Everything you need to know about cruelty-free make-up

The beauty industry has changed a hell of a lot over the last few years, and we're not just talking about the move from skinny, barely-there brows to modern-day HD beauties.

Although it's a move we are truly thankful for.

Not too long ago, you would have had a struggle getting hold of any cruelty-free or vegan make-up.

But nowadays a lot of well-known brands are completely turning away from animal testing in order to develop ethical products that are still high quality.

Which cruelty-free brands can you find in the UK? What's the difference between cruelty-free and vegan? And what alternative testing methods can be used?

Here's the lowdown on everything you need to know about cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics.

What is cruelty-free make up?

Cruelty-free make-up refers to cosmetic products that are not tested on animals at any stage in development, either pre or post-market.

Strict laws in some countries mean that foreign cosmetics are subject to animal testing – whether that's before they go on sale, or after.

So in order for a company to sell their products in these countries, they have to agree to these laws.

But if a company is 100% cruelty-free certified, their cosmetics are never tested on any animals, anywhere in the world.

How can I know if a product is cruelty-free?

There are companies that work to inform consumers about where their products come from, and how they are developed.

Leaping Bunny certifies products that are cruelty-free, PETA have a list of brands they deem to be trustworthy, and it's also worth having a look at Logical Harmony's list, too.

However, they are not exhaustive.

Can make-up brands say they are cruelty-free even if they aren't?

This is the billion-dollar question.

In order for brands to sell their cosmetics in China, they must agree to mandatory animal testing laws.

China has a billion-dollar beauty market ($26 billion, to be precise), and any cosmetics made outside of China are subject to these laws.

Even if a brand does not test their products on animals in the US or UK, if they sell their cosmetics in China they cannot be certified as 'cruelty-free' as they are agreeing to their products being tested on animals in ordered to tap into a huge, profitable overseas market.

What if a parent company is not cruelty-free?

Many brands are owned by a larger company - for example, L'Oreal is the parent company of Urban Decay.

Although Urban Decay is certified as 100% cruelty-free, L'Oreal is not as it sells its wares in China.

It is not unusual for this to happen, but as long as the subsidiary brand retains its Leaping Bunny certification, you can be sure that it will not be tested on animals – ever – despite the status of their parent company.

Is cruelty-free makeup vegan?

As with a vegan diet, vegan make-up would have to be completely free of any animal products.

Cruelty-free means that the products aren't tested on animals, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the ingredients are free of animal products.

However, more and more brands are developing vegan make-up in a bid to produce ethical cosmetics, such as Illamasqua and Kat Von D.

How is cruelty-free make-up tested?

According to Cruelty Free International, there are many ways that brands can test make-up without involving animals.

As well as using sophisticated computers that have the ability to 'model' or replicate parts of the human body (FANCY), human and animal cells can be grown in laboratories and therefore used instead of animals.

Sounds pretty high-tech to us, but this is the future, baby.

Voluntary donations of human tissue can also be used in place of animal testing.

What are cruelty free make-up brushes?

Traditional make-up brushes use animal hair from anything from goats and ponies, to squirrels and badgers.

If you want a brush brand that uses synthetic materials, try Kat Von D, The Body Shop or EcoTools.

Which cruelty-free make-up brands are available in the UK?

There are so many make-up brands that are 100% cruelty free, and many of them are well-loved, quality brands - from Charlotte Tilbury, to Barry M.

Take a look at our cruelty-free make-up recommendations RIGHT HERE – this is a jam-packed list.

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