my cruelty-free journey
25 July 2018
The title gives it away already I guess; I am on a cruelty-free journey. About 6 months ago, when I was writing a blog post about a friend’s wedding I did makeup for, one of the photos was of my kit. It emphasized how much my kit has changed. To be fair, 3 years ago I was travelling around Australia and I had only taken a very condensed makeup kit. But it wasn’t only the small amount of products that caught my eye, it was especially the KIND of products.
Can you see how there are a lot of MAC products on this photo? (how pretty is this photo taken by 27 Creative | Steve Wise by the way?!)
MAC is a great brand to open up this blog post with. It will straight away take this post into the depths of the discussion, instead of focusing on my personal journey, which is what I thought this blog post would be. However, this might be a good introduction to what cruelty-free means and how the term can be unclear to many people.
MAC is a widely known brand, which is sold all over the world and it is very popular under makeup artists and ‘normal’ people alike (for lack of a better word). It’s probably the first brand I really loved, I saved up to buy exciting colours of very pigmented MAC eye shadows. When I studied makeup artistry, a substantial part of the provided kit was filled with MAC products (which I LOVED at the time) and MAC was the only brand I knew that I saw myself working for at a counter. I loved that the artists at the MAC counter were so diverse in lots of different ways; gender, race, style and the only rule about their appearance seemed to be that they had to wear black. I loved it.
A quick google-search will show that MAC is considered a NON cruelty-free brand. I’ll explain to you why this is and why this is such a highly debated topic.
If you go to MAC’s website it reads the following:
‘”M•A•C does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M•A•C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally. To this end, we are proud to partner with IIVS (INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES) to expand the use and acceptance of non-animal testing methods.”
If you read this, it sounds pretty good right? They sound like they are doing the right thing. However, the problem is in this part of their statement: some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products. One of those governments is China (mainland, not Hong Kong) and MAC sells in China. On their website they state the following about this: “China tests on animals as part of its safety assessment of cosmetic products. We love our fans and we never want to exclude them anywhere.”
Basically the website tells you that they do not test their products on animals and that they are funding research for and education in animal testing alternatives. They claim THEY are not testing their products on animals, but the Chinese government is. Which is true. However, cosmetic companies selling their products in China have to AGREE to these animal tests and PAY for them. Most accrediting bodies, such as PETA, Choose Cruelty Free and Leaping Bunny do not consider brands that support this kind of third party animal testing cruelty free.
We don’t have to wonder about why beauty companies that claim to care about animal cruelty still choose to sell their products in China. It’s all about the money. Although companies are claiming they want to make sure everyone around the world has access to their products from a holistic point of view, I guess we can all agree that that’s not likely to be true. I think some of us would also argue that it’s fair enough that these companies want to have a share of China’s A$50 billion cosmetics market.
What do YOU think?
A question for another time is WHY the Chinese government requires animal testing? And you’ll find the answer seems to be disappointingly similar to the answer as to why companies sell their products in China.
Personally I have decided to go cruelty-free. Because I am also passionate about less waste and sustainability, I haven’t thrown out my MAC products. I have sold them, given them away and am using them up. This is a slow process which means I cannot say my kit is 100% cruelty-free. However, I can happily call it 99% cruelty-free and a lot of thought goes into each new addition to my kit!
I’ve been thinking of writing about my journey a lot, but I guess there is so much to say or write about it, that I didn’t know where to start or what kind of posts to write. There is a lot of information already out there, and I wasn’t sure if I could really add anything valuable. However, the more awareness the better. Even if I could help only one person in their decision-making process by providing them with information or with my experience, that would already be worth it!
I was planning to focus this first post on the journey itself and my considerations within the journey, however, it became more of a deep-dive into cruelty-free versus China using MAC as an example.
I am sure more posts on this topic will follow. I am still IN this journey, it is not finished yet and I am not sure if it ever will be. There are so many sub-topics that undoubtedly there will be more to write, I’m thinking of inside info on what I discovered along the way, information on ingredients and products, sources you can use to find out more, what cruelty-free means and how is it different to vegan-friendly & more! Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have and I will try to prioritise them for future blog posts.
I would love to hear from you about your journey and whether you found this post valuable!
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