Vegan Cosmetics... What does that mean to you?
Before I heard of Arbonne International I had never heard of vegan certification on cosmetics.
I related veganism to hippies or earth focused people. How ignorant. I was astounded when I learnt about what a vegan cosmetic is and what that meant for all the other cosmetics on the market.
Cruelty free may sound familiar and its likely you probably understand what that means. The cruelty and dangers of animal testing have long been highlighted in the media. Remember the widespread campaign by body shop founder Annita Roddick? So most brands now are "cruelty free" which means they do NOT test on animals before they retail their products to consumers. Unless they retail into the Chinese market and then it is their law that all cosmetic products are tested on animals before they are sold to consumers within Chinese waters.
So whats the difference between cruelty free and vegan... quite simply... animal by-products.
I was shocked to learn what this is and if you want a really good insight google "animal by products" in cosmetics.
It can be quite astonishing to find out how many animal by-products are in cosmetics these days and given misleading names to confuse the consumer. It was only through my affiliation with Arbonne that I personally became educated on what this all meant. I was utterly gobsmacked that after such a length of time in the industry and being such a consumer of cosmetics that I had little to no knowledge of what an animal by product was or that it was in my lipstick!
Regulations on cosmetics ingredients and marketing are very loose across the globe and without education to us the consumers on what our products contain, that won't change. If somebody like me who has been heavily involved in the industry was unaware of this knowledge how can the general public be expected to become ethical consumers.
A few questions this extra knowledge raised for me... How can a product be cruelty free and contain an animal by product? Surely that defeated the object of cruelty? Its key to understand the difference that cruelty free just means no testing on animals and probably should be termed no animal testing instead. Also those apparent cruelty free brands are only compliant where it is deemed culturally unacceptable to test on animals. This did make me question the ethics of some big brands. How can they stand by what they believe regards animal testing in if they retail in waters that test on animals. Sounds like a perfect example of how business, ethics and money are not always aligned.
Since the point of knowledge I immediately turned my back on any company that was not cruelty free and now I pride myself that all of my kit is fully vegan. I realised that I no longer needed to pick products based on their clever marketing or luxury packaging but more on their quality and ethics. Has anything changed in my work? Of course not. I am able to create all the same looks with what I believe are much better products, I love helping educate my clients on what is in their cosmetics and why they didn't already know already and I sleep peacefully at night knowing that I am not slathering animal by products on my face and body.