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26th October 2015

The darlings of cruelty-free beauty

Rebecca Thomas details the brands who are working hard to manufacture cruelty-free beauty products, with a fine example of lipstick to motivate you during the day!

The sorry habit of my life. The newest lipstick range or eyeshadow palette has been previewed by my favourite beauty guru and I am there, in the store a week later, trying to justify a purchase. With great guilt, I admit that my first thoughts when buying a new product usually extend to: How decent is the consistency? Can I really get away with that fuchsia for daywear? Perhaps ‘lickable’ isn’t the best choice for lectures. Pants, why is it ten times more expensive than my lunch? I don’t usually dwell fully on whether or not these products are linked to animal cruelty, instead trusting that the UK industry is enlightened in this field.

Sure enough, a law was passed in 2013 making it illegal to sell products that have been tested on animals in Europe, which is a good start. However, if brands sell products elsewhere, they may have given permission to use animal testing at some stage of the product development. Many brands still manufacture products that are tested on animals, or are cagey when questioned about their testing methods, meaning that there is very much an ethical choice to be made when buying any beauty product.

Checking PETA’s list of companies who definitively do not test on animals, I was shocked by just how few the number of familiar beauty brands have been given the thumbs up. Even more shocking are case articles or photographs of animals that have been used for the purpose of testing. They are truly awful. The list of PETA-approved brands is lengthy; however, many are fairly unheard of. LUSH, Smashbox, The Body Shop, Too Faced, NYX, Urban Decay, and Marks & Spencer Beauty are a few of the recognisable high street brands that are true cruelty-free honeys. As well as makeup, free-from-cruelty skincare can be found at Liz Earle, Burt’s Bees, and Dermalogica.

A personal favourite is the liquid lipstick range from LUSH. Made from completely natural ingredients, each colour is said to make the wearer adopt the quality of its name, such as ‘Charm’ or ‘Decisive’. I was a little sceptical of these professed powers; however, the colour ‘Drive’ is amazing, a gutsy pinky-purple ensconced in the cutest vial, and the perfect friend to have when giving presentations or job hunting.

LUSH Lipstick in ‘Drive’
Photo: LUSH

Sadly, most of the beauty giants, such as Benefit, Revlon, Clinique, Maybelline, and MAC to name a few, remain on the list of brands that potentially test on animals. A good way of putting pressure on these latter companies to change their practices will be sourcing makeup from the cruelty-free gems instead. Have a check of the PETA and Cruelty Free International websites for good guides on who’s who, or look out for the leaping bunny symbol when buying to make sure any beauty product is free from animal testing!

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