Cruelty free – what does it mean?
The definition of cruelty-free might seem like it’s subjective, but it’s actually clear cut when it comes to cosmetics. Simply put, it refers to no testing on animals. Cruelty-free differs from vegan, which means that no animal-derived products are used in the formulations.
When it comes to beauty and personal care, a “cruelty-free” brand is a brand that does not test its products on animals. A brand that is truly cruelty-free does not perform any animal testing on products or ingredients at any point during the making of their products. They also ensure that their suppliers don’t test on animals, and no third-parties test on animals on their behalf. The brand also may not test on animals where required by law, and as such, cannot be sold in stores in mainland China.
Cruelty free kitty website
If you want the latest and the greatest updates on cruelty free products the website to remember is Cruelty Free Kitty. The reason why this website impresses me so much is that Suzana Rose has no qualms in calling out brands for their lack of transparency. Recently she wrote a blog post about Mac and why they are not cruelty free even though they claim to be working towards a cruelty free world.
Cruelty free guidelines/ rules
Since the term cruelty free is unregulated, this means any brand is allowed to label themselves as cruelty free without any legal repercussions. Some brands use the label, even though they make no real effort to ensure that their suppliers or third-parties don’t test on animals on their behalf.
These are the exact requirements:
- They themselves do not test on animals for finished products or ingredients
- Their suppliers don’t test on animals
- No third-parties test on animals on their behalf
- They don’t test on animals where required by law
- Their products are not sold in stores in mainland China
The last point referring to selling in China is the most contentious one because China requires animal testing on cosmetics not manufactured in their country. The reason for this is for safety reasons as the Chinese want to ensure that no harmful Cosmetics will be sold in China. Animal testing in 2021 is considered absolute and can be avoided completely.
The Issue with Animal testing in China
If you want to sell your products in store in China it is mandatory to have them tested on animals (pre-marketing and post-marketing animal testing) which you as a brand have to pay for. This only applies to FOREIGN COSMETICS. It does not apply to cosmetics that are made or produced in China.
Because animal testing is absolute, outdated and inhumane and can be avoided in the 21st Century organizations such as Cruelty Free Kitty and Ethical Elephant have stipulated that selling in China makes your brand NOT cruelty free. For a comprehensive list of cruelty free and non cruelty free brands, please check either of these websites.
Why are these brands on the Peta list?
PETA – People for Ethical Treatment of Animals – is the biggest animal rights organization in the world with more than 6.5 million members and supporters. Peta has a different stance when it comes to animal testing in places like China. On their website, they have the following statement which can be linked directly to brands like Mac and Dove (just to name a few). So being PETA certified does not necessarily mean that the brand is 100% cruelty free.
Working for Regulatory Change (WRC) is a category that recognizes companies that test on animals only when required by law, that are completely transparent with PETA about the tests on animals that they conduct and why, and that is actively working to promote development, validation, and acceptance of non-animal methods.
While we encourage consumers to support only those companies that have committed to a complete, permanent ban on all tests on animals (please see PETA’s list of companies that don’t test on animals), we also recognize that some companies are working to change the laws that require testing on animals. These companies conduct as few tests on animals as possible and work openly and diligently to eliminate the tests still required by government agencies. Companies on our WRC list are taking steps in the right direction for animals by using non-animal methods as often as possible and being transparent about the tests that they do conduct when required by law.
How does it work in South Africa?
Animal testing is still legal in South Africa. Unlike countries such as India and Russia as well as the European Union where animal testing is banned – all other nations (US, Japan, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom etc) still perform tests on animals. In SA all brands are available whether they are cruelty free or not. Here is a list of 101 brands that are available here that are NOT cruelty free. These brands are from the cruelty free kitty website and have been updated for 2021. Many of these brands are on the PETA list.
List of Cruelty Free Cosmetic Brands in South Africa
Below is the list of Cruelty Free cosmetic brands in South Africa. There might be some others please let me know if I have left anything out. They keep changing the status so if you know that any of these brands are not cruelty free please also let me know.
- Glamore Cosmetics – 5 years in business and they sell only Cruelty Free cosmetic brands in South Africa online. Here are the brands with some information on each. All these brands are also hypoallergenic.
- AA Cosmetics – this brand has 30 years of experience and caters for sensitive allergy prone skin. They have 5 key values – product safety, innovation, effectiveness, closeness and development. All products are tested on humans with allergies. They have one of the most modern Science and Research Laboratories in Central Europe. Experienced specialists in cosmetology, allergology, dermatology and biotechnology work there and are all part of the team for AA Cosmetics. This brand has incredible knowledge about the skin – how it is damaged and how it can be repaired. They have two unique selling points: Be consistent – regular application of creams in the morning and evening and gentle cleansing of the skin is the key! And 2ndly Be aware – it may turn out that not every ingredient of the cosmetic is skin-friendly.
- Hean – Established in 1981, HEAN supplies make-up and beauty care products to more than two thousand cosmetics retailers in Poland. Hean has received several ‘best product awards’ over the years for their remarkable quality. They pay attention to the safety of cosmetics by applying the relevant procedures in compliance with the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practice. Their emphasis is on quality and reliability.
- Miyo – Miyo makeup is perfect for younger women who want to have fun and be creative. This brand offers a wide selection of natural makeup as well as intense colors – all their products are cruelty free and most of them are now vegan friendly. Miyo makeup allows you to express yourself. This brand is the baby sister of Pierre Rene – their products are cheaper but they are just as good. The focus for Miyo makeup is individuality – allowing you to be creative but also fresh and natural.
- Pierre Rene – Pierre Rene Professional has been around for 20 years by constantly rebranding makeup products resulting in cosmetics that match fashion trends and make you look more attractive. Pierre Rene is top-ranked as a leading supplier of cosmetics product in Poland. Pierre Rene is sold in over 35 countries in the world – known for affordability, gorgeous packaging and excellent quality. It also caters for makeup artists working to generate popularity and creating makeup that brings out women’s natural beauty. Pierre Rene is an empire of makeup aspiring to be better on a continuous basis.
My opinion on Cruelty Free Cosmetics
I recently wrote about the ethos of my brand which is a big reason why I only import cruelty free products. My brands are produced in the EU where testing on animals has been banned. And they are not sold in China. My brands are small but we are growing and are of excellent quality. It all comes down to choice – your choice and how you feel about testing on animals. If you are okay with it and it doesn’t bother you then that is your choice. It upsets me especially as a Scientist and knowing other tests can be performed.
In saying this we should agree to set a precedence which will remove the grey area from the words cruelty free. Cosmetics that are cruelty free are not tested on animals, their ingredients are not tested on animals, their suppliers don’t test on animals AND animal testing is banned in all countries.
I would love to know your thoughts on this.
Dr. Gael Baines (nee Fenhalls PhD Medical Biochemistry)