Naively, I used to think that all products I brought were cruelty free. In this day and age why would anyone still test on animals? Therefore, I mindlessly brought products without researching or really paying attention.
Gradually I started looking into animal testing and the companies that condone it. What I found was astonishing, I was bewildered as to why companies would allow this unnecessary act to continue happening.
Before we begin, I would like to make it clear that I have not been endorsed by any products mentioned and that the opinions are that of myself. This has not been written to insult or point fingers at certain people, companies or beliefs but to help people like you and me be better informed. All of the information we have provided is believed to be true at the time of writing, and we do continually keep abreast of news and regularly check with companies to make sure they are still cruelty free.
Cruelty Free or Not Cruelty Free?
In 1998 the UK banned the testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals. The EU followed suit in 2013. Therefore, you would think that buying a product in the UK would make it completely cruelty free. This is where it becomes a little sticky.
In China the testing of cosmetic products/ingredients, on animals is compulsory for any product manufactured outside of China. Even products made in the country, can be subject to testing.
So, brands that want access to the Chinese market are fully aware that the fees they pay may well fund animal testing.
Now I was unaware of this and wish someone would have made it clearer to me, sooner. As soon as I had obtained this information, I began a mission to find cruelty free brands. This proved to be harder than it sounds. This is why I have written this post, to help inform people who are desperately trying to do their best and are against animal testing.
You may be disappointed to find out your favourite brand is not cruelty free and may opt for one of their new vegan, cruelty free, advertised products. However, again it can get quite sticky, but we are here to explain.
Certain companies own multiple brands and may advertise one of those products as cruelty free because it is not sold on the Chinese market. However, another brand they own may be sold there and is not cruelty free. At the end of the day the money is going towards that company as a whole and I feel uncomfortable about indirectly funding them. However, you may decide that the one brand being cruelty free is enough and that is definitely your choice. We are not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, but to try and provide some clarity.
An example of what we have discussed above is as such; L’Oreal display a cruelty free logo on their brands, Urban Decay and Pureology. However, they also own Maybelline, Kerastase and Lancome which are all sold in China.
Unilever which owns cruelty free brands, also owns Dove and Vaseline which are sold in China.
Cruelty Free products
The good news is in recent times there has been a massive expansion in cruelty free brands that are easily accessible. Most of them are also vegan or offer vegan options, such as Dr Organic. All of their products are cruelty free, offering a wide range in face creams, hair care, deodorants, toothpaste. A small portion of their products contain honey so you may wish to avoid them if you are vegan.
This is the same for brands such as The Body Shop and Barry M. They are both cruelty free. The Body Shop is owned by Natura who are cruelty free and vegetarian, but with many vegan options available. Barry M states that 97% of their products are vegan with the other 3% containing small amounts of beeswax. They do advertise that all of their nail products are vegan.
Thankfully there are wonderful cruelty free items that can be found on the high street such as LUSH, B by Superdrug and the Beauty Kitchen. All offering wonderful cosmetic products. On my vegan journey I have tried all of the companies listed above and can recommend them all. For make up and nail polish I love B.Superdrug and Barry M. For pampering, potions and lotions the Body Shop and The Beauty Kitchen are my favourites and for a real treat I love LUSH, just the smell of that shop relaxes me.
Dr Organic I have used for more practical items such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and I love all their products especially the ones containing coconut.
Another product which is readily available at Holland and Barrett along with Dr Organic and The Beauty Kitchen is, Only Good. I use their purifier water to remove make up using reusable bamboo pads. This product is wonderful and kind to skin. Another reason I love it is because it contains no palm oil and is made from 100% natural ingredients, and smells lovely!
If you’re more of a convenience buyer and prefer to get your stuff where you food shop then all of the Co operative food stores own brand toiletries and cleaning products are all cruelty free, displaying the PETA bunny.
Another product I use is Friendly. They make beautiful soaps and all of their packaging is recyclable. They also sell shampoo and conditioner bars so you don’t have to buy plastic packaging and they are ideal to take on holiday. I especially love their multi-purpose travel soap, ideal for holidays and back packing holidays as it can be used to wash clothes as well as your hair and body.
Men, don’t worry there are plenty of products on the market specifically designed for you. As well as your everyday grooming products mentioned above there are also some brands that specifically target men, although in times of needs I have used my husbands and can confirm they are extremely good products. Such as Mancave texturising hair paste. He also uses mancave moisturiser and their eucalyptus roll on deodorant. Admittedly, to begin with he was sceptical about using a roll on as he had never liked them in the past. I can confirm he loves Mancave roll on and uses it all the time, as does my brother.
They both also use Bulldog skincare, especially their energising sheet face masks, which I’m sure they won’t thank me for sharing.
For the bearded man there are also companies such as Original Beard Co to care for your facial hair.
Now when you are researching you may find that Bulldog is sold in China. However, Bulldog has become the first international leaping bunny certified brand to go on sale in China, keeping its bunny! Good for you Bulldog!
This was always a hard one to get right for me. I didn’t know where to turn to try and tick all the increasing boxes. Such as, vegan, cruelty free, sustainable, kind to the planet. Then I came across FFS, Friction Free Shaving. Their razors have a metal reusable handle, saying goodbye to single use plastic. They are cruelty free and suitable for vegans. They also offer a blade recycling scheme. Your order is delivered to your door and you can order your replacement blades the same way. FFS will also provide you with a bag to return your used blades so they can be recycled. Better yet all of their packaging is recyclable and they offer additional products such as shave cream, deodorant and lip balms. I ordered my razor last year and absolutely love it.
Men, once again Bulldog are here to save the day! Their bamboo reusable razor means you no longer have to buy plastic disposables. The razor and packaging are made from fully recycled stock, with environmentally friendly inks and fully recyclable. They are also vegan, very reasonably priced and available at high street stores.
Another thing to be careful of is shaving brushes. A lot of companies still use badger hair, boar or horse hair for their brushes. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t fancy rubbing an animal’s hair all over my face. Don’t worry there are synthetics out there which work exactly the same. You can simply find them by using a search engine. The one we are familiar with is Erasmic, this is made from purely synthetic hair and has lasted a long time, getting regular use.
I could ramble on forever about cruelty free, vegan brands and highlighting each companies’ positives, like, no palm oil, recyclable packaging but I think half the fun is experimenting with new products and making your own mind up. Trial and error and what works best for you.
I wish when I started this journey that I could have found more easily obtainable information.
I have created a list of companies that are cruelty free and sell vegan products. Some I have tried and tested, others I am excitedly watching on Instagram and waiting to try! The link to this will also be at the top of the news page.
I hope this has given you some clarity and helped you along your cruelty free beauty and cosmetic journey!
If you do have any brands you would like to recommend and think we should add to our list please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact us page on the website www.soyoi.co.uk