When it comes to our make up and toiletries, we don’t always consider the implications of where they come from. Those of us that like to wear make up, usually have our go to brands. The ones that are in the TV adverts, that will make us look a million dollars and feel even better. But are they cruelty free brands?
As vegans, we need to make sure our products are not only cruelty free, but also that the ingredients in our products do not come from animals either.
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What companies do not test on animals?
It is fairly easy these days to find all the cruelty free brands that are out there. In fact I have an e-book dedicated to vegan brands in my resource library. If you would like a copy, just drop your email in the sign up form below, and you will get access to all of my resources, from cheat sheets, to ebooks, to vegan wall art – all for free!
A quick google search will turn up a list of all the cruelty free brands you can find in your country. In the UK, we have places like the Body Shop, Beauty Without Cruelty and Superdrug that carry cruelty free lines. For the US, there are cruelty free brands like American Botanics, Badger and The Granola Goat. Searching a website like Leaping Bunny will also help you find products you can use as a vegan, as they collate this information for you.
Most supermarkets have their own toiletry ranges that are also cruelty free, and if you’re not sure if they are vegan, you can grab an app on your phone that will tell you! If you have an Apple Phone, you can download an app called ‘Is It Vegan’ that will tell you if a product is or isn’t OK to use. For those of you that have an android phone, you can use ‘Cruelty Cutter,’ that does pretty much the same thing.
What’s the difference between cruelty free and vegan?
When a product says that it is cruelty free, it means that it hasn’t been tested on animals, and neither have its ingredients. A vegan products does not contain any animal derived products. It’s important to note, a vegan product can still be tested on animals; so it’s important to make sure that your make up and toiletries are both vegan and cruelty free!
Most companies will put a label on their products if they are cruelty free. But it’s harder to find products with a ‘vegan’ label; so making sure you are aware of what ingredients mean is also an effective way to make sure your products are animal friendly. Choose Cruelty Free have a handy list of products that are animal derived so you can make sure to avoid them.
How do cruelty free brands test their products?
As all animals have cells, and cells can now be grown in a laboratory, one of the most effective ways of testing cosmetics and toiletries, is to use cells grown for the purpose. Human cells have been used to create devices called ‘Human on a chip’. This device is about the size of a smart phone. It is used to assess the use of drugs on the metabolism.
Cell cultures help us to make developments in the treatment of cancers, kidney diseases and AIDS.
Healthy and diseased tissue from human volunteers can be a much more effective way of studying for human reactions, biology and diseases than testing on animals; because of the obvious differences between us and the animal kingdom.
Surgeries donate skin tissue, after cosmetic surgery procedures; and some companies produce special tissue kits to replace the awful rabbit testing for measuring irritation from cosmetics. Registered donors provide tissues too; brain tissue, for example, helps us to understand the effects of Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
With computers becoming more and more intelligent and advanced, virtual experiments are possible that give incredibly accurate results.
With computer advances, inevitably comes, scientific and medical advancements. This means that testing drugs and cosmetics on human volunteers is much safer than it has been previously; and so is becoming more popular.
We can now use high tech mico-dosing to test how very small doses of medicines react with the human body; and nutritional tests no longer need animal subjects.
How accurate are animal tests anyway?
It has been proven time and time again, that animal testing is not 100% proof that a product is safe for humans. Partly because they are tested on a completely different species to us. The fact that after animal testing, these products still have to undergo human trials – where many fail anyway – should tell us that animal testing is not only unreliable, but also unnecessary.
- Skin allergy testing in Guinea Pigs only correctly predicts human reactions 72% of the time. A combination of cell and chemistry based alternative testing predicts it correctly 90% of the time.
- The rabbit irritation test synonymous with the crying rabbit images you have seen, are accurate only 60% of the time. Using reconstituted human tissue provides a better rate at 86% accuracy.
- Testing the effects of drugs on fetuses in pregnant rats only detects 60% of dangerous substances. Cell based alternatives provide a 100% accuracy.
So when it comes down to it, it is becoming much more obvious that animal testing for any reason is not reliable enough. To protect ourselves as much as the animals, we have to find alternative methods of testing products. Regardless of the scientific implications, however, there is never a good enough reason to subject animals to cruel experiments for the sake of looking pretty!
Do you have cruelty free brands that you love? Share in the comments below!