The Ugly Side of Beauty Products

Heartfelt words from an animal passivist.

Do you know more than 100 million animals die in laboratories each year – in the US alone? That’s 17 times worse than the holocaust and no one is actually bothered by it. Why? Just because survivors (if any) of the brutality of a laboratory life cannot write memoirs and autobiographies? Or are we plain ignorant? Or heartless? I hope it’s the former. If it’s the latter, you may exit this window now.

loreal-beagle-testing

Photo credits: ACE

Do you also know that 1 beagle dies every 6 seconds from animal testing? 2 beagles have passed on since you started reading this article. You think labs only test on rabbits and mice? HAHA. And by the way, if you think testing on dogs is not okay, but testing on rodents is, you are a f*ing elitist who deserves a slap.

Okay, believe it or not, we can spare animals from unnecessary suffering by choosing to purchase vegan products. I shall enlighten you on the pros & cons, as well as how to, so that you can adopt this habit as a saving gace from your sin-filled, indulgent, materialistic & ignorant/heartless way of life. (Yes, most of us live our lives full of them.) You’re welcome.

Pros:

  • You are obviously saving animals from redundant, painful tests. Bless your heart if this alone makes you want to stop using products that are tested on animals. Bless you, really.
  • You are making sure you do not put toxic stuff on/into your body. Common sense, guys – if a product requires testing, there must be tons of chemicals in it. If the manufacturers only use organic, natural ingredients, do we have to test the product?
  • As mentioned, animal-friendly products contain less harmful substances, so they are environment-friendly.
  • To add on to the environment-friendly advantage, read this article. It basically pointed out that animals killed by an animal-testing lab could have been polluting water sources and spreading diseases to other lifeforms. And for most labs, you would have no idea what they injected into these dead animals. Could it be the HIV virus? Carcinogens? Stop the buying, stop the testing, and prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Companies that love animals love their communities as well. Most use fair trade ingredients, which helps in alleviating poverty in developing countries. Nubian Heritage, Shea Moisture, The Body Shop etc., are a few of these companies who do.

Cons:

  • You may be giving up your favourite skincare product(s), cosmetics and/or toiletries.
  • Products that use natural, organic ingredients are generally costlier.
  • Animal-friendly products are typically harder to find in your neighbourhood drugstores/supermarkets.
  • Almost impossible if you reside in China.

If you are living in Europe, good for you. The EU has a ban on animal testing in 2 parts,

  1. Testing ban – prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals.
  2. Marketing ban – prohibition to market finished cosmetic products and ingredients, which were tested on animals, in the EU.

China, however, demands that all products from foreign companies to be retailed in China be tested on animals. It is the law. Unless the product is made in China, animal-testing is mandatory. Also, FYI, even though testing on animals isn’t mandatory anymore for local products, it is not banned. So you can safely assume everything in China’s retail market tests on animals (if they even bothered testing).

HOW?

If the cons far outweigh the pros, I have nothing to say to you. But if you want to make a difference to voiceless, fellow beings who would otherwise not be given basic respect, freedom of choice (don’t we love that phrase?) and a shot at being happy, here’s how to transition from “cold-blooded” to “compassionate”:

  • Avoid big brands. These corporations (and almost all of their subsidiaries) give zero f*s to ethics when it comes to animal-testing – Lóreal, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Church & Dwight, Unilever, and Dial/Henkel.

Popular brands which belong to these corporations include Pantene, Maybelline, Kiehl’s, Garnier, Revlon, Dove, Lifebuoy etc.

It’s cool to be less mainstream anyway, right?

  • cruelty_free.pngYou need to be aware that labels that read “cruelty-free” and “not tested on animals” may not always mean what you think. Currently, no government agency defines these terms, or sets standards for their usage. It is, therefore, left to companies’ individual definition of “cruelty-free” label. In order to be 100% certain that there is no animal-testing involved, look out for this ‘leaping bunny’ logo on products’ packaging. This logo is regulated, and you can trust products with this logo one hundred percent.
  • When in doubt, google. Before I purchase any new product, I always google and read from a few sources to find out if the brand tests on animals. Small tip: http://www.iherb.com is an awesome place to purchase cruelty-free products. Not all are, though, so please read product descriptions before purchasing!

And in case you think it is too much of a hassle scouting for ethical products, Watsons, Guardian and Sephora do sell products that are free from animal-testing. Some brands include Essano, Avalon Organics, Elf Cosmetics, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Eyeko, Nars, Tarte, Too Faced etc.

  • If you need any motivation, you may follow PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), The Dodo, The Dodo Impact etc. on Facebook. They have such informative videos and their constant posts on animal abuse will remind you of the need to stick to the habit of only purchasing animal-friendly products.

Just a fair warning – once you’ve gotten accustomed to the habit of purchasing only cruelty-free products, you will tend to start incorporating other animal-friendly habits. Like having a distaste for meat, shunning leather/fur products, liking all animal videos on Facebook, and avoiding places that exploit our poor animal friends like circuses, tiger temples, elephant/camel rides, horse races etc.

I look forward to the day when you become as committed as I am.

Written by Sabrina

Inspired by sources Peta and Cruelty-Free Kitty.


One day, I offered Sabrina a few sample cosmetic products from one of the big brands to try. She rejected it and said that she only uses products that are free from animal-testing. We had a conversation about her commitment and how she manages to stick to her resolution. “It can be troublesome sometimes because I have to buy everything online and ship them to Singapore,” she admits. But she accepts it as her chosen way to live because she believes in it.

We do not have to be strong activists to promote a cause. Individual ‘passivists’ can collectively bring about change. Sabrina has softly influenced a few of her family members and friends to start using products free from animal-testing. And she hopes that her words have raised an awareness to the ugly world of beauty products.

In writing this article, Sabrina has also found out that almost all tobacco companies test on animals. (One English tobacco company is, in fact, trying to be kinder to animals than humans.) A habitual smoker, Sabrina is now on a brand new resolution to quit smoking. 

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