Cruelty-free can seem a hazy concept in the cosmetics world. As mentioned previously it refers to products that haven’t been tested on animals, here or abroad, by the brand or a 3rd party. But how do you know what to look for? The rabbit will be our guide to help us navigate this minefield, featuring as he does on an increasing number of beauty products as a cruelty-free symbol. Here is my current selection of treats to try.
As well as being cruelty-free accredited, the entire range is certified organic by The Soil Association and holds The Vegan Society accreditation. The claims promise to ‘give skin a natural luminosity […] for beautiful sun-kissed radiance’ and although I’m not sure about the sun-kissed part, I can vouch for the luminosity. The gold mineral particles provide quite a potent sheen so you only need to use a small amount. I get the best results when adding a pea-sized amount to moisturiser for a fresh glow, or to foundation for a more polished finish. My skin looked hydrated throughout the day which is rarely achieved. Best of all, I was complimented by a friend for looking so rested even as I complained about another sleepless night due to my baby teething. Maybe she thought I was exaggerating my toddler’s antics? Even so she took down the name of the product, just in case…
I have already sung this product’s praises but I can’t help mentioning it again. As with Nourish, the range is certified organic, cruelty-free and vegan – the ultimate trio if you’re after an ethical choice. The rigorous ingredients restrictions this entails hasn’t affected the performance or sensorial feel of the product either, as the butter-like texture leaves dry skin looking and feeling intensely nourished. A favourite ingredient of facial oils, Rosehip oil contains fatty acids that assist skin’s healing process, giving you that plumper looking skin.
I admit I was surprised to discover that Superdrug’s own brand products are certified cruelty-free. When it comes to fuzzy bunnies, large companies combined with low prices don’t come first to mind, so this is a pleasant surprise. Just a note however that Superdrug is owned by AS Watson which is not certified (they sell in China), but I find it encouraging that cruelty-free labels are increasingly present on the high street and no longer solely the realm of niche beauty. I’ve mentioned before my love of nail art, so when I remove polish I try to give my hands and nails some TLC, massaging each nail and cuticle to ensure the product sinks in. This serum softens dry skin so when applied just before going to bed it leaves the nail area looking neat and fresh come morning.
Liz Earle products are certified cruelty-free, but as with Superdrug it’s owned by a larger company, the Boots Walgreen Alliance, who are not certified. The brand’s web page Our Principles provides a good summary of their ethics, from sourcing botanical ingredients to the use of preservatives and their stance on animal testing. All Liz Earle products are vegetarian so they only use animal by-products that have been obtained without harming the animal. This hair oil is a delight to use, I was concerned it would weigh down my fine hair but used from the mid-lengths downwards it provides smooth and soft results. If like me you have a relaxed approach to hair styling – flick hair upside down and blow dry – this oil doesn’t require expert handling. Squirt 2 pumps and rub between hands to warm the oil, then distribute evenly through damp hair before drying. At £18.50 for 50ml it falls into the mid-range price, but considering that I’ve been using it for weeks now and barely made a dent in the bottle’s content, it feels like a good cost-per-use.
Whilst not certified cruelty-free by a 3rd party, Dr Organic do state that ‘No animal tests are ever performed on finished products or raw materials‘ which is emphasized on their packaging with a bunny-shaped logo. I’m not much of a fake tan fan, even though my pasty skin could sometimes benefit from added warmth. I put this down to a scarring experience involving 3 layers of fake tan and a lack of blending resulting in stripy white-and-orange arms. Dr Organic’s easy-to-blend light mousse and ultra natural result have convinced me to give tanning another chance though. Confusingly the ingredients shown on the bottle only highlight the natural ingredients used which makes the product look super virtuous, however the full list is actually on the bottom of the outer pack.
The ultimate multi-purpose beauty product, this oil can be used on skin instead of a cream, on hair to replace conditioner and on nails in lieu of cuticle oil. I’m surprised at the brand’s choice of packaging though: a jar would have provided easy access to the solid oil to easily scoop it out, warm up in your hands and apply to skin. As it is you have to place the bottle in warm water to melt the product then pour it out. I tried to scrape some out with my ring finger but only succeeded in getting goo stuck under my nail. What I do really love about this product is the scent: pure coconut deliciousness reminding me of hot beaches, bikinis and suntan – and that year in high school when I thought it was cool to wear mono-scents from Sephora.
I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify that I’m not trying to lecture on beauty choices. I own products and have worked for companies that sell on the Chinese market, but I do believe there is a trend for more companies coming on board as alternative ways of testing products are developed. What are your current favourite cruelty-free beauty products? Leave a comment below to let me know.