If you read my 2018 goals, you may recall that I said I’d be going cruelty free with my beauty products. Throughout the first few months of the year it’s been a real learning curve, especially as a lot of my favourite products have come from brands that are not cruelty free and I’m quickly running low on my stash. This post is all about the problems that I have faced since going cruelty free, and hopefully this will help you out if you have been toying with the idea too.
Before I get into it, I want to discuss my stance on being cruelty free. I am not a vegan, and therefore I do not seek out vegan products. It’s a positive if they are, but it’s not something that I actively look for in my beauty products. There are products I use in my every day makeup routine that may be cruelty free, but this does not mean that they’re vegan (although the Superdrug own brand products tend to be suitable for vegans). One brand I really like that is cruelty free is Tarte, and they’ve recently updated their website so that it is easy to identify which of their products are vegan, even whilst you’re just scrolling through the pages.
I have recently been through my collection and decluttered a number of products, but I did keep a decent sized stash of non-cruelty free products. Many CF inviduals, including vegans, will suggest that the damage has already been done when it comes to spending money on non-CF products and that it’s a waste to get rid of things you’ve already spend your money on. I have kept things I know that I use and love, although during my most recent declutter if I found myself unsure about whether to keep or pass on a product, I took the cruelty free status of a product into consideration. If I didn’t love the product and was questioning keeping it and it wasn’t CF, I passed it onto a family member (or put it straight in the bin if it was on the older side).
I still accept non-cruelty free press samples. Whilst I love trying products out the products that Tropic – who are a cruelty free brand – send me, I will try out non-CF products. Most of my press comps are now theatre tickets, and I don’t get that many beauty things at the moment, but I do not give the research. I can’t comment on whether this stance is is something that I plan to change at some point in the future, but at the moment I will accept any beauty products that come my way if they are a product I would normally use.
One of the biggest things you have to think about when you decide to go cruelty free is which brands actually are CF. Lots of research is required, and my go-to is Cruelty Free Kitty’s list of CF brands. There are a few other websites you can look at including Leaping Bunny, PETA (I don’t necessarily agree with all of PETA’s extreme views but they have some great information), Cruelty Free International and Ethical Elephant, and I try to cross reference a sample of these sites if it’s a brand I’m not sure about. I personally do not go directly to a brand’s website as these can be a little confusing, and some of them are even a little shady with their labelling.
Two key things to look out for so that you can be sure a product is not CF is 1) whether the brand sells to China, and 2) if on their website it says something along the lines of ‘we do not test on animals unless it is required by law. The EU have banned animal testing for cosmetics, which means none of tested within that area. However, just because animals aren’t subjected to cosmetic testing in the EU, doesn’t mean EU based brands do not outsource this testing in countries where it is required by law. A lot of countries do not have a requirement to test, but they do not prohibit the testing either so it is up to the individual brand what they decide to do. One of the biggest red flags when it comes to animal testing is whether the brand sells to China. If they have stands or counters based in China, even if they aren’t testing pre-sale, the products can be pulled off the shelf at any point to be tested on animals. By selling in China, a brand is agreeing to the laws they have and cannot be considered cruelty free.
Note: This testing in China does not apply to imported products who do not have a mass market there and only sell via the internet, nor does is mean that if a product is made in China that they will have been tested on animals (export only products do not fall under this law).
It is important to keep an eye on whether brands are about to begin selling in China or will be pulling out of there. By beginning sales in China, a company that was one CF can no longer claim that is is. In the summer if became public that NARS had planned to sell in China and would therefore lose its cruelty free status (I am personally devastated because I’m so close to finishing my NARS Laguna Bronzer and I won’t be able to repurchase). NARS lost a large percentage of its Instagram following because of this, which proves that a brand being cruelty free is important to many consumers. If a brand no longer sells in China, theoretically they can claim that they are cruelty free but this is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself.
The leaping bunny logo is the only real proof that a company is cruelty free, however some brands are sneaky with their labelling. Batiste is not cruelty free, despite its packaging having a label saying that they do not test on animals and their own version of the leaping bunny logo. They might not test on animals themselves, but it is something that they outsource. Not all CF products will have the leaping bunny logo as it is an expensive process.
Making Your Own Decisions About Cruelty Free Living
Obviously your cruelty free stance is a very personal thing and it’s a decision you need to decide for yourself. I’ve already shared mine above, but there are some other things to consider before taking the leap. The first is whether you are just going to apply this to certain categories of your beauty stash. Will your CF decision only apply to colour cosmetics? Will you make your skincare collection completely cruelty free? Are you going to make your life as cruelty free as possible and include cleaning products in your decision. Just a heads up: Aldi’s cleaning products are CF if you are looking for a brand that is.
A hotly discussed topic in the cruelty free beauty community is whether or not you should buy from a CF company that is owned by a non-CF parents company. For example, L’Oreal owns a lot of cosmetic companies and is not CF itself, but owns brands such as Urban Decay, NYX and IT Cosmetics which are. I personally will buy from these brands, but it’s understandable if people don’t want to support the L’Oreal family at all.
My makeup and skincare purchases in 2018 have mostly been cruelty free (more on that in a bit), but I haven’t needed to buy any body products so far this year. I know that haircare and bodycare will mostly be easy because Superdrug own brand is CF and I am really not fussy on things like shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath. My big issue is going to be when it comes to deodorant. I have recently received a natural deodorant in a press package which I’m going to test out, but the only deodorant that has worked for me up until now is Mitchum. Mitchum is unfortunately not cruelty free, but I’d rather slip up and buy this once a year – I use the roll on and it last me forever – than get really smelly in the summer. But of course I will try as many CF products before I result to this.
My Cruelty Free Experience
My experience so far has been fairly positive, although I’m dreading having to test out new foundations because I’ve fallen into a habit with the Rimmel Match Perfection. Before I decided that I was going cruelty free, this was on 3 for 2 and I stocked up, but with just two bottles left I’m going to have to try out some newbies.
Since January 2018, I have made just two non-CF purchases. The first was a Batiste dry shampoo which was on offer and since it had about not testing on animals on the can, I picked it up. It wasn’t until I was raving about the scent when some friends told me about the Batiste scandal with their misleading packaging that I realised my mistake. I didn’t feel too guilty about this as it was an easy mistake to make. I have now used this can up and won’t be repurchasing from them in the future.
The second non-CF purchase I made was last month when I was at the Origins In Bloom Event. I felt very pressured to buy whilst I was at the event, especially as I was buying a body cream on my mum’s behalf and they were offering 3 for 2 across the entire store. I’m easily swept along by offers, as well as the pressure from store staff to make a purchase, and I ended up leaving with two products I’ve wanted for quite some time – the Origins Ginzing Eye Cream and the Origins Ginzing Peel Off Mask. I couldn’t believe how low I felt after dropping quite a bit of money on products I didn’t need, and didn’t fit under the CF umbrella. I will be being a little more strict with myself in the future about being cruelty free, but I don’t think two buys in three and a half months is a failure. It’s just a learning curve, and just like if a vegetarian orders a cheeseburger in McDonalds when they’re drunk, I’ll just wipe the slate clean and try again, and hopefully not slip up next time.
Going cruelty free isn’t easy, but it’s definitely not a difficult change to make to your every day life in the future. I know I’m going to miss brands like NARS, Rimmel, Maybelline and Clinique, but I am excited to try out new brands such as 3ina, Nip + Fab (I can’t believe I’ve only ever tried their skincare before) and Cover FX. A lot more drugstore brands are falling under the CF label now which definitely makes it a little easier, and a lot cheaper, to stick to your personal promise. Take each day as it comes and see how far you can go with a cruelty free life.