Cruelty free make up, and why even bother?

So, this post is going to talk about about why I am going cruelty-free for my cosmetics, and showing you how easy it really is to convert to cruelty free. I’ve been slowly converting over to brands that are 100% cruelty free over the last 6 months after I watched a video on animal testing and it make me cry and hug my fur babies even tighter. I also remember seeing the Lush campaign in 2012 against animal testing, (which was so graphic it made me vomit) when they took over a window shop front and subjected a volunteer to the types of tests animals are subjected to, in the matter they are put through them. read more about that here. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time researching brands, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many there are –  Who said there aren’t many cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands?! I read this amazing blog which goes into huge detail about the very cream of the crop when it comes to cruelty free.

Heres a quick info graphic on which brands currently DONT test on animals:


How do I know if a brand is cruelty-free?

That in itself can be quite a challenge. Typically, I go to PETA and search their database, which is pretty darn good at telling me in black and white if a company is cruelty free now. They have a pretty great search engine and it’s pretty easy to see from there if a company does or doesn’t test. However, there are loads of companies who are working towards cruelty free status who are not on there, so its always worth checking the company site too.

If you rely on what they put on their website it can be pretty hard to untangle. Some will display the PETA logo, or the leaping bunny logo – cruelty free. Some companies will say on their website things like “XXX is a cruelty free brand who do not test their products on animals, except for where it is required by law” Helloooo…. That’s animal testing. How can you call yourself a cruelty free brand? Others will openly admit that their ingredients are tested on animals, again, that’s not cruelty free.

For its cruelty-free list, PETA will only add companies that have the very best policies against animal testing – companies whose policies make a real difference helping to stamp out animal testing. None of the companies that make the cut conduct animal testing of any kind, and all have made a real commitment to ensuring that there is no animal testing in their supply chains. Not only are their products ethical, their buying power also helps persuade suppliers to stop animal testing.

“New companies are added to the cruelty-free list all the time. Some companies which aren’t on the list may not conduct animal tests or use animal-tested ingredients, but until PETA receives full, signed assurances that a company doesn’t conduct, commission or pay for animal tests anywhere in the world, it cannot be sure that the company is 100 per cent cruelty-free.”

So companies sometimes won’t be on the list but are still cruelty free, and be working towards PETA accreditation, like Boots No.7 for example, who sent this response when they were asked:

“We do not use animals to test our products, nor do we have animal testing conducted on our behalf or by anyone else. Instead, we ensure product safety through state-of-the-art testing methods on human volunteers. Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, and as such is an animal by product. Of course the animal is completely unharmed. Thank you for your interest.

We are looking into several markets, such as the CCIC or LEAPING BUNNY PROGRAM, as part of future packaging artwork changes. Though we have always been cruelty free and done our testing on people, over 50,000 volunteers each year, we understand that more people are wanting to see this stated on the packaging.

Sincerely, Boots Customer Service”

Why do companies still test on animals – I thought it was banned?

The testing of cosmetics and toiletry products on animals has long been banned in the UK, and as of March 2013, the sale of cosmetics which are tested, or its ingredients have been tested on animals have also been banned across the European Union – a huge step forward. But unfortunately, that’s not the whole picture. So it’s pretty safe to say that your favourite cosmetics purchased in the UK have not been tested on animals, but if its imported from other countries it may well be the result of animal testing. Places like TX maxx or other outlets that sell products heavily discounted, and ebay for example will likely be imported and not cruelty free.

In some countries – China, for example – for some strange reason, it is compulsory for any company that sells cosmetics to pay for the products to be tested on animals. This means that some companies that have been cruelty-free for years have turned their backs on their ethical policies and have started testing on animals in order to reach these lucrative developing markets. Companies include Procter & Gamble and Unilever, both of which are parent companies for a plethora of household names.

This is why we still have an important ethical choice to make when buying cosmetics. Companies may be complying with the cosmetics testing ban in Europe, but at the same time, they are selling products in another market that have been tested on animals. If you buy your cosmetics online from overseas, there’s a high chance (unless they state otherwise on the website) that they are still testing on animals. By buying cosmetics from the companies on PETA’s list, you can be confident that you are supporting only companies that don’t test any products anywhere in the world for any market.


So which high street brands does this include?

Big brand names such as:





Estee Lauder





Bobbi Brown


Clean and Clear


Elizabeth Arden


Head and Shoulders




Make up Forever




And that’s not even half of them.

Luckily, there is also a huge list of companies who do not test their products or ingredients on animals, so switching isn’t really that hard. These are some of my personal favourites:

Bare Minerals – my absolute go to, ride or die product, Bare minerals was recently bought by a company who may test other ingredients on animals, however they have reiterated that they will never test on animals.

Kat Von D – Im still to try this one, but have heard amazing things about the foundation and concealer.

Make Up Revolution – I think I own every single palette by this company. Not only do they have a HUGE product range, every single product is cruelty free.

The Body Shop – there’s a lot of controversy around the body shop. They are owned by L’Oréal who do test, however they have always vowed to never test on animals

Lush cosmetics

Tarte Cosmetics – although owned by a parent company who may test on animals in other brands, they have vowed to keep tier formulas cruelty free

Montange Jeunesse – (the lovely face masks in boots)

Virtually everything in Superdrugs own brand cosmetics, skincare, haircare, bath and shower products

Sainsbury’s skin care, own brand cosmetics, haircare, bath and shower products

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Arctic Fox hair colour

Charlotte Tilbury – this is my current favourite foundation

Colourpop Cosmetics

ELF Cosmetics



Inglot Cosmetics

Freedom Cosmetics (TAM Beauty)

Smashbox Cosmetics – although they are owned by Estée lauder, they have pledged to keep their products cruelty free

Too Faced

Urban Decay – owned by L’Oréal however are a cruelty free brand who display the PETA logo on their website


There are over 2,300 cruelty free companies, and there are more being added all the time. So it’s actually been a rather easy transition so far for me, the only thing that gets complicated is trying to find the brands on the high street. I’ve resorted to buying a lot of stuff online these days and slowly making the switch over. Contrary to what people believe, it’s not expensive either, for example, everything in Superdrug’s own brand range proudly shows the leaping bunny logo, as does Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. So that’s pretty much all my bathroom and skin care products taken care of. If I want to treat myself, the body shop has always been a firm favourite for face masks, and there are dozens of independent companies popping up all the time who I am more than happy to try out a bath bomb or a moisturizer from! Lush is another firm favourite for bath and body, and it smells, well, lush.

I think the hardest change for me has been foundation, as I’ve been a benefit fan for years, and I’m still trying to find something I really like, that works with my skin type, has a pale enough colour, and will cover my acne scarring. Charlotte Tilbury is a great option for me but getting the colour match is a pain!

I also still use shampoo and conditioner that is a L’Oreal brand, and if I’m honest I don’t know if I will ever change from this, because its the only stuff that I have used that actually works on my huge, frizzy, straw like hair.

But Hollie, you’re not a Vegan, how can you eat meat yet be against animal testing?

Like most things, choosing to only use cruelty free products where I can is a personal choice. We all try to make informed decisions based on the information that is given to us, and I choose to use products that aren’t tested on animals as much as possible because it’s just not necessary! The tests themselves are cruel and unethical, and quite frankly it’s disgusting. There are non-animal alternatives widely available, and animals are not destined to be used so that we know what happens when mouthwash gets in your eye. If your stupid enough to get it in your eye, then that’s your fault, not a lab mouse.

On the flip side of this, I do still eat meat, cheese and other animal products, although I don’t do so anywhere near as much as I used to, preferring to find a meat free alternative where possible. I also ensure that wherever I do eat meat or consume animal products that they come from the most reputable sources. For example, we almost never buy meat from our supermarkets, choosing to support local farmers who genuinely care about their livestock by buying products from them directly, and going free range where we can. It doesn’t make me a hypocrite that I buy cruelty free products and eat meat, because making the transition to cruelty free is personal. If you want to make the change don’t feel like you need to clear out your make up drawers AND the contents of your fridge. I will also never try to force someone else to make the changes I have, and will never fall out with anyone because they want to use a specific make up product. we are lucky to live in a part of the world where we know that animals are not subjected to torture by means of animal testing.

At the end of the day it’s all a personal choice. Make up is something I truly love, but it’s not something that is worth causing endless suffering to animals for.

For more information on going cruelty free and to find out more about their work, please visit the website. Please leave me a comment below on your favourite cruelty free brands as I’m still trying out new products all the time!


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