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Skin Deep: Here's how to ensure no animals are harmed in the making of your face

These great beauty brands refuse to test on animals.

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Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

As you all know, I love makeup. My house is essentially falling down from the weight of all my #product, and yet, I keep gathering more. If it’s a new idea, I want it. If it has nice packaging, I want it. If someone I like says it’s halfway decent, I want it. You get the idea, I’m hardly a discerning customer. However, more and more beauty fans are asking questions about the products they/ put on their faces, and one of the key enquiries is, ‘Is this cruelty-free?’

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I’ll be honest, it’s really not something I’d given much thought until recently, when there was a whole palaver over Nars rescinding its cruelty-free status. Many fans of the brand were really disappointed, and it made me do some research about what it means to be a cruelty-free makeup brand, and why some brands don’t make it a priority.

In simple terms, to be ‘cruelty-free’ a brand must not test on animals. So why would a brand like Nars suddenly start testing on animals? Because in order to be sold in China, it is required by law. So when Nars decided to sell in China, they also decided to test on animals. ‘We want you to know that we hear you,” the company wrote to upset fans on Instagram. “The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law.”

In short, it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.

For this reason, beauty lovers who are committed to buying only cruelty-free products are forced to keep a close eye on the activity of the companies they buy from. A cool independent brand who put cruelty-free manufacturing at the forefront of its activity may be picked up by a larger company who don’t share their commitment, and hey presto, overnight your favourite cruelty-free product is no longer cruelty-free.

Fortunately, there are lots of excellent brands who are totally committed to producing cruelty-free cosmetics. Today I’m going to present my favourites to you:

Kat Von D

Kat Von D is a well-known animal lover, so it should come as no surprise that her cosmetics are not only cruelty-free, but vegan. The brand’s Lock-It foundationShade and Light Contour Kit and Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are fan favourites, and for good reason. Lots of people also love their Tattoo Liner, but I don’t personally rate it. It’s not black enough for me! Get it online or in Debenhams!

Wet n’ Wild 

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As I’ve mentioned before, Wet n’ Wild is a very inexpensive American brand which absolutely delievers. You’ll find it in lots of local chemists, and you’ll be happy to hear that the brand is cruelty-free. Try their Megalast Liquid Catsuit Lipsticks, Megaglo highlighters and Photofocus Foundation.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

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Anastasia made her name as an eyebrow queen, but now has a full range of cosmetics which is totally cruelty free. As expected, her brow products are on fleek, from the Brow Wiz pens to the Dipbrow Pomade, but the brand now has much more to offer with the Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette a favourite of many an Instagrammer.

E.l.f.

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E.l.f. is a budget brand which used to be only available to us online, but is currently rolling out to over one hundred pharmacies across the country. The range includes one hundred and two products ranging in price from €4.35 to €17.45, and is, you guessed it, entirely cruelty-free. My experience of their products is that they are consistently good, but I’m a particular fan of their makeup brushes. They have one for literally everything you could possibly imagine.

Nyx

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You’ll find Nyx in some chemists and Boots stores across the country and while it’s now owned by Loreal who are not cruelty-free, the brand is committed to keeping its cruelty-free status. Check out their Soft Matte Lip CreamsPore Filler primer (a great dupe for the sadly not cruelty-free Benefit Porefessional) and Wonder Stick for highlight and contour (image of KKW Beauty’s Cream Contour Kit).

Hourglass Cosmetics

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If you fancy treating yourself, you’ll be hard pressed to find many brands more luxe than Hourglass. Fortunately, they’re cruelty-free, and the products are absolutely beautiful. Their Ambient Lighting Powdershave a cult following and give you that ‘lit from within’ look that everyone wants, and their Seamless Finish Foundation Stick got everyone talking last year. It’s pricey, but it feels pricey, if you know what I mean.

Charlotte Tilbury

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Charlotte Tilbury is one of the best beauty brands to enter the industry in the last five years, and fortunately it’s committed to being cruelty free. Not only are the products excellent, but Charlotte makes simple instruction videos for each product, so you’ll never be left staring at something wondering how you’re meant to use it. I especially love her Filmstar Bronze and GlowLip Cheat Lip Liners, and new Hollywood Lips liquid lipstick range. Get her in Brown Thomas, BT2, Arnotts and online.

Urban Decay 

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Everyone and their mother is releasing eyeshadow palettes these days, but Urban Decay were really the trailblazers. Naked Heat is the current hot item, but check out their Naked Skin concealer, All Nighter setting spray, and Naked Flushed palette (a handy bronzer/highlighter/blush combo) too.
Catrice

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Catrice, which you can find in Penneys and some pharmacies, is knocking the ball out of the park when it comes to budget beauty. The German company is also committed to not testing on animals. I recommend their liquid eyeliner (my absolute fave), matte lip crayons and transformer drops (which you can use to darken or lighten your favourite foundation).

New Product

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This week Penneys are bringing new ‘premium’ skincare ranges to their stores, which I’ve had a sneak peek at and are really impressive (full disclosure, I’m doing a bit of work with them, but that has nothing to do with this). They are particularly ahead of the game with their anti-pollution range which is about to be a major trend in skincare according to skin expert Jennifer Rock, the Skin Nerd. None of the products cost any more than €6.

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