> Let's Talk - Cruelty Free Cosmetics - Its All Zara

Let's Talk - Cruelty Free Cosmetics

March 24, 2018

Hello and happy Saturday to my readers! I hope you're all well and welcome back to another Let's Talk segment.

This week on my blog I'm joined by two amazing writers who alongside myself are discussing Cruelty Free Cosmetics, so say a big hello to:

Lauren: @Lauren_birchx on Twitter and her blog can be found at http://thewonderingearthling.com/

Laila: @Tapeparade on Twitter and her blog can be found at http://www.tapeparade.com/

I'm delighted to have these two on my blog this week so let's get into their work!

Lauren's thoughts: "When I transitioned into veganism, I spent a few months cutting out meat and dairy products out of my diet so my tummy could get used to the change. For me veganism is a lifestyle, so that also meant cutting out cosmetics that are tested on animals. Knowing that poor, innocent animals are trapped in lab cages, have burns, cuts, hair loss etc made me so sad and angry, and I didn't want my money to be supporting that anymore. The great thing about my vegan transition was that with cosmetics I could simply stop buying products that were vegan and not tested on animals straight away. If you're a newbie in this area things might seem a little confusing - in terms of what ingredients to look out for, terminology and how to tell a brand is actually cruelty free (because some are a little sneaky). Hopefully by the end of reading this, you'll have all the tools and tips you need to help you be a star and make one step towards helping animals with your next purchase.

What's the difference between Vegan & Cruelty Free?

This was the first little hurdle I came across, because I thought that vegan and cruelty free cosmetics came together, but nooooo. To explain a little more this is the difference:

1) Vegan

A product which is labelled as vegan implies that the product contains no animal ingredients, nor any animal by-products. However, in the industry, something can be labelled as vegan but still be tested on animals. They say it still makes the product vegan, but it's not cruelty free. I don't necessarily agree with that but that's how it works.

2) Cruelty Free

A cruelty free product states that the item has not been tested on animals, which is fab! However, it doesn't mean that the product is vegan. It might not have been tested on animals, but it might contain animal ingredients.

List of Animal Ingredients To Look Out For

· Collagen – Often used in anti-ageing products due to its plumping and firming effect, collagen is naturally produced in animals. In order to get the protein it is normally taken from dead animal’s bones, connective tissue and skin – definitely not vegan friendly!

· Beeswax (aka cera alba, cera lava) – This is taken directly from a bee hive and can be used in eye shadow, foundation or lipstick. It is taken from worker bees and can take six or more pounds of honey to create just one pound of wax.

· Carmine – Known by many different names such as cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, E120 and carminic acid. This deep red colour is taken from crushed insect body and legs.

· Keratin – Used to give you luscious hair this is a protein that is naturally found in mammals, it’s generally taken from hair, nails and horns.

· Guanine (aka CI 75170) – This gives extra shine and sparkle to your blusher, eye shadow and nail polish. It is created by scraping fish scales off dead fish and soaking them in alcohol to create an iridescent solution.

· Lanolin – Known to be used in lip balms and lotions this is fat is a definite animal by-product, it’s created from the grease in sheep’s hair.

· Squalane – Commonly used in various moisturisers and cosmetics this ingredient is made from the oils found in the liver of sharks, ew!

The Sneaky Things To Look Out For

1) "We don't test on animals, but only when required by law" This is a statement to make you think the company are cruelty free and lovely, but to put it bluntly, they're not good enough. A company which is truly cruelty free won't have their products tested on animals in any circumstance.

2) When they sell their products in China

In China, it is law that all cosmetics are tested on animals, excluding Honk Kong. Lush, who are a loud and proud cruelty free company don't test on animals, sell their products in Honk Kong but not the rest of China, so they're still in the good books.

But with other companies *cough...Mac...cough* they say they don't test their products on animals, yet they sell their products in China, where animal testing over there is a must. At first they may seem like they're cruelty free, but any company which sell their products in China simply isn't. They simply but profits over animal welfare.

Vegan and Cruelty Free Companies

The great things is there are so many great companies which are vegan and don't test on animals - you are really spoilt for choice. Another bonus is that quite a lot of these sort of companies make products which are so much better for our skin: organic ingredients, more natural ingredients, fewer or no hard chemicals/ ingredients such as mineral oils etc.

Look out for the vegan symbol and the cruelty free symbol. Some companies prefer not to pay for the logo, so may simply just say suitable for vegans/ not tested on animals.

You can find a few cruelty free companies in department stores where you can try out the samples in the shop, but mostly they're online. It might be a case of trial and error, but most websites should provide good quality photos, and Youtube is also great helping hand! You can type in the product you like the look of, and a youtuber may have made a video giving a review and showing what the product looks like on them etc. Check out for blog posts as well.

You can find huuuuuge list of cruelty free companies here https://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx

Sister and Parent Companies

A sister company which is cruelty free may be owned by a parent company which isn't cruelty free. Some suggest that doesn't make the sister company vegan nor cruelty free, but I think that's an over exaggeration. When I go into a super market to buy vegan food, that place will also sell non vegan food, but a girl's gotta eat and I won't stop buying food from there! It all comes down to supply and demand. If there's a growing demand for vegan and cruelty free products, then more of those kind of products will be supplied. You're letting companies know that you want to see more of this, and this helps veganism and cruelty free products become more accessible.

My Personal Favourites

Skin Care: Lush - pretty much eveything Arbonne - (my new fave) eye cream, moisteriser for sensitive skin, serum, night cream, basically everything.

Makeup: Liz Earle - signature foundation, mascara in black Arbonne - mascara in black, primer Barry M -it's a brow thing (eyebrow powder), shimmer strobe cream (highlighter), chisel cheeks contour creams.

What If You're Still Unsure

If you still feel a little stuck then you can always contact the company. Again, you won't to know that they won't test on animals in any circumstance, they don't sell their products in China (excluding Hong Kong) and you want to know what products are vegan (you can always put the ingredients into google). However, if you still feel as though you're not getting a clear answer, then the best thing to do is avoid it.

Hopefully now you're fully kitted to identify vegan and cruelty free products. Let's become a part of the solution, not the problem, and let's help the animals!"


Laila's thoughts: "I feel like cruelty free has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years. A lot of people are keen to make kinder and more ethical choices, and going cruelty-free seemingly enables them to do so. 

However, I think cruelty free can also be misleading as a term. I'm a vegan, and zero-waste, and I'm also concerned with the ethics of the products I buy. Cruelty free literally means the product hasn't been tested on animals. It's all well and good me buying a cruelty-free lipstick that hasn't been tested on a rabbit. However, if one of the ingredients is a dead beetle, and the empty tube ends up swallowed by a whale, and a vulnerable refugee folded the packaging for next to no money, then how cruelty free is that, really? It's only cruelty free to the rabbit. I personally don't find the term "cruelty free" helpful at all. It implies that testing on animals is "cruel" and that using animals, harming the planet, or exploiting people is inherently "not cruel". That's not to say I disagree with people who are  switching to cruelty-free, but simply that I don't think the term is useful long term. I don't think cosmetics should be tested on animals - but I also don't think they should include animals, either.

Another misleading issue is that a lot of seemingly vegan and cruelty-free companies are owned by non-vegan and non-cf parent companies. This is hideous to me; if I'm avoiding funding animal cruelty when I buy your product, why do I then want that money going to a company who does fund animal cruelty? In recent years this seems to have become a big debate for a lot of people. For example the argument that buying cf products from non-cf parent companies is the same thing as buying vegan products from Tesco who also sell meat. But to me that's a false equivalency: different industries work in different ways. People generally don't consume food the same way they consume cosmetics. Food shopping is more of an instant decision and (obviously) a necessity, whereas many people will compare, review and save up for cosmetics as a luxury item. I think that's the very reason a lot of people feel more on board with being cruelty-free even if they're not vegan or vegetarian. They feel more connected to their cosmetics because they spend more time considering the purchase. (Also, I personally wouldn't shop from a non-cf parent company or Tescos, but that's another story!). 

This seems to be a constant debate in many circles as people are just realising this now. I've been vegan, cruelty-free and "anti-unethical corporations" for a long time now - I was a WEIRD teenager - so the cosmetics I use have been dictated by those values from the start. How businesses operate has always been at the forefront of my purchases and I choose what I want based on those ideas primarily, rather than what is available. I'm able to do this because I live in the UK and have a massive market open for me, and I'm aware if I lived somewhere rural it could be a lot harder to find products that match my ethics. Recently I've tried to share more about my mindset and shopping purchases, as in the last few years it seems more people are thinking along similar lines.

I always feel for people who are used to using every cosmetic under the sun, go cruelty free, and then feel like the market has been halved. It must be tough! I had a TV gig last year and the make-up crew were lovely enough to invest in fully vegan and cf make-up for me as it's not standard practise in the industry. It's understandable that people find they need an adjustment period. But it is possible to find cosmetics that also fit in with your values and ethics. :)"

My thoughts: "Even before going vegan I was against animal testing, but since going vegan I've made more of an effort to fund brands that don't test on animals and actively protest it.

If you follow my blog you know I'm always buying from Lush, E.l.f, The Body Shop and Kiko Milano and I always enjoy the products I get from these brands not only because of their ethical standards but the product quality as a whole.

I know not everyone may realise the companies they buy from take part in animal testing and to be honest I didn't even realise a small percentage of the make up I had wasn't cruelty free when I first started buying it. If you need a recommendation beyond the brands mentioned above then why not try Too Faced, Anastasia Beverly Hills, NYX, Kat Von D, Charlotte Tillbury and Colourpop!

One thing I like about Lush is their Against Animal Testing bags with the little bunnies on it because not only are they advertising their products as cruelty free they also spread awareness of the issue so it'll catch people's eye and make them think a little about the products they buy. The Body Shop also have a very vocal stance on protesting animal testing and are currently collecting signatures on a petition to ban the testing of animals in cosmetics, I signed this a while ago and a lady in the store I visited yesterday said they were up to a few million signatures! Just a few minutes of your day signing this petition could help them reach their goal of 8 million and will bring even more awareness to this issue so if you visit one of their stores why not check it out?"

This topic means so much to me and a lot of others who take a big stand against animal testing and other ways of cruelty in the cosmetic industry so a huge thank you to my writers for joining me this week on such an important subject. Below is a small collage of photos that Lauren kindly included as well as one of my own:

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