I Want To Go Cruelty-Free, But Where Do I Start?

If you saw our article last week on what “cruelty-free” means within the beauty industry, you’re probably just as pissed as we are. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a list of names and some are in red, underlined.

This week, we’re showing you 5 small changes you can make that can have a huge impact on the beauty community and animal testing policies within this industry.  

Become an educated consumer by relying on cruelty-free shopping guides: There are several guides and tools committed to shopping cruelty-free. Because companies are constantly changing their methods and practices, it’s important to find a trusted source that is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date info when it comes to which brands do and don’t animal test.

Avoid markets that require animal testing by law, like mainland China: In order to be approved for sale in mainland China, all skincare and cosmetics are required by law to be submitted for animal testing in government labs. Unfortunately for consumers, many popular cosmetic conglomerates, like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Proctor & Gamble, have chosen to do business in China, which supports this unnecessary evil.  

Choose synthetic makeup brushes instead of animal hair brushes: A lot of beauty companies boast claims of "cruelty-free" brushes made from animal hair to promote guilt-free purchasing, but how “cruelty-free” does spending your whole life in a cage for the sole purpose of blending someone’s eyeshadow serve? Sounds pretty awful, right? Instead, opt for synthetic makeup brushes and trash or donate your old animal hair brushes to Dress for Success or other like-minded charities. FYI: I’m a makeup artist and I honestly believe the cruelty-free options are just as good, if not better.

Choose lashes made from synthetic or human hair: Like animal hair brushes, many “luxury” lashes tout the appeal of mink lashes. But one Google search could send you into tears after seeing the horrific abuses minks endure to give you those lashes.

Explore indie brands committed to delivering beauty without harming animals: These days, Instagram and the Indie Beauty Expo are like gold mines for discovering new and exciting beauty products from independent brands. The upside is that these companies are usually against animal testing too, but always do your research first to confirm their cruelty-free status.  

I’ll admit, the thought of letting go of all of my MAC products (owned by Estee Lauder) was daunting at first. I got my first MAC palette from my sister in elementary school (thanks, sis!), so there was emotional sentiment attached to the brand. And, I mean, where else would I find another perfect nude to add to my obnoxiously large (hoarder status) collection of neutral lipsticks?! However, purging brands that animal test from my vanity has given me the opportunity to support amazing companies with strong values and ethics. And yes, I did find my way to nuder pastures lippies while doin’ it.

Look, I know the world isn't all rainbows and unicorn makeup. But I think we can collectively agree that we should try to make changes - big and small - to support a better world. And those small changes can start with making choices that don't directly affect the livelihood of animals. So, folks, I think it’s time we stop supporting companies that think it’s cool to animal test - one makeup brush at a time.

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Katia Ameri