Beauty Without Cruelty

Veganism tends to bring to mind dietary restrictions, people who 'eat like rabbits' to avoid animal products. Sometimes it will extend to avoiding materials, like leather, used in clothing and accessories. However, animal abuse is much more widespread, and makes a subtler appearance in our beauty products. Gabi Bouvier, our Beauty Editor, discusses what beauty without cruelty might look like, along with some of the best brands that you can invest in. 

Cruelty-free versus vegan makeup? What is it?

It is not a bad thing to admit you don't know the difference, or even what they are. I have spoken to Sephora employees, those meant to instruct us in all things beauty related, who haven't quite figured out the difference.

Cruelty-free brands don't do animal testing. Plenty of other methods have been created that can test the safety of makeup and skin care products the same as, or even better, than by using animals in labs. However, cruelty-free does not mean that no animal products are used at all. That's what vegan products are. This can include not only the products themselves, but applicators, such as makeup brushes. Synthetic brushes, instead of those made from animal hair, are on the rise and not hard to come by. So for those of you who want to be vegan in all aspects of life, there is no reason that cannot be the case.

Some companies are both vegan and cruelty-free, while others gather animal products in a more humane matter, or only use animal by-products (e.g., beeswax). I have even come across one company, Lush, who call those of their products that are not vegan, vegetarian. So at the very most, Lush only uses animal by-products.

Where do you buy your makeup?

Whether you buy high-end makeup, or shop at your local pharmacy, there are plenty of options. Kat Von D is a cruelty-free brand that is reworking its line to become entirely vegan. Hourglass, Too Faced, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Becca, Marc Jacobs, Urban Decay and Bite are all brands that are cruelty-free and have some vegan products. Except for some companies, such as Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (which is completely vegan), it's important to look at labels if you are keen on vegan-only products.

Hourglass cosmetics are an example of a company that is cruelty-free, but only has some vegan products. I took a moment to check out their website. On each product page, they note that the product is not tested on animals, however it is not immediately clear if the product in question is vegan or not. This is easily remedied by doing a general search for "vegan," which revealed a complete list of their vegan products. Sephora works on a similar system, as do most sites.

A lot of cheaper and drugstore brands, such as ColourPop, Barry M, Sugarpill, NYX, Makeup Academy, E.l.f., and Milani are cruelty-free as well.

Deborah Lippmann is a nail polish brand that is both vegan and cruelty-free. Drunk Elephant is a cruelty-free skincare brand, and Original Source is a vegan body care brand. So really, there is something for every aspect of beauty for everyone, if your just willing to dig a bit.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to discover and buy cruelty-free beauty products, and there are certain barriers to the world of beauty without cruelty. Be wary of brands that sell in China, where there are laws that require animal testing. Even if a company does not test on animals in one country, if they sell in China, then their employ animal testing. Also be on the look out for parent companies. Urban Decay is a cruelty-free brand that sells some vegan products, but they are also owned by L'Oreal, which is not cruelty-free. Some people boycott Urban Decay because of its parent company, while others are hopeful that showing support to such companies will help convince parent companies to change their values.

Points of interest:

*   While some companies do not test their products on animals, they cannot always guarantee that their ingredients have not, at one point, been tested in this manner.

*   Few, if any, laws exist that require accurate labeling on beauty products. If in doubt, PETA has a a guide, and there are quite a few reputable blogs that work with PETA to provide a list.