The Reality of Cruelty Free Cosmetics

    “The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market…”

    A poll conducted by the HarrisPoll (a website that offers rewards for completing surveys, operating since 1963) from 2012 shows that 16% of women “felt unattractive without cosmetics”, 14% said they “felt self-conscious without them”, and 14% said they “felt naked without makeup.” Since then makeup has only been growing more popularity throughout society; advertisements are getting targeted for girls younger and younger, and the younger they start, the harder it is to stop. So, considering how many people use cosmetics on a regular basis, why don’t we have more cosmetic regulations?

    Hypothetically, if you wanted to start making and selling a new lipstick online, you can! There isn't any paperwork, pre-registration approval, or registration requirements necessary to start selling your products online. Cosmetics fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and though there are some labelling requirements, big companies could easily avoid listing dangerous ingredients, considering no regulations / tests are done to the final product. In order for the FDA to start an investigation into a product, they solely rely on direct reports of adverse effects from consumers. This means even if a product is causing problems for some, if there aren't enough reports directly to the FDA, they will not look into it.

    Cruelty-free / organic labels on cosmetics may seem like the way to go, but there isn't any federal regulation for that either. Companies could easily slap a cruelty-free sticker on just about any product and be good to go, according to the law. Many people don’t realize the amount of products fall under the FDA’s definition of cosmetic; make-up is not the only unregulated cosmetic! Along with make-up, products like deodorant, perfume / cologne, and shampoos are also cosmetics under the FDA definition from the Food Drug and Cosmetics act of 1938. The act defines cosmetics as such: “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” It’s unfortunate to not see as many men advocating for cosmetic regulation; although women are assumed to use cosmetics more, everyone in one way or another is affected by the cosmetic regulations in place today.

    In response to the misuse of cruelty-free and animal-friendly labels created specifically for more traction to the product, abiding by no one’s rules but their own, eight national animal protection advocacy groups banded together to create the CCIC (Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics). This coalition created a comprehensive standard, with an internationally recognized label; this is the Leaping Bunny program! Their goal is to make a reliable database of regulated cruelty-free brands; they update their list quite often, and even provide discount codes for consumers who refer back to their database frequently. Their database has hundreds of companies, accessible for free to anyone with internet access, and most of their in-store products have the Leaping Bunny stamp of approval on them! There are other databases that essentially do the same thing as Leaping Bunny, but no other program has as rigorous of standards as Leaping Bunny; their standard requires no animal testing of the final product as well as any singular ingredients, a commonly overlooked crucial factor to stopping animal testing.

    Many places have abolished animal testing as a whole; Europe, for example, has taken many steps to ensure animal safety. They banned final cosmetic testing in 2004, cosmetic ingredient testing in 2009, and a marketing ban, prohibiting the marketing / selling of cosmetics that were tested on animals, also in 2009. There are over 50 animal friendly ways to test cosmetics that have more accuracy and ensure safety, that don’t hurt anything else in the process; the fact that we still abuse animals to the extent we do just proves how greedy we are, looking for the quickest way to make sure these products won’t kill people and killing others whilst doing it. If the real data was available from the tests these companies do, you wouldn’t want to buy these products at all; these companies do any and everything they can do make animal testing seem “humane”. The best thing we can do as consumers is support companies that do go out of their way to fight animal testing, and advocate for groups like the Leaping Bunny program! These companies are abiding by consumer-regulated standards, not just legal ones, really showing their dedication to the abolition of animal testing. If enough people start shopping cruelty-free, the larger companies have no choice but to follow in their footsteps; we need to show companies that there is no profit in the abuse and product testing conducted on animals.

    Ban on Animal Testing - Growth - European Commission. (2018, February 05). Retrieved from

    Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Guidance & Regulation. Retrieved from

    Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Laws & Regulations - Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both? (Or Is It Soap?). Retrieved from

    Search for Cruelty-Free Companies, Products, and More. (2013, October 16). Retrieved from

    That Moisturizer You're Slathering on Your Face Isn't Regulated. (n.d.). Retrieved from