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The Fight for Cruelty-Free Beauty

Reviewed by Christina July 31, 2014 9 Comments

When we were in college, my friends and I were very nearly obsessed with the store, Bath & Body Works. We all had our favorites among the wide range of fruity and floral fragrances, and would rush to their clearance sales to stock up on any beloved items that were being discontinued. Animal rights were important to us back then as well as now, and we were assured by the "not tested on animals" declaration on our bottles. That is, until we looked a little more closely. "This finished product is not tested on animals" was the actual wording, and it raised some red flags. Was this ambiguous wording a way to skirt the issue? Fortunately, our fears were alleviated when we learned that Bath & Body Works does not test on animals but must use such phrasing since their products are marketed in both the U.S. and the U.K. with the same packaging. England does not permit a company to use a definitive phrase such as "no animal testing" since they consider that most ingredients have been tested on animals by someone at some point. Although Bath & Body Works' labeling hadn't been clear to us, one thing was: My friends and I were willing to stop using our favorite products if they were tested on animals.

That sentiment is one echoed by many. The use of animal testing in cosmetics has come under great scrutiny over the years, and perhaps never more so than now. To this day, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats are forced to endure having substances applied to their skin, down their throats or into their eyes to determine toxicity and allergic reactions, and animal-rights activists want to spread the word that there are alternatives. Representative James "Jim" Moran Jr. is currently sponsoring the Humane Cosmetics Act, which will phase out cosmetic animal testing in the United States within one year and the import of cosmetics tested on animals within three years. Earlier this week, actress Thora Birch joined Cruelty Free International in calling for a U.S. ban on animal testing in cosmetics. Established by the BUAV in 2012 and head-quartered in London, Cruelty Free International was the first organization to campaign for a global ban on animal tests for consumer products. According to their Website, over 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in cruel and unnecessary cosmetics tests.

Also making headlines recently is vegan cosmetics manufacturer Beauty Without Cruelty. Founded in England in 1963, they were the first to ban animal-testing for their products. The BWC brand was introduced into the United States in 1989. Santosh Krinsky, the President of BWC, has recently partnered with the Humane Society of the United States' Be Cruelty-Free campaign, which hopes to put a permanent end to animal testing for cosmetics. Krinsky expressed hope that "Rep. Moran’s efforts are a sign of things to come here in the U.S." The European Union banned animal testing of finished cosmetic products in 2004, banned animal-tested ingredients in 2009 and banned the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals in 2013.

Here at Truth In Aging, we are proud to carry numerous vegan beauty brands, including La Vie CelesteSevani Botanica, and Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics. In addition, we strive to educate our readers about vegan-friendly alternatives to animal-derived ingredients such as squalane, plant stem cells and tremella. Judging by our community feedback, we know that so many of you are passionate about cruelty-free cosmetics.

We applaud the dedicated efforts of these animal-rights groups and encourage our Truth In Aging Community to find out how they can support Representative Jim Moran's Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 4148).

Search for Cruelty-Free Companies and Products at PETA

Search for Cruelty-Free Companies and Products at Leaping Bunny

  • August 6, 2014

    by Debby

    I am totally in favor of vegan and cruelty-free beauty. Some of the companies I love are Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Tarte, and 100% Pure. You can find tons of style & beauty reviews on the website Vegan American Princess. (http://veganamericanprincess.com)

  • August 5, 2014

    by Lisa

    After my last post I realized that Toms of Maine (is owned by Colgate who tests on animals) I am heartbroken and off to find a new toothpaste that does not contribute to animal testing and cruelty. Toms itself does not test on animals but it's parent company does which unfortunately means that when you are paying for Toms you are actually supporting the parent company. Sad sad I will update when I can.

  • August 5, 2014

    by Lisa

    I have almost completely changed my life to include only cruelty free products for not only cosmetics and skincare but also toothpaste, (Toms), body soap for my husband and son (Everyman Jack), eyemakeup remover (Yes), house cleaners (method), laundry soap (seventh generation) and so much more. This is not easy and definitely not cheap, BUT as I grow as a person and learn about the atrocities done to animals 97% beagles (yes, dogs are experimented on in the US everyday -see beagle freedom project for info) and the pain they suffer so that I can use a make-up product or cleanser, I just can't in clear conscious use those products and support the ongoing torture. I know it's expensive and trust me I am in no shape to spend money since after 17 years at my job I am no longer able to work due to health concerns. But I would rather cut other things and spend a little more to hopefully stop the demand of these products that test on these harmless and defenseless creatures. Thanks for this article bringing more awareness.

  • August 5, 2014

    by Christina

    Thank you for that information, Cheryl!

  • August 4, 2014

    by Cheryl

    You can go to this website http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/ and they have a lot of information about which companies practice animal testing. When I saw the list I was shocked because I use products from so many of them.

  • August 4, 2014

    by Beth

    I am definitely on the side of Cruelty Free makeup. It's one of those things that I had assumed was a given for a long time, because I know there are other options and assumed that these big companies would be utilizing those alternatives. We all know what they say about assuming... So, now I'm much more vigilant about reading labels and seeking out cruelty free products. I'm glad to see that TIA is working with some great Cruelty Free and Vegan companies. Keep up the good work!

  • August 4, 2014

    by Christina

    I think the overwhelming majority of consumers feel much better about their purchases knowing that animals were not harmed. We need to know which companies do still practice animal testing and put the pressure on. Peta is a very strong voice and gets things done

  • August 4, 2014

    by sharon

    Many thanks for this article on cruelty free beauty. It was a very timely article for me as I am working on revamping my entire skincare and makeup regime. I have just turned 52 and I am recovering from a serious, debilitating illness whose effects have really shown in my skin becoming much more fragile overall. I feel that this illness has made me question many things and renewed my need for basic , simple, good things in life that will restore my health. Hurting and abusing animals for the sake of beauty doesn't sit well with me at this point in my life. It never did but now I am choosing to be aware and not ignore it. Thanks Marge!!!!

  • August 1, 2014

    by Maree

    Can't tell you how happy I am to see you guys focusing on truly cruelty free, vegan products! I've been vegan for 6 years now and just LOVE it when I see more retailers and communities support and embrace vegan products and the businesses that pour their heart and soul into creating and sourcing 100% cruelty free ingredients. This is such a positive step for us all. Again, thank you so much.

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