I have recently committed to buying only cruelty free cosmetics, toiletries and body care products, and today I wanted to share a few tips for taking the plunge into buying products which have not supported animal testing.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go for the hard sell – there will be no photographs of injured, tortured animals. Firstly because nobody should be bullied into making a decision. Secondly because the horrors you can imagine are probably much more graphic than any imagery I’d feel comfortable sharing to make my point.
It took me longer than I care to admit to fully make the change, and although I’m not proud of that, it has afforded me the chance to research and join some great cruelty free communities. Hopefully I’ll save you some time with these tips for how to go cruelty free.
1. Talk about it.
I started by asking questions on twitter, watching chats and finding great Cruelty Free bloggers and found that the community is wonderfully supportive. No question is too silly. They’re also fierce spokespeople and meticulous researchers. If you ask the Cruelty Free twitter community, you’re in good hands.
Check out the #CFBloggers chat on Thursday evenings and you’ll know what I mean.
2. Do your research.
I’m sure that, even in a year, I’ll be finding out new information about brands, products and testing. However, the more you research, the easier it becomes to feel confident in your choices. My bibles for the past few months have been the BUAV and Peta websites, both of which offer verified lists of companies you can buy from with confidence. They tend to sway more towards American brands, but there are plenty available in the UK too!
(Just to clarify, I’ve been told often by cosmetic counters that it’s illegal to perform animal testing in Europe now. Beware this offhand statement, it might seem harmless, but its actually quite inaccurate. Companies like L’Oreal, Unilever and P&G still utilise animal testing outside of Europe). That makes it very hard to be confident in your decisions. If in doubt, refer to tip #1.
Researching cruelty free brands also made me very aware of the ingredients in my shopping. Taking the time to research cosmetic companies indirectly led me to having a better awareness of how I treat my skin and body, and helped me make better decisions about what’s good (and bad) for me.
3. Second guess everything.
Companies can be a bit tricky when they describe their stance on animal testing. Sometimes they’ll say things like “we are against animal testing and fund research into alternatives” – but they don’t say that they don’t do it. This probably means that they do.
Brands who don’t test on animals, on the other hand, are proud of it. They’ll say things like “We do not test on animals” and “We do not have companies test on animals on our behalf”. Better still, some become BUAV/Leaping Bunny certified, which means you can buy them with confidence!
Also, just because a company was Cruelty Free a year ago doesn’t mean it still is. MAC, for example, disappointed many CF consumers when it decided to sell in China, thus made the decision to resume testing on animals (note: any product or brand sold in China voids its Cruelty Free status, as animal testing is required by Chinese law to prove safety).
4. Remember your Motivator.
At first, when I decided not to buy tested products and Mac or Benefit would launch a new range, the devil in me would wonder if I could make the exception and buy it just this once. Remembering my motivator – not wanting to support or be responsible indirectly for the suffering of an animal. Whenever I’d see colgate on offer, or wonder if it was more convenient to buy Dove from Asda instead of going to Superdrug, I’d ask myself if my clean teeth or fresh armpits were worth a rabbit going blind. 100% of the time, when put into perspective, it is not worth it.
Your motivator might be different to mine, but whatever it is, it was powerful enough to change your attitude once. It will continue to be powerful enough.
5. Unsure? Ask.
Brands with a good customer focus will always be happy to answer your questions about their products and practises. Not all brands realise the importance of making their animal testing policy known – so sometimes when you visit their website or research their products you just can’t tell.
Don’t be afraid to communicate with these brands – not only will asking them clear it up for you, it might open up a new range of products to you and the Cruelty Free community, and show other cosmetics companies that there is a strong, knowledgeable market out there for ethical products!
So those are my top 5 tips to help you make the commitment to Cruelty Free shopping. Is this a commitment you can see yourself making too?
Perhaps you’ve already made the commitment – if so, what tips would you suggest for cruelty free newbies?