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#SpringCleaning: Switching to Cruelty-Free Makeup

According to the Humane Society International, over 115 million animals are tested on in laboratories worldwide, not including the 90 percent that is excluded in data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture each year. Despite the lack of evidence proving animal testing is worth the money and trauma, these dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, etc. are physically harmed for their entire lives – living in cages and being poisoned to test toxicity levels in makeup.

Before making the switch to vegetarianism, I first decided to clean out my makeup collection to make room for only cruelty-free brands. With more and more brands making the switch (Congrats, Covergirl!), the number of options makes it easier to dump brands like NARS and switch to cheaper or indie brands. Below are a few reasons why you should start cleaning out your makeup drawers as well.


Protect animals!

Like I mentioned above, the number of animals being tested on each year is unknown. Animals do not have rights, so U.S. laboratories are not required to mention them in their statistics. That also means that companies don’t have to document their treatment of the animals. I won’t go into detail, but labs use animals to test toxicity, skin and eye irritation and effects of surgeries, and labs often kill the animals after the observational period is over.

Scientists are becoming increasingly skeptical about the data produced from animal testing. Animals are not humans, so the tests’ results might not even accurately represent the effects on humans.  


Cruelty-free makeup is non-toxic

Why would you want potentially irritating chemicals on your face? Cruelty-free makeup is often free of the nasty irritants that would require further testing. Because cruelty-free brands do not test new ingredients on animals, their ingredients are usually built on preexisting knowledge about what ingredients are safe. Companies are using more natural and organic ingredients that don’t leave your skin red and your pores clogged. Take Tarte’s new Foundcealer for example, which includes babassu, sunflower oil, hyaluronic acid for hydration and vitamin E for antioxidants.


Support indie brands

Switching to cruelty-free makeup gives you plenty of room to try new indie brands. I can’t think of an indie brand that doesn’t make an effort to be cruelty-free and vegan, especially because they don’t feel the same pressure to sell their products in China. Bigger brands – like NARS – may start off cruelty-free, but switch to animal testing to reach a larger market in China, where animal testing is required. As consumers, we are able to make a statement by ignoring these companies and supporting smaller brands that don’t take part in the practice. Lime Crime, Menagerie Cosmetics and Colourpop are just a few cruelty-free brands that I would recommend.


A senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, Sabrina is a Journalism and English double-major hoping to turn her love for reading and writing into a career in publishing. When Sabrina isn't in classes or working at the Wilson Library on campus, she works as an intern at a boutique literary agency focused in Raleigh, NC.
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