Why I haven't gone "Cruelty Free"

Cruelty Free is a big deal in the beauty blogging community. It's something that I've often considered doing, but have never gone through with.

I've been sitting on this post for a few months and annoyingly the Daily Mail, of all people, actually published an article to this effect a few weeks ago. They even used the source I have used - Ethical Consumer Magazine. My parents have had a subscription to this Manchester-based magazine for years so I'm very familiar with the publication. Ethical Consumer is well known for its ethical matrix, where it looks at companies' attitudes to the environment, animals, people and politics. Ethical Consumer don't tend to publish their recent ethical scores online, and I don't want to get in trouble by posting a scan of my copy, but I will list a few scores from the list in this post (and you can view more on their website).

When I saw the table of scores, it settled my opinion on Cruelty Free beauty. Of course I'm anti-animal testing for cosmetics, but it isn't where my priorities lie when buying a product...
Some Cruelty Free advocates are extremely outspoken about their views. I feel like MAC Cosmetics can't post anything on Instagram without having people flag them up on animal testing, and I've seen influencers criticised for working with non-cruelty free brands. What I find interesting about MAC is that they score a lot higher in Ethical Consumer than a large amount of CF brands! They're far from perfect but the company, owned by Estée Lauder, scores a lot higher than most drugstore brands. They have a strong stance on social responsibility and often commit themselves to charitable acts as well as a 'commitment' to the environment by encouraging consumers to recycle via Back2MAC.

It is especially disappointing that a Cruelty Free brand (and one that also offers vegan options) comes dead last in the table. Sleek cosmetics are bottom of EC's table, with 1/20. Other brands at the bottom are Soap and Glory (not sure if they're CF?), Superdrug's B range, NYX and Body Shop. They all score 3.4/20 or less. Pretty disappointing! However, this may be a parent company situation, as Boots/Superdrug don't tend to score high and NYX/Body Shop are owned by the 'evil overlord' that is Loréal.

My other half has recently started a job for a medical company. He works in the academic journal side of the company, but it is common knowledge that the company conducts drug tests on animals. I have grown up being completely anti-animal testing, but it was interesting to learn after he started that all medications in the UK have to be tested on animals before human trials. Does this mean to be truly 'Cruelty Free' you have to cease taking medicines? Sounds a bit outlandish, but I have an actual worry that some people might see it that way. I believe that if animal testing can be avoided, then it should be (it really bothers me that China insist on it, as so many more brands would be CF without this). However, whether a company sells in China or not is not my priority. There are a huge number of factors that impact production, and I'd rather pick a company who are more ethical across the board. There are companies who are 'Cruelty Free' who will have poor supply chain management, treat their staff unfairly and do not report on their environmental impact. How can they be considered superior to non-CF if they neglect other ethical issues?

According to Ethical Consumer, some widely-available brands that have higher ethical scores include: Neal's Yard, Lush, Clarins, Avon, Aveda, Estee Lauder, Clinique MAC, Origins and Smashbox (listed from highest to lowest score). However, in some ways it is more a 'lesser of evils' type situation. Ethical Consumer themselves recommend Odylique, Green People, Neal's Yard and Lush. For more Ethical Consumer information, check out their website (although you need an account to access some of the more specific information). Their lists are obviously not exhaustive, but definitely help!

For now, I'm going to try and be as ethical as I can and stay informed as possible when choosing products in the future. I don't think my purchasing habits can be perfect, I don't think anyone's can be, but I'll limit damage where I can. Unfortunately sometimes you have to make a call between whether a purchase is necessary or ethical! My weekday foundation is L'oréal, simply down to the fact that when it comes to drugstore base products, it's hard to find a match for my pale skin. Hopefully one day I can find an alternative...

Does the ethics of a company impact your purchasing? Are you cruelty free? I'd love to hear what you think!

No comments