cruelty-free: some comments (2)

UPDATE / NEWSFLASH

I asked Edward Bess about their cruelty-free-ness yesterday and received a reply today.

My original question (I’ve cut the salutations etc. on everything below):

[…] had a couple of issues I’d be keen to see resolved before I consider repurchasing.
I would be very grateful if you could answer the following questions:
1. Are your products cruelty-free? That is: no animal testing by you, or by third parties on your behalf, on finished products and on ingredients?
2. What is your animal-testing status for markets requiring it (e.g., China)?
3. Where are your products made, their raw materials sourced, and what are the animal testing requirements there?

EB reply:

Thank you for your interest in Edward Bess.
Edward Bess is fully committed to upholding animal health and welfare. We proudly do not test finished products or raw ingredients on animals and utilize alternative testing methods that meet international safety standards and regulations. Edward Bess – the man and the brand – respects animal life and is dedicated to offering luxury products of the highest quality to our customers without inflicting any harm on our animal friends.
We look forward to you falling in love with our fabulous products and to being of any additional assistance.

Further comment from the excellent kai1:

“Meet international safety standards” always makes me nervous. RE China- My understanding is that products being sold to their citizens must be tested, and some of that testing might include animal tests. However, if one is manufacturing there, but not selling there, testing is not required. So, I’m still inclined to believe EB does not test. I won’t be buying EB products due to poor CS and ingredient choice though. The fact they put mineral oil and petrolatum (my skin hates both) in their e/s, blush, etc. baffles me.

gingerrama:

yep: dislike that kind of CS too; assumes customers have no knowledge of international law or lack thereof: “international safety standards” is vague.
(1) the *legal* safety *requirements* of all countries in the world (and transnational legislation, in the case of the EU)?
(2) there’s no binding international law on this anyway…
(3) and a world of difference between a law (and treaties, agreements, etc. incorportated into national legislation) and a non-binding (possibly voluntary, possibly not even formal) “standard.”

kai1:

Also, I think they may not really understand/know laws themselves. I wrote Tarte and UD to ask whether they sell in China. Both responded with an apology for not selling there! With an international market, parent companies, different policies in different countries, it is certainly very confusing for the consumer. And, not to let anyone off the hook, but I think it may be confusing for companies too.

gingerrama:

ITA: on the other hand, while you can’t expect CS to be legal experts, it’s sensible (and in some/many places, part of CS procedure) that when you don’t know, you should say “I don’t know but I’ll find out who does, ask them, and either ask them to talk to you or pass on an answer from them.”

At least, last time I was working in a field to do with selling stuff and deadling with customers, that was in the basic training, and indeed even in the company in-house manual. Admittedly, that was a rather old-fashioned company, for whom an often highly individual(ized) customer service was very important and crucial to reputation: maintaining solid loyalty from people who’d been “with” the company for theor whole lives, in many cases for 2 or 3 generations (I think the record was 5).

Parallels on the greener beauty front: Weleda, Lavera, and lots of Etsy sellers!

Compare the stuff above to what Edward Bess replied to bellakahlua when she asked them earlier about their cruelty-free-ness. My conclusions, I’m afraid, are that the reply I got is a not very sophisticated copy-paste job on a standard cookie-cutter response by a marketing department. Here’s how the Bella/Edward conversation went (with apologies to Twilight fans):

Bella question 1:

Can you please tell me if you or a contracted 3rd party test your products or ingredients on animals?

Edward’s reply:

Thank you for your interest in Edward Bess.
We are proud to report that there is absolutely no animal testing on the finished products or any of the ingredients in the finished products. We are fully committed to upholding animal health and welfare.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Bella had an additional question:

That is great to hear, however I just read that you now manufacture in China where it is required by law. Is this true? I’d love to try your products but am very conscious about buying only cruelty-free.

To which Edward’s reply was:

Edward Bess does not test our cosmetic products on animals and when sourcing our ingredients for all of our products, we choose raw materials that meet international safety standards and regulations and avoid animal cruelty. Edward Bess – the man and the brand – is fully committed to upholding animal welfare.
We look forward to you falling in love with our fabulous products and to being of any additional assistance.

Here’s how the discussion went on that first reply to Bellakahlua:

bellakahlua 3/7/2012 11:34AM

Gingerrama, I received a response from EB to my subsequent inquiry [then the conversation above…]

STRAND 1:

gingerrama 3/7/2012 11:48AM

my concern here would be with “We are fully committed to” (twice): empty rhetoric
+
“meet international safety standards and regulations”: that could mean “we test when it’s required”

BUT
otherwise, emphatic:
“there is absolutely no animal testing on the finished products or any of the ingredients in the finished products”
+
“does not test our cosmetic products on animals”

bellakahlua 3/7/2012 12:01PM

My thoughts exactly. I’d like to focus on the “there is absolutely no animal testing…”, but the “international safety standards and regulations” part got me too. I really, REALLY want one of their e/s trios but am completely torn as to whether or not to pull the trigger.

STRAND 2:

combatwombat 3/7/2012 8:54PM

Can you try it out in person? I know EB has a reputation for high quality and is popular with a lot of bloggers, but luxury brands moving their production to China while continuing to sell luxury image at luxury prices irk me. You should ask on the MU board as well, I think I remember hearing grumblings about the quality changing when they changed manufacturers.

Sorry to poo on your lemming. For all I know the quality may still be phenomenal and I think there’s a lot to be said for buying one amazing palette instead of 10 low quality palettes that will just collect dust. If at all possible, you should try to swatch it in person, or order from somewhere that takes returns just in case it doesn’t wow you.

bellakahlua 3/8/2012 11:02AM

Unfortunately no, but I’m over it. I wouldn’t have bothered to inquire had I known prior about their move in manufacturing. It’s just not cool IMO.

STRAND 3 (continuing the conversation in STRAND 1):

kai1 3/7/2012 1:27PM [re. my reply]

Agree. It is more waivering than the response I got. However, it strikes me as a bit dishonest for a company to say they don’t use any animal tested ingredients. Lots of ingredients were animal tested in the past (over 20 years ago) and companies such as UD and Tarte certainly use those. So, I don’t think any company can really say they only use ingredients that were never tested on animals. However, based on their response, I would say pass on EB just to be really safe.

gingerrama 3/7/2012 2:22PM

kai1, ITA: everything down to water has been animal-tested (back to the 1940s & before)! to ascertain what the lethal dose is (= toxicity). There’s the further quibble of original purpose of test and ingredient: purely cosmetic vs. medical vs. general consumption (inc. food).

One of the issues here is an admin one.

The FDA right now is the authoritative body governing cosmetic products in the US: acceptable ingredients, products OK’ed for sale, plus consumer protection (the latter being a positive, for most people). But their other–main–wings regulate the use of food and drugs, within the dept. of Health; they’d started out regulating food and drugs back in 1906. Remit extended and strengthened in 1938 by the FD&C Act (name still used for FD&C-approved dyes/colours)… partly in response to a scandal about a mascara that caused blindness.

And the FDA branch dealing with cosmetics isn’t attached to the pharamaceutical drugs wing, but to CFSAN, who regulate food. Partly fitting in there cos cosmetic products aren’t drugs: if they claim do more, rather than just being cleared by the CFSAN, they have to get approval from the CDER (as drugs).

The criteria used for regulating ingredients and finished products in cosmetics (experimental standards, testing methodology) are variations on those used for food: rather than (as in the EU and Australia) having a separate body in charge of cosmetics, using separate criteria.

The FDA really need to be reorganized, it’t about time!

If you’re in the US, over to you on doing some more research on this and petitioning your congressmen and senators!

coriforia 3/7/2012 5:45PM

Actually not everything has been animal tested! For food, there is a GRAS list Which stands for generally regarded as safe. So certain food colorings etc are on the list and have never been tested for safety!

gingerrama 3/7/2012 6:58PM

true!

Care to reply?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s