Ignorance is bliss.
It's an apophthegm we all know and it never applied to me as much as it did 9 months ago. I'm a celebrity make-up artist and like to think I know my industry, but during a lecture I was attending by a bio chemist from a popular natural skincare company, she dropped a bombshell and explained how many well known brands are still having their products tested on animals.
I thought she was being ridiculous, surely animal testing in the beauty industry ceased decades ago? When I was 18 (I wont tell you how long ago that was!) I went on anti vivisection marches and as an animal lover and a make up artist, surely I would know if this were happening? Let's face it, on pretty much every brand website it states, "We don't test on animals". She told me to go home and research it and so I did.
I then uncovered the ugly truth about the beauty industry - animals are indeed still being tested on and going through extreme pain and cruelty - all for a new mascara or shampoo! What really angers me is that there's no need - we can undertake tests on reconstructed human skin, like EpiDerm, which is now widely available and produces better, more accurate results. Why then don't brands always use this method to test? The answer plain and simple is - profits. About 2 years ago the majority of well-known Western brands ploughed into the Chinese market where the beauty industry is worth billions; the catch? Chinese law dictates that any beauty product sold to a Chinese consumer has to be tested on animals. Even companies that had been cruelty free for years turned on their principles in a New York second just to maximize profits. One popular make up range that went into China had to pull out because their customers complained so vehemently. However, apart from this solitary brand, this situation has been swept under the carpet by cunning marketing. But it's not all down to China. Over 80% of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics. However, it is a battle to raise awareness of what's really happening when brand websites still state they don't test on animals - and there's nothing to stop them doing so. We, as the consumer, are being seriously misled. Next time I'll explain how to navigate 'brand language' so that you can buy cruelty free and shop consciously.