Cruelty-free Makeup

By: Tatiana Rodriguez

There are two things in this world that I hold near to my heart— outside of family and friends. Those two items are makeup and animals. I love stepping into Ulta and admiring the beautiful clean glow, women of all ages trying on new colors, and the store always split between drugstore and high-end products. I don’t wear it often, but I love applying it and feeling more confident in myself after.

As of recently, I have learned the term “cruelty-free makeup.” Prior to researching I had never put too much thought into how makeup was made, the standards used to put it on the market, or where it had come from. I had never thought that some of my favorite brands tested on animals before putting the product onto the market.


A disgusting fact is that more than 100 million animals in the U.S are tortured and killed each year; the leading industry of this is the cosmetics industry. Typically they used rabbits, mice, hamsters, and sometimes dogs to test products. They shave them and put chemicals onto their freshly shaven skin, pour chemicals into their eyes, and often break their bones to get them to hold still— all for waterproof mascara.

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A bunny after being test on for cosmetic lines.

I used to own rabbits and the sound of a rabbit howl is one of the most gut-wrenching sounds a person could ever hear. Imagine that Little Bunny Foo Foo is hoping through the forest and being scooped up to a cosmetic lab. While there he lives a life of confinement, torture, and horrible experimentation never to be released into the wild again. A slight morbid twist, but the point still stands.

After learning and watching videos of the mistreatment of animals, I became afraid of the brands I was using. Think about it, skin is the largest organ in the body and by putting different chemicals onto it may cause severe consequences. Regardless of applying makeup, everyone woman has their nightly routine to keep their skin healthy and radiant, right? We apply a ton of products on our faces such as face wash, toner, and moisturizer.  During nights in with the gals, were all gossiping, drinking wine, eating pizza, and WEARING masks that do something beneficial for our skin. Or so the label says.

Does it not make more sense to use natural products that have a handful of ingredients that are easy to pronounce versus a named brand product with so many ingredients it’s hard to tell if it’s one word or not? Just like eating healthy and being cautious of what’s going inside your body, we make sure to apply the same principles to skin care and cosmetics. Even down to the brushes, they make alternative options other than using some sort of animal hair. Personally, I don’t use many brushes, but the ones I do use are Eco-tools because the idea of applying my favorite highlighter whilst using horsetail, isn’t all that appealing.

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Beagles are often tested on because of their gentle nature.

Animal testing has a long and dark history starting in the 1920s In 1938 the U.S passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that mandated animal testing in order to establish the safety of a new drug. However, being the 21st century, there should be no justifying animal testing when there are over 7,000 safe ingredients that cosmetic companies can choose from when formulating their products. Governments around the world have already banned animal testing for cosmetics such as the European Union, Norway, Isreal, India, and so much more!

There are large beauty companies that still continue to use animal testing. The top six being:

  1. L’Oreal
  2. Maybelline
  3. Rimmel London
  4. Revlon
  5. Cover Girl
  6. Mac

When I first learned about these brands still torturing animals my heart sank. These were some of my favorite cosmetic brands, but I knew I had to choose alternatives because I cannot support that type of indecency.

Switching to cruelty-free products was easier than expected. I was scared that higher end products would be more inclined to test on animals, but to my surprise, they weren’t. Most high-end cosmetics understand that consumers do not want products that have been tested on animals. I now have new drugstore favorites like NYX, Physicians Formula, and Elf. They’re quality products, very affordable, and do NOT test on animals.

  There is a category called “vegan-free” cosmetics that do not contain anything that comes from an animal or are produced by an animal, but that doesn’t always make them cruelty-free. I recommend doing independent research on companies that you use to fully see if they are truly cruelty-free. I say this because there is no regulation on “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” labels.

Other high end cosmetics that I was thrilled that were cruelty-free:

  1. Urban Decay
  2. Too Faced
  3. Becca Cosmetics
  4. Anastasia Beverly Hill
  5. Balm
  6. Benefit Cosmetics
  7. and many more!

There are independent companies like Lush, Milani, and MUA that are vegan free and are manufactured more efficiently. Meaning they do not leave as a large of a carbon footprint.

I don’t expect everyone to immediately change their cosmetics because 1) it’s expensive and 2) we have our favorite brands for a reason. I simply suggest that more research is done into companies that you continuously give your money to. Not only will it go to a better company, but it’ll be better for your skin as well. PETA has an additional list of cosmetics they have certified themselves as cruelty-free.


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