A Guide To Cruelty-Free Beauty
25 February 2020
Ethical consumerism is big news, with a loyal and outspoken following. Fashion’s anti-fur movement continues to grow in its influence, with many major luxury brands announcing anti-fur policies in recent years. A British Fashion Council survey on the use of fur continues to reflect what is seen as a cultural change, with more international brands choosing to exclude fur from their collections, and increasingly more businesses moving to be entirely fur-free.
It’s not just the fashion industry that has seen shifts in attitudes when it comes to the things we buy. The beauty industry has also been evolving to meet the expectations of ethically conscious consumers, and cruelty-free is a big part of the Conscious Beauty movement.
What are cruelty-free cosmetics?
Cruelty-free describes products or activities that don’t harm or kill animals. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, so cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products are those which have not been tested on animals. However, some brands may still hire third-party testers or may test the ingredients on animals, rather than the final product itself. That’s why those who want to ensure they’re buying cruelty-free cosmetics should always look for accreditations – like Cruelty-Free International’s leaping bunny or the PETA logo.
For decades, cosmetics and drug companies have used animal testing as a method of proving a product’s safety and efficiency – and animal testing can even be dated back to Ancient Greece. Animal testing was once considered by many to be the best way to assess this and to understand the potential side effects certain products might cause to humans. However, there has been strong opposition to animal testing for a long time, with scientists from as early as the 17th Century onwards questioning the value of results gained from experiments on animals.
Cruelty-free and the cosmetics industry
Today, animal testing in the cosmetics industry is still common, despite it being banned in many places including the EU, India, Israel and Norway among others. The good news is, there are more cruelty-free brands than ever, offering a huge variety of high quality, ethical beauty products for the conscious consumer.
Are cruelty-free products the same as vegan?
Even though the terms “cruelty-free” and “vegan” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Vegan products don’t contain any animal by-products, however, they might still have been tested on animals. That said, many vegan beauty products are cruelty-free and vice versa. Read more about Vegan Beauty here.
Making the switch to cruelty-free
There are many reasons why you should switch to cruelty-free cosmetics. The ingredients used in cosmetics is one of them – most cruelty-free products contain non-toxic ingredients, with fewer chemicals and fragrances. Aside from being better for the environment, this can also result in less chance of adverse skin reactions such as flare-ups and irritation.
Of course, the main reason for choosing cruelty-free products is to end the suffering of animals. The animals used for experiments are socially isolated, confined, harmed, and ultimately killed in the name of beauty. For many people, that’s far too high a cost to bear. Leading beauty brands have taken note, and there are now cruelty-free alternatives to almost everything, from makeup to moisturizer.
Here are our top cruelty-free picks.