Testing on animals in the beauty industry

Animal testing is something that it is a hot topic in the beauty industry as favourite brands like NARS, who were once considered a cruelty free brand, release news of opening up in the Chinese market where they by law, test beauty products on animals before sale in China.
So what does this mean exactly?
I think there is a scale or spectrum of what is means when a brand talks about how they are involved with animal testing. As a beauty consumer you need to decide where you sit on this spectrum. It ranges from I will use products that have been tested on animals to I won’t use products where there is a connection to animal testing.
There are 2 main questions asked around cosmetics and animal testing. 1. Do you test on animals? and 2. Is your brand cruelty free? These are not the same question.
Do you test on animals? – That will be answered by either “yes” (I don’t think you will see many companies still using testing in Western countries), “no” or “no, unless it is required by law” – and this is when it gets tricky.
The short version of “What required by law means” is when COMPANY A creates a product they import it into a country where their government and laws are, before COMPANY A’s product is sold on our shores we will be testing it for regulation and safety on animals. COMPANY A allows this so their products can be sold in that country.
This means – if it was made in the USA for example, the product was not tested on animals. When it was sold in the USA, it was not tested on animals. When it was sent to a county where this law is in place, then the products are tested.

Is your brand cruelty free? Cruelty free is all that above AND not connected to any company who may themselves. So we will say COMPANY B does not test on animals nor does it sell to a country where it is required to do so by law. BUT, COMPANY B is OWNED by COMPANY A and they allow their products to be tested. COMPANY A is profiting by COMPANY B which no longer means they are cruelty free.

As an active part of the online beauty communities I find so many people are unaware of what “animal testing” means, I don’t believe it to be black and white.

So – can’t brands just “stop selling to China?” – the answer is yes and no. There are brands which have said they will never sell in countries where they require testings, and others choose too because – first and foremost, it’s business and China is one of the largest consumers of beauty products. This turns a profit – and leads to be able to expand further in a worldwide market and leads to more employment and leads to more profit which is the bottom line for a lot of companies (in any industry). They also don’t want to discriminate to the Chinese buyers and want to be able to sell their products to them, making their products accessible to everyone worldwide. I would be shattered if a company no longer sold to Australia due to a law my country had.

Animal testing is so completely unnecessary and I look forward to a world where it is no longer legal anywhere. It can be hard for western countries (Australia, UK, US etc) to understand why countries like China still the these practices, while I don’t agree with it, you have to remember that animals are not held in the same regard as they are in a western country. In China, they are considered food, I mean in some places, they actually eat dog. They also do not have laws like we have in Australia with the RSCPA that protect animal rights.
Luckily thanks to large make up brands having influence over in countries like China they are making steps and providing funding to provide other alternative methods to animal testing (see links below from IIVS). Its going to be a long road, but advances are happening and thats what is important.
I get really frustrated at the videos that go around about companies and animal testing (when required by law) – they use footage of animal testing but it is not footage of that company testing which is showing a false truth. These videos have an agenda about animal testing which is important but they need to make sure they are factual unless I feel they loose creditability.
The spectrum/scale of how I see it is we have ;
  • I buy products which are tested on animals
  • I buy products which are not tested on animals in my country
  • I will not buy products which the company allows testing on animals anywhere
  • I will not buy products which the company allows testing on animals anywhere or its parent company
  • I will not buy products which the company allows testing on animals anywhere or its parent company AND it does not include any animal products (vegan)
Where do you sit on my animal testing spectrum/scale?
This is an opinion piece and what I have educated myself on. If you feel I have any information factually wrong, please let me know by providing me links to other educational information sources so I can learn more. 


    • Thanks Amanda! Check out the links – especially the EthicalElephant.com which has a helpful infographic to explain the Chinese market! xx

    • Thanks Cath! I hope it helps you make a more educated choice when you purchase your beauty products no matter what brand! Knowledge is power! Xx

    • Thanks Amanda! I hope it helps get the brain thinking about what companies you choose to support 🙂 xx

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