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In-depth, informed beauty reviews and advice from a professional makeup artist & lover of all things natural and organic

  • Writer's pictureShelley Scott


If you're passionate about animals but love makeup then you may want to consider only using 'Cruelty-Free' Vegan makeup, basically makeup which has not been tested on animals in any way. But this isn't always as straight forward as it seems.

In the majority of countries it is not mandatory for cosmetics to be tested on animals, it is the manufactuer's choice as to whether they test on animals yet many still do. However, in a number of countries it is now illegal. In fact, since 2013 in the UK and EU, it is not only illegal to test cosmetic products on animals but it is now also illegal to sell cosmetics which have been, or which contain ingredients, newly tested on animals. So basically all of the past research on ingredients which were tested on animals, can be re-used, but no products that have new ingredients recently tested on animals can be sold. Sadly, this is not the case with majority of countries and animal testing is still used frequently.


Animal testing for cosmetics is generally to test how safe an ingredient is for human use and whether it will be an irritant in any way to human skin. The animals generally used in the testing are rabbits, mice and rats and the animals often suffer and/or die as a result of the testing. I won't go into further detail on this but if you'd like to find out more or how you can help click here.

However, there are now many alternatives to animal testing. A number of companies have created 'artificial skin' which they can test on and recently scientists have even invented a 3D Bioprinter which can actually print human skin in order to use it in medicine in area such as transplants but this may also prove to be significant in terms of animal testing (don't ask me to explain but if you'd like to know more click here )


The problem when it comes to choosing cruelty free makeup is that there are some grey-areas and some loop holes such as the following:

Third Party Testing: This is basically a way for companies to be able to say that they do not test on animals and are a 'cruelty-free brand' however, what they sometimes leave out is that although they themselves don't directly test on animals, their parent comany or an outside oraganisation does. Another common issue with this is that the company may not test on animals themselves at all, however if that product is sold in China (where animal testing is mandatory) then it will be tested on animals by the Chinese. Meaning, the company iteself can claim to be cruelty free but in a convoluted way, is most definitely is not. What you'll often read if you dig a little deeper on their websites is something like this;
"We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law."
Misleading Claims: Another claim you may see is that “this finished produce was not tested on animals” which can mean individual ingredients were but the final combination of ingredients was not. Furthermore, there have even been reports of some companies putting bunny logos on their products that resemble official cruelty-free logos like the Leaping Bunny, yet the logos they're applied have not certification behind them whatsoever and are basically just a marketing scam.

Animal-derived ingredients: Finally, if you are really passionate about this cause and want to avoid all ingredients that are animal-derived as well then you need to look out for a number of ingredients in your products such as Glycerin, Beeswax etc. For a full list, click here.
So, what you need to look out for when buying products are the certified cruelty-free logos of which there are 3 main ones.
  • The Leaping Bunny Logo (by Cruelty-Free International)

  • The Caring Consumer Logo (by PETA)

  • The CCF Rabbit Logo (by Choose Cruelty Free)

*You can see examples of these logos here
However, do bear in mind that companies have to pay to display this logo on their products so there are companies that are actually cruelty-free but just don't have the logo on their products.

If you'd like to check which brands are cruelty free, 'Cruelty-Free Kitty' has an excellent list of brands along with many other resources about going 'Cruelty-Free' in other areas on her webiste. Ethical Elephant is another great site for reading further into this issue.

Hope you found this useful!

Shelley x

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