The Easy Way to Go Cruelty-Free For Cosmetics!

If you wish to go cruelty-free with skin care and cosmetics here are great excerpts from PETA and The European Union Cosmetics Regulation (formerly The Cosmetics Directive):

Confused by labels, rumors, company websites and impressive-looking claims about ethical policies? Want your money to go to companies that don’t support animal testing? It’s easy! Just click here to see PETA US’ international list of companies which you can be sure don’t test on animals, and you can shop with a clear conscience:

Search for Cruelty-Free Companies and Products

This list is all you need, but if you want to know more about the list and who’s on it and why, read on.

Animal Testing of Cosmetics


The testing of cosmetics and toiletry products on animals has long been banned in the UK, and as of March 2013, the sale of cosmetics whose ingredients have been tested on animals has also been banned across the European Union – a huge step forward. But unfortunately, that’s not the whole picture. Read more about the ban here.

In some countries – China, for example – it is compulsory for any company that sells cosmetics to pay for the products to be tested on animals. This means that some companies that have been cruelty-free for years have turned their backs on their ethical policies and have started testing on animals in order to reach these lucrative developing markets. Read more about the current situation in China here.

This is why, in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, we still have an important ethical choice to make when buying cosmetics. Companies may be complying with the cosmetics testing ban in Europe, but at the same time, they are selling products in another market that have been tested on animals. By buying cosmetics from companies that are on PETA US’ list, you can be confident that you are supporting only companies that don’t test any products anywhere in the world for any market. Another concern is that companies may be testing ingredients for other purposes – for example, testing chemicals under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.

The Good Guys

The Good Guys

For its cruelty-free list, PETA US approves only companies that have the very best policies against animal testing – companies whose policies make a real difference helping to stamp out animal testing.

The good news is that they include top high-street brands such as LUSH, The Body Shop and Ecover as well as many fantastic boutique brands that are available in other shops or online. None of these companies conducts animal testing of any kind, and all have made a real commitment to ensuring that there is no animal testing in their supply chains. Not only are their products ethical, their buying power also helps persuade suppliers to stop animal testing.

New companies are added to the cruelty-free list all the time. Some companies which aren’t on the list may not conduct animal tests or use animal-tested ingredients, but until PETA US receives full, signed assurances that a company doesn’t conduct, commission or pay for animal tests anywhere in the world, it cannot be sure that the company is 100 per cent cruelty-free.

The Rest

A handful of companies – such as Procter & Gamble (click for policy)¹ and Unilever (click her for policy)² – admit that they test on animals, but most of the others either dodge the issue with fancy wording or just won’t say. Beware of claims such as “this product is not tested on animals”, which can hide the fact that its ingredients are tested on animals, and “this company does not test on animals”, which may simply mean the company contracts out its testing to other companies.

Unless a company has a policy in place about the ingredients it uses, it is very likely that the ingredients it buys have been tested on animals. That’s why it’s so important that caring consumers use their purchasing power to support companies that have strong, progressive policies which ban animal testing now and which will continue to prevent it in the future. PETA US’ approval tells you which companies those are.

Vegetarian and Vegan Products

Vegetarian and Vegan Products

Cosmetics and household products can contain animal ingredients. LUSH has its own range of entirely vegan cosmetics, and on PETA US’ cruelty-free list, other vegan companies are clearly marked with a “V”. Of course, other companies may produce products which are entirely free of animal ingredients, and you can find out which ones by checking the labels before buying any product. Here is a full list of animal-derived ingredients to watch out for.

Thousands of animals suffer and are killed for cosmetics testing around the world every year – and billions are also killed for food. Going vegan is healthy, humane and environmentally friendly. Those of us who care about animals, other people and the planet need to look at what we put in our mouths as well as what we put on our faces!

More on European Union Ban

The Cosmetics Directive provides the regulatory framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics purposes. It establishes a prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals (testing ban), and a prohibition to market in the European Union finished cosmetic products and ingredients included in cosmetic products which were tested on animals for cosmetics purposes (marketing ban). The same provisions are contained in the Cosmetics Regulation, which replaces the Cosmetics Directive as of 11 July 2013. The testing ban on finished cosmetic products applies since 11 September 2004; the testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients applies since 11 March 2009. The marketing ban applies since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.


1 – P&G – Today, we complete more than 99 percent of all safety evaluations without testing on animals.The remaining tiny percentage comes from studies required by law or in cases where there are no alternatives available. Page 2 paragraph 1 for policy.

2 – Unilever – Is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety, and to the safety of our workforce and the environment. We do not test finished products on animals unless demanded by the regulatory authorities in the few countries where this is the law. In such cases, we try to convince the local authorities to change the law. Where some testing of ingredients is required by law or currently unavoidable, we aim to minimize the number of animals used.  Paragraph 1 of “Our Policy” section.

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