At this point I’m sure everyone, even those who don’t use makeup, has heard about cruelty-free makeup.  However, you might not have the right definition of what “cruelty-free,” really means.  The name suggests that it is makeup that was made without killing or harming animals, but that is not true. 

According to the FDA, cruelty-free means that the finished product was not tested on animals.  This is misleading because most animal testing happens at an ingredient level, meaning if the product is tested on animals before the formula is finished they can say that it’s cruelty-free. Cruelty-free makeup is a great first step, but I encourage makeup and animal lovers to try something else: vegan makeup.

Before you write me off as another crazy vegan let me say this: I am nowhere near that. Cheese is a crucial part of every single meal I have and I eat chicken basically everyday at the dining halls. But I still believe that vegan makeup is a good investment. Vegan makeup is, like the name suggests, makeup that was made without using animal ingredients or animal derived ingredients (including, but not limited to, beeswax, honey and collagen).

One of my main worries when I heard about vegan makeup was it would be more expensive than most makeups, which are expensive as is.  However, once I started researching I found that it was not always as expensive as I had worried.  Of course, there are brands that charge absurd amounts for their products, but for the most part, they’re pretty averagely priced.  Vegan lip products are a bit more expensive than most non-vegan lip products, though, because non-vegan lip products are typically made with various types of animal derived wax, oils and fats. 

You can find a whole list of hundreds of affordable vegan brands and products on Petit Vour’s website (and when you shop through their website you get 20 percent back in store credit: how’s that for incentive).  Some of the affordable brands petit vour recommends are Han Skin Care Cosmetics, Modern Minerals, Lily Lolo and 100% Pure.  But there are also some more expensive brands there, such as Juicy Beauty’s products, which can reach upwards of $70, and one of Osea’s products, which costs over $90. 

Vegan makeup is still a fairly new concept, and because of this, products can be limited. However cruelty-free makeup is still an excellent choice. Like I said earlier, it isn’t always as animal-friendly as one might think but there are brands that, when they say animal free, actually mean they do not test on animals.  To find out what a brand means by cruelty-free, check their website, and if it is still unclear you can email their customer service department (this also goes for vegan).  For the most part, brands that are cruelty-free will respond promptly.  If your email is ignored or you aren’t given a clear answer, it is safe to assume that they are not as cruelty-free as they want you to believe.

Another level to research is parent companies.  There are many brands that are cruelty-free, but the parent company owns them still tests on animals. Therefore, by buying from these brands you are still somewhat supporting non-cruelty-free companies.  For example, Urban Decay is known as being cruelty-free, and that’s one thing that people love about it.  But Urban Decay is owned by L’Oreal, a company that is not cruelty-free.  Similar to parent companies, you can also learn about the companies that sell ingredients.  Many of the companies that sell ingredients for makeup testing, makeup brands and other distributors buy these products and then state that they do not test on animals because the product was not in their hands when used on animals.

Vegan makeup is something that everyone should consider. It is better for your skin and better for animals that are usually abused and exploited to make and test makeup. But since it can be hard to find exactly what you need, cruelty-free makeup is definitely a step in the right direction.

keenandm@miamioh.edu

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