I’ve been cruelty-free for nearly two years now; it all started, as many great things do, from a series of angry YouTube comments on a makeup video I made in 2016. I hadn’t heard of the cruelty-free movement before, so I took to Google to do some research and within the day I decided that I needed to change my purchasing habits. Before that day, the closest I’d come to ethical cosmetic purchases was boycotting my favourite L’Oreal shampoo for some cause or another; I actually can’t remember what it was but likely something to do with the sustainability of one of the ingredients. Basically, I was a noob, so I’ve spent the past two years educating myself on the products I can use and the ways companies circumvent animal testing laws to get a better picture of how ethical the products I love to put on my face are.
Now here’s the preachy part, so skip this paragraph if you aren’t interested in why I went cruelty-free. I believe that going cruelty-free is one of the easiest steps you can take towards making more ethical purchases. I’m no saint when it comes to living ethically, but I do what I can, and when it comes to cosmetic products I can’t justify giving my money to a billion-dollar company that still enables such unnecessary and cruel procedures to take place. The idea of funding the companies that keep bunnies and mice in laboratories for their whole lives just so I can wear a nice foundation makes me feel a bit sick. We’re so past the point of needing to test on animals to create a great anti-ageing cream, so I put my money where my mouth is and refuse to support the brands that still do it.
That being said, I did use a fair number of products from these companies in the years before I went cruelty-free, and I do get pangs of nostalgia when I see them on the shelves in Boots and Superdrug. These brands don’t need to test on animals and frankly, I’ve no idea why they still permit companies and governments to do so on their behalf when nearly every ingredient in cosmetic products has been proven safe for use already. Sorry, there’s me preaching again. But anyway, I felt that a nice bit of healthy pressure wouldn’t go amiss, so here’s my list of companies I would love to buy products from, but can’t anymore.
Bumble & Bumble
I mourn the days where I could use the Invisible Oil shampoo; how it created the perfect foam without sulphates and other nasties and how glorious it smelled. I have yet to find a replacement that I love quite as much, but alas I have been unable to repurchase since I finished my last bottle over a year ago. Their Surf range is amazing, their packaging is beautiful… if they stopped testing on animals they would have my full and honest heart right back where it once was.
Oh Nars, why oh why did you start selling in China? I’ve gone and lost my Cruella lip pencil and it’s honestly one of the most distressing experiences of losing something I’ve ever had, other than when my passport going walkies in Freshers and the copy of Milk And Honey I leant to my ex and never got back. Not to mention the amazing Velvet Matte Skin Tint and the beautiful Narssist palettes I can no longer dream about. I’m praying for the day that you realise your mistake and go back to being the cruelty-free gem that you once were.
Now I’ll admit, I have never tried a Chanel product. My interest in them peaked some time last year when I heard people talking about their lipsticks. It’s the ultimate glamorous brand; feminine and iconic. I would love to support Coco and her vision but I can’t, and it sucks.
Now I didn’t even realise perfumes were tested on animals until a couple of months ago when I featured my Blackberry and Bay perfume in a video. Why on earth are we testing fragrances on animals? If Diptique doesn’t have to do it then Jo shouldn’t need to either. I love all of the Jo Malone fragrances but I can’t buy another until they stop testing, and this makes me very sad inside my sweetly-fragranced soul.
Caudalie might be my number one sad face when it comes to skincare I can’t use anymore. I bought the Beauty Elixir two years ago and I bloody loved it, and there’s so much more I’d love to try if only they didn’t sell in China! Such a wonderful brand, such a shame they aren’t cruelty-free.
La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Avene etc: French Skincare
As you may be able to tell by now, I’m a bit of a French pharmacy skincare convert. I’ve never used a product from them that hasn’t worked, whether that’s the La Roche Posay Effaclar range or the Bioderma micellar water. The Effaclar H moisturiser got me through all of my acne, it was a godsend product for my teenage skin. My old housemate was a proper French lady and used to use the Nuxe oil and it scented our bathroom such a luscious fragrance. For all of these reasons, I’d love to be able to stock back up on all of these, but I can’t and it breaks my heart.
Bourjois is the unsung hero of the high street. Their Healthy Glow serum was my go-to medium-coverage foundation for my late teens, it’s such a wonderful product. Loads of people swear by their chocolate bronzer, they created some of the first liquid lipsticks, their nail polish remover pot works wonders… the list continues. Like many other high street brands, however, they are not cruelty-free, which is such a shame as they bring great quality to an affordable price point. We desperately need more cruelty-free high street options, I just wish Bourjois would step up to the challenge.
Every time I have a skin issue, I am consistently recommended Kiehl’s products by everyone I know. The Ultra Facial Cream always looks so saucy, staring at me from the dry skin page on the Space N.K. website, trying to tempt me with it’s utilitarian packaging and five star reviews. But no, I shall not give in until they change their animal testing policy!
With my dry skin, I desperately want to be able to use Aveeno products. They were my mum’s weapon of choice in the battle with my childhood exzema-covered skin. I remember them being so soothing and nice. Now I’m cruelty-free, so many high street body moisturisers are off the cards and it’s deeply frustrating. Just hand me the Nivea and let me cover myself in it until I resemble an oily fish, please.
Now this one took me by surprise; how on earth is Vaseline being tested on animals?! It’s petroleum jelly! We know it works, there’s no need to be testing it on anyone! But hey, everyone seems to be a sucker for the sweet, sweet Chinese random product tests so I guess I’ll just find another affordable lip balm brand to covert instead.
And finally, Benefit Cosmetics. These guys were my first true beauty love; I’d pick up their product booklet when I walked through the department store on the way home from school and read it cover to cover to cover before dinner. I loved the packaging and marketing, it was so perfectly kitch and alluring. When I started working part-time in retail, one of the first products I purchased was The Porefessional, and it worked so well to hide the large pores either side of my nose that were remnants of acne-scarring. I tried the Roller Lash mascara and loved it too, and asked for a powder quad for Christmas so I could try the Hoola bronzer. Basically, it was love at first sight, but I regret to inform you that I can’t purchase from them again until they stop selling in China. Sad times all round.
So those are the brands I daydream about one day being able to buy from again. If you feel the same way as me, feel free to share this blog post and tag the brands in it as there’s nothing like a bit of public pressure to change a brand’s stance. Thanks for reading, follow my Instagram and Twitter to find out when my next blog post goes up!