For decades, make-up and skincare brands have been taking the lives of many animals in the name of ‘product testing’. This process involves testing every chemical and ingredient that goes into making a cosmetic before launching it in the market for human use. According to a 2016 report by PETA, over 250 cosmetic brands still test their products on animals, adversely affecting over 27,000 animals each year.
In order to put an end to this barbaric practice, many brands and consumers are now producing and supporting ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics. This means, neither the product nor any ingredient will be tested on animals by the brand or any third party. This initiative is slowly gaining pace as many major brands – including the likes of Lush and Urban Decay have joined the initiative. This has also paved a path for many local organic brands like Kama Ayurveda and Biotique Naturals.
There has been an uproar of sensitivity towards this issue and many consumers are now investing in humanity-friendly products. Support from celebrities often plays a very big role in popularizing and growing the reach of these movements. Many famous faces from Bollywood have become more conscious of the beauty products they use and endorse, with actors like Kangana Ranaut and Jacqueline Fernandez being popularly associated with veganism and cruelty-free beauty Care products. These celebs frequently share their concerns pertaining to the issue and even refuse to endorse products that don’t agree with their ideology. Influencers have also played a huge role in promoting cruelty-free beauty and cosmetics.
Hollywood stars have taken this a step ahead and have launched their own lines of cruelty-free cosmetics and beauty care products. Actors like Jessica Alba and Drew Barrymore have introduced eco-friendly brands - The Honest Company and Flower respectively. Their brands advertise their products as being environmentally friendly through their use of novel ingredients and by not partaking in animal-testing, while still providing products to consumers at affordable prices.
With increasing celebrity attention and passionate enthusiasm from consumers (specifically millennials who are big on sustainability), we’ve seen a rise in demand for cruelty-free beauty care and cosmetics in recent years. A growing list of 37 countries has taken a stand against testing on animals by either out rightly banning the brands or severely limiting the sale of products containing ingredients tested on animals.
Through implementing a national ban on animal testing for cosmetics, India has become the first cruelty-free cosmetic zone in South Asia. Further, the country has also initiated a ban on the import of animal-tested products as well. In the statement, Gauri Maulekhi, a Trustee with People for Animals said: “India has shown outstanding leadership by so swiftly advancing first a ban on cosmetics animal testing and now a ban on animal-tested cosmetics imported from overseas.”
However, the outlook is not that positive and even with powerful initiatives and advanced technology, many major companies are continuing this age-old, cruel practice. Chinese law even requires international brands to test their products on animals before they can be sold in their markets and many household brands like L’Oreal and MAC are selling their products in Mainland China to maximize their profits.
In today’s era, there are over 7,000 ingredients that are certified natural and organic. Many local and international brands are creating lovely animal-friendly creations that are safe and gentle on human skin. There’s no reason why brands and consequently consumers can’t switch to kinder, more eco-friendly production of cosmetics.