Roughly just over a year ago I completely stopped buying from companies that tested on animals.

I can’t really remember how I started considering the practice of animal testing, I just remembered hearing things like Max Factor and L’Oreal test on animals and decided to look further into it. You would think animal testing is a black and white subject. Number one, why do you test on animals and number two, it will be clear what brands do test and what brands don’t.

As I said its been roughly a year that I’ve tried to shop cruelty free and its definitely far from black and white. The grey areas in what brands are cruelty free and what aren’t and the motives for testing are at times very confusing. Firstly, why do brands test? I thought this would be simple, that they tested on animals to make sure the products were safe for humans. Obviously, this is completely unnecessary for so many reasons. However, from the research I have done and the statements I have read from companies on animal testing it seems to me that the reason a lot of cosmetic brands test is because law requires it, a law made in China in particular.

You can’t sell products in China without them being tested on animals, this is why so many big companies that sell products in China state that they only test if it’s required by law. To me it all boils down to money. If brands didn’t sell in China they would lose money, and therefore they must test. This is just ridiculous. I don’t understand why humans think it’s acceptable to exploit animals in all the ways they do. Recently one of my favourite brands Nars, who have been well known as a cruelty free brand for years, started selling their products in China. The backlash they received was incredible resulting in them in making a laughable statement to their reasons for selling in China. To put it bluntly, they SOLD OUT.

Finding out if a brand is cruelty free or not can be very confusing. The language used by companies that do test is misleading and any brand can say that they are cruelty free even though there is no evidence that they are. They might not test their products, but they don’t know whether the ingredients used have been tested meaning their third parties aren’t cruelty free. As I said it can get quite confusing. The best tips I have found for shopping cruelty free is using websites like Logical Harmony which has a massive list of brands that do and do not test and looking out for Leaping Bunny certificates/PETA approved. Also, if you’re not sure you can email the companies yourself which I have done a few times just make sure they are clear about not selling in china and they know their manufacturers/third parties don’t test.

So, once you know a brand is cruelty free surely the confusion stops there? Not quite. A lot of brands are owned by a parent company which owns multiple other brands. For example, Estee Lauder owns Clinique, Jo Malone, Too Faced etc. L’Oreal owns Armani Beauty, Urban Decay etc. If you look at Too Face and Urban Decay both are Logical Harmony approved cruelty free brands but are owned by companies that test. Should you buy from these brands? This is something that’s troubled me for a while and I’m still not sure on my thoughts on it.  A few months ago, I got a job at Bare Minerals. I love my job working at a makeup counter. I love meeting new people every day and talking about products I love. When I got the job at Bare Minerals I was so pleased to be working for one of the few cruelty free counter brands. However, Bare Minerals is owned by Shisedo which is a company that tests.

Recently Hourglass was bought over by Unilever, another company that tests, but Hourglass is cruelty free and has also announced its plans to make only vegan makeup which I think is amazing. Talking about Unilever, they own Ben and Jerry’s ice cream which has just launched vegan ice cream in the UK. Here’s where the confusion for me starts; I want to support cruelty free brands and support their new vegan launches but that may result in me given part of my money to a brand that tests. For now I’ve decided to support all cruelty free brands despite their parent companies. If a brand like Hourglass or Too Faced decided to launch more vegan products I definitely want to be able to support this.

Looking at my makeup now, I have one last product from a brand that tests on animals, Benefits erase paste (this stuff has literally lasted years). It’s on its last few uses and I’m excited to replace it with a corrector from a cruelty free brand. Most of the makeup I am using now is vegan and from now on I am only buying vegan products. Despite the research needed for shopping for cruelty free products I won’t go back to using anything from a brand that tests. Using guides like Logical Harmony and knowing how to word emails to find out if the brand tests have made it pretty easy. I love all the new brands I’ve discovered through Instagram and I am super excited to see the rise of brands deciding not to test!

Ashley xx