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Cruelty-free looks beautiful as EPA moves away from animal testing

The eco-conscious movement has hit the cosmetics industry: Makeup enthusiasts search for the leaping bunny logo on the back of beauty products, and many are starting to see the consequences of beauty product testing on animals.

Keeping up with this movement, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently announced a plan to phase out the experimentation of animal testing for chemical safety.

According to EPA, testing on animals is not a necessary practice. Alternative methods are available that may be both faster and cheaper than animal testing. 

“One example is reconstructed human epidermis where you can scrap a trace of skin cells, place them in a dish, grow them into a model of the human skin,” said Elizabeth Baker, the Pharmaceutical Policy Program Director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Then they can test directly onto that to get information that is more predictive to humans. There are also very sophisticated computer models that can be used.”

But this movement toward cruelty free products is not new. Many people were starting to understand the effects of animal testing in the early 1980s. Tom Regan, an American philosopher, wrote “The Case For Animal Rights” in 1983. However, it took nearly three decades for cruelty-free practices to be translated into legislation. 

Animals and humans are not of the same species; therefore, what is harmful to an animal is not always harmful to a human, and vice versa. This means that animal testing is not always accurate, said Alison McKinstry, the managing director of GirlsRock Cosmetics, a brand dedicated to creating fun, performance and everyday makeup for young girls. 

“A lot of testing on animals doesn’t even correlate to human testing,” McKinstry said. “If a goat takes aspirin it would kill them. If we take aspirin we’re fine.”

Cruelty-free brands may not just be good for animals, but potentially better for your skin. Many cruelty-free products don’t contain harsh chemicals or synthetic dyes—which are often cause for makeup testing on animals in the first place.

According to CrueltyFreeKitty, a website dedicated to helping people fulfill a cruelty-free lifestyle, there are over 7,000 cruelty-free ingredients makeup brands can use in their products. This means products that need to be tested are the ones that haven’t yet been verified for makeup usage.

Many people presuppose that beauty care products don’t test on animals when there are over thousands of safe ingredients available.

“I don’t necessarily feel that I’ve made the biggest attempt to try and purchase cruelty-free products just because I kind of assume that all brands would be,” says Kayelle Suede, a makeup artist from San Diego, California.

Suede has recently released her own eyeshadow palette, The Suede Palette, which she intentionally made sure it was cruelty-free.

“Anytime I find out that a brand is not cruelty-free I’ve decided to not purchase from them anymore,” Suede said.

For those looking for cruelty-free brands, many are affordable, flourishing brands already on the shelves.

Brands like Colourpop, NYX Cosmetics and BH Cosmetics, all carried by Ulta, offer a wide range of products that don’t harm animals in the process of creating them.

“Within a personal moral standpoint, it’s awesome if you’re able to purchase only cruelty-free makeup. It makes you feel like you’re more of a cruelty-free person although that’s not 100% achievable in anyone’s life,” said Lauren Mateling, a vegan freelance makeup artist. 

Mateling said she understands many people may not have realized that lots of companies harm animals in the process but believes it’s never too late to start purchasing cruelty-free makeup. 

“It’s important to try your best to go toward cruelty-free makeup,” she said.

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