For those of us who value cruelty-free beauty, it can be difficult to stay positive with graphic images and videos of animal testing constantly surfacing online. Sometimes you just want to scroll through social media without being flooded with pictures of beagles and bunnies being prodded with needles (no judgment if you “unfollow” friends who regularly post this kind of thing). And since we can sometimes let that harsh imagery distract us from the flipside—that things are changing and cruelty-free and vegan beauty is becoming more mainstream—we’d like to take a moment to celebrate some recent victories for animals exploited by the beauty industry.
1. Covergirl stops selling in China and achieves Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification
One of the biggest wins in the cruelty-free beauty movement in recent years is Covergirl’s shift towards becoming cruelty-free. Covergirl no longer sells in China, where cosmetic animal testing is required by law. Because of this, Covergirl is now Leaping Bunny-certified, which means its ingredients aren’t tested on animals and they don’t sell in countries where animal testing is required by law. It’s important to note that while Covergirl itself is now cruelty-free certified, its parent company Coty is not. This is still a big win for animals as it makes clear that the trend toward ending cruel cosmetic animal testing has officially gone mainstream.
2. California passes a bill that bans the sale of cosmetics tested on animals
In 2018, California became the first state in the United States to ban the sale of cosmetics that were tested on animals. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetic Act prohibits cosmetic testing on animals, and went into effect on January 1, 2020. While this doesn’t mean that the Californian beauty market is 100-percent cruelty-free just yet (there are some pesky loopholes in the bill), this is nonetheless a major move forward.
3. Nevada passes a bill that bans the sale of cosmetics tested on animals
Shortly after California’s monumental move, Nevada passed a cruelty-free act of its own. It’s known as Bill 197 and also became effective in January 2020. Senator Melanie Scheible, who authored the bill, believes that animal testing on cosmetics is unnecessary due to advances in modern science. According to Senator Scheible, “Science and public opinion have evolved and today it is no longer necessary or acceptable to harm animals for new cosmetics.” We can all agree with that!
4. China removes animal testing for routine post-market inspection
China hasn’t changed its infamous and unfortunate requirement for all imported or special use cosmetics to be tested on animals. However, there is indeed some progress on that front. China has made a small but important stride towards ending mandatory animal testing. The protocol for introducing beauty products to the Chinese market has a long list of steps, tests, and procedures; there could be animal testing at multiple steps within that lengthy protocol. Animal testing is now not required in one of those steps: routine post-market inspection. While animal testing could still happen during this step (i.e. non-routine post-market inspection), it’s much less likely. Could this foreshadow a cruelty-free future in mainland China’s beauty market? We sure hope so!
5. The Body Shop is acquired by a cruelty-free parent company
It’s truly a beautiful thing when cruelty-free brands become acquired by cruelty-free parent companies. It seems like a no-brainer, but the reality is that many brands that are cruelty-free themselves are owned by large corporations that still test on animals. At Kinder Beauty, our stance is that in order to be 100-percent cruelty-free, neither its brand nor its parent company may test on animals. Since The Body Shop is owned by cruelty-free parent company Natura, we feel comfortable recommending their vegan-friendly products to our Kinder Babes.
6. Humane Society International launches the largest-ever campaign to globally ban cosmetic testing on animals
A notable campaign working to end animal cruelty is the #BeCrueltyFree campaign by HSI. The goal? A global ban on cosmetic animal testing by 2023! This bold initiative has resulted in such wins including more than 1000 companies becoming cruelty-free certified, and a whopping 39 countries passing laws banning cosmetic testing on animals. The positive steps forward don’t stop there; several beauty giants have taken a liking to the campaign. Estée Lauder and Procter & Gamble are two of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, and though neither are cruelty-free, they’ve partnered with HSI on the #BeCrueltyFree campaign in hopes of becoming cruelty-free in the future.
7. Dozens of new cruelty-free beauty brands are launched
Every year, hundreds of new beauty brands enter the market. A portion of them are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, or both. This means there are hundreds of new, cruelty-free cosmetics to choose from every year. Some of the cruelty-free beauty brands that have recently launched include: Sugar Rush by Tarte; Versed by Target; Selfcare by Lululemon; Holo Taco by Simply Nailogical; Good Dye Young by Hayley Williams; and Kylie Skin by Kylie Jenner. But remember: cruelty-free does not mean vegan. All of these brands are technically cruelty-free—meaning they don’t test their cosmetics on animals—but some of their products may contain animal products. Always check the ingredients list to be safe.
8. Illinois passes legislation to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals, and Hawaii is next in line
California and Nevada are among the first states to pass cruelty-free legislation, but they won’t be the last. Illinois recently joined the ranks with Bill 0241, which passed in both houses and received Governor approval. Hawaii has its own act, Bill SB2115, which is pending. We’re seeing a trend in all four states’ bills: The passed bills will take effect in January 2020. Anyone else suddenly hyped for the New Year?
9. EPA plans to end mammalian testing on chemicals
We’re firm believers that consumers have the power to make change. But we’d still like to see governmental and organizational initiatives that reflect consumer values. Thankfully for us (and for the animals), the EPA is doing just that by committing to end the requirement of animal tests on chemicals. Within six years, chemical testing will be drastically reduced, and by 2035, it will be completely phased out. Since cosmetics inevitably contain chemicals, this is another win for the cruelty-free beauty movement. According to Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, which praised the move, “The EPA announced its intent to end its reliance on mammalian animal tests to assess chemical and pesticide risks and to invest in computer-based and in vitro cell and tissue models. The EPA also announced awards of $4.2 million in grants for research into new test methods.” Talk about beautiful change!
10. Kinder Beauty continues to grow a 100-percent, cruelty-free and vegan beauty box
We at Kinder knew there was a demand for education on cruelty-free beauty products and access to them, but we didn’t know just how successful our launch would be. Kinder Beauty launched in January 2019, just about one year ago—and what a year it’s been! We’ve effectively helped thousands of beauty enthusiasts fall in love with cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, and we’ve connected consumers to vegan brands and helped replace cult favorites with cruelty-free alternatives. If you want to participate in the cruelty-free beauty movement, subscribe to the Kinder Beauty Box or gift a subscription to a loved one!
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Lacey Bourassa is a health and beauty writer who lives in Los Angeles County, where she regularly attends vegan food festivals.
Featured photo by Tara Baxter.