Tuesday 22 March 2016

How to Know if a Brand is Cruelty Free: The Questions to Ask & Why

cruelty free bunny - questions to ask

The general response I get from people when I tell them that MAC tests on animals, after OMG NO WAY NOT TRUE HONEST THEY R SO ETHICAL I PROMISE and the ensuing breakdown, is how can you tell?!

‘Cause let's face it these brands are crafty buggers. From quick glance at the policies on the websites of some of the main offenders it seems pretty obvious that "hooray the bunnies are safe"! So what's the problem? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Sorry. Life sucks.

If you have fallen victim to this trickery (AKA blatant lying to their own customers) then please don’t feel bad, because quite frankly I sincerely thank you for taking the time to look at the policies and acknowledge that animal testing is an issue that you care even a little bit about.

If you care enough to take a stand then you are in the right place. Yay!
It may help if you read this article first about what you need to know. You all read up?

Fab. Now you can go on your merry way and get investigating. These are the questions you should be asking (and why you should be asking them). This is generally what I ask all companies when I email them regarding their animal testing policies, and, unfortunately, even with such simple straightforward questions, decoding their answers can sometimes be a real ball-ache.

Are your products tested on animals at any stage during the manufacturing process?
I’d be really surprised if any companies gave you a straight yes to this, as it’s not something the companies usually take part in themselves. But it’s definitely worth asking.

Does your supplier test any ingredients on animals?
This is more likely where you may catch them out. Companies can turn a blind eye to a supplier that tests ingredients on animals. A company who is cruelty free, on the other hand, will make sure their suppliers do not test on animals.

Do you commission a third party to test on animals for you?
Again, this is where companies get out of admitting that they conduct animal testing. Because technically they don’t. They just get someone else to do it for them. Any companies that would be as deceitful as that definitely do not warrant the label “cruelty free” and should be avoided at all cost.

Do you currently sell in any countries that require animal testing to be conducted by law or plan to sell there in the future? 
This is the shitty answer. A company can be looking so promising: no testing, no commissioning third parties, no dodgy ingredients but then you get the typical line. “We do not conduct any animal testing unless required by law” or something of the sort. In my eyes, and the eyes of most others, if they make the decision to sell in China they are actively contributing to the unnecessary cruel treatment of animals and should be boycotted.

Are you owned by or affiliated with a parent company? If yes who are they?
This one can be revealed by a simple google search but while you’re questioning them it’s worth throwing it in. As I said in my previous post, if a company seems to be legitimately “cruelty free” but is owned by a parent company who is not it can be a difficult choice. That is your prerogative – you need to decide how you feel about funding such a company. No judgement here!

You are now fully equipped to do your own research and make informed decisions about which brands you choose to buy from and boycott.  Of course I will keep my own list updated and many other bloggers do the same, but it's always worth finding out for yourselves!

Good luck you lovely lovely people
Teri-May xxx


  1. I feel absolutely awful saying this but before now I haven't even researched whether or not the brands I use on a daily basis are cruelty free, but I really do want to brush up on my knowledge and do a lot more digging about their policies, and introduce more cruelty free brands into my routine. Thank you for the tips lovely, I know they're going to be super helpful! x
    Aisling | Aislings beauty bytes

  2. I've got a post about my favourite natural skincare brands coming up and I get a lot of people asking me if certain products are cruelty-free so I thought I'd to a little research to include this in my post. I was amazed at how difficult some brands made finding out this information out! Thanks for putting together this list of questions so I can write to brands and ask them directly.

    Roxie | The Beautiful Bluebird

  3. Interesting post, it really made me think. Gemma x

  4. A great post! Since I'm new to this I've been caught out many a time by companies who claim to be cruelty free but have third parties that do so or sell in China. Since I'm new to this I still use make up by brands owned by a company who do, but as I get deeper into it and find more brands I like I'm hoping to maybe leave those behind!

    Love this so much Gariad!



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