Monday, 18 August 2014

Cruelty free pinup

I was planning on doing a post about how much I love a new eyeliner I bought a couple of weeks ago, but then I made an accidental discovery and I've decided to write about cruelty free and my journey to taking the no animal testing pledge.

For the past two years, I've been making a conscious effort to switch to cruelty free cosmetics. I’m a makeup-loving girl and I've gone through phases where I’ll buy every product someone shows me because I love trying things out.

But I've become a bit more careful in my choices lately. And unfortunately for me, that means one of my favourites has just been struck off the list of safe products.

Here’s the thing about cruelty free products that I've learned since I started out on this journey; many companies will say on their own websites that they are not tested on animals when the reality is, in some way, many of them are still either testing on animals in some countries, or an arm of a company that still tests on animals.

The products that are produced in Australia may not be tested here (and are likely not), but there are still countries that have mandatory animal testing laws, like China. Recently, there’s been news that the laws in China have been revised so that cosmetics deemed “ordinary” by the government are no longer subject to mandatory animal testing. There’s a great article on XO Vain written by Marci about what these changes to the laws mean, which you can check out here.

The changes in the law currently only apply to products from within China, which means all those big brands produced elsewhere who ship into China are still subject to the mandatory animal testing.These laws also don’t apply to post-market testing, where Chinese authorities can pull random products off the shelf at any time and test them on animals.

China is a HUGE market for cosmetics companies. One that many aren’t prepared to miss out on, which results in the spin we see here in Australia (and in other countries).

Nowadays when I hear about a new cosmetics brand that I'd like to try, I have a list of steps I take to check their animal testing status:

  1. I visit and and look at their cruelty free lists (I even have their apps on my phone so I can check while I’m out). The lists are changing all the time, but aren’t always definitive and don’t always take into consideration parent companies (see point 4 for more on this). I advise going a few steps further if the company you’re researching doesn’t show up on the list. 
  2. I visit the company’s website and check their animal testing policies and whether or not they ship to China. Remember, that just because they say they’re against animal testing, doesn’t always mean that they don’t do it to reach a lucrative market like China. 
  3. I visit Sephora China’s brand page to check if the brand is stocked there: 
  4. I check if the brand has a parent company. Because sometimes, brands that are cruelty free, like the Body Shop, are owned by companies that do test on animals. The Body Shop is owned by L’Oreal, who do sell into the Chinese market. (There’s also a really interesting Choice investigation here where Body Shop products were found in airports in China) Or Urban Decay, which appears on PETA’s list of cruelty free companies, but is also owned by L’Oreal; and sadly, MAC which is owned by Estee Lauder.  

I was doing a random check-up of a new brand a friend told me about last week, when I went to Sephora China website and saw, right at the top of the page, Benefit. This was my most beloved cosmetic brand and the one I wanted to write about a good product for this post.

There are choices you have to make when you choose to become cruelty free, and I’m not going to judge anyone for the level to which they pursue, or don’t pursue this. But for me, it’s as though once I’m down the proverbial rabbit hole,  I can never get out. This means that now I know some of my old favourites sell in markets that allow animal testing, I’m voting with my wallet and won’t buy them until they withdraw.

I’m taking baby steps to being cruelty free which means that I’m switching from my old favourites to brands like E.L.F Australia (which has the added bonus of being quality products at super cheap prices), Australis, Face of Australia, and Lime Crime.

I’ve already moved my deodorant, body wash and moisturiser to Moo Goo (it’s better for my sensitive skin too), and my face wash comes from Lush. In the future, whenever something runs out in my bathroom, I’m pledging not to reach for a product in ignorance, but to research first.


  1. Ah, the old cosmetics swap. Good on you! I still find that one a challenge, especially because there's not really much on offer here in Spain. Ah to be back in Australia where Natio is cheap and freely available! The few products that we do have here are really expensive. So, the hunt continues...

    By the way, I also find the Ethical Consumer Guide is a pretty handy resource for rating cosmetics and a bunch of other products. :)

    1. It's the first time in a long while I've heard Australian cosmetics called cheap! But I have found a lot of our properly cruelty free brands are in the cheaper scale so that's good.

      Thanks for the tip on the Ethical Consumer Guide, I'll check it out.