The same companies that make you feel oh, so pretty, also often have a quietly cruel side to their businesses — animal testing.

A number of beauty brands (read: MAC, L’Oréal and OPI) all test on animals. It can often be an overwhelming decision to choose which brands to use and which to stop supporting. With that being said, there are over 1,700 brands that are cruelty-free, so it certainly is not a niche option of shopping.

What does cruelty-free mean?

Cruelty-free makeup companies are those that do not test on animals during any part of the production process. That includes not only the finished product, but the specific ingredients that make up the makeup. Some companies also outsource testing processes, hiring outside of their own factories only to later claim they are cruelty-free because they themselves technically didn’t do the testing. This loophole, called “third-party testing,” disowns accountability and re-attaches it elsewhere, cleansing these companies of their guilt. Many cruelty-free beauty brands are also owned by larger parent companies that do conduct testing. It’s a tricky situation.

Why Do Companies Test on Animals?

Animals are used to test whether or not products are hypoallergenic and safe for humans to use. There are constantly new images and videos circling social media, each displaying the treatment of these animals. Every year, 100 million animals are harmed, maimed and abused during animal testing. For many cosmetics, products are dropped directly into rabbit’s eyes, often permanently blinding them.

China is the only major market in the world that requires that products are tested on animals. In June, NARS found itself in hot water when it expanded its market to include China. Naturally, NARS took to social media to try to rectify the situation, stating that despite their expansion into China, they didn’t support animal testing. NARS posted a photo with the caption: “We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen…but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China.”

We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see:

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Contrarily, in 2013, the European Union banned sales and imports on products test on animals. There may be conflicting ideals around the world, but Canada sits somewhere in the middle ground. The government has a neutral perspective that allows the sale of products regardless of whether or not they have gone through animal testing. 

Where to Buy Cruelty-Free Makeup

If you are looking to create a guilt-free makeup bag, the Leaping Bunny Logo or the PETA can help to ensure that products are actually cruelty-free. Brands certified with these logos have completed the necessary paperwork to prove that they are actually responsibly making their cosmetics. The PETA keeps a comprehensive list of products that do and don’t test on animals to make shopping easier.


Check out some of our favourite cruelty-free brands:

1. Kat Von D

2. Anastasia Beverly Hills

Beautiful @_lahrin_ BROWS: #Dipbrow in Soft Brown EYES: Modern Renaissance Palette & single shadows | Gemstone |Ballet #modernrenaissance

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3. Hourglass

4. Milk Makeup

5. Bite Cosmetics

6. e.l.f.

7. Nudestix

8. Colourpop

Winter-ready Super Shock Shades ? Shades: Stereo, So Quiche, Bae, Nillionaire, Rex, Muse @emilyjessica_x

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9. Glossier

Today's makeup ✨ @joannecarmela

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10. Natasha Denona

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