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    My Interview with Leaping Bunny

    All the questions you wanted to ask about the Leaping Bunny program!
    Leaping Bunny is known as the gold standard of cruelty free beauty lists. They certify cruelty free brands, and they’re the ones behind the jumping bunny logo you have probably seen on your favorite beauty and cleaning brands. You can see a full list of Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free brands here.

    Recently I interviewed a senior VP from PETA to learn more about their methods. I wanted to compare and contrast a bit and learn more about how Leaping Bunny differs from PETA, so I interviewed Kim Paschen, the Program Manager for Leaping Bunny to find out more about how they certify brands, and what their stance is on China and post-market testing.
    In my interview, I included the questions you guys wanted me to ask, as well as some questions of my own. Whether you’re a cruelty free consumer or a brand who is wondering how to get certified with Leaping Bunny, this should help.
    Kim Paschen works for the American Anti Vivisection Society. As part of the CCIC, they have been chair of the Leaping Bunny program since 2007, and they oversee its administration. Kim is the Program Manager for Leaping Bunny.
    I conducted a phone interview with Kim (who I have known for years!) and these are my notes from that call (not her words verbatim).

    Kim Paschen, Program Manager, Leaping Bunny
    Which organizations make up Leaping Bunny? 
    By 1996, cruelty-free shopping had become popular, but it was also confusing, sometimes misleading, and ultimately frustrating. Companies had begun designing their own bunny logos, using their own definition of ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal friendly’ without the participation of animal protection groups.
    In response, eight national animal protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC promotes a cruelty-free standard and an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo. They work with companies to help make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy.
    What does a brand have to do to become Leaping Bunny certified?
    When a brand contacts Leaping Bunny, they ask some preliminary questions. They create an account via their website and ask them to apply. The company fills out the Application for Approval which asks them in-depth questions about their operations.
    Brands need to have a “fixed cut-off date” after which time they agree to have no ingredients or finished products that have been tested on animals. Pretty much all ingredients have been tested at some point (even water), so the fixed cut-off date ensures there will be no testing in the future.
    You’d think because many ingredients have been tested, there would be no need for animal testing today. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of cosmetic testing on animals being done around the world today.
    The company that is applying for Leaping Bunny certification is the one to complete the application. They also must get signed declarations from each supplier after the company’s fixed cut-off date. Or, they can submit amended purchase orders which contains language requiring that the supplier will not test on animals.
    If a company has distributors that sell in countries outside of the US, the brand must also include language in their contracts that says they cannot sell to any countries that require animal testing.
    I have read their application but they asked me not to make it public. I can tell you it’s VERY thorough. You can learn more about the application process here. You can read about their Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals here.
    An important note – if a brand is using a third-party manufacturer, only the manufacturer has to submit a declaration (not the ingredient suppliers themselves), though the manufacturer is required to implement its own cruelty-free Supplier Monitoring System independently. Leaping Bunny would ask the manufacturer to sign a declaration saying they are only working with cruelty free ingredient suppliers. Most of the time manufacturers will not reveal who their ingredient suppliers are – they consider that proprietary information.
    Is the Leaping Bunny logo recognized in countries outside of the US? Are the standards for approval different outside of the US?
    The North American brand of Leaping Bunny covers US and Canada. Their partner is Cruelty Free International (CFI), based in the UK. CFI certifies all other countries. Leaping Bunny and CFI share the same cruelty free brand list, so if CFI certifies a brand, they can add them to their list and vice versa.
    Do brands pay to join the Leaping Bunny program or to license the logo? If so, how does that work? 
    Leaping Bunny certification in North America is free. Companies do not have to pay to be listed as cruelty free. The only cost associated is for brands to license the logo for packaging and/or website. 
    But, Leaping Bunny certification outside of North America (via Cruelty Free International) DOES have an annual listing/administrative charge.

    Does the EU’s animal testing (because of REACH laws) have any effect on the Leaping Bunny list?
    The particularities are slightly different in regard to CFI’s process in the UK and EU vs Leaping Bunny’s process in North America. Safety rules (such as the EU’s REACH laws) can mean that some EU ingredient suppliers are being forced to test on animals. Leaping Bunny doesn’t allow REACH tests for North America but CFI does have some exceptions. More and more chemicals used in cosmetics are being tested under REACH, and there is currently no way to avoid it.
    Their shared goal is to do as much research as possible and find alternatives to chemicals tested under REACH. So if an ingredient supplier (who makes raw materials) has never tested on animals, but REACH required one test, that could be an exception for CFI. This is not common and doesn’t happen often.
    Important food for thought: As I often say, the world of cruelty free beauty is never black and white. If an ingredient supplier in the EU is forced to test on animals, a cruelty free brand and their manufacturer might not even know about it! That brand might even be a US brand (the supply chain is becoming more and more global). Another caveat is that one ingredient supplier may be asked to test a chemical on animals, and other suppliers may use that safety data going forward. They didn’t conduct the test but they used the data…so are they innocent? You can read more about how murky the definition of cruelty free can get here.
    Is there a specific number of years required for a fixed cut-off date for animal testing by ingredient suppliers? What about for brands (i.e. if a non-cruelty free brand stopped testing TODAY, how long would you want them to wait before applying)? 
    There is no specific timeline, but a fixed cut off date for animal testing is required. There is no waiting period, so if a brand said their fixed cut off date was today, they could potentially be Leaping Bunny certified tomorrow. But Kim said that doesn’t happen often.
    How is the Leaping Bunny cruelty free brand list different from the PETA brand list?
    They require companies to recommit annually. They check with each brand and if info is not up to date then the brands can’t stay on the list. They also do in-person audits to 20 random companies each year using a third-party auditor (more on this below).
    Do you note if a brand is vegan? Is there any specific requirements to be listed as vegan?
    No, they do not mention if a brand is 100% vegan or not, and it is not required for Leaping Bunny certification.

    Do you note if the parent company is cruelty free or not?
    Yes, when you view the list of Leaping Bunny certified brands, you will see a symbol to note if a parent company is not cruelty free.
    Are companies required to recommit each year? 
    Once a year, brands have to go through the recommitment process. The Leaping Bunny team re-checks their status and looks for things like being acquired by another company, selling in China, changing or adding ingredient suppliers or manufacturers, etc. If anything changes, new declarations are required.
    How often do you audit brands? What does an audit entail?
    They do in-person audits to 20 random companies each year using a third-party auditor (who is an independent consultant). They make sure purchase orders and records correspond to manufacturers and suppliers that they have declarations for. The auditor meets with the brand to discuss China, parent companies, supply chains, etc – making sure what is in the system is correct and hasn’t changed.
    How do you assure that brands are not conducting pre-market and post-market testing when entering China?
    Currently, the North American arm of Leaping Bunny does not allow companies to sell in mainland China (except via cross border e-commerce – which is not regulated by the Chinese government – no registration or tests are required). It’s important to note that pre-market animal testing requirements for imported goods in China continues to be a big problem. But, we discussed and agreed that post-market testing on animals just isn’t happening. Kim also agreed that in the event of a complaint, a recall is more likely than animal testing.
    However, all that being said, CFI (the UK arm that approves Leaping Bunny applications for the UK and EU) started a Leaping Bunny pilot program for EU brands to sell in China. It includes a small handful of brands such as Bulldog Skincare, 7th Heaven, Brighter Beauty and Neal’s Yard Remedies. The companies in that program are able to bottle and/or manufacture their finished products in China and are selling non-special-use cosmetics (using the same standards as PETA).

    My final thoughts
    I think most people will agree that Leaping Bunny is truly the gold standard, and the best cruelty free list out there. They go the extra mile to make sure brands are cruelty free, and they re-check every year.
    But, there is no way for the Leaping Bunny list or ANY cruelty free list (including mine) to be 100% airtight. It’s just not possible. Ultimately, we all have to take what the brand representatives say at their word. Whoever is filling out the questionnaires could be ignorant or even lying. Just as an example, I’ve had so many brands tell me they are Leaping Bunny certified, and when I go to the site to check, they aren’t listed. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the beauty industry and it seems that everyone wants to believe their brand is cruelty free (even if it’s not).
    At some point though, you just have to rely on the brands being honest and truthful (and knowing what their ingredient suppliers are doing), and there have to be repercussions for the ones who are caught lying.
    Exceptions also have to be made for government laws because at this time, there is really no way around it. That is why I have changed my views on post-market testing in China. I have learned that they are not so different from Western laws (including REACH laws in the EU). You can read more about that here.
    We just need to keep being LOUD and telling brands that we want them to pledge to go cruelty free! I can tell you that a lot has changed since I started this cruelty free blog in 2009. There is a lot more interest in cruelty free cosmetics from consumers and that has made brands take notice. More

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    iHerb Beauty Haul – All This for Under $100!

    This post is sponsored by iHerb, a retailer I’ve been using for years. All opinions are mine – you know I keep it real!
    You guys know I love iHerb.com – I talk about them all the time. I have been buying a lot of my supplements and natural products there for years. I’ve also purchased beauty products from iHerb, but I didn’t realize until recently that they carry major beauty brands, the kind you’d find at the big chain beauty stores!
    I recently bought a Strivectin skin care product at a huge discount. In today’s cruelty free beauty haul, I’ll be sharing what I got with a $100 gift card from iHerb. There is something for every budget – they also carry cruelty free drugstore makeup brands like CoverGirl and ELF.
    Before we get to my reviews, just a reminder for my international friends that iHerb ships to over 150 countries! They also carry products from the U.S., Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, the UAE, etc. You can get your favorite K-beauty and J-beauty brands here too!
    Okay, so let’s get to the good stuff! I was given $100 to shop, and I got ten beauty items!
    Unite Boosta Volumizing Spray

    It’s been a while since I’ve tried Unite hair products, but I have really enjoyed them in the past, so I was excited when I spotted their Boosta Volumizing Spray at iHerb. I have long, wavy, fine hair, but I always feel like I need more volume at the roots. This product did exactly what I wanted it to! It gave me some volume without being heavy, crunchy or greasy. I tried it as an all-over spritz on damp hair too and found that it enhanced my curls and made them more defined (when used with my regular hair gel).
    Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch

    I’m never going to stop raving about Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch hydrocolloid patches. You use them after you extract (pop) a zit, and they soak up all the gunk while protecting the wound. Sounds gross, but truly a holy grail for anyone dealing with acne. They are not treated with anything that would dry out your skin. They are just magical!
    Bulldog Shave Gel

    Bulldog is a British brand that is certified animal-testing-free by Leaping Bunny. My husband and I share this rich cruelty free shave gel. It’s made with camelina, green tea and aloe to soothe the skin and prevent razor bumps. It’s also Vegetarian Society approved.
    Grandpa’s Apple Cider Vinegar Body Wash

    I took a chance on this one. I have been loving vinegar for the oily skin on my face, and I thought this might help with my bacne (back acne). So far, I’d say Grandpa’s Apple Cider Vinegar Body Wash is a winner. It doesn’t smell bad like my DIY apple cider vinegar recipes do – it smells more like apple juice than vinegar. It leaves my skin feeling super clean and moisturized – not dried out. I can actually use it all over – even on the drier areas (like my legs). It is sulfate-free, artificial fragrance-free, paraben-free and gluten-free.
    Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer

    Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe is one of my holy grails, so I was happy to try the Brow Definer that I found on iHerb. It’s got a triangular tip so you can shade or draw individual hairs. And there’s a spoolie on the other end to groom hairs into place. In my opinion both products are great – it’s just a matter of the style you’re more comfortable with.
    Sierra Bees Organic Lip Balm

    Sierra Bees is an iHerb-exclusive brand, and I was thrilled to get a pack of four for $4! I got Mint Burst, but there are tons of flavors to choose from (I was torn between mint and creme brulee). The lip balms are smooth and non-greasy. They’re made with sustainably-sourced beeswax, olive oil, sunflower oil and Vitamin E. They are certified USDA organic and GMO-free.
    Auromere Ayurvedic Mouthwash

    I discovered Auromere Ayurvedic Mouthwash at iHerb a while back, and I’ve been buying it ever since. It’s alcohol-free so it doesn’t burn. It has a ton of Ayurvedic plant extracts (neem, peelu, and many more) that clean your mouth and nourish your gums. It has a licorice/herbal taste that may take some getting used to, but I love it. My mouth feels much cleaner and healthier with this brand, and I notice that my gums don’t bleed when I use it (even when I forget to floss some days – eek!).
    Hello Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

    Since we’re talking about oral health, coconut oil and tea tree are also great ingredients for a healthy mouth and gums. I found these in Hello Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste. It whitens naturally and contains no artificial sweeteners, dyes, SLS, preservatives, etc. Hello products are Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free and vegan. It has a nice minty feel but is not overpowering.
    Indigo Wild – Zum Bar Goat’s Milk Soap

    I tried Indigo Wild’s Zum Bar Goat’s Milk Soap recently and I loved it so much, I had to stock up at iHerb! I tried the Lavender-Mint scent, and it’s SO nice on a hot summer day! There are a lot of natural soaps that don’t lather, and I just need some lather in my life. Thankfully Zum Bar lathers very nicely without SLS! It’s a natural soap, made with 100% food grade olive, coconut, palm & castor oils, in a goat’s milk base, with pure essential oils and mineral pigments.
    Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion

    And last, but certainly not least, I picked up a refill of one of my favorite hand and body lotions. Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion in Refreshing Lemon is the perfect consistency – not too heavy or too light. And the scent is DIVINE – it’s like sugared lemons. It’s cruelty-free and vegan, and GMO-free.
    So all of that for under $100 is not bad at all! I am so impressed with how many amazing cruelty-free products iHerb carries – high-end and budget. You can find everything you need there – go check them out! More

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    The Best Cruelty Free and Vegan Beauty Products

    in Acne-prone, Body, Combination Skin, Dry Skin, Hair, Lifestyle, Makeup, Misc, Nails, Oily Skin, Skin, Vegan on 07/27/20

    My editorial content has been sponsored by RetailMeNot, however my review and opinions are my own.

    People always ask me what the BEST cruelty free and vegan product in (insert category here) is. That’s a very hard task because there are so many great products out there! And there are a lot of factors involved (skin type, hair type, scent preference, etc.).
    When RetailMeNot asked me to write an article on the best products out there, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pick! I decided to go with my favorites, while also taking into account which products are popular with friends, family and the online “hive mind.” I also took into account which products could be purchased at major retailers like Amazon, Sephora and Target.

    In addition to sharing my favorites in several categories like “best cruelty free lipstick”, “best cruelty free hair products”, “best splurge”, “best value”, and others, I also included several of my favorite Black-owned cruelty free brands (most are woman-owned as well).
    I would love for you to check out my article, and share it if you like it! You can view it here. Let me know what you think of my top cruelty free beauty picks, and if you like this type of article, I’ll try to do more of them here on My Beauty Bunny! More

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    Black-Owned and Cruelty Free Beauty Favorites

    I’ve been doing my part to learn more about who actually owns the brands I buy from, and particularly which brands are owned and run by men and women who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). I think it’s important to support these entrepreneurs, CEOs and their employees with my dollars, and not […] More

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    Clean Beauty Glossier Dupes

    Ohhhhhh Glossier. Never have I seen a cosmetics brand come out with such a force. I guess it helps when you’re founded by one of the biggest voices in the blogging space. If you didn’t know, Glossier was launched in 2010 by Into the Gloss founder Emily Weiss. For a new direct to consumer brand, […] More

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    What to Keep in Your Fridge for Gut Health

    Gut health hasn’t always been important in the health world. I remember when more information and studies about the importance of a healthy gut started becoming more mainstream. There seemed to be an instant craze and since then it’s fizzled out… but it’s no less important! If you know you should be incorporating a probiotic […] More

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    Primally Pure Deodorant Review [Is It Worth It?!]

    I am by nature a skeptic. I also run an online business that involves promotion of products and affiliate links. The combination of not trusting most things off the bat and seeing the dark side of influencer marketing means I pretty much dismiss any super popular trend I’m seeing people promoting on Instagram/blogs/Youtube. I understand […] More

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    The Best of Clean Beauty 2019

    What a year it has been! Earlier on the in year I launched the Clean Beauty 5 x 5 where I reviewed 5 products (sometimes more!) from the same product category (i.e. foundation, mascara, concealer etc…) to see if they could last all day…kind of! Lipstick and eyeshadow never lasts on me so I just […] More