snap? I have three occasions where this happened – the first was a big one and took years to unlearn, but the last two have been more recent and quite life altering realisations.
The first was ‘if I’m going to eat and be vegan, why aren’t I doing the same with my makeup?’ which honestly blew my mind and led to one of the biggest clear-out sessions ever, and the second was ‘if I’m going to invest in my clothes why aren’t I being sustainable?’ and yet again, huge dawning mind-blown session occurred and I have been even more selective with my clothes since.
Let’s hop back to point one, because that is the basis for today’s post – going vegan and cruelty free, and a few reasons why you should do it (or at least consider it more often when purchasing things). I didn’t think too deeply about products before going vegan, and once I decided to stop consuming animal products it became pretty straightforward not to want to buy products that had been tested at the expense of animals either.
In today’s age, we don’t actually need to test on animals to get results – there have been advances in the alternatives including human volunteers (because they can make a vocal decision about getting involved or not), computer-modelled techniques, and also human tissue and cell testing – and obviously the more natural the product, the more you’re able to predict the results as there’s less mixing and messing going on.
Before I go on and start to sound a bit preachy, I realise that for some people they either have no interest in looking deeper into where their products come from, can’t afford to buy fully cruelty-free/vegan products, or the brands that are don’t cater to their skin tone or type. Whilst I personally believe that veganism and cruelty-free beauty is the best for both ourselves, animals, and the environment, it’s not always possible for everyone now, ever, or yet to switch to, but if it is something you want to transition into more, then here’s a few things that helped me…
Firstly, it’s okay to continue using your old products before buying new products – you’ve paid, you like, you use, plus the testing if any has already happened so there is no point wasting what you have, just give any unopened back-ups to pals or donate to a charity sale.
Second, research your brands – the best resources I’ve found are Logical Harmony, Ethical Elephant, and Cruelty Free Kitty. They are all US-based as far as my research goes but are the best when it comes to rounding up, contacting, and testing products that fit under the cruelty-free status. Some brands are independent and are 100% cruelty-free, whilst others might have parent companies that do test on animals e.g. Too Faced are cruelty-free with some vegan products, but their parent company L’Oreal isn’t cruelty free.
Thirdly, and this links to what what I said above, you’ve got to decided what ‘level’ of cruelty-free you’re going, and I say this with quotation marks because really it’s just your preference and beliefs against another’s – there was a situation a year or so ago where L’Oreal UK said they were cruelty-free and didn’t test on animals, which was confusing because on nearly every cruelty-free brand list, they are listed as being one of the biggest companies involved in testing for the wider market i.e. being able to sell to China. Chinese law states that any brand or company wishing to sell in their market has to go through their means of testing ingredients before sale, and the market in Asia is huge hence why a lot of big brands go for it.
Now when L’Oreal UK said they were cruelty-free, technically they weren’t lying – the UK and Europe has banned animal testing for years now, so L’Oreal’s UK products aren’t tested on animals so could be considered cruelty-free, but it’s a grey area, and one that not a lot of people are open to. The L’Oreal parent company along with their attached brands (aside from Too Faced) are sold on the Chinese market, so whilst the UK division is pretty clean, the overall company is not, which is why it is not a cruelty-free brand.
Most cruelty-free makeup lovers come in two categories – ones that buy from brands with cruelty-free parent companies, and others who don’t (i.e. buying Too Faced when L’Oreal isn’t CF) – and it’s up to you to decide what you’re cool with, plus the more you buy from the cruelty-free brand divisions, the more likely the parent company will take notice and make changes.
*TLDR, the main thing to remember is that whilst a parent company might not be testing in your country, they aren’t cruelty free if selling in and to China.*
Now you’ve got all that sorted, I wanted to talk about the double combo – cruelty-free and vegan friendly beauty, as this adds a whole other level to thinking about what you buy. A common misconception (and often falsely advertised) is that cruelty-free = vegan, and this is not the case; cruelty-free means no animals have been harmed through testing, vegan means a product contains no animal by-products, so a shampoo labelled vegan than contains honey ain’t that vegan mate.
The best way to check again if brands are vegan too is by using the linked resources above, but also check individual retailers – a lot of Superdrug’s own-range products are vegan, as is Barry M.
Cruelty-free makeup is becoming a lot more popular and in-demand (as it should be), because there is no reason why brands can’t test elsewhere! The more we speak up about cruelty-free practise, the more blazingly obvious it becomes over who is putting their money where their mouth is, and who is keeping it in their pocket for profit. I totally appreciate that there are brands out there right now who are labelled as not being cruelty-free and are working hard to change that, and to that, I salute you for listening and making a positive change!
To finish this all off, I wanted to share a few of my fave products and brands who are cruelty-free and vegan, so you can get you shopping list ready for the next time you pick up some bits!
If natural beauty is your thing then I really recommend checking out Naturisimo in the UK – they stock the best vegan mascaras – and also W3LL PEOPLE is an amazing American brand that sadly pulled out of the UK last year but I’d highly recommend picking their lip butters and concealer up if you’re ever in the US!