It’s not a secret—most of the products Americans use in their homes and on their bodies have been tested on animals. We all know, so I’ll spare you the gory details. Everyone is appalled, but most can’t help but take a passive stance on it. No judgment. I get it—for a long time I did the same, despite a long stint as a vegetarian. It’s easy and convenient to be oblivious, and the idea of overhauling the products you use daily seems daunting.
But actually, when I decided to make the switch last year, it turned out not to be so hard after all. I even geeked out on finding new home and beauty products that would become my go-tos—reveled in the way it limited my choices, forcing me to streamline my life and be a smarter consumer. No longer did I have to stare at new Maybelline products at Target in an indecisive shuffle over whether or not they’d be worth trying in every color (BabyLips—you know what I’m talking about). Sephora suddenly became easy to navigate when I could count the brands that I could support on one hand. Hello, Urban Decay—never would have tried it if I hadn’t been on a mission to find the best cruelty-free concealer.
Is a cruelty-free life more expensive? Yeah, it is, but I haven’t broken the bank in the name of ethics. Besides, to me, the little extra cost is nothing compared to minimizing my contribution to the perpetuation of animal testing. I’m paying for little lives to be saved, maybe not immediately, but in the long run. I know that my avoidance of animal tested products will make a difference. I believe I am one of many, and cosmetics and home goods companies will feel the pressure.
And by the way, I’m not a yuppie with money to burn—I still buy $1-$3 makeup from e.l.f., which I love. Just about all cruelty-free brands I use religiously are pretty affordable—Trader Joe’s (probably my #1), Yes To, Alba Botanica, NYX, Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, Tom’s of Maine.
There is no good reason for cosmetic animal testing to continue in the United States (it’s already been banned in Europe). It’s not required by the FDA. The tests are not reliable anyway, since different species react differently to chemicals—of course. Thousands of ingredients are already classified as safe—no need for additional testing of new ones. And there are almost 50 alternative tests (which don’t require animals) that have already been strictly validated for use—tests developed by scientists at private companies, universities, and government agencies using human cell and tissue and computer models. Anyway, if they have to perform rigorous tests on something, do you really want it on your skin or in your lungs? I don’t!
But I’m not holier than thou—I’m just doing my best. There are still half-used bottles of LA’s Totally Awesome bleach in the house. I tried a DIY drain cleaner and it actually made the clog worse. (I didn’t cave and buy Drano, though—a good old-fashioned plunger did the trick.) So, I’m on a never-ending quest to find cruelty-free products to fill the many niches of real life.
You guys know what’s up, so if you have feelings about it, I recommend acting on those feelings and looking out for the bunny-free logo on product packages as much as possible. Utilize PETA’s cruelty free database or the Bunny Free app. Thrive Market has over 800 cruelty-free products all shoppable on a single landing page here. If you want to learn more about going cruelty-free, check out the Humane Society’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign.
If you have a pet, or a child, no less, then you know the instinctive human feeling of responsibility for protecting something smaller that can’t help itself. It’s a beautiful thing. And that’s why I, personally, made a choice to be cruelty-free.
“…until we allow…all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.” -Lawrence Anthony, wildlife conservationist