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4 Ethical Alternatives to Cruel Cosmetic Testing on Animals

The truth is, there’s no good reason to cause anyone’s suffering for the sake of beauty.

Some of us may squeeze our toes into fancy stiletto heels and painfully tweeze our eyebrows, but those of us who opt-in for these small sacrifices are making a conscious choice. Millions of animals who have undergone excruciating and often deadly tests for the sake of makeup and other cosmetics have had no say in the matter. Cruel toxicity testing by the cosmetics industry includes the infamous Draize test, with substances put into an animals’ eyes or on their skin, causing excruciating suffering and blindness. Other animals are forced to ingest a substance until it kills them, in “lethal dose” tests. Bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, and mice all suffer to suit the demands of makeup manufacturers who choose not to use cruelty-free methods. 

bunny sitting on rug

But there is no reason for these innocent animals to suffer so that we can wear moisturizer and makeup.

There are plenty of amazingly beautiful, cruelty-free alternatives to animal testing, and many wonderful cosmetics brands that use them. In fact, the European Union, Guatemala, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Turkey have all banned cruel animal testing. Their citizens continue to indulge in an abundance of stunning, high-quality cosmetics that have not been tested on animals. Here are 4 of the innovative methods ethical brands use to ensure that their cosmetics are safe, without any harmful testing on animals.

two rabbitsIn Vitro Techniques

“In vitro” is the scientific term for cosmetics testing techniques that use human cell- and tissue-based models. Scientists culture human cells to test substances, growing them in a laboratory dish. Products are tested on these non-sentient tissue samples, instead of victimizing innocent animals. In this way, scientists can use actual human skin cells to see if a product damages human skin, rather than harming an animal who is from a completely different species.

In Silico Techniques

“In silico” is the terminology for computer-based prediction models that let us know what products may harm us based on existing information about similar substances. Without injuring animals or humans, computer models of human body parts help create reliable test results indicating whether a product is toxic or not. Eye and skin models assist with assessing makeup, while a recreation of the respiratory system helps scientists to test whether a perfume will cause any damage.

Read-Across Structure Activity Relationships (RASAR)

The RASAR system of assessing a substance’s toxicity uses a database of approximately 10,000 toxic chemicals to find out if substances are dangerous, instead of testing on animals. The system has registered relationships between molecular structure and kinds of toxicity as they pertain to the eyes and skin. In this way, new chemicals can be assessed for potential damage to humans without any testing. What’s more, a study by Johns Hopkins University showed that these database analyses were more reliable than animal testing.


These plastic chips that are no more than a few inches long contain real human cells that model organs—such as eyes—for testing makeup. This provides information on toxicity without testing on an actual human or non-human animal. Because the organs-on-chips utilize true human cells, the information they provide is much more relevant to human beings than any animal testing.  

rabbit in doorway

Kinder Beauty Box only features 100-percent vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics. Order one of our subscription boxes today and join us as we celebrate beauty from the inside-out. 


Maya Gottfried is the author of books for children and adults, including Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary (Knopf) and Vegan Love (Skyhorse).

Photos by Tara Baxter. 

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