“If it’s cruelty free, it’s for me!”
At least that’s what we should be saying! You probably hear this term a lot more than you might have 10 or 20 years ago. To some, “cruelty free” is a way of life; to others, it’s a trend. If you’re the latter, you may be asking: What does it mean? Why is it important? How do I know?
It’s important to stay informed and do your research when it comes to using beauty products, particularly when you value using cruelty- and chemical-free products. Read on before you pick up your next polish, mascara or beauty product!
History of Cruelty-Free Cosmetics
Animals have been used for the testing of drugs and vaccines since the 1920s, but the roles animals played in testing expanded after World War II. They were subject to procedures and experiments for many consumer products (including cosmetics), food ingredients, cleaning supplies and even pesticides. Animals were the closest indicator of accurate responses in or on the human body, making them “ideal” test subjects. They were used to effectively replicate harm those products would have on humans. In some cases, the tests were required because alternatives, like replicating results with science, weren’t available. Even today, some agencies have yet to find alternatives for animal testing.
When testing products on animals, manufacturers will run different experiments looking for the effect that substances have during exposure. These tests will cover situations such as indigestion, normal use and accidental exposure to skin and eyes. To perform the tests, researchers use animals to force inhalation, injection, feeding and application to bare skin. Then they compile the results to create an idea of how safe, if at all, these products will be for human use. The test subjects are commonly small animals such as rats, rabbits, mice and guinea pigs but can also include dogs, cats and monkeys.
What Does “Cruelty-Free” Mean?
While times may have changed drastically since the 1920s, the same can’t be said for animal testing. There have been improvements in regulations and practices but it’s still not simple to pick up a product that claims to be cruelty free.
Why? Well, there aren’t any clear-cut definitions of what cruelty free really means or set standards by the government. That means it’s left to the company to decide what “cruelty free” means to them. According to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals, there are many definitions of cruelty free and some are as follows:
The ingredients may have been tested on animals (but the final product was not).
The final product and its ingredients weren’t tested on animals in the facility it was made in…but that doesn’t mean the ingredients haven’t had a history of animal testing.
Similarly, the ingredients may have been individually tested in the past, but aren’t currently tested on animals.
The testing was done in another country where laws are much looser than those currently being followed in the United States.
How to Find Cruelty-Free Products
So, how can you as a consumer ensure that the nail polish or shampoo that you buy is certifiably cruelty free?
The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) is also a helpful resource for consumers. A group of eight national animal protection groups that heads the Leaping Bunny Program, CCIC helps to identify cruelty-free products for consumers with a bunny symbol on the packaging. The bunny means that the ingredients inside of the product and the final product itself has not been tested on animals and has a certification date that protects animals from being tested in the future. The Leaping Bunny Program maintains a database and for identifying products that achieve their strict supply chain verification process. This is the best go-to resource for cruelty-free products, with new products added regularly. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also has an online database that allows you to search for companies that don’t test on animals–and keeps you informed of which companies do.
Using certified cruelty-free products is an important part of the Taylor Made Polish brand, and something we take seriously both in our business and at home. We know that cruelty-free and chemically safe products is better for our mind and bodies and regularly go above and beyond to make sure that we have the best, most socially sound products possible.