Why It’s Important to be a Cruelty-Free Ethical Makeup Brand

TAYLOR NIALL

Game Beauty: A Cruelty-Free and PETA Certified Makeup Brand

Purchasing our makeup palettes without sacrificing your ethics and conscience.

What is considered cruelty to animals today, including unfair and unethical animal testing, simply wasn’t decades ago or at the advent of commercially available makeup. There’s a number of reasons why this has changed but the two most prominent are that naturally society grows and becomes more conscious and empathetic, and that information on said makeup is readily available thanks to the World Wide Web. Whilst the industry as a whole has made giant strides to become better moralled, the problem hasn’t completely disappeared. This Blog isn’t going to talk about other brands or use brands as examples, but instead explains why Game Beauty feels it is vital to the future of makeup to be ethically sourced and cruelty-free.

Game Beauty is certified cruelty-free and has been granted association status by PETA.

Trigger Warning: This Blog will feature brief descriptions of animal cruelty in the pursuit of explaining history and highlighting modern techniques still employed by other unethical makeup brands. We will NOT, however, be showing images, video and other visual media.


The Birth of the Cosmetics Industry and mass animal testing

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when animal testing began as each countries’ laws are different on the subject and it gets complicated with Import / Export caveats, but for the Unitied States it can be pin-pointed to 1938 whereby a law was passed requiring that cosmetics pass a baseline safety substantiation test for all cosmetic products (a test to make sure it is safe for human consumption) and so this strong-armed companies into testing on animals or face closure and in some extreme cases imprisonment. 6 Years later and humanity hits another dark milestone, the Draize irritancy tests, are introduced and this becomes a standard across the entire country for decades to come. Testing is carried out mostly on Albino Rabbits, but these tests extended to Mice, Guinea Pigs and Dogs.

Albino Bunny Rabbit waving

The Draize irritancy tests can be explained as follows: “a toxicity test devised in 1944 by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) toxicologists John H. Draize and Jacob M. Spines.... the procedure involves applying 0.5 mL or 0.5 g of a test substance to the eye or skin of a restrained, conscious animal, and then leaving it for a set amount of time before rinsing it out and recording its effects. The animals are observed for up to 14 days for signs of erythema and edema in the skin test, and redness, swelling, discharge, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or blindness in the tested eye...The animals are euthanized after testing if the test renders irreversible damage to the eye or skin. Animals may be re-used for testing purposes if the product tested causes no permanent damage”.

Grim and it’s estimated that 100,000-200,000 animals die per year due to cosmetics testing. This really is the backdrop for why Game Beauty feels the need to champion cruelty-free makeup and consistently seek suppliers and partners that share our ethos.


ALTERNATIVE MAKEUP TESTING


IN VITRO TESTING

But as night passes we can all look forward to a bright dawn and there are many alternatives to animal-testing within the industry that allow humanity to be their best selves without disregarding their ethics:

  • Researchers - such as the Wyss Institute - have created “organs-on-chips” (Human tissue on microchips) that contain human cells nurtured and grown to mimic the structure and function of human organs and organ systems. These microchips can be used instead of animals in cosmetic testing as they have been shown to replicate human diseases and pharmaceutical/cosmetic responses more accurately than crude aforementioned animal experiments do.
  • Another alternative which a lot of progressive companies are adopting and that’s Human Skin Culture (human skin grown in a lab) one of these companies is MatTek: a biotechnical company who are pioneers in research and development and are passionate about eradicating the need for animal testing in more than just cosmetics! The other alternative - which isn’t really an alternative - is that companies can turn away from animal testing simply because we know what ingredients are harmful to humans or not...because we’ve tested them for so long.


COMPUTER TESTING

Computer Testing involved simulating animal organs computer chips which are matched against vast chemical databases. This is aiding researchers to work out whether makeup is likley to make you sick or give you any other adverse side effects such as irriration.

  • Prepare yourselves for more jargon, but an example of computer testing as an alternative can be explained by a model called: Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships (QSARs) which are computer-based techniques that replace animal tests by making quantifiable estimates through simulations of a substance’s likelihood of being hazardous, based on its similarity to existing substances and our knowledge of human biology. Cosmetics businesses are progressively turning to adopting QSAR tools to avoid testing chemicals on animals.


RESEARCH WITH WILLING HUMAN VOLUNTEERS

Now we’re about to take a turn; akin to medical tests and trials, humans for a lump-sum of money can also subject themselves to medical trials. Let’s be completely honest though, it isn’t anything like being put into a small cage, strapped down and having chemicals forced into your eyes sockets repeatedly day-in day-out and then discarded. But, progress is progress and if it means that even one animal gets saved, it’s worth it.



WHAT IS VEGAN MAKEUP?

The definition of vegan makeup is that it’s a product that doesn’t contain any animal by-products. A by-product can be an animal ingredient or animal-derived ingredient. Think of it this way, most sweets are not vegan because they contain gelatin - which is created by boiling tendons, skin, bones and ligaments. Most lipsticks are not vegan because they usually contain beeswax, but in particular red tones contain cochineal extract, which are crushed bugs: dried and pulverised into dust (whether the bugs are purposefully killed I couldn’t determine in my research). So as you can see there’s lots of ingredients to make products non-vegan, but don’t worry as vegan-friendly brands will have a certification from an authoritative body such as PETA so sourcing brands isn’t too difficult.

To most people the term ‘vegan’ should also imply that the product isn’t tested on animals however this isn’t regulated so go easy on the assumptions. A product can be tested on animals and still legally claim to be ‘vegan’.

Beeswax

This is taken directly from a bee hive and can be used in eye shadow, foundation or lipstick. It can take six or more pounds of honey to create just one pound of wax. That's a lot of honey!

Carmine

Goes by a plethora of names such as cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, E120 and carminic acid – so keep your eyes peeled. This deep red colour is taken from crushed insect body and legs and worked into a powder after drying and additional ingrediants are added such as acids.

Collagen

Often used in anti-ageing products due to its plumping and firming effect, collagen is naturally produced in animals. In order to get the protein for beauty purposes, it is normally taken from dead animal’s bones, connective tissue and skin...so at least the animal is already dead and not killed.

Guanine (or known as - CI 75170)

Created by scraping fish scales off dead fish and soaking them in alcohol to create an iridescent solution. This gives extra shine and sparkle to your blush, eyeshadow and nail polish.

Keratin

Used to give you luscious hair this is a protein that is naturally found in mammals, it’s generally taken from hair, nails and horns.

Lanolin

This is a bit disgusting...but Lanolin is a fat created from the grease of sheeps hair. Typically used in Balms and Oils. So just double check next time what you put on your lips!

Squalene

Commonly used in various moisturisers and cosmetics this ingredient is made from the oils found in the liver of sharks. Although be careful not to confuse this with simiarly sounding: Squalane, which is a cruelty-free alternative usually made from either olive or sugar cane.


THE MODERN STATE OF ANIMAL TESTING

As companies adopt more ethical practices one day the dream of living in an animal cruelty-free world will be a reality. Game Beauty are PETA certified which means we are a cruelty free brand:

“Companies listed either signed PETA’s statement of assurance or provided a statement verifying that they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future. For more information on how to join our Beauty Without Bunnies program, please e-mail BeautyWithoutBunnies@peta.org.”

Additionally the Beauty Without Bunnie initiative is the worlds largest initiative for trying to make all cosmetic and makeup brands ethical and cruelty free which states the following:

PETA US’ list of companies and brands that don’t test on animals anywhere in the world has been the gold standard for supporters and other consumers looking to shop with compassion since 1987. Our list has grown immensely over the years, from a dozen mail-order companies to thousands of companies that refuse to conduct, commission, pay for, or allow tests on animals for any of their ingredients, formulations, or products anywhere in the world. The list includes manufacturers of cosmetics, personal-care products, household cleaning products, and other common household items.

Companies may be certified by PETA under one of two designations:

  • Global animal test–free recognizes companies and brands that have verified that they and their suppliers do not conduct, commission, pay for, or allow any tests on animals for their ingredients, formulations, or finished products anywhere in the world and that they will never do so in the future.
  • Global animal test–free and vegan recognizes companies and brands that meet the same requirements and whose entire product line is free of animal-derived ingredients. These companies are truly cruelty-free.”

cRUELTY-FREE AND ETHICAL MAKEUP - A BEAUTY INDUSTRY TIMELINE

1990 - 1999 

  • 1980: Advocate Henry Spira wages a successful campaign to get cosmetics company Revlon to stop using the Draize test, which requires directly exposing animals’ eyes and skin to chemicals and causes extensive animal suffering.
  • 1991: The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods is established to oversee the development and acceptance of alternative test methods that reduce, refine and replace the use of animals.
  • 1996: Animal protection groups band together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. The coalition manages the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification program in the United States and Canada.
  • 1998: The United Kingdom bans animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients.

2000 - 2010

  • 2000: The ICCVAM Authorization Act is signed. This law established a coordinated effort by United States agencies to evaluate and adopt test methods that reduce, refine or replace the use of animals.
  • 2000: California becomes the first state to pass a law requiring companies to use test methods validated by the ICCVAM.
  • 2004: The European Union passes a law phasing out the production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2004: The OECD approves non-animal test methods for skin absorption, skin corrosivity and skin phototoxicity.
  • 2005: The Japanese Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (JaCVAM) is established.
  • 2006: The OECD approves a second non-animal test method for skin corrosivity.
  • 2007: Israel bans the use of animals to test cosmetics.
  • 2007: New Jersey passes a law requiring companies to use test methods validated by ICCVAM.
  • 2008: New York passes a law requiring companies to use test methods validated by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM).
  • 2009: The OECD approves a non-animal test methods for eye irritation.
  • 2010: The OECD approves a non-animal test method for skin irritation.
  • 2010: Israel passes a law to phase out the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.

2011 - 2015

  • 2011: The European Union ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients and sale of cosmetic products and ingredients tested on animals goes into effect in all but a few test areas.
  • 2012: The OECD approves a second alternative for eye irritation.
  • 2013 January: Israel implements a prohibition on the sale of all cosmetics that have been tested on animals.
  • 2013 March: The full European Union ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics takes effect.
  • 2014 January: São Paulo, Brazil, bans cosmetic animal testing.
  • 2014 March: The Humane Cosmetics Act, legislation to prohibit cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, is introduced in the U.S.
  • 2014 March: The End Cruel Cosmetics bill, legislation to end the production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients, is introduced in the Australian Senate.
  • 2014 May: India bans cosmetic animal testing.
  • 2014 June: China implements a rule to remove mandatory animal testing for what are considered ordinary cosmetics, such as shampoo or mascara, manufactured in China.
  • 2014 November: India bans the import of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2015 March: New Zealand bans cosmetic animal testing for finished products and ingredients intended exclusively for use in cosmetics.
  • 2015 March: South Korea introduces legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of some animal-tested cosmetics if government-recognized, non-animal alternatives exist.
  • 2015 April: Taiwan introduces legislation to ban cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal tested ingredients.
  • 2015 June: Canada introduces the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, legislation to ban cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal tested ingredients.
  • 2015 June: The Humane Cosmetics Act, legislation to prohibit cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, is reintroduced in the U.S.
  • 2015 July: The OECD approves additional non-animal alternative tests for eye and skin irritation as well as tests for skin allergy.
  • 2015 July: Turkey bans cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetic products and ingredients where a validated alternative exists, effective January 2016.
  • 2015 September: Russia introduces a bill to phase out the production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients if validated alternatives exist.
  • 2015 September: Brazilian Senator proposes amendments to cosmetics bill to include a ban on animal-tested ingredients and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2015 December: South Korea passes a law to partially ban the manufacture and sale of animal-tested cosmetic products and ingredients if government-recognized, non-animal alternatives exist.
  • 2015 December: The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act is reintroduced in Canada.

2016 - pRESENT DAY

  • 2016 February: The Ethical Cosmetics Bill, legislation to end the production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients, is introduced in the Australian House.
  • 2016 March: The Swiss government announces it will take measures to ban the sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals.
  • 2016 June: Australia’s federal government announces its commitment to ban the production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics by July 2017.
  • 2016 July: The OECD approves a new non-animal test method for skin allergy.
  • 2016 October: Taiwan bans cosmetic animal testing for finished products and ingredients, effective 2019.
  • 2016 November: India bans the import of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2016 December: Switzerland passes an ordinance to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, effective May 2017.
  • 2017 February: Guatemala becomes the first country in the Americas to ban cosmetics animal testing.
  • 2017 June: The Humane Cosmetics Act, legislation to prohibit cosmetics animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, is reintroduced in the U.S.
  • 2017 October: The OECD approves new non-animal test methods for eye irritation and skin allergy.
  • 2017 December: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil bans cosmetics animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2017 December: South Africa introduces legislation to ban cosmetics animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2018 June: The OECD approves new non-animal test methods for skin allergy.
  • 2018 June: Canada Cruelty-free Cosmetics Act, legislation to ban cosmetics animal testing and the sale of animal tested ingredients, passes the Senate.
  • 2018 July: Minais Gerais, Brazil passes a ban on cosmetics animal testing.
  • 2018 September: California passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2018 October: Unilever announces its support for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign.
  • 2019 February: P&G announces its support for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign.
  • 2019 March: Australian government passes a ban on the use of new animal data for cosmetics safety.
  • 2019 April: Avon announces its support for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign.
  • 2019 June: Estée Lauder announces its support for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign.
  • 2019 June: The OECD approves new non-animal test methods for eye irritation, skin irritation, skin allergy and phototoxicity.
  • 2019 June: Nevada passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2019 September: Illinois passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2019 November: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approves a new non-animal test method for eye irritation.
  • 2019 November: The federal Humane Cosmetics Act, legislation to prohibit cosmetics animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, is reintroduced in the U.S. with support from the cosmetic industry.
  • 2020 January: Laws banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetics go into effect in California, Illinois and Nevada.
  • 2020 March: The Mexican Senate passes a bill to ban cosmetics animal testing and sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2020 August: Colombia passes a law to ban cosmetics animal testing and sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2020 December: Chile introduces a bill to ban cosmetics animal testing and sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2021 January: New cosmetics regulations go into effect in China opening a potential pathway for import of ordinary cosmetics, such as shampoo and mascara, without the need for new animal testing.
  • 2021 March: Virginia passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2021 May: Maryland passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2021 July: Hawaii passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2021 June: Maine passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
  • 2021 November: New Jersey passes a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.

We truly hope that this Blog has enlightened you or solidified your stance regarding your makeup purchasing decisions and that, like us, you continue on your journey to help end needless animal suffering. Whilst I appreciate a subject like this is harrowing, I wanted to relay a brief insight into the history and modernisation of animal testing and the makeup industry and that it put into perspective how things are progressively getting better.

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