As we know, I'm not vegetarian or vegan, and I consume animal products in my food and in fashion (the latter as leather, wool, and silk predominantly). However, in both of those fields my consumption of animal products has slowly and naturally declined. In food, the rise of global food options has meant that I often eat vegetarian meals without thinking twice about it; in fashion, my love of pre-loved and vintage clothing means that most animal products are at least coming to me second hand.
The area where I wasn't making a slow change was beauty (or so I thought). I was buying beauty products entirely based on reviews and efficacy, and was wilfully blind to the question of animal testing. I realise I'm not covering myself in glory here, but the tide did eventually turn. I realised that if I didn't want to spend money on supporting unsustainable and unethical manufacturing practices in fashion, then I was a massive hypocrite every time I gave money to a company that tortured animals so I could look less tired. Come on Megan. Get it together.
Sara Quilter, the founder of Tailor Skincare, has written a great post on the difference between cruelty-free and vegan products here. We're just doing cruelty free today, guys, but if you have vegan or all natural products you love, please share them below.
I think I had been labouring under the misapprehension that cruelty free beauty was hard to come across, and that many brands were using animal testing. With some trepidation, I pulled all the most common or beloved brands from my bathroom and my makeup bag and started researching. How deep was I in animal testing hell? How hard would I need to search for alternatives?
These are the products I skimmed out of my bathroom that are cruelty free. Not a bad haul, if I do say so myself. I can cleanse, tone and moisturise both day and night with no issues, I have body moisturiser, and I have not one but TWO fragrances. Easy!
Unfortunately for me, my beloved Kiehls is not properly cruelty-free, because they sell their products in China using channels other than direct-to-consumer ecommerce (which means China requires animal testing). That means I will have to switch out my Kiehls products for new products as I use them up. Luckily I already have a few options lined up, including Tailor, Aesop and Living Nature. My body wash and shampoo/conditioner were also a big fail, so I guess I'll be trying Ethique again.
To the make up bag!
Again, I was AMAZED by how many brands were cruelty-free. This is an incomplete sweep, because in addition to this I discovered that Hourglass and The Balm, as well as Cargo, are also cruelty-free. Thank goodness, because this face needs highlighter, bronzer and blush.
Unfortunately for me, both Nars and MAC sell their products in China and therefore are not cruelty-free. Farewell, amazing Sheer Glow foundation. Farewell, excellent Radiant Creamy Concealer. Luckily, the only products I use from MAC are eyeshadows and I have enough eyeshadow to last me the rest of my adult life, so that doesn't sting. But Nars. Please withdraw from China and/or convince them to stop animal testing. I'm gonna miss you.
People LOST THEIR SHIT when Nars decided to enter the market in China, which (incredibly) was a decision they made in 2017. Nars said "We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region", to which I say, Nars I think you have lost sight of how unimportant you actually are and also, let's be real, what you mean is "it's a big market and we want $$$$$".
To really put my make up bag to the test, I decided to do a full face of makeup using only cruelty free brands already in my make up bag. In the end I did have to cheat and use my existing mascara - but as soon as that sucker hits expiration, it's getting replaced by an option from a brand that doesn't test on animals.
So, I'm not a make up artist, as should be evident from this, but girl you should see the before. ROUGH. That glow is partly from Hourglass ambient lighting powders, but partly from the joy that is knowing I haven't contributed to animal suffering just so I can have a shiny eyelid and a smoother-looking skin. If you've been thinking about cruelty-free make up, may I be the example that a quick Google might reveal things aren't as bad as they seem, and the encouragement you need to change it up (and save a bunny's life).