Testing Times: Animal Testing Illamasqua Article

So, this year I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute to the Illamasqua magazine. I wrote an article about animal testing, some of you may have seen it in print, but for those of you who didn’t, I’ve decided to publish it here too, as I’ve had a few requests for a digital version of it. Hope you find it interesting, please let me k now your thoughts, questions and opinions in the comments.

There is always some kind of issue with ethics, cruelty or ingredients when it comes to things we buy whether is be food, clothes or beauty. In beauty we become afraid of ingredients like parabens, petrochemicals and sulphates often without fully understanding the meaning. It’s usually down to the press and word of mouth scaremongering or marketers playing on these fears to make you buy.

The beauty issues that’s hot in the news this year is cruelty free. It’s a polarizing issue: consumer either really care, and therefore, won’t buy anything lacking a carefully researched cruelty free claim or it’s not even on their radar. Handmade cosmetics brand, Lush made quite sure it was on our radars last year, with their extreme anti-cruelty campaign.

The Lush campaign angered me greatly; they used a female performance artist in place of an animal and conducted tests on her in their shop window on Regent Street. Yes, it hit the headlines, yes it shocked people but in my view, for the wrong reasons. In my opinion, the Lush stunt was inappropriate and irrelevant. Although their aims might have been admirable, this stunt just created unnecessary upset without any education. All I could think was that if the contents of that window display were in a movie, it would have been x-rated; the fact that was permitted to happen in the daytime, in a prime location in the name of the greater good sickens me.

Did you know that animal testing on completed beauty products was banned in the EU in 2004 and testing on cosmetics ingredients was banned in 2011? Naturally, this kind of ban can’t be put in place overnight, so companies have been working with the EU to phase out any current testing across the board. The deadline for this phasing out has now closed, meaning that no products made or sold in the EU, will be permitted to be animal tested. This great news for our furry friends, but how much do we know about the rest of the story?

Now, animal testing in the EU is completely banned, however, there are still going to be products on the market that arguably do have a history or background. Did you know that if a brand sells in China they legally have to test at the moment? So, if you’re looking at being totally cruelty free, it’s about more than just a bottle claim.

Is your favourite shampoo owned by a company who tests in China? If so, you could argue that in buying their products you are indirectly funding animal testing. MAC are currently selling in China, meaning that they have had to test to be permitted to sell, ultimately sacrificing their ethics for the cash. But do they need to worry about it when it’s not something that most customers would know about.

When you look at how many brands are owned by L’Oreal or Estee Lauder and how much they do sell in China, can you honestly trust that buying their products isn’t in some way funding animal cruelty somewhere down the line? It’s a cloudy area and worth thinking about. Here’s hoping that the EU ban will set an example for the rest of the world, to be honest though.
On the other hand, I’d like to know how far people’s animal cruelty ethics go. Do you eat meat, dairy, eggs or wear leather? Do you consider those trades unethical and cruel? What about animal testing for medicine? Animal testing has saved lives in that area.

For me, I will always favour a cruelty free brand over another, however, it’s not my style to preach or let this limit consumers choice or personal preferences. It really depends what your priorities are when buying beauty. Fair enough if you want to be a dedicated cruelty free shopper, but if you are going to be, know your facts. Don’t be seduced by marketing, do your research and understand the cause. If you’re happy buying budget beauty without any claims either way, go for it. Beauty is about expression, confidence and personal choice, let’s not make it a political, ethical ordeal for everyone. What do you think?

Here’s a random picture of Morrissey with a cat on his head to lighten the tone near the end.

Some brands hold the BUAV leaping bunny logo, which is a easy way to post a cruelty free brand, however, this certificate is something that brands have to pay for, so don’t worry if that stamp is missing. You can also find selected cruelty free brands in Naturewatch’s Compassionate Shopping Guide, but again, it’s not an extensive list. Now the EU Animal Testing Ban is in place it will make it much easier to shop cruelty, just buy brands made in the EU and you’ll be protecting bunnies and puppies everywhere. Illamasqua has never been tested on animals and all of their brushes are synthetic, so stick with these guys and you’ll be happy!

What are your views on buying cruelty free?

How do you spot which products to buy?

Comment, share or tweet me @JayneKitsch