Tag Archives: cosmetics

Animal Testing

Cover Girl, one of the biggest cosmetic lines, has stopped all animal testing of their products. This is such good news. There are still some caveats to think about, but hurray!

One caveat is “except where required by law” – which means China. But if they are putting pressure on China to change their policy – well, they’re a really big company capable of a lot of pressure.

Second caveat is the parent company Coty has not ceased animal testing in its other lines. But they say they are working toward it. That’s hopeful. So buy Cover Girl again? Maybe. If it shows them that their decision is one their potential customers want them to make. Then wait and see if they follow through with their other brands. If not, it’s time to stop buying and start writing letters.

fb-7-nov-18-coty animal testing statement
Click/tap to read Coty’s statement on animal testing

Below is a post I wrote for my St. Thomas Dog Blog in 2010. I have removed most discussion of specific cosmetic companies, including Cover Girl, because it is now outdated. For all brands, it’s best to google for information on current practice and changes in ownership.

Animal Testing (Oct. 14, 2010)

It’s very hard to buy products that are not tested on animals or made by companies that test on animals in at least some of their product lines.  In this, I am not talking about government-mandated animal testing on pharmaceuticals and medical products. I’m talking about cosmetics, hair products and household cleaning products.

I knew that L’Oreal still used animal testing for their cosmetics and hair products.  That made the news when L’Oreal bought The Body Shop, a company that prided itself on natural and cruelty-free products.  So even though the Body Shop did not test on animals, its new parent company did. So it too went on the animal testing boycott list.

I looked online then to try to find products that were not tested on animals.  The majority I found were brand names I’d never heard of or seemed to be available only in the US or online.  But I want to just go into a drugstore and buy what I want. Not so easy.  Physicians Formula is reliable for not testing on animals, but isn’t available in all stores.

But what about toothpaste, cleaning products or anything outside cosmetics and hair stuff? The biggies – that test on animals and make almost everything you have in your cupboards – are Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.  P&G alone, just in cosmetics and skin care, owns Cover Girl, Max Factor (both bought by Coty) and Olay.  Crest and Colgate toothpastes are made by P&G and J&J.

Parent and source companies

The issue isn’t as simple does a company do it or not.  Some don’t do animal testing on some of their lines but do on others.  For example, P&G owns Clairol which makes Herbal Essences hair care products.  That line is not tested on animals, but others sold under the Clairol name are, as are products made and sold by the parent company P&G.  So while bunnies’ eyes are not burned out if you buy Herbal Essences, they’re being used to test other Clairol and P&G products.  And P&G isn’t losing your money due to their continued use of unnecessary animal testing. (P&G sold Clairol to Coty in 2015)

Also, some companies do not themselves use animals for testing their products, but they rely on research from companies that do.  So while their hands are technically clean, they are still supporting the use of animal testing.  At this point, product scientific research and formulation is pretty well-established.  All the animals that needed to be blinded or have their hair fall out have given their lives for our safe beautification.  Technology exists which can safely test products for human use without asking for animal sacrifice.

Who doesn’t do animal testing?

You can find a pretty comprehensive list of companies and brand that don’t use animal testing and those that do at caringconsumer.com.  It’s part of the PETA site and has well-organized lists of companies and product names.  I printed out the ones I needed and will be doing more animal-friendly shopping.

Also see my Make-up Trade Oct. 30/13 and Santa Bunny Dec. 6/12.

The black and white photo of the rabbit comes from P & G Kills, which provides good background on the company’s history of animal testing (available through Scribd).

The second photo used to be on the Wikipedia article on Animal Testing in the toxicity testing section. That has long relied on the Draize eye test.  In a nutshell, it means putting a substance in an animal’s eyes and waiting to see what happens.

Make-up Trade

cosmetic companies animal testing list 11-down-Revlon
Revlon is the 11th down, click for larger view

Revlon tests products on animals, Facebook says. Huh? I thought Revlon was one of the few major mainstream cosmetic companies that did not do animal testing. On-line searching turned up confusion matching my own. But from what I could glean, Revlon, formerly cruelty-free, no longer is.

About a year ago, the company wanted to move into the huge market of China. All cosmetics sold in China must meet that country’s safety standards that require animal testing. So Revlon, along with many other previously cruelty-free companies, quietly reintroduced animal testing of their products.

revlon-csr-testingThey certainly haven’t advertised this fact. You can go to the Revlon website and see nothing about it one way or the other. PETA apparently had to buy stock in the company in order to raise the question and get a ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ answer. Revlon has been taken off PETA’s cruelty-free list. Avon, Mary Kay and MAC are among others that now do animal testing in order to sell in China.

China is home to companies that have made and exported baby food, toys, pet food and dog treats that have killed and sickened countless children and recalled-dog treats cbspets over the past several years. There have been many recalls in North America alone of products due to contamination with melamine, use of lead-based paints and other toxic substances – all made in China. And now expansion into the huge Chinese market requires, by law, that companies previously committed to cruelty-free production and testing must renege on those promises. Such irony! Companies based in the personal injury lawsuit capital of the world – the US – now have to use testing methods that are not required in the US in order to sell in the country that makes and ships toxic goods to US stores.

Companies quietly change practices

When companies change policies and practices quietly, it is hard for watchdog groups to keep track and keep lists updated. And why should a third party even have to do this? Should a company not make its policies and practices, and any changes to those, cosmetic companies testing-rabbit welovepetsq8known to its customers? Sneaking around, hoping no one finds out, splitting hairs about ‘when’ and ‘where’ does not seem like good corporate citizen behaviour to me.

I will use the Revlon products I have. I will not add the crime of waste to that of animal testing  But I will not buy any again. If Revlon decided to do something this significant without making it known to their customers, I won’t be going back to them unless they take out banner ads that I cannot miss saying they are not and will never again test on animals. It’s easier to lose a customer than regain one and, Revlon, you’ve lost me.

So how can I buy any company’s products and be sure that a rabbit or a guinea pig has not Leaping-Bunny-logo-CCIC buygreen.comhad to suffer pain and death to ensure that manufacturer’s sales in China? From now on, I will need to see a clear statement on the package. I shouldn’t have to do research each time before making a purchase to know if a “safe” company still is. The bunny will be my guide.

Cruelty-free Beauty takes you to ethical products for sale on Amazon.

Santa Bunny

perfume and cosmetics counter decorated for ChristmasThe cosmetics sections of stores have beautiful Christmas displays. Toiletries, creams and bath oils are lovely and easy gifts to give almost anyone. You can do it in one stop shopping in any drugstore or shop cruelty free logodepartment store. But look beyond the pretty packaging. Think of the how the products were made before you start loading up your cart. Look for the bunny or something saying that the product was not tested on animals.

rabbit's eye in cosmetic testThis is what happens to the animals who get sprayed in the eyes or lathered with potentially damaging ingredients so that you can safely stick cosmetics or cleaning products in your eyes. Most of these product formulas are long established and proven in the industry. Also other means of testing for adverse reaction now exist. Animal testing is not needed.

Beagle with side shaved for lab testingBut many companies still do it. Avoiding buying their products can easily be done, but you do have to read labels. Familiarizing yourself with company names that do animal testing can allow you to take shopping shortcuts by just avoiding those brands totally. Do you need to buy from the company that does this to animals?

Finding cruelty-free products

St. Ives lotion no animal testing labelRevlon, Avon and Almay are some of the big cosmetic companies that do not do animal testing.* Neither do Physicians Formula and Smashbox. For lotions and cleansers, St. Ives**. Burt’s Bees** has a greatly expanded line of cruelty-free skin care. Body Shop products say they’re not tested on animals and that Fair Trade ingredients are used. But the Burt's Bees display in Sears cosmetic sectioncompany is owned by L’Oreal, which still tests on animals. That’s a situation where you have to make a judgment call: do you support the ethical branches of a corporation or boycott all lines.

Tints of Nature organic cruelty-free hair dyeHair dye is not something usually given as a Christmas gift but may be part of holiday preparations. I had a hard time finding any hair dye made by companies I knew didn’t test on animals. Then in an aisle of the Atlantic Superstore, way across the store from other skin and hair products, I found a whole section of holistic, organic and cruelty-free lotions, creams, shampoos and conditioners – and two brands of hair dye. Wahoo!

By looking for the “odd” items in pharmacy, grocery and department stores, I found cruelty-free products in my own small towns without ordering online or going to specialty stores. The big names like St. Ives and Revlon are in the cosmetics sections, but there is usually a section somewhere with cruelty-free and/or organic less well-known brands. In the St. Thomas Zellers, for instance, I found that on the other side of the main cosmetics and toiletries shelves there was a whole section of organic and “not tested on animals” lotions and cleansers. They were no more expensive.

Make your own gift sets

As I did, you might find a whole range of neat stuff you never knew about.  If you basket of cruelty-free productsplanned to get pre-made gift baskets of toiletries as easy to buy and easy to please gifts, just put your own together. I found lots of small bottles, sample bath salts and facial packs and soaps. Put them in a basket or box with tissue and ribbon and voilà – a personalized Christmas gift basket.

* See update on changes in companies’ practices in Oct. 30/13 post.

** According to Vegan Rabbit, Burt’s Bees is another of the no-cruelty companies that has an animal-testing parent company. Also there is discussion as to whether St. Ives is still cruelty-free, but the labelling I have seen recently still says no animal testing.

Click Cruelty-free Beauty for my Amazon links to available ethical products.