Once upon a time, it was fairly typical for cosmetics companies to ensure the safety of their products on humans by testing instead on animals. A few decades ago, furry creatures were always the ones who had to suffer in the name of beauty but fortunately, this testing process is now banned in many countries. However, the fight is far from over.
There are still companies that use fancy words to divert shoppers and it is our responsibility to discern among labels. Two terms that are commonly interchanged are “cruelty-free” and “vegan” but there is a stark difference between the two.
What happens when animals are tested?
First, it's crucial to be aware of how animals are held in place in order for substances to be dripped into their eyes or lathered on their bare skin. Experimentation may entail administering of drugs, poisoning, and other traumatising processes that don't always lead to reliable results because humans and animals barely share the same traits.
Rabbits are typically chosen for the procedures because of their gentle nature. Companies find them more economical as well, because of their ability to breed fast. Laboratory experiments often lead to swelling, hemorrhaging burning of the scraped skin, and blindness since rabbits lack tear ducts, unlike humans. Rabbits are thereby unable to cry out perilous substances that continuously sting and burn their eyes. Some of these tests are so notoriously painful that some rabbits self-mutilate because of the stress.
There are far more different types of experiments but at the end of the day, many of them leave the animals lifeless after prolonged hours of torturous pain. This is why it doesn't hurt to educate ourselves before making any purchase from a cosmetic company.
Cruelty-free skincare vs. vegan skincare
You will encounter a wide array of labels these days like “cruelty-free” and “vegan”, but is it safe to assume that they both do not involve animals?
When you see natural skin care products that bear a “cruelty-free” certification stamp, it means that such items have not been tested on animals throughout the manufacturing and selling stages. The tricky part is, even if cruelty-free products aren't tested on animals, they can still contain animal byproducts or animal-based ingredients that were derived through unethical means.
Things like natural moisturiser, natural body washes, and body lotion for sensitive skin might claim to be cruelty-free but such a label only pertains to the testing process. The companies aren't always aware of how their suppliers have harvested the ingredients.
Animal products that you'll typically find in cosmetics are honey, bee pollen, lanolin, and beeswax. On the other hand, some animal-based ingredients that you'll often find in cosmetic labels include collagen that's mostly sourced from chicken feet and hyaluronic acid that comes from a rooster's comb.
Meanwhile, vegan skincare products do not contain even a tinge of animal-derived ingredients. Vegan cosmetics only use alternatives like plant and mineral ingredients in the production. Many corporations have found ways to develop mainstream skincare items like hand barrier cream, moisturiser for acne, and even baby eczema cream without the need for animals to be involved at all.
Seeing the “vegan” label, however, should not make us complacent. Since the term isn't regulated, there are companies that claim to sell “vegan” products but their testing process isn't cruelty-free. Some vegan items might not be completely free as well of chemicals or toxins.
The good news
The best part is you don't have to choose between cruelty-free and vegan because it is now possible to buy items that don't involve barbaric testing and harvesting of ingredients. More and more companies in the skincare industry are fighting back and you can help make a difference too!
Thanks to technological advancements, there are now modern testing methods that use human patient simulators. These tests are so sophisticated that they can replicate the human skin's features and accurately show the body's response to chemicals and substances. While a bit costlier, these techniques enable scientists to conduct safety studies without the maltreatment of animals.
Don't let the fancy packaging or stellar beauty reviews make the decision for you. Spend some time researching about a company's methods. If a company has nothing to hide and is committed to delivering the best for its clients, it will accommodate calls or emails inquiring about its processes.
Skincare that takes “caring” seriously
Natralus is one of the many brands determined to eliminate cruelty in the industry. The company ensures that all of its products not only meet the “safe” and “all-natural” criteria, but also the “cruelty-free” standard from the sourcing of ingredients down to testing.
Each Natralus item contains ingredients that have been sourced from organic farms that use ethical practices. Many Natralus products, for example, contain beeswax but the company makes sure that its suppliers' cultivating processes do not harm the bees or interfere with their normal production cycles.
Buyers similarly have the option to choose from the brand's vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free line. Some products that you can check are:
- Ultra Skin Repair Gel and Spray
- SuperVitals Ultra Hydration Hand and Body
- Natural Gentle Wash
- Intensive Skin Therapy Moisturising Lotion
- My Little One Relaxing Touch Massage Oil
When making the transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle, don't be too hard on yourself but instead take things slowly. If you have unintentionally bought cosmetics that test on animals, don't chuck everything into the garbage and create more waste. If your existing items are free from harmful chemicals, you may continue using them and vow to make informed purchases the next time.
Many cruelty-free and all-natural items are likewise handmade by smaller businesses. They might not have glitzy advertorials or A-list celebrities endorsing them, but isn't it heartwarming to know that you are supporting a community of compassionate individuals? By making this choice, you are investing in companies that actually want to pave way for a positive change in the world.
You might think that you're just a lone shopper whose decision to seek ethical products doesn't really matter but it does. Your stand is powerful because as the demand grows, so does the response of companies that haven't changed their old ways yet.