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Mindful Beauty - Makeup brands you probably didn’t know still test on animals


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As I mentioned in last weeks edition of ‘Mindful Beauty’, although I’ve always tried to avoid brands that I know aren’t cruelty-free, I’ve recently discovered that a few have slipped into my makeup bag without me realising.

So, in a bid to make my own makeup bag 100% cruelty-free, I decided to dig up the dirt on the brands I own and try to raise awareness of big-name brands that surprisingly still support the testing of beauty products on animals.


Image Credit: Pexels

Considering how extensive the list of brands managing to stay cruelty-free is becoming, I really don’t see any excuse for brands still condoning these cruel practices. If leading brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills and Urban Decay can manage it, surely so can everyone else? But apparently, even some of the most popular names in beauty simply don’t bother - and even worse, they lie about it.


M.A.C are a brand that I avoided for a long time after hearing they allowed animal testing in order to trade in China (ah yes, that ol’ chestnut), but I did recently hear that they’d put a stop to this. Their website claims that they 100% do not test their products on animals, so I considered giving them another try. However, as M.A.C do in fact still trade in China, a country where products must be tested on animals by law, by trading with such countries they are still endorsing this behaviour. This is confirmed in a statement laughably snuck into their FAQ page that reads: “While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally.”

Quite frankly, the fact they have the nerve to brand themselves as cruelty-free and claim to be a ‘leader’ in the movement when they have the blood of innocent creatures on their hands is revolting. 




NARS were possibly the biggest surprise for me on this list as they’re so hugely endorsed by key figures in the beauty industry and up until very recently, they were listed as a cruelty-free brand. Unfortunately, last year they decided to jump ship and join M.A.C by selling out and trading with China. 

I’m not going to lie, the Climax Mascara seemed well worth the hype product-wise and it was an absolute game-changer for my lashes, but I never would’ve even gone there if I’d have known. 

(FYI, Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara is cruelty-free, so at least one of our cult faves is still an option)


Estée Lauder

Whilst some brands owned by Estée Lauder (Smashbox, Too Faced, Aveda) are listed as cruelty-free, Estée Lauder products themselves aren’t. Yet another brand ludicrously marketing themselves as ‘ethical’, their website’s ‘Our Commitments’ page states: “The Estée Lauder Companies does not test on animals and we never ask others to do so on our behalf. If a regulatory body demands it for its safety or regulatory assessment, an exception can be made”. So in other words: ‘we don’t test on animals except when we do test on animals’.


Other brands owned by Estée Lauder that aren’t cruelty-free include Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and Tom Ford - poor effort, guys.


Maybe it’s something about the cutesy packaging of Benefit’s products that got me assuming they’d be cruelty-free, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet another brand claiming to not test on animals (except when they do), these guys are a true eye-opener to the effects of strategic (manipulative) visual branding. Similar to the previous offenders on this list, Benefit’s website includes promising phrases such as ‘leading role in developing alternative methods’ and ‘we are one of only a few companies to have invested in creating our own internal department to test raw materials’, all of which sounds great, until they suddenly remember their old pals over in China who they still insist on trading with.


I suppose it was rather naive to just assume that these brands would be cruelty-free and the last thing I want to do is make excuses, but most of the above do strongly market themselves as being against animal testing. Aside from this, so many beauty influencers I’ve looked up to in the past continue to show support and endorse their products. NARS, in particular, are hugely celebrated in the beauty community, but maybe that’s because they’re quick to offer free trips to anyone with a strong beauty following? (I guess it’s just too hard to consider the suffering of others when you’re busy posing poolside with the latest ‘it’ product)

You’d think that those with a strong influence in the beauty community would be more mindful of the values of the brands they represent, but it’s clear that the majority either aren’t or simply just don’t care. Again, I am not trying to pass blame and I take full responsibility for perhaps putting too much trust in aforementioned influencers, but maybe it’s also time to review the makeup artists and bloggers we give a platform to as well as the brands - a topic for a future Mindful Beauty piece, perhaps?



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