Cruelty Free Products

Cruelty Free Products

Sometimes I hear people implying that the only reason to prefer smaller independent cosmetic brands is a sort of hipster elitism, but that’s not entirely true. In fact, there are some very real reasons to choose certain smaller brands over the big players in the market.

For example, yesterday I decided to treat myself to a lip liner that I had been pining over after seeing it on a colleague of mine. I was pretty happy about it until a friend of mine informed me that the brand was not cruelty free. I immediately looked into it and the brand statement says, “We recently partnered with the INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES (IIVS), whose mission it is to expand the use and acceptance of non-animal testing methods worldwide”

Sounds great, right? But behind this reassuring “mission,” there lurks a more complicated truth. Although this company (yes, I’m politely declining to call them out by name) was one of the first companies to use alternatives to animal testing, their size actually prevents them from ending animal testing entirely, even if they really wanted to. It turns out that some countries, namely China, actually require cosmetic products to be tested on animals before they can be legally sold there!

Obviously, the markets that require animal testing are large and would make a huge impact on the company’s revenue if they were to pull out. No large corporation would willingly give up access to those markets. Even if the CEO or board of directors wanted to pull out of these markets to follow their consciences, they arguably couldn’t, since corporations have a legal responsibility to maximize shareholder value and profits. Not only aren’t smaller makers subject to these economic mandates, but they often have only one or a few people making the decisions, rather than having to answer to the whims of Wall Street. That means that when you say “I love this product!” you can really mean it, because you aren’t just talking about the color or qualities of the product itself, but about the people who make it. 

As for the company that makes that great lip liner, they say that they “believe in changing the system (and ourselves) from within.” I hope that they do achieve this goal.

Until then I will not be purchasing any more of their products.

If you are looking for some awesome cruelty free products but want to make sure you’re really helping to protect all lives, HERE IS A LIST of 100 officially cruelty free cosmetics.

The list boasts some big brands such as

  • Ardell
  • Becca Cosmetics
  • China Glaze
  • Kryolan
  • NYX
  • Urban Decay

So you are sure to be able to find some high quality products in every area from skincare to makeup to nail polish. They also list companies that have recently been removed from the list due to testing “when required by law” (In order to sell in markets like China), and unclear practices. If they can’t verify that the brand is in fact 100% cruelty free, they get removed. I was very disappointed to see Aveda recently removed from the list, especially because the person who pointed out my new lip liner wasn’t 100% cruelty free is a huge advocate of the brand. Other major brands removed from the list include Smashbox, Lorac and EOS.

If you have favorite products from those brands I suggest you do a quick YouTube search for “dupes,” (short for “duplicates”). Many YouTubers are very proud to find similar products across various brands, with varying price points, in order to help their subscribers find alternatives to fan favorites.

Happy Hunting!


Photo ©Nikki Gibson

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Mariah Aurora is an lifestyle and fitness coach and professional Makeup Artist. Her goal is to help as many people as possible overcome personal setbacks so they can achieve the body and life they deserve.