Friday, 11 July 2014

Going cruelty free, a collection of myth-busting thoughts...

Why make the "effort"? Why go cruelty-free?

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I've been a bit low on funds and I must use up all my current make-up before I get to make any exciting new purchases! However I thought I'd take this opportunity, not to do a product review or beauty feature but to focus a bit more on the thinking behind cruelty-free. My cruelty-free approach to cosmetics gets a really favourable response and generally sparks conversation. People are positive and supportive and kind. They applaud the idea, but at the same time many people feel the need to tell me why they personally don't buy cruelty free: 'it's too expensive', 'it's too much effort', 'it's not as good as my current make-up'. Occasionally when shopping with friends, they will awkwardly apologise - 'sorry Annie', 'oh no don't judge me' - when buying non CF make-up. This makes me a little sad, as I'm not here to judge, no-one should feel like they have to apologise for their choices. My blog is here not to shove the cruelty-free ethos in people's faces but to raise awareness of the brands that are cruelty-free, it's here to give people a choice and information. Because that's what going cruelty-free is all about for me, it's making choices here and there that you can be confident in.

To answer the question 'why go cruelty free?' it's tempting to post a photo of a tortured rabbit, a blind kitten, or a burnt and hairless mouse. And yet, no one wants to see that, people have had the shock treatment, everyone already knows the facts, they've heard the numbers. I think the question that needs to be posed back is: 'well, why not go cruelty free?'

Again, the reasons: 'it's too expensive', 'it's not as good as my current make-up', 'I don't care', 'it's too much effort' might pop up but I intend this post to act as a kind of cruelty free 'myth buster' as I mull over my own experience of and thoughts on making the transition to cruelty free. It might just be a lot of nonsensical rambling but I hope someone, somewhere, gets something from it...

I think a common misconception might be that going cruelty free is an all or nothing sort of thing.'Going cruelty-free' wasn't a snap decision for me, it's been a gradual transition over one or two years where I have tried and tested different products and replaced those I can with cruelty free alternatives. I can now happily say that my make up bag is entirely made up of cruelty free products.  Likewise, the shampoos, conditioners and body washes in our household have all made the transition, along with many of our household cleaning products, too. Yet that's not to say everything non cruelty free has been chucked out. My MAC concealer lasted me two years and has only recently run out and so I have only now replaced it with a cruelty free alternative. I also have lots of old Rimmel eyebrow pencils - that have been sharpened down to the nib admittedly - but I still use these in-between buying new Body Shop or BWC pencils. The point is however, that making the change to cruelty free doesn't have to mean throwing away everything in your house that isn't CF certified, or going to the shops and spending a fortune on new hair and make up products.

It's all about choices, the next time your foundation does run out or you're looking for a new mascara, in the same way that you might consider buying a Maybelline foundation instead of a Rimmel,  consider buying from a cruelty free brand. You might love it, you might hate it BUT it's the same process and decision making that would go into a Maybelline Vs L'Oreal Vs Max Factor Vs Rimmel choice - so, what have you got to lose? £10.99 ? £5.99 ? Naturally some money would be spent, and if you didn't get on with that make up perhaps you might feel it was a waste of money, or perhaps the cruelty-free alternative is slightly more expensive than your usual brand?

To help demonstrate how I view the money side of going cruelty-free, consider these two situations.

  • Imagine you are walking by a shallow pond and you notice that an animal - say a cat or puppy - has fallen in and is drowning. Of course, you think, you must save it. Then you remember that you're wearing a brand new pair of expensive shoes and they'll get ruined if you rush into the pond. Is that a reason for not saving the animal? Of course, I'm sure most people will answer without hesitation: no, the life of this animal is worth more than a pair of shoes, no matter how expensive.  (Peter Singer originally posed this theoretical question about a child)

  • Now, a more straight forward example. Imagine if you have £10 to spend and are given two possible outcomes. Option one, you spend your £10 and nothing happens. Option two, you spend £10 and an animal is tortured and killed. It seems an obvious decision, or perhaps it seems an unlikely scenario...

and yet this is a choice that is being made by billions of people at make up counters every single minute.

And herein is my thought process - and I'm sure the thought process of many thousands of others who have pledged to go cruelty free - is that ten pounds a waste of money when every cosmetic decision you make is, effectively, a life or death decision? For me, it's not whether I can afford to buy cruelty-free, it's whether I - my conscience - can afford not to. 

Now for the 'why make the effort?' 'it's all poor quality' myth busters ...Is it an effort? Is it difficult?

No! Many many people shy way from cruelty free because it's just not obvious enough, it's not shouted about. The lists of naughty and nice, of parent companies, where to buy where not to buy, may seem endless, too confusing, and sometimes contradictory. However there are so many resources to help you on your way to cruelty free. There are the many cruelty free brands, the leaping bunny and CF labelling on products, blogs, (Yoohoo! Over here!) and much more that can help you.

However, from personal experience, it's not about memorising long lists of what to buy and what not to buy. It's about finding products you love. I can't give you a definitive list of what companies test and what companies don't test off the top of my head (that would be impressive) what I can - easily - do however, is list my favourite products. My Body Shop foundation, my Naked shampoos and conditioners, my Treacle Moon bubble bath, my Burts Bees lip balm, my Urban Decay mascara. You see? Going cruelty free is about discovering products you love and sticking with them. It's not about trawling the beauty counters looking for the leaping bunny logo or sending endless emails to companies (that's my job!), simply make cruelty free choices where you can and once you find a product you love - stick with it!

I started with the big name brands, The Body Shop and UrbanDecay, but over two years I've discovered many more fantastic companies I would never have known about if it weren't for my cruelty free journey; OCC, Beauty Without Cruelty, Manic Panic etc. Even better, is the excitement when I discover that a brand or product I've always loved - Barry M nails varnishes anyone? - are cruelty free. Going cruelty free really isn't about 'giving up', it's not a sacrifice, it's enjoyable! My make up bag has better products in than it ever did before my switch to cruelty free and that isn't to do with them being cruelty-free, it's because they're GOOD. I'm looking outside the box of mass produced high-street make up and finding specialist brands that have been used by celebrity make up artists for years (Face Atelier, OCC).  Finding good quality, cruelty free make up isn't a bonus or a surprise, it's the norm!

Really in this post I've just outlined a few of my own thoughts and experiences surrounding cruelty-free shopping however I hope it might have shed some light on the ways in which you can begin to make cruelty free choices and to have broken it down into not so much a "massive lifestyle overhaul" but lots of small "here and there" decisions. If you're thinking of choosing cruelty-free next time you do a make-up shop then check out my Go Cruelty-Free page for more information and a list of CF brands or check out my Beauty Features page for product reviews of some of my favourite CF products. 

Will be so interested to hear peoples responses to this so please leave any comments below!


  1. Great post :) i don't understand anymore why people wouldn't go cruelty free! The only thing I've struggled with is a decent semi permanent cheap hair dye and toothpaste! I think some bloggers ignore cruelty free 'cos they can't give up their MAC products ;) I've never tried anything MAC and I'm perfectly fine :P haha. I don't know where people get the idea that it's expensive? And it's something that I do naturally now! :) love your blog, will give ya a follow, I don't follow enough cruelty free blogs! I posted a post about the science and laws behind animal testing yesterday 'cos many companies use confusing jargon when replying to enquiries and luckily for me I understand the science behind it all, 'cos of studying it! Have a look if you want :)
    amber love

  2. Very interesting post! I agreed quite a lot with your words as they're my own opinions as well, and whilst researching CF brands, I was shocked to see how many aren't CF! I had always wanted to try out brands just for the hype but now I'm reevaluating my decision to. Urban Decay, as far as I remember from the PETA website and some other which I forgot aren't CF, but there's a chance I'm wrong. My personal stash of products is a mixture between Cf and non CF, so I can't really say anything as it would be very hypocritical of me.
    Nevertheless, I'm always up for CF recommendations and I may eventually chuck everything non CF- which is difficult as I love Maybelline and Revlon :/


    1. Hi Dee! Thanks for commenting that's great to hear you share similar views! As you say yourself you have a mix of cf and non cf products in your makeup bag and it's all about finding products you love to replace the non cf with :)! In fact I'm happy to tell you that Urban Decay is certified by the leaping bunny and in 2012 pulled out of a decision to sell in China due to their animal testing laws. They are owned by L'Oreal but if you read my comment on my latest eyeshadow palette post I detail my reasons for supporting them there :) I'm so glad you took the time to read this post and hope you continue to have a good experience in your cruelty free journey! :)


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