More stories

  • in

    Breaking News: The EU is Allowing Animal Testing in 2021

    Is animal testing allowed in the EU in 2021?

    I’ve got some bad news guys. We already knew the EU animal testing ban wasn’t a complete ban. Many cosmetic ingredients have been tested at the chemical level under REACH laws, overriding animal testing laws. It has recently been brought to my attention that the situation is a lot worse than we originally thought. So basically, many cruelty free beauty brands (in the EU, US, and beyond) are not actually cruelty free, and the brands may not even know it.

    I’ve been discussing this with Jean of Bunny Army. She is on the front lines investigating animal testing laws. She is the lead author of the peer-reviewed paper explaining the animal testing that has been hidden from us. This is her summary of what is going on:

    Animal testing in the EU – 2021

    What’s happening?  Cosmetic ingredients in the EU are being tested on animals under the EU chemicals law, called REACH, even though a different law, the Cosmetic Regulation, bans animal testing of cosmetic ingredients. 

    Why is it happening? The Cosmetic Regulation has loopholes. The EU agency that enforces REACH says these loopholes require animal testing of cosmetic ingredients for ecotoxicity and for worker safety. The agency maintains that the Cosmetic Regulation ban applies only to tests for consumer safety.

    Why am I just hearing about this now? The testing is buried in the REACH chemical files. Official EU reports on animal testing list the tests only as “industrial chemicals legislation” tests. There has been no public reporting of these as tests on cosmetic ingredients. An analysis of REACH dossiers, just published*, revealed the extent of the REACH testing on cosmetic ingredients.

    How bad is it? A survey of products at two EU retailers, one high-end and one mass-market, found over 400 cosmetics that likely had ingredients tested on animals. The products included hair care, skin care, and makeup products. The brands probably do not know about the tests, because there is no current process in the EU to tell them.

    Can this be fixed? Yes. It must be fixed by the European Commission/Parliament, by amending REACH and the Cosmetic Regulation to ban animal testing of cosmetic ingredients for any purpose.

    A coalition of EU animal welfare groups will be launching a large campaign very soon. You can also write your cruelty-free brands to show your support for them and ask them to share any updates on social media so that we can all keep informed.

    You can visit Bunny Army for more info on this issue.

    *Continuing animal tests of cosmetic ingredients under REACH.

    Leaping Bunny Statement

    Here is Leaping Bunny’s public statement on the issue:

    “We appreciate the research and analysis that went into this report and we fully support demands in the EU, from both industry and animal protection groups, for upholding the testing ban on cosmetics. The requirements for animal testing on cosmetic ingredients under REACH are clearly counter to the intent of the EU Cosmetics Regulation, and they represent a serious betrayal of consumers and citizens.  Consumers in the US and Canada can be confident that Leaping Bunny certified companies are very much dedicated to making products free of animal testing. They submit to a careful and thorough vetting process to ensure compliance with our Standard, and we will continue to work with certified companies in the US and Canada to help them remain cruelty-free in this challenging environment.”

    My thoughts about moving forward

    Instead of going after individual companies, we really need to ban together as a community and get the lawmakers to change the laws that are mandating animal tests. Many brands have NO IDEA that the ingredients they are purchasing are being tested on animals.

    The ingredients are part of the global supply chain, so this is not just an EU issue. Many large brands are sold globally, and many brands from the US and other non-EU countries are purchasing ingredients from EU companies. For example, there are a small number of fragrance and flavoring companies that almost every cosmetic company (and food company!) purchases essential oils and aroma chemicals from (Symrise, Firmenich, Givaudin, etc). These companies WANT to remain cruelty free but are at the mercy of the lawmakers.

    I think it’s important to note that we don’t need to create hate for any particular country (China, EU, etc) or its citizens. We just need to change the laws. Side note: You can read more about Chinese animal testing laws here. The article explains why post-market animal testing in China is no longer a major concern – only pre-market testing.

    And (you might ask), how do we maintain that chemicals are SAFE for ourselves and our environment? There are alternatives to most animal tests. Animal tests are often cheaper (less training, tech, and manpower needed), but they are not ethical.

    As mentioned above, a coalition of EU animal welfare groups will be launching a large campaign very soon. As soon as this happens, I will let you know, so please stay tuned. And (nicely) let your favorite cruelty free brands know about this, and ask them to keep us informed.

    You can also share this image on social media with a link to this page to spread the word: More

  • in

    Clean Beauty Destination: Vert Beauty Haul

    a.disclaimer-button {
    font-family:arial,helvetica;
    font-weight: normal;
    font-size:8pt;
    font-style:normal;background:#b5b5b5;color:#ffffff;padding: 2px 7px;} a.disclaimer-button:hover {background:#999999; color:#ffffff; }

    This post is sponsored by clean beauty boutique, Vert Beauty, but all opinions are 100% mine. You know I keep it real with you guys!

    Hi, Bunnies! If you haven’t heard of Vert Beauty yet, let me go right ahead and get it on your radar. It’s an adorable Denver-based boutique and online store for clean and cruelty free beauty products. Vert Beauty was started by makeup artist, Amanda Hume, and grown out of her love to make people look and feel beautiful.

    The online store carries many clean skincare and makeup brands you know and love, like Aether Beauty, Herbivore Botanicals, Indie Lee, Kosas, Tata Harper, and Vintner’s Daughter.

    Grow to Glow

    Vert Beauty also has a rewards points program called Grow to Glow where you can earn up to $100 off. Today they are giving 200 points for new sign-ups! You’ll be well on your way to earning your first $10 discount. You can sign up here.

    I tried some cruelty free beauty products from Vert Beauty and I definitely found some winners! Here’s what I loved:

    Indie Lee Blemish Lotion

    Let me be very honest here. I thought the “pink acne drying lotion” was an old-school thing. I tried the Mario Badescu version many years ago, and I don’t remember having much luck with it. I have been breaking out like CRAZY lately and decided to give the Indie Lee drying lotion a try. I’m so glad I did!

    It’s KIND of like the Mario Badescu one you may have tried (they both contain camphor, zinc oxide, sulfur, and salicylic acid), but the Indie Lee Blemish Lotion is made without calamine and it’s talc-free. It also has magnesium and clay in the mix.

    All I can say is that this stuff REALLY helped as an overnight treatment for my oily spots and acne. It’s great (and probably mainly intended for) acne that is on the verge of erupting and has come pretty close to the surface of the skin. It also seemed to calm some of my deeper, underground zits, and some of them actually disappeared and never became massive monsters on my face!

    It’s obviously meant to dry the skin, so should only be used as a spot treatment. And if you notice too much drying, back off on how often you use it. Make sure you DON’T shake it up. Leave it on your counter and you’ll notice the ingredients will separate – that’s what you want! Dip a q-tip into the pink part of the product and dab onto your skin. Leave it on overnight or for at least two hours, so it can do its thing.

    ILIA Color Haze Multi-Use Pigment

    I’m so over those complicated, precise, or uncomfortable makeup trends! Give me easy-to-wear, multi-tasking products any day of the week. ILIA Color Haze Multi-Use Pigment is easy to wear and perfect for cheeks and lips.

    It does contain coconut oil, which may not be great for super acne-prone skin like mine, so I mainly use this on my lips. But it’s sheer and buildable, and I can apply it with my fingertip. There’s no need for lip liner and although it has a matte finish, it’s super hydrating so it doesn’t make my lips chapped and dry.

    I have yellow undertones so I love warm, reddish orange lipstick shades. The color I picked, called Stutter, is beautiful – just sheer enough to look like a natural red when I put it on – not a clownish orange. There are some other shades I really want to try next, like Temptation (coral pink) and Waking Up (warm nude).

    Milk + Honey Eucalyptus Lavender Body Cream

    This is my second bottle of Milk + Honey body cream. I bought it a while back because I love the look of the apothecary-style bottle (and I love that it comes with a pump).

    This time, I got the Eucalyptus Lavender scent and I think it’s my fave! It smells so soothing and spa-like. I put it on my hands and arms right before bed and it’s just wonderful.

    It’s not greasy at all, but just heavy enough to be moisturizing. There are some heavily scented creams that actually feel like they take moisture OUT of my skin. This is NOT that kind of cream! It’s made with natural ingredients – not artificial perfumes. It has organic aloe juice, shea butter and coconut oil to hydrate dry skin.

    This is a bit pricy in my opinion ($38), but it’s a luxury that I keep at my bed side and use only at night so it lasts a long time. I love the look of the bottle on my night stand and I love that the ingredients are good for my body.

    Innersense Quiet Calm Curl Control

    And last but not least, I tried Innersense Quiet Calm Curl Control from Vert Beauty. I had heard of the brand but never tried anything. There aren’t that many natural hair care brands that stay away from heavy fragrances and other additives, so that really appealed to me.

    The Innersense Curl Control is filled with organic, plant-based ingredients. It has a lovely natural, slightly earthy scent. It hydrates without weighing my hair down. There are some products that I put only on my hair’s ends, but I can use this all over.

    I wasn’t sure if this would have hold like a cream-gel, but it seems like it doesn’t (not much if any). I still need to use gel to get my hair to stay curly. My hair is wavy though, so for someone with tighter curls, this may be all that’s needed. I am intrigued and I definitely want to try more products from this brand!

    If you’re thinking of trying something that Vert Beauty carries, I definitely recommend signing up today (even if you don’t purchase anything) so you can get those extra points! Vert Beauty’s rewards points program, Grow to Glow, lets you earn up to $100 off. Today they are giving 200 points for new sign-ups! You can sign up here. They’re also going to be doing a special promo in June – I’ll share more info about that soon. More

  • in

    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

  • in

    Is PETA’s Cruelty Free List Legit?

    There has been a lot of discussion in the cruelty-free community about whether or not PETA’s cruelty-free brand list can be trusted. I don’t always agree with tactics and stances PETA has taken on other issues but setting that aside, I wanted to learn more about their cruelty-free cosmetics brand list.
    After researching post-market testing in-depth with several sources, I have come to realize that China’s post-market testing is no longer a major risk. In fact, post-market testing on cosmetics can happen here in the US (and in the EU). Much more on that here. It seems a lot of the cruelty-free community’s mistrust of PETA has to do with post-market testing. So that barrier being taken out of the way made me take a second look at PETA’s cruelty-free brand list.
    You can read my thoughts at the end of this article. As always, I try to be unbiased, flexible in my thinking, and fact-based in making determinations.
    Notes from my interview with PETA Senior VP, Kathy Guillermo
    Kathy Guillermo is Senior Vice President of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. A 31-year veteran of PETA, Kathy leads the organization’s work to end the use of animals in experiments. Her many victories include shutting down the construction of a massive monkey-breeding facility in Puerto Rico and exposing the abuse of animals at a North Carolina product-testing laboratory, Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc., which led to the closure of the facility and the adoption of hundreds of dogs and cats into good homes. She is the author of the 1993 book, Monkey Business: The Disturbing Case That Launched the Animal Rights Movement.

    What are the requirements for a brand to be approved as cruelty-free (and to be added to PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies list)?
    They ask that the brands do not in any way conduct, commission, or allow tests at any point in development, and suppliers must do the same. Companies sign legally-binding statements attesting to this. Suppliers change and they come and go. Larger brands may have 10,000+ suppliers. PETA does not require documents from the suppliers themselves, but they require that the brands have language in place with every supplier that mandates the no animal testing policy. They require the brands to give them their language before they are approved. Most of them put this in their contracts with their suppliers. 
    Ingredients can sometimes be required to be tested (by ingredient suppliers) in the EU for other purposes – such as their inclusion in a chemical (non-cosmetic) product (this is not supposed to happen under EU regulations, but it has – see sources below). This could be an environmental purpose or a worker safety issue investigated under REACH loopholes. One example (that is luckily not happening often), is that when an ingredient reaches a certain tonnage, it has to be tested (under REACH).
    PETA would disqualify a brand if it was buying from a supplier that has tested due to these laws. PETA has challenged these laws and does not believe they are valid under the European animal testing ban.
    Sources for all of this info here. There is more info here (but please be warned – there are graphic images on the next two links): animal tests still happening in the EU and action you can take to help.
    Do brands pay to join the program? If so, how does that work? 
    There is no charge to be listed. There is a one-time $350 fee if brands want to license the logo. This helps to pay for PETA’s administrative and legal fees.
    How is the program different from Leaping Bunny’s program?
    According to Kathy, PETA was initially part of Leaping Bunny/CCIC when it was being established 25 years ago. Their designers actually designed the Leaping Bunny logo. The discussions broke down about what the requirements should be. Specifically, how long ago an ingredient could have been tested on animals in order to approve a brand. PETA believed 5 years was too long because it was making it impossible for some brands to get approved. [Editor’s note: currently Leaping Bunny requires a fixed cut-off date for testing but there is no limit on what that time is – it could be 1 day or 5 years.] They wanted to encourage brands to stop testing and join the program. Today, PETA makes sure not to allow brands to do all their testing and then try to get certified. They investigate and work with brands who have evolved, and have ended animal testing. Companies are always innovating and going into new markets so it’s the commitment to being cruelty-free going forward that is important to them. 
    Are companies required to recommit each year? Are they audited at all after they sign up? 
    Not every year. Every couple of years they check in to make sure policies are the same and have them sign a new agreement. It depends on the company – if they are in constant contact, they may not have to. All companies are required to sign a legally binding agreement. But, they have caught companies lying and have removed them. There are a lot of whistleblowers that help with this. PETA has exposed companies who have paid for tests in China without telling anyone. 
    How do you assure that brands are not conducting pre-market and post-market testing when entering China? 
    PETA started the first investigations into brands that were conducting animal tests in China. They work closely with IIVS (Institute for In Vitro Sciences). The scientists at IIVS help to train Chinese scientists on using non-animal testing methods. PETA has very few companies on the list who are currently in China (see below).  As we all know, there are certain parameters to allow for no animal tests – products have to be manufactured (or final product assembled)  in China and there can be no “special-use products”. When working with large companies like Unilever and P&G, they know that the brands are very well versed in the laws of China.
    PETA-Certified Cruelty Free Brands Selling in China:
    Eco & more
    Lisa Rabbit
    Dove (Unilever)
    Herbal Essences (P&G)  
    Wet n Wild 
    Physicians Formula
    First Aid Beauty
    Editor’s note: the Chinese have just released the new CSAR (Administrative Measures for Filing of Non-special Use Cosmetics) and my colleagues and I are still trying to determine what they will mean for PRE-market testing in China going forward. Some have said that pre-market testing is coming to an end, but that is not clear to me yet. We are currently trying to interpret new guidelines from the NMPA. Here is PETA’s statement on this.
    Another important note – Kathy says that brands would be given the opportunity to remove their products from China if post-market animal tests were required. I asked Harald Schlatter (Director Scientific Communications & Animal Welfare Advocacy at P&G) about this, and he said, “We have been told by Chinese authorities that no products of other P&G beauty brands have been tested on animals over the past couple of years. While there is no 100% guarantee, they told us that in case of a health-related consumer complaint, they would reach out to us to provide further safety perspective.  If they then believe more is necessary, they would consider follow up testing, but usually patch testing with human volunteers, not animal testing.“
    But the fact is, officials are not requiring post-market animal tests anyway (see my previous article on post-market testing in China). Kathy says post-market testing has been mainly to ensure products are not counterfeit. In that case they wouldn’t need to do animal tests – they would just analyze the product. There is the potential for complaints about safety, but products that have been on the US or EU markets for years would not be likely to have issues. And if they did, the brand would be able to decide what types of additional tests would be done, or would have the option to pull their products from the Chinese market.
    Do you have any assurances from officials in China that testing can be avoided? 
    IIVS has relationships with officials in China. But this is not really necessary (see above). In 2014 China allowed pre-market testing to be avoided under the parameters mentioned above. PETA has an Asian division. (a PETA affiliate called PETA Asia). PETA checks the Chinese database to make sure no pre-market tests were done before they approve new companies. They also look at when a product was first registered for sale in China and what types of products they offer (no “special use products” allowed).
    Do you note if the parent co is cruelty-free on your list? I see for example that Too Faced says Estee Lauder but it isn’t noted that Estee Lauder is not cruelty-free. 
    Kathy thanked me for the suggestion and is going to look at this and possibly make updates to the list.
    Do you note if the brand is vegan?
    Yes, they note if a brand has signed their paperwork guaranteeing all of their products are 100% vegan. Going forward, brands won’t be called “cruelty-free” unless they are vegan AND not tested on animals. Companies who do not test on animals, but are not entirely vegan will be called “not animal tested”.
    So, can PETA’s cruelty free list be trusted? My thoughts and bottom line.
    So after talking to Kathy, I personally feel better about trusting PETA’s cruelty-free cosmetics brand list. I do feel that it is more lenient than Leaping Bunny’s cruelty-free list, mainly because they are vetting the brands on behalf of the suppliers rather than the suppliers themselves. But they are requiring legally binding documentation from the brands. And the brands are required to then supply language to their contracts with their suppliers. They are not auditing every year, but they are checking in on brands and removing them if they find any issues.
    To compare and contrast, I had an interview with Kim Paschen from Leaping Bunny and will be publishing an article with information from that discussion soon.
    At the end of the day, ANY cruelty-free brand list (including my own) has to take brands and suppliers at their word. All we can do is call them out if we discover lies and discrepancies and I think that we are all on the same team in that sense. More

  • in

    Amazing Cruelty Free Brands You Didn’t Know Were on Amazon

    With so many of us shopping online these days, there’s almost no need to step into a store when everything we want and need is available at the click of a button. I don’t know about you, but I love receiving packages and relate to that meme of the lady sitting by the mailbox with her purse in her lap waiting for my goodies to arrive — maybe you do too!  That dang Amazon prime shipping always seals the deal for me!
    Cruelty Free Brands on Amazon
    To fuel your online shopping needs and keep you safe at home on your couch, I’ve rounded up some amazing cruelty free brands that you didn’t know were on Amazon!

    Pacifica Beauty
    This 100% vegan, cruelty-free, clean beauty brand not only carries skincare for the face, but a huge variety of makeup, body care, and wellness products all at affordable prices. Not to mention some of the cutest packaging that adds to the overall appeal of this compassionate beauty brand.
    Some of my favorites are the Cherry Velvet Matte Setting Powder and their Underarm Deodorant Wipes. I find the setting powder works well for minimizing pores and controlling shine on my combo skin without making other areas of my face dry. The underarm wipes are always a nice refresher to use throughout the day and smell really nice.

    Ilia
    If you’re looking for a clean beauty brand with a minimalist, skin-centric approach, Ilia beauty offers some of their award-winning products on Amazon. Ilia pride themselves on developing formulas that not only perform beautifully on the skin but offers a benefit to it as well by using natural and organic ingredients. 
    Their Natural True Skin Serum Foundation is a huge hit for clean beauty lovers with its light-medium coverage and natural skin-blurring abilities. Ilia Beauty is gluten-free, dairy-free, and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. 

    Kosas
    Another clean beauty, skin-focused cosmetics brand is Kosas. The company believes taking care of your skin should also include the makeup you use on the regular. Their botanical formulas not only are carefully formulated to create effortlessly beautiful looks, but are designed to nourish the skin at the same time.
    I’ve yet to come across a lipstick that is comparable to their Weightless Lip Color that feels like silk on the lips with beautiful color payoff. 

    Glamcor Riki
    You can’t have flawless makeup if you can’t see what you’re doing! Access to natural sunlight is the best bet, but when you’re doing your makeup (or let’s be real – plucking tiny hairs) in the evening, a Glamcor Riki mirror is just what you need.
    You can find the Glamcor Riki Skinny Mirror on Amazon. It comes with a 5x magnifying attachment and magnetic phone clip so you can film your own makeup tutorials.

    Anastasia Beverly Hills
    If there is one brand that knows how to make brows on point, it would have to be Anastasia Beverly Hills. ABH became famous for patenting the golden ratio method for brow shaping and developed not only brow products for a customized to each person look, but a full line of color cosmetics that keep us on our toes.
    Need defined waterproof brows to get you through your busy day? Check out their Dip Brow Pomade! Or something a little softer to draw in singular strokes? Their Brow Wiz is a good choice!

    REN Skincare
    Finding skincare that works for sensitive skin types can be difficult, which is why UK-based REN Skincare came about. REN skincare uses only sustainably sourced components to produce clean formulas that avoid skin un-friendly ingredients, like synthetic fragrance or sulfates.
    What products make the brand popular and is a best seller not only at Sephora and Amazon? Their Skincare Ready Steady Glow Tonic, an AHA toner that exfoliates with the help of lactic acid and willow bark extract while azelaic acid helps impart a healthy glow. 

    Sunday Riley
    Visible results are what we all hope for when we invest in skincare and that’s what Sunday Riley strives to give. Using active ingredients at potent enough levels to produce notable changes in our complexion with science-based formulations — all while avoiding questionable ingredients and giving back through their Sunday Shares Initiative.
    Snag their famous Good Genes Lactic All-In-One Treatment (with free Amazon Prime one-day delivery!) that clarifies, smoothes and retexturizes in one easy step for plumper, more radiant, younger-looking skin. 

    R+Co
    Looking for salon-quality hair products? R+CO was developed by a team of editorial and salon stylists that know exactly what your hair needs to keep it looking gorgeous. All their products are color-safe, heat and UV protective, vegan, and gluten-free.
    Say hello, to sleek and smooth hair with their Television Perfect Hair Shampoo and Conditioner.

    Stila
    Used by celebrity makeup artists and beauty lovers all around, Stila is a brand we’ve all grown to love since the ’90s. They have so many amazing products and in my opinion, are underrated! 
    From their cult-favorite clickable lip glazes to their best-selling budge-proof Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, Stila offers something to create signature looks for each and every one of us. 

    Grande Cosmetics
    Can’t get your lash extensions right now? Tired of using false lashes and want to grow your own? Grande Cosmetics has received praise over the years for its results-producing lash and brow treatments. That further led into the brand developing other makeup hybrids that enhance the lips, hair and face!
    Get those lashes growing with their Grande LashMD Lash Enhancing Serum.

    Perricone MD
    Developed as part of a three-tier system of wellness, Perricone MD products are known for their powerful and cutting edge formulations that have gone through extensive clinical studies. Their antioxidant-rich products fight free radical damage and reduce the signs of aging due to inflammation at the cellular level.
    What product is a hot seller all around? Perricone MD No:Rinse Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner that visibly tightens pores and leaves behind a matte finish. 

    PMD
    Love tech-y beauty tools? PMD is famous for its premier at-home beauty devices like their personal microderm (exfoliation tool), PMD Kiss, and PMD Clean sonic cleansing tool.
    The PMD Personal Microderm Classic is a great place to start if you are looking to even skin tone, reduce blemishes, and reduce fine lines all without having to make a visit to a professional office. It may not create the same exact results but keeps their customers pleased making them loyal fans of the brand. 
    What cruelty-free brands have you discovered while shopping on Amazon before? Are you using any of the ones I shared above? Share in the comment section below! More

  • in

    Are We Getting Closer to an Animal Testing Ban in the US?

    We are all watching and waiting for an animal testing ban in the United States. I feel that we are SO far behind with this, and the US needs to catch up to the almost 40 other countries (including the EU) who have enacted bans. These bans are not without their loopholes, but they have made a difference. We are making progress, year by year, and it’s time for the US to ban all animal testing for cosmetics.
    What is the Humane Cosmetics Act?
    The Humane Cosmetics Act prohibits new animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients and prohibits the sale in the United States of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. (Read more from the Personal Care Products Council here.) It is not without its loopholes:
    • Prohibits animal testing and bans the use of evidence from animal testing to establish the safety of a cosmetic or cosmetic ingredient unless there is no non-animal alternative method or strategy recognized by any Federal agency or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for the relevant safety endpoints and other very strict criteria are met.
    • Requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promote scientific advancements in this area.
    • Bans cosmetics manufacturers from including “cruelty free” claims on their packaging if animal testing data was used to establish the safety of the product or any of its ingredients.
    • Creates a national uniform standard for animal welfare.
    So would our products be safe without animal tests?
    Absolutely. There are differences between the species, so many of the animal tests out there are not even applicable for humans. This is an older article, but it explains some of the alternative tests that can be used for cosmetics safety. PETA also has an in-depth article on animal testing alternatives here.
    The Humane Cosmetics Act was first introduced in 2014. In 2019 it reached the US Senate and House of Representatives. Sad that it’s moving so slowly, I know. But it is gathering more support from brands, who are pushing for change. If you want to do more, you can easily send a message to your legislators here:
    Please take action for animals:
    Send a letter to your representative asking them to co-sponsor the bill via the Humane Society of the United States
    Humane Society’s Update
    The following is from a press release put out by the Humane Society of the United States:
    This week, we reached an important milestone with 300 independent companies now officially endorsing the Humane Cosmetics Act, in addition to nearly 600 member companies of the Personal Care Products Council, which also supports the bill. The measure would end animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients in the US and prohibit the import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere in the world. Most of the endorsements come from small businesses that are already proving that high-quality cosmetics can be formulated without testing on animals. But the list also includes industry heavyweights such as Unilever and P&G, and known brands such as H&M and LUSH.
    Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States and Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund wrote in their joint blog today:

    “Cosmetics companies can choose from thousands of ingredients that have a history of safe use to create new and innovative products the cruelty-free way. For new ingredients, animal tests are increasingly being replaced with non-animal methods that are often quicker, cheaper and more reliable as predictors of toxicity in humans. But there is a more fundamental reason to replace conventional animal tests for cosmetics products like shampoo and mascara—the tremendous suffering they cause as rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs have substances variously forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin. They are often left to suffer for days on end without any pain relief.”

    Cosmetics companies are already obliged to comply with laws in California, Nevada and Illinois, which ban the sales of cosmetics newly tested on animals. Nearly 40 nations, including member states of the European Union, Australia, Guatemala, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey, have also passed laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetics testing on animals, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Humane Society International and its partners worldwide.
    This bipartisan bill has already been introduced in the House and the Senate.
    Here is a list of companies who are endorsing the Humane Cosmetics Act: More

  • in

    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

  • in

    Easy Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese

    This Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese is a great, addictive and easy to make vegan substitute for traditional feta. Delicious in salads or on its own as a snack or appetizer!

    I recently got a major craving for my Greek Style Tomato Cucumber Salad, so I began searching the web for an easy vegan feta recipe. Sadly, I couldn’t find one that seemed to exactly fit the bill. Some seemed great but were a lot more work than I cared for; I’ve been feeling a tad lazy in the kitchen lately! As for the super easy ones, most were merely just cubed tofu, marinated in oil, lemon juice and vinegar, and called for very little salt… I mean hey, let’s face it: feta cheese is crazy SALTY! And tangy. But mostly, salty! So surely you can’t go making fake feta cheese without adding a liberal amount of salt!
    Since I couldn’t find what I was after, I decided to create my own version, using not oil and vinegar as a marinade, but brine and salt. This, is what I figured would come closest to what feta should taste like. And the experiment turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself!

    Now I’m not gonna lie to you: this does NOT taste exactly like feta cheese and you’re not going to have anyone fooled with it either. BUT, it does have a super tangy, salty flavor to it that’s very reminiscent of the real deal, and a real firm, squeaky texture that’ll keep you coming back for more!
    In salads, it definitely does the trick! but it’s also delicious as is, so it makes for a fantastic snack or appetizer, especially if you’re going to serve it with a handful of mixed gourmet olives and crusty bread!
    Just one word of caution before you embark on the project: although this vegan feta is super easy to make and will require almost no effort on your part, it does need to marinate for at least 48 hours! So yeah, you are going to need to plan ahead if you are going to make this.
    Perhaps you should make a double batch? Just because, you know…

    You need to first remove the tofu from its packaging, then drain and press it for at least 1 hour to release excess liquid, and then pat it really dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
    Now, if you didn’t happen to own a tofu press, don’t go running to the store just to get one… You can very quickly set up a little rig that’ll work just as good:
    Grab a cooling rack and place it over a container of some kind, to collect all the liquids that’ll drip. I chose to use a glass loaf pan, but practically any container will do!
    Next, place your block of tofu onto that cooling rack and then place a small plate or other flat object right over that block of tofu… 
    Finally, place a heavy object, such as a large book or a cast iron skillet, over that plate or flat object. Now simply put that entire rig aside and let your tofu slowly drip away for about an hour. 

    Once it’s good and pressed, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place it in a medium sized bowl.
    Then, in a glass measuring cup, combine all the ingredients for the brine, stir vigorously with a whisk and pour that right over the cubed tofu.

    To make my brine, I chose to use sauerkraut brine, olive brine and lemon juice for a really tangy base, to which I then added nutritional yeast — for a bit of cheesy flavor — a little bit of garlic powder and a generous amount of SALT. Because yes, feta is supposed to be salty! But don’t worry though… this vegan feta is far from being overly salty. In fact, I probably could’ve added even more, but I think you should start with this amount and then if you feel you want more, go ahead and add more next time.

    Now place the tofu in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 48 hours. Yes, that’s 2 days! You want that tofu to really absorb the flavors of the brine, and I’m afraid 2 hours just won’t cut it this time. You could even go as far as leave it in there for an extra day or two, if you wanted to. Trust me, this tofu is in no rush to get out of its salty bath!

    Once your tofu is done soaking, drain it really well, then add about a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to it, as well as a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs (or your favorite dried herbs), a little pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a dash of red chili flakes, if you’re a fan…

    Technically, you could use your vegan feta right away, but if time permits, I suggest that you put in back in the fridge for a few hours, to give those newly added flavors a chance to mingle with the others and develop to their full potential!
    Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week (but really… I give it an hour or two, tops!)

    Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese

    This Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese is a great, addictive and easy to make vegan substitute for traditional feta. Delicious in salads or on its own as a snack or appetizer!
    Servings: 4

    1- 14 oz package extra-firm tofu, pressed

    For the brine

    Remove the tofu from its packaging, drain and press it for at least 1 hour to release excess liquid, and then pat it dry with a clean towel.

    Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place it in a medium sized bowl. In a glass measuring cup, combine the ingredients for the brine, stir vigorously with a whisk and pour over the cubed tofu.

    Place the tofu in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 48 hours, then drain well.

    Add the olive oil, dried herbs, black pepper and red pepper flakes to the drained tofu and stir delicately until evenly coated.

    You could use your vegan feta right away, but if time permits, put in back in the fridge for a few hours for flavors to mingle and develop.

    Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

    Calories: 96kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 540mg, Potassium: 185mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 1mg

    If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
    You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes! More