Cruelty Free Skin Care: Beauty Products and Animal Testing

cruelty free skin care

It probably won’t surprise any of you to discover that, along with many of my friends and colleagues who are experts in skincare, I’m completely opposed to testing cosmetic products on animals. It’s so upsetting to me that we hurt these poor, tiny creatures in the name of the latest and greatest undereye cream.

What may surprise you is learning that over 115 million animals are used in testing each year, and those are just the ones we know about. The most common animals used in laboratory testing include mice, fish, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, farm animals, birds, cats, dogs, mini-pigs, and monkeys. These animals are burned, crippled, poisoned, and abused in labs here and across the world every year. And all because we have this mistaken idea that it’s keeping us safe!

Animal testing of cosmetics came into fashion in the 1940’s as a response to several serious human injuries from the use of unsafe cosmetic products. But the fact is that modern testing methods mean that there’s absolutely no reason to use animals in safety tests – cell cultures grown in a petri dish and human donor tissue are both viable options, in addition to computer modeling. In fact, many scientists argue that these alternative testing methods are even more reliable than testing on animals!

The good news is that there’s a trend towards countrywide animal testing bans over the past several years – the EU, India, Brazil, and others have recently made it illegal to test beauty products on animals or sell products that have been tested on animals there. Taiwan is the most recent addition to the list, having passed a bill banning animal testing in December 2016.

One of the difficulties in getting more countries to agree to ban animal testing is that China requires that all beauty products sold in the country be pre-tested on animals before approval for sale, and many countries are reluctant to abandon such a large potential market.

But here in the U.S., the Humane Cosmetics Act was introduced to Congress in 2015. The bill hasn’t passed yet, but it’s a good sign that public opinion is changing in our favor!

How can you help?

• Tweet about ending animal testing and use the hashtag #BeCrueltyFree
• Buy home and cleaning products certified cruelty free by non-profit Leaping Bunny.
• Support cruelty free skin care small businesses like Nazelie, who have pledged never to use or create products tested on animals

Voting with your dollars is one of the quickest and most effective way to change the world. I promise to keep doing my part to protect our sweet animal friends, and I hope you will, too.


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