Basic Beginner Guide – What is Cruelty Free?

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Last Updated on 02/22/2022

This is part 1 of my Basic Beginner’s Guide To Cruelty-Free living. Here I’ve tried covering a few basic questions, to help you get a better picture of the scenario. So, let’s dive right in!

​What is animal testing?

Every year, millions of animals are used for and sometimes even killed in the name of “animal testing”. In the name of testing, toxic chemicals are injected into animals, they are doused with corrosive substances, even shaved and rubbed with irritants. Animal testing is indeed the ugly underbelly of the cosmetic industry, worldwide.

The countries where animal testing is very common are the USA, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Brazil.

Sadly, enough the past few years saw only an increase in the number of animals being subjected to animal testing. Therefore, many organizations, global societies, and NGOs have come into play to protest against animal testing and to encourage consumers to use cruelty-free brands.


Cruelty Free Beauty Guide


Why do companies test on animals?

Animal testing is carried out in order to determine various aspects of cosmetics. The results influence, whether or not a particular product is suitable for use on humans and the choice of ingredients in formulating a product. The most commonly tested aspects are:

● Dermal penetration tests: These are carried out to get a better understanding of the absorption of a product/ ingredient through the skin. These tests also indicate the number of chemicals reaching the bloodstream.

● Skin sensitization: To determine whether the ingredient being tested evokes an allergic reaction on the skin or not.

● Acute toxicity tests: These are done to determine the danger of exposure to a chemical through the mouth, eyes, or skin. To carry these tests out. Animals are exposed to lethal doses of chemicals through injections.

● Skin corrosivity tests: These tests are to confirm the level of irreversible damage caused onto the skin by exposure to a certain chemical.

● Endocrine/hormonal disruption tests

Laws for animal testing

Each country varies in its laws for animal testing. The general laws are aimed at reducing the number of animals used and decreasing the degree of pain inflicted upon the animals under experimentation.

Why is animal-testing mandatory in China?

China has a bad reputation of selling low-quality cosmetics and fakes. Therefore, to prove the safety of their products, they are involved in extensive animal testing. Right now, most of their labs are not fully equipped or trained to carry out alternative methods of testing.

What is Cruelty Free

Alternatives to animal testing

● Use of In Vitro screens
● Use of artificial skin

Why are companies going cruelty-free?

Because of the disturbing facts about testing on animals, cruelty free cosmetic and skincare brands help to pave the way to sustainable and ethical beauty practices. When a company labels itself as cruelty-free, it implies that they do not test their products on animals in any way.

It is not mandatory for companies to go cruelty-free in any part of the world but cosmetic and skincare companies are doing it to save the environment and our ecosystem.

To consider a company totally cruelty-free, the following requirements must be fulfilled –

(1) These companies or their parent companies do not test their cosmetics or ingredients used in making these cosmetics on animals.
(2) These brands must not hire third parties for testing or experimentation on animals.
(3) These must be certified by organizations like Leaping Bunny, PETA, etc.

On what basis do PETA and Leaping bunny certify companies as cruelty free?

PETA requires a company to submit a written pledge that they will not test on animals. While, getting certification from Leaping bunny requires a company to clear an on-site, audit/inspection to verify that the claims of the company are indeed true. Therefore, a leaping bunny certificate is more legit.

Why should you choose cruelty-free?

Cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products help you look and feel beautiful without carrying the guilt of using something that involves hurting an innocent creature. Most cruelty-free cosmetics are free of harsh chemicals and animal ingredients, too. Though, this is not mandatory.

Going cruelty-free is one of the many steps that an educated generation like ours must take to protect poor animals from being subjected to pain and injustice.

If you made it here, you can also have a look at Part 2 of the Guide: How To Go Cruelty Free?

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