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cruelty free

I went through my makeup bag to see how much of it was cruelty free

How much have I turned a blind eye for the sake of a smokey one?

WHEN IT COMES to makeup and beauty products, we’re blessed with more choice than ever. Between shade ranges, colours, different types of finishes … The world’s your industry.

Makeup enthusiasts – from hobbyists to pro-MUAs – are being asked to consider making ethical, as well as creative choices when it comes to painting their faces.

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Cruelty-free makeup brands are now extremely easy to come buy. But while most people would argue against animal testing, some people (myself included, to my shame) have been quick to turn a blind eye when it comes to their ride-or-die products.

The area becomes even greyer when you consider the issue of self-professed cruelty-free brands selling their wares in China, where animal testing is legal and regularly carried out. Then, you have the whole issue with brushes claiming to be cruelty-free when in actuality they use combed goat hair. And then, there’s the issue of a brand being cruelty-free and being certified cruelty-free.

What’s the difference?

To be certified cruelty-free means a third party organisation such as PETA or Leaping Bunny has verified their claims. This is usually the case for non-EU manufactured brands, as animal testing has been forbidden by EU regulation since 2009.

So I decided to look, once at for all, about how much I was contributing to the issue.

First thing’s first – this is (unfortunately) just my everyday makeup bag.

I dread to think of all the non-cruelty free products that lie in my makeup drawer that I probably don’t even use.

And secondly, if it’s marked with a (*), I was gifted it.

I haven’t been paid to mention any of the products listed. It’s just what I use myself, and some of it happens to be stuff I was very kindly sent by brands.

Anyway, let’s get cracking.

Too Faced Born This Way foundation

Born This Way Foundation_1

Cruelty-free?: Yes
No way, Too Faced loves animals! Our products are totally cruelty-free. In fact, our brushes are made with the softest and gentlest teddy-bear hair.”

There a lot of Too Faced products which are also classified as vegan, which is good to know. So far, so good.

Vichy Dermablend fluid corrective foundation*


Cruelty-free?: Not fully

Vichy is owned by the L’Oreal group which don’t test on animals unless required by law, as it is in China, where the products are sold.

Swapping this out isn’t a massive issue for me – I do love the finish of the foundation, but  have plenty of other alternatives in my arsenal foundation-wise.

ZOEVA 105 Luxe Highlighter brush


Cruelty-free?: Yes
ZOEVA does not conduct or condone testing on animals. We are committed to providing high-quality products that are cruelty-free. While some of our natural hair brushes are made from animal hair and some of our color cosmetics are not vegan, no animals are ever harmed during the manufacturing process.”

Tarte Tartlette Flirt palette


Cruelty-free?: Not fully

On face value, they are cruelty-free. There is no animal testing occurring on Tarte products or ingredients by Tarte, a parent company, or any companies that they work with. Tarte also does not test on animals when required by law. Tarte products are not sold in China.

However, Tarte is owned by Kose and Kose is not cruelty-free.

Sleek Highlighting palette in ‘Solstice’


Cruelty-free?: Yes
Sleek Makeup and our parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) make it our responsibility to ensure that none of our products are tested on animals during any stage of the product development process. This also applies to the raw materials used.
We do not sell our products directly in China (this would require animal testing) and we do not plan to until China changes its laws on animal testing.”

ELF Liquid Matte lipstick in ‘Blushing Rose’*


Cruelty-free?: Yes

All ELF brushes are now synthetic and vegan. ELF products are NOT sold in Mainland China and they are cruelty-free. All of ELF makeup products are considered vegan. All of ELF skincare products may or may not be vegan.

Vichy Dermablend Covermatte powder*


Cruelty-free?: Not fully

See above.

I’ve been bringing this one around because my other powder is too bulky to bring around. However, that other powder also happens to be Vichy (and I love it). Hopefully, I can find alternatives as good as these!

Smashbox Primerizer


Cruelty-free?: Yes
As of 2017, Smashbox does not sell products in mainland China and does not test on animals where required by law. Smashbox is now cruelty-free.”

Real Techniques detailer brush

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Cruelty-free?: Yes
Our products are 100% cruelty-free. We never test products on animals.”

Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume mascara


Cruelty-free?: Yes

Let us assure you right now: we have never conducted any testing on animals – neither for essence products nor for any of our ingredients. we could just sit back and relax now. But unfortunately, the issue isn’t quite that simple nor black and white. So we’d like to openly answer your questions and provide you with more information on this complex topic that is very close to our hearts.”

Ecotools powder brush


Cruelty-free?: Yes
EcoTools’ makeup brushes are made with cruelty-free taklon bristles, sustainable bamboo handles, and other natural and recyclable materials.”

Real Techniques deluxe crease brush


Cruelty-free?: Yes

See previous

Essence Matt Matt Matt lipgloss in ‘Beauty – Approved!’*

Cruelty-free?: Yes

See previous (again).

Jeffree Star Cosmetics liquid lipstick in ‘Mannequin’


Cruelty-free?: Yes

Now, this brand – or rather, the person behind it – has a bad rep for a million other reasons that go far beyond potential animal testing. To clarify, I bought this lipstick before I knew of any of this, and I don’t plan on repurchasing from the line.

In the event that you are interested in purchasing from the line:

Yes, our whole line is cruelty-free! Makeup is for humans, not animals. We have also researched our manufactures and know 100% they don’t affiliate or get ingredients from places that are not cruelty-free!”

Benefit Goof-Proof eyebrow pencil*


Cruelty-free?: Not fully
Benefit does not test our products on animals.”

However, as Benefit is sold in China, it cannot be classified as cruelty-free.

As indicated, I got this as a press sample, and had packed it in my bag this week because it’s a bit quicker to use than my usual product (Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow pomade). It is a good product, but I won’t miss it from my bag.

Essence I Love Colour intensifying eyeshadow base*


Cruelty-free?: Yes

See previous.

Benefit Porefessional pearl primer*


Cruelty-free?: Not fully

See previous.

I plan on swapping this with my Smashbox Primerizer mentioned above, which (thankfully) is CF.

Catrice High Glow highlighter in ‘Light Infusion’


Cruelty-free?: Yes.

Catrice is owned by the same company as Essence. Score!

Wycon Cosmetics Metal Boom eyeshadow in ‘Rosa Perla’


Cruelty-free?: Yes.
WYCON cosmetics respects European legislation which, since 2004, has banned testing of finished products on animals and that, in March 2009, also imposed the ban on the sale within the EU of products containing ingredients tested on animals outside Europe.

Ecotools angled eyeliner brush

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Cruelty-free?: Yes.

See previous.

Zoeva 227 Soft Definer brush


Cruelty-free?  Yes (kind of)

See previous.

Zoeva 230 Luxe Pencil brush


Cruelty-free?: Yes (kind of)

See previous.

Real Techniques Duo-Fibre contour brush


Cruelty-free?: Yes.

See previous.

Sumita brow concealer*

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Cruelty-free?: Yes.

Their website reads:

US owned brand with carfully researched paraben free, cruelty free and vegan friendly products

MAC lipliner in ‘Whirl’


Cruelty-free?: No
MAC does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally.”

However, because the brand is sold in China, it cannot be classed as cruelty-free.

Ok, so I bought this with a voucher because the pencils are great and I love the colour. But I don’t typically buy MAC because I can’t justify the price. So, no massive loss here.

I definitely have more MAC in my wider collection that can be easily replaced.

Essence Liquid Ink liquid eyeliner


Cruelty-free?: Yes

See previous.

Stila Magnificent Metals eyeshadow


Cruelty-free?: Yes.

Stila pulled out of China last year, securing cruelty-free status.

Smashbox Always On liquid lipstick in ‘Driver’s Seat’


Cruelty-free?: Yes

See previous.

It Cosmetics CC Cream


Cruelty-free?: Not fully

IT Cosmetics is PETA-certified and should remain cruelty-free, but is owned by L’Oréal, a company that tests on animals.

This is a devastating one for me, because this a really good product, but I’m definitely not short of replacements.

MooGoo Cow Lick lipbalm


Cruelty-free?: Yes

Their website reads:

No we don’t! As far as we know, no Australian skin care companies test on animals. We love testing our new products on ourselves first. They are natural products so do not require anything more.”

Essence Camouflage concealer in ’05 Ivory’*

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Cruelty-free?: Yes

See previous.

The conclusion?

To be honest, it was better than I thought. Having done this though, I’ve learned so much. It’s mad that companies will label themselves as cruelty-free, despite being part of a conglomerate that does advocate for animal testing.

There is no product that I’ll struggle to part with, bar maybe the CC cream. That said, it’s a tricky enough product to get your hands on outside of the States, so it’s not as if I;d be flat out stocking up anyway.

It’s also opened my eyes to some of the great commitments brands like Essence have made to animal welfare and education surrounding it. I would have (wrongly) assumed in the past that higher-priced, luxury brands would prioritise their moral values. However, this just correct in some cases.

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