CoverGirl recently celebrated its “cruelty-free certification,” and that’s easy, breezy, beautiful news to makeup wearers and social media influencers.
The beauty giant is the biggest makeup brand to pledge that it has stopped animal testing in every step of its production process.
“When I shop for makeup, I make a conscious decision to shop cruelty-free and have had this mentality for a little over three years now because personally, I don’t want to endorse the mutilation of animals,” said Mitchie Evangelista, a 21-year-old student at Berkeley College in New York.
Whether a cosmetic brand is cruelty-free matters to many makeup users. “I choose the brands that don’t test on animals because it makes me feel happy that I am using their product knowing that it did not harm any fur babies!” said Los Angeles based makeup artist Yadira Marquez, 24.
A 2017 survey from statistics and studies portal Statista showed that 54% of consumers were likely to stop purchasing from cosmetic companies that test on animals, compared to 46% who said they were unlikely to stop purchasing from those companies.
“Although I have used brands that are not cruelty-free, and test products I have been sent by companies, I really try and steer clear of providing them with my support or money,” said Colorado makeup artist Soolmoz Taylor, 29. “As a consumer/artist, I don’t want the guilt of knowing innocent animals are being tested on for something as vain as makeup.”
However, the definition of “cruelty-free” is complex. A cosmetic company may state that it does not test on animals, or even put a “bunny logo” on products to try and appear “cruelty-free” — but this does not mean they are always truly “cruelty-free,” according to Amanda Nordstrom, company liaison for PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program.
“Companies that choose to sell their products in markets where they are required to pay for or conduct cruel tests on animals are not eligible for PETA’s cruelty-free list and are thus not considered ‘cruelty-free’ by PETA,” Nordstrom said.
When cosmetics companies choose to sell in China, for example, they must pay for mandatory tests on animals before their products hit the shelves, Nordstrom said.
They may also source ingredients from suppliers or manufacturers or pay labs to conduct tests even if they, themselves, do not test on animals, according to Kim Paschen, program manager for Leaping Bunny, an organization that conducts certification of brands.
Rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs often endure tests where chemicals are “rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief,” to test the sensitivity of eyes or shaved skin, said Vicki Katrinak, program manager for animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States.
They may also be “force-fed” to search for cancer or birth defects risks from chemicals, or given “‘lethal dose” tests” where they are “forced to swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death,” Katrinak said.
According to a survey from Lake Research Partners, 62% of participants think using animals to test cosmetics should be illegal — compared with 33% who feel it should be legally allowed. If a product was tested with non-animal alternatives, 52% said they would feel safer, while 18% would feel safer if a product was tested with animals.
“Animal testing is very outdated, inaccurate and expensive. There are so many alternatives including cell cultures and computer modeling, which give a far more accurate, faster and cheaper result,” Paschen said.
While many companies continue to seek out cruelty-free certification, some brands have standards set from the start.
Hilary Pickles, charitable giving ambassador for Lush Cosmetics, said cruelty-free certifications from other organizations “are not up to [Lush’s] standards,” and that Lush goes “above and beyond other accreditation.”
“We never have, nor will we ever, test on animals — it’s cruel, outdated, poor science and the results are irrelevant for humans. Instead, we test our products for safety and effectiveness on human volunteers: real people. We also use in-vitro test methods, using human cell-cultures and microbiology,” Pickles told The News.
These brands are listed by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies database as cruelty-free:
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- butter LONDON
- E.L.F. Cosmetics
- IT Cosmetics
- Josie Maran Cosmetics
- Kat Von D Beauty
- LUSH Cosmetics
- Murad LLC
- Stila Cosmetics
- Tarte Cosmetics
- wet n wild (Markwins)
These brands are listed as “T cruelty-free” by PETA’S database:
- Avon Products, Inc.
- Benefit Cosmetics
- Dr. Jart
- L’Oreal USA
- Nars Cosmetics
- Pantene (Procter & Gamble)
- Sephora Cosmetics
- Victoria’s Secret (L Brands)
- Wella (Coty)