Story & Photos by Julie Archer
According to PETA, each year, more than 100 million animals in the U.S. are killed because of animal testing. Up to 200,000 of these animals come from cosmetic testing alone. Cosmetic testing does not mean that scientists are applying blush on bunnies. Skin and eye irritation tests are performed where chemicals are rubbed on open skin or dripped into eyes. Bunnies, mice, guinea pigs and dogs are force fed and held under observations for months at a time for signs of illness or health hazards an ingredient may cause. Lethal dose tests are also performed, where animals are force fed chemicals until they die so scientists can determine the amount that causes death. Animals are left with burns, bleeding skin and organ damage. At the end of testing, any remaining animals are killed through lethal injection, neck-breaking or decapitation.
Most companies who continue to test on animals want to create formulas with new, untested ingredients. Some alternatives to animal testing are in vitro test methods, meaning testing on human cells or tissues, human patient simulators and non-invasive imaging techniques such as MRI and CT scans.
“In the U.S., there is no single legal definition of the term ‘cruelty-free,’ and the FDA’s website even states that this allows for the unrestricted use of the term,” Amanda Nordstrom, company liaison for PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program, said. “Unfortunately, this means that some companies may state that they don’t test on animals – even while they’re paying for tests on animals in China.”
When looking for companies that are legitimately cruelty-free, it is important to check if they sell products in China because Chinese law requires all cosmetics to be tested on animals. There are companies that will say they are cruelty-free because they do not test their products on animals in other countries, but continue to sell their products in China, which are tested on animals.
“NYX, a brand of L’Oreal, does not test any of its products or ingredients on animals and has been at the forefront of alternative methods for over 30 years,” said a NYX cosmetics representative.
Although L’Oreal is not a cruelty-free company because their products are sold in China, once NYX was acquired by L’Oreal, NYX Cosmetics kept their commitment to being a cruelty-free company. They do not sell their products in China and their products are now vegan-friendly as well, meaning there are no animal products used in their cosmetics.
A popular animal product used in eyeshadows is carmine, a red powdery substance that is made by crushing dried insects. It is used to create variations of red, pink and purple pigments in cosmetics. Companies who are vegan use pressed-pigments instead of carmine in their eyeshadows. Pressed-pigments are a loose powder and the main ingredient in eyeshadow. In normal shadows, the pigment is put into the pan with other ingredients (like talc) to make the eyeshadow smooth. For red eyeshadows, mixing the pigment with the other ingredients dilutes the color, thus making a pressed-pigment, the loose powder pressed into a pan.
As more technology and safer ingredients become available, companies are making the switch to being cruelty-free. Covergirl, a company who has sold in China for years, pulled their products from China and are now certified as cruelty-free.
“[Cosmetic testing on animals] is not required in the U.S., and these tests are now illegal in all member countries of the EU, India, Israel, Norway, Turkey, New Zealand, Switzerland, and other regions,” Nordstrom said.
One of the best ways to combat animal testing is to only purchase products that are cruelty-free, which creates a demand in the market for cruelty-free cosmetics and provides a monetary incentive for cosmetic companies to sell cruelty-free products. An easy way to tell if the brand is 100 percent cruelty-free and not selling their products in China is to check the back of the box on the product. At the bottom, there should be a small bunny that says cruelty-free.
To find a list of all brands that do not test on animals, visit features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx.
The 6420 is a student publication at Rose State College.