How Cruelty-Free Are Your Cosmetics?
I used to be like you. I bought my shampoo and soap from my neighborhood super wal-mart or other megagrocer. Dove, Secret, Suave, etc. – I shopped based on price, smells, or the promises made in high budget advertising. It just seemed like a simple, obvious thing to do. No big deal, just buy whatever you like, right? In my mind and heart, I’d always been an animal lover. If and when “animal testing” came up in conversation, I’d get ill just thinking about it. But somehow that visceral connection was lost when I went a-shopping, and I never thought about rabbits getting shampoo squirted in their eyes as I grabbed whatevs off the shelf. I just didn’t think about it.
During my early 20’s I was doing a lot of self-discovery. I found my political voice, learned how I really felt about the world. I actively chose not to live an unexamined life: I don’t want to just go through the motions of living, autopilot style. I am a person who examines the world around me, gets the most out of life, and uses my mellon as I’m saying and doing (or at least I try to make that effort, ya know?).
In learning to ask questions, open my eyes, and identify where I draw the lines between right and wrong… I realized that animal testing is not something I’m okay with. I can get so fresh and so clean, or do my eyes up without killing, hurting, maiming helpless small animals. I didn’t become a vegan or cut red meat out of my lifestyle. I still take medications that have pointlessly been tested on animals (different argument for a different day)… but choosing which bathroom supplies I buy is an active decision that I can make; I use my consumer power to stand up for something I believe in. By purposefully choosing to own and use only products that are cruelty-free I put my money where my mouth is.
It’s more of an awareness/mentality shift than an entire lifestyle change, ya know? I’m still washing my hair and wearing make up, I’m just conscious of what products I use to do so.
In the past three and a half years I’ve done a lot of learning. Some cruelty-free products can be more expensive than your mainstream brands. Often cruelty-free companies go hand in hand with using organic ingredients or are produced by smaller, mom and pop kind of entities. I’ve used some hippie-dippy stuff that was lackluster at best: gooey deodorants, shampoos that won’t lather. Back in 2008 when I started this journey, finding safe items in mainstream stores was hard. I’d have to speciality shop around, and keep trial and erroring different goods. The issue has come a long way though, and now many stores carry the brands I trust, making this commitment easier than ever. I’ve also found lines of products I love, and I feel like I’m taking my stand whilst maintaining convenience.
So, are you ready? Interested in learning more? Want to make the change?
Why Cruelty-Free? What’s the Big Deal?
Animal testing is so icky. It’s still legal in the USA (which is crazy), although the FDA does encourage that companies seek the most humane methods possible to prove the safety of their products. That’s cool. But encouragement ain’t the law, we need to take it further. Here’s the FDA’s stance: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductTesting/ucm072268.htm
Google “vivisection.” Go on, do it. Open a new tab and give it a google.
Did you do it? Do you already know about vivisection? Vivisection is the scientific experimentation of LIVE subjects. When applied to the cosmetic world, the rampant use of needless vivisection is disgusting. Millions of small animals are tortured alive in the name of science, under the guise of proving product safety. When you google the term a lot of graphic images pop up: so gut-wrenching nasty, huh?
DoSomething.org gives some fun facts about animal testing, explaining that millions of small animals are subjected to cruel and painful tests each year in the USA: http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-animal-testing
Here’s a great youtube video, chock full of vom-inducing graphic images, and heart twisting stats to help paint the picture of what cosmetic animal testing is really all about. Warning, VERY graphic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSwR70Xtaug
Animal testing isn’t making our world safe one eye shadow at a time: it’s performing redundant and unnecessary tests that can be easily managed in other, harmless ways. The body of data we already have is sufficient for creating safe products made of ingredients that are safe for human consumption or use. Here’s a page that debunks some myths about animal testing, very informative: http://www.leapingbunny.org/myths.php
Third party testing is something that also must be taken into consideration. Many products will say “final product not tested on animals.” That’s neat, but that’s not fighting the whole issue. Ingredients are being tested on furry critters. The problem is that many ingredients have already been tested on animals, and that can’t be un-done. We don’t have a time machine. But certified “cruelty-free” products don’t currently test on animals or use new animal testing to develop a product. They buy ingredients that aren’t currently tested on animals. So while the sad past can’t be taken back and information obtained from those experiments is used: new testing is not needed or condoned. We can build off the body of knowledge we already have without subjecting more animals to torture.
Make The Switch
Making the actual switch is easy-peasy. Like I said, it’s not a lifestyle change. There aren’t any habits I’m greatly altering, it’s just the specific products I use. I still brush my teeth, apply deodorant and what not – I just am careful about what I toss in the buggy when I’m shopping. I use my consumer power constructively.
Dont like reading? Or are you dying to see my mug and hear my voice? I made a little video to accompany this blog, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkVUGzkyGek
Here’s a like-minded fella’ giving his point of view, Wayne Goss (makeup artist) on animal testing in relation to cosmetics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd0g4shOXSI&NR=1&feature=fvwp
Here’s an easy-to-use list that can help you identify cruelty-free products: http://www.peta.org/living/beauty-and-personal-care/companies/default.asp
And here are some other good resources:
Out at the store and not sure what should buy? There’s an app for that! I just got it today, actually. http://www.peta.org/features/Stephanie-Pratt-iphone-app.aspx
What am I using?
Yay! The fun part. I love reviewing products and spreading the word about something I really love to use.
When I first dived into the cruelty-free world I used a lot of Kiss My Face products. Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, and Tom’s of Maine are probably my top three go-to companies. All of them are becoming accessible to the masses, I see them in every drug store and super market. Awesome! The Kiss My Face body washes and hand soaps are my fave. I don’t really care for any Burt’s Bees or Kiss My Face hair care products, though. For that I use the Say Yes To… brand (Say Yes To Carrots = my shampoo/conditioner of choice!).
That Nature’s Gate shampoo isn’t the best shampoo ever, NGL. But, it’s an epic body wash. My husband goes crazy for the smell, it’s delicious really. I get a huge lather on my loofah and I just love to use it all over myself, just not on my hair. That’s okay though.
Sunflower oil is so very moisturizing – I love it! I use it in combination with the Castor oil as part of my face cleansing regime: The Oil Cleansing Method. (I’ll make a post about that in a bit, it’s a whole ‘nother topic). I use the Sunflower oil as a general skin moisturizer. It’s so softening and light. Good stuff right there!
Yes To Cucumbers is my favorite product (as in other than the oil cleansing method) to use on my face. They have a facewash that I use, as well as these wipes.
So Kiss My Face makes a deo, and I’ve tried it before. It says somethingerother about “active enzymes” on it, so I gacve it a whirl. For me, and whatever my body makes my pits do, it was not a good choice. By nature, I don’t really have stinky sweaty pits. I actually don’t even wear deo most days, and no one notices at all. I’m just not really stinky. Unless I work out or something, then it’s on and I sweat like a crazy person. Or go to the dentist: I’m terrified of the dentist and I break out in the craziest sweat ever. Buckets. Anyways… here’s my point: not all natural deodorants have worked for me. I didn’t care for the kind with the “active enzymes.” But the Tom’s Apricot stuff pictured above = wonderful. I lurve it!
When it comes to makeup – ALL I use is M.A.C. It’s the best quality anyways, it has the awesomest variety of colors, coverage types, etc. The stuff you buy lasts and withstands travel, being in my lil makeup pouch and getting tossed around in my giant purse, and sitting in the car when I accidentally leave it there. And it’s just the best, and they do NOT test on lil animals at all. So rad!
Brands I love and trust:
- Tom’s of Maine
- Burt’s Bees
- Kiss My Face
- Say Yes To…
- eos – Evolution of Smooth
- Body Shop
- Earth Nature Essentials