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The Reality of Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

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It may come as a shock to hear that most of the cosmetic and skin care brands we know and love still test on animals. Owned by Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics began selling their products in China in 2005, opening the floodgates of animal rights activists to protest the once bunny-friendly brand.

Chinese law requires all foreign cosmetic products to undergo animal testing. In 2014, the law was revised to only include products that are manufactured outside of the country. These products include: makeup, perfume, skin care products, nail products, hair products, hair dye, deodorant, sunscreen and whitening products.

The Chinese cosmetic market is a $3.42 billion-a-year industry and many companies have been jumping at the chance to be a part of it. The only downside for a company entering this market is forfeiting their cruelty-free title, if they had one.

To be classified as cruelty-free, a company has to prove that there is no animal testing at any point in the production of any of their products by the company itself or by any third parties. This includes testing on any of the ingredients purchased by suppliers, or after the final product is made.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a certification process for cosmetic and household brands and supplies a logo that indicating cruelty-free products. Some of the popular certified brands –Anastasia Beverly Hills, Too Faced, Cover FX Skin Care, Smashbox, Lush, and Tarte –are not sold by retail in China, however they can be purchased by Chinese consumers online. By shopping for these products online, animal testing laws can be bypassed.

Many companies claim to be cruelty-free, but continue to sell their products in China. Some of these brands include Benefit, Sephora brand products, Bobbi Brown and Clinique (both owned by Estée Lauder), Revlon and L’Oréal.

Because of the outcry for genuinely cruelty-free products, some celebrities made it their mission to provide cosmetic lines devoted to ending animal testing.

Owned by world-famous tattoo artist Katherine von Drachenber, Kat von D Beauty is dedicated to the protection of animals and has produced a makeup line that is completely cruelty-free and vegan.

Founded in 2011, actress Jessica Alba joined the cause, opening The Honest Company with the simple idea that we shouldn’t have to choose between what works for us and what is good for us.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is a federal law passed in 1966 was put in place to protect animals such as dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits. Animals that are not covered under the law include rats, mice, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, cows and pigs. It is intended not to regulate how test animals are used, but to regulate how they are obtained.

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