Lavera and animal testing in China

UPDATE (2014-05): see also

My thanks to a correspondent for the following item and consequent / future Food For Though (and further letter-writing, for any of you out there not working 60+ hour weeks right now…).

Marilisa: thank you VERY much, this is new information to me. Great to see rapid change… though this also casts some gloom on the Urban Decay song-and-dance routine on going into China than coming out of China. On which more coming up in a moment…

Also: I honestly don’t know if this is, as you put it, “gimicky” or not; if it’s honest, true, accurate; and what the hell is actually going on. Based on my own experience with
(a) administration, policy-making, and decision-making witin an organization;
and (b) marketing, branding, and propaganda:
my best guess is that negotiations are ongoing, have been going on since before the public (and indeed many industry insiders) were aware they were, and may continue for some time.

And that these negotiations are delicate, slow, and like peace processes in troubled areas, will have ups and downs and both sides (or however many sides there are) will look like they’ve betrayed their position, people, cause, and The Truth. That’ll doubtless happen many times. Accompanied by non-communication and miscommunication with outsiders (like Joe Public), obfuscation, veiled ambiguous non-statements, blustering rhetoric, empty verbiage, misdirection, the occasional outright untruth, and of course some hand-wringing and requests for patience. The best we can do is keep poking and prodding, whilst still “liking” (to continue the horrid FaceBook analogy). Like peace processes, there are immense gulfs in difference of opinion, perspectivem, point of view, way of seeing the world; differences in culture, language, way of thinking, ethics, politics, economics, and how these things all fit together (or not). The very idea of an “ethical minimal consumer” can be hard to fathom, even in a first-world environment. As witness, I’m sorry to say, way too much of what goes on on MakeupAlley, and one reason I’m limiting my writing there and even reading; sometimes the extent of selfishness, ego-centricity, and not giving a damn about anyone else (or anything, if you’ve decided other animate creatures are things/ojects and to be treated, used, and abused as such…).

Over to our correspondents. Names have been abbreviated and emails removed for privacy purposes…

From: marilisa […]
Date: Monday, 27 August, 2012 11:51 PM
To:  “” <>
Subject: enquiry about animal testing on Lavera products sold in China


I am a very loyal customer to Lavera products, I love them and since it is difficult to find and buy them in my city I even purchase Lavera products from overseas’ online shops just to not be without them. However, I am also very much concerned about animal tested products and I do not use them.

So, would you please confirm me that your stance of not carrying out test on animals is still valid and trustworthy and let me know whether or not do you distribute and sell your products in China where mandatory animal testing is required by law?I’ll be looking forward to your reply.

Thank you

Kind regards


From: [P…] <p…>
To: marilisa […]
Sent: Tuesday, 28 August 2012, 3:33
Subject: Re: enquiry about animal testing on Lavera products sold in China

Dear Marilisa,

Thank you for your email and your concern.

We stick to our claim not testing on animals and being against animal testing. We have never signed any document in China that we’re testing on animals or allowing anybody else to test on animals.
It is said that the Chinese FDA has been testing on animals in the past  during product registration but we have no proof and we have never seen any documents showing that tests have been carried out.

In May the China FDA authorities have announced that officially all animal tests will be ended.

Source: Organic Monitor, UK


China Accepts Animal-Free Testing Methods
The animal protection organization Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has for the first time succeeded in persuading decision-makers in the People’s Republic of China not to use animal testing for cosmetics products.

According to Peta, by the autumn animal-free procedures to test for photo-toxicity will be introduced and will replace methods that have relied on the use of animals.

The animal-free method is already in use in the USA and Europe. It checks chemicals for potential toxicity when they come into contact with sunlight.Hitherto, all cosmetics manufacturers were obliged to test their products on animals before they could get official permission to market in China. In its search for alternatives, Peta has spent more than USD 1 million from donations to get research institutions to develop methods that do not use animals.

I hope this answers your question and concern.

Best regards,

P for lavera Hong Kong

Dear Ginger O’ Rama,

Hi, my name is Marilisa and I am a your blog’s subscriber as well as a regular and devoted reader of it.

I am contacting you to ask your opinion regarding the e-mail [above] which I received form Lavera HK in reply to my enquiry about Lavera’s current animal testing status since their choice of selling their products in China.

Do you think their statement reliable? or is it just a gimmicky attempt to cheat their customers?

I think that if China had really put an end to animal testing then all the fuss about the other cosmetic companies, see for example the great and furious debate and the outraged indignation caused by the UD’s decision to sell their make up products in China and their consequent shameful dodgy back down, would be just silly and meaningless, if I make sense.

Also, I didn’t hear of this breakthrough news about China stopping their infamous mandatory animal testings from anyone else in the cosmetic industry, so what do you think about this?

I hope I didn’t bother you too much with my e-mail and that I made myself clear as I am writing in English but I am Italian and much more often than not I still have to translate in my mind from my own language to English to write it.

All the best


Dear Marilisa,

Thank you for this: I’ve put it up on the blog (names disguised, emails removed), we’ll see who else weighs in. I reckon this is tactics and diplomacy at work; might be delicate, and take time, but at least there’s *movement*. And hope for change.

Ginger xox


  1. Sakara

    Oh hell, what to make of this…You’d think this kind of news would be everywhere, on every animal welfare site, every cruelty free cosmetic website and blog/page etc. But yet , this is the first i have heard of it.
    If for example UD heard about this, why then didnt they make a statement to that fact…seems odd and a little off. I think i will send a message to BUAV about this and see what they say. Be interesting to gather their oppinion as i hold them in higher regard..well any regard, to PETA.

    Been meaning to ask..on a different subject regarding The Body Shop and Loreal. You stated previously taht L’oreal gain no profits from TBS, as the company remains a solo ship so to speak…so what was their point in buying the company?

    • gingerama

      Hi! Yes: I do wonder. I wonder if this is because of the delicacy of negotiations–and maybe as green consumers can be less than diplomatic, very black-and-white.

      Ex. no, I don’t want to buy or use anything that’s tested on animals. That’s pretty black-and-white. And while I would rather buy from a company who are straight-up, forthright, and honest in all things–that includes my allergy to greenwash as well as any other bullshitting, patronising, manipulation, and abuse–while I’d rather buy from an honest company, I’m also aware that out here in the real world, things aren’t always black/white, cut/dried. And when things are changing, that change can take place in many ways, and at different speeds, and not always in a forthright clear-cut way.

      So I accept that it’s not always possible, or practical, to be completely honest all the time; and that sometimes being honest and giving all the facts could even be counterproductive: but there’s a definite difference between saying “I can’t tell you any more, we’re working on it,” and telling white lies, and telling complete lies. I’d rather someone said, honestly, “the situation is evolving and this is work in progress.”

      On L’Orésl & TBS: that’s from their initial sale agreement. Why did L’Oréal buy TBS? Quick approximate tactful answers:
      1. see how TBS works, from inside: having worked out that there is a market for ethical products, that ethical products cost more, and yet that TBS products weren’t super-expensive and TBS customers weren’t very rich or very spendthrift. Hoping to transfer some of that customer base to L’Oréal: both as TBS customers were very loyal, and (contrarily) as the demographic was young (so could be seduced by other L’Oréal brands).
      2. having worked out that TBS products aren’t super-complicated or super-expensive, what with using a lot of traditional “old wives’ ” knowledge; the R&D side is cheap. Get in on that traditional knowledge stuff (more on that in a blog post coming up, probably next week). Between that and labels and the branding marketing advertising end of things: green up L’Oréal. Access to TBS’s network (ingredient-sourcing etc.).
      3. as an experiment, to see how financially viable an ethical company can be (same reason for Clorox buying Burt’s Bees)
      4. get hands on company intellectual property: item 2 above plus production methods, plastic recycling, ingredient and product testing (it’s partly from that that L’Oréal has been developing non-animal testing methods, plus more on the human ones).

      Ex. of this being implemented in practice: “natural” makeup in other L’Oréal brands; choice of ingredients, formulae, and image for L’Oréal (Elsève / Elvive), Garnier, and Kérastas haircare; especially the new L’Oréal Everpure etc. lines, and Garnier 99% pure and natural one.

      It’s often surprising how much *information* is worth… raw data like formulae, contact lists, ways of operating, individual humans and their brains, knowledge, company internal affairs, intellectual property.

      If you have a look at L’Oréal annual reports and their PR spiels, you can see how that translates (covered to some extent in the L’Oréal posts on here). They’ve seen there’s money in image, in public perception; that some of that image is influenced by fashion; and that current fashion is ethical and green. How far that’s perceived as just fashion (and how far most of it is–hence greenwashing) is another issue.

      • Sakara

        See i still have this huge problem with buying from TBS because it is owned by L’Oreal. Even with no profits from that company going to them, i still feel that some how by buying TBS products i’d be helping L’oreal make a profit, by from what you’ve just explain, would be the case. I do like some of TBS’s products – their perfumes and cleansing products, but i just get this feeling of dread stepping into the store, that in gaming terms’ i’m getting serious bad karma points! I also will never forgive Anita Rodderick for selling the company to them (i used to work for TBS when it was still an indie store….i remember the HUGE bottles of shampoo and the way cheaper prices of the products. As soon as L’Oreal took over the prices shot up.)

        • gingerama

          Yes, ITA: I, too, remember the Body Shop of old. Products were simple and cheerful. Prices were teenage pocket-money. The increased prices (and reformulation) is one of my own biggest beefs. Other things I miss:
          1. like you, the giant bottles. Refilling your old bottles from their giant ones for cheaper.
          2. great shampoo and conditioner: all of which is gone. The jojoba stuff, for instance, was one of my mainstays.
          3. funky staff: blimey, it always seemed such a fun place to work! Kind of like LUSH but with free-er, less indoctrinated brain-washed staff (and less stinky shop). People who were there because of ethics, and human rights as much as animal and planet ones: not simpering and/or bandwaggon-jumping greenwashing.
          4. excellent reusable cloth bags, some of the first around in Europe
          5. way better logo
          6. still having a radical rebel indie 60s vibe (yes, even if that meant a lot of patchouli in perfumes)

          Karma, I know. I have one product from them, and it is one I can live without and won’t be buying again (more on that momentarily). But I’d rather than bought it to experiment with *myself*, rather than accepting it from the company. But I’m weird that way, and this is not to say that I have anything against proper professional bloggers who receive free samples and other promotional stuff: most of them are super-ethical and indeed setting the standard in professional ethics, on impartial free judgement and comment; and the ones who are good and who count are good, and count, because of that–resulting in respect from all sides: their readers, readers of indies, other bloggers, other journalists, and indeed companies themselves. This is an area where I have serious reservations about what used to be a favourite beauty blog, : its main authors also write for newspapers and magazines, columns which are often little more than paid promotion or copy-pasted PR materials, and sadly that has crept into : a shame.

          Basically: even if money spent at TBS isn’t going *directly and immediately* to L’Oréal, it’s benefitting and profitting them in other ways. That is also one reason why, after the takeover, I got rid of my loyalty card and refused to get any new ones with them; that was early days, barely in the prehistory of the modern sort of consumer data collection and use and abuse.

          • Sakara

            Working there was fun, but also literately back breaking. Well was in the shop i worked in (Tunbridge Wells) where the store room was down some narrow stairs and lifting those huge bottles…I ended up having to quit my job because it was the start of my back problems. I adored and still adore their white musk perfume, it reminds me of university and healthier times 🙂 I found the store had a strong smell when i first walked in, but within an hour i’d lost my sense of smell completely because my sense of smell became over loaded. People would ask my opinion on a smell and i had to be honest with them! (the same is of LUSH employees) Loved their cloth bags, i still have one!
            But yeah….there is one thing they have which pains me to buy but i’ve yet to find a better replacement and that is an exfoliating pad that is amazing for my skin (i suffer from keritosis pilaris on my arms and not so much my face but it does tend to get clogged up much faster than normal) the pad is soft enough not to hurt my skin, but tough enough to exfoliate. I will not promote this product in my blog. I’ve even tried others, Superdrug did one but that was like sandpaper and only good on my arms and any others are far too soft. So the TBS pads i have (only have 2) are treated so well as i dont want to buy any more!

            I have a friend who used to be a manager of LUSH. Again all the best reasons she wanted to work for them. Left because of many more………

    • gingerama

      Also: damn right, the BUAV and PETA ought to be doing some research a.k.a. actual hard graft on this. I’d like to see less time (and money) on advertising and polls and campaigning and PR stuff, and more solid WORK on collecting information that’s out there, finding out new stuff, cultivating internal whistle-blowers, writing up and publishing reports.

    • leah

      i have just contacted lavera- i will let you know the response. i think that if they sell in China they cannot be called cruelty free.

      • gingerama

        Ace, thanks, will be interesting to hear what they reply and how that reply may have changed (if it has) since my last contact with them some years ago. Keep up the good work!

  2. SJ Teipel

    I share the doubts about the “no more animal testing” in China. Has somebody find out more about this?

  3. MArs

    It’s false. The newest update is that China MAY accept no testing applications but not until June 2014. Lavera is lying or they have their heads stuck really far into the sand to pretend they aren’t cashing in. As of February 2014, brands selling in China are tested on animals by China or by the company.

    • gingerama

      Thank you very much for the update!

      A quick note: the original post was from September 2012; see other more recent posts for other information, as provided and correct at the time of posting, on the issue of animal testing in China. Three things:

      1. It is not good if Lavera told an untruth at that time, and worse still if their policies have worsened in the intervening year and a half.

      2. I am aware of current legal developments, especially on the EU and Canadian fronts (being those of most immediate interest to me). I am also aware of the delicacy of the situation; requiring discretion and diplomacy, time and manoeuvring. Especially given the cultural aspects: I would be happier to see genuine ethical intended change, even if it takes 20 years, than unethical change for the sake of business and economics, accompanied by Western neo-colonialism.

      That does not change my view that hurting living sentient beings that experience pain, without their consent (or when they are incapable of consent), for any reason, is ethically wrong. That is an absolute.

      But I think it wrong to impose a view, any view, even one that is clearly right… To impose that on anyone else is wrong. It would be unethical. The implementation of that view would in turn be unethical. Yes, even if that meant that there was no more animal testing in China: that would be wrong if the decision had been taken for the wrong reasons, or for no reason at all. Especially given the alternative (currently also being used, I gather, in certain countries): experimentation on human prisoners. Who are in the same situation as experimental animals.

      3. I am not a professional undercover journalist: these are the people who should be reporting back, with first-hand testimony, from the front lines. And these are the people to whom I defer, and whom I encourage others to seek out. I am a mere amateur web-crawler and spreader of information (and, I hope, not of disinformation, misinformation, urban myth, libel, lies, etc.).

      I encourage others to be sceptical (hence second thank you, MArs, for your comment). That way truth and wisdom lie. Go for the most first-hand immediate testimony possible, and from as many independent separate sources as possible.

      MArs, please do also add further sources and resources, that would be great and much appreciated – spread the knowledge!

  4. Pingback: Cruelty-Free Beauty Review: Lavera Long Lash Mascara | coffee and heels
  5. Cindy Nielsen

    Hello. I’ve been having the same trouble finding out any information on the testing in China. According to L’Oreal, they (L’Oreal) don’t test on animals, or have testing done on their behalf. They haven’t been testing on animals since 1989. Since going into the Chinese market, they still don’t test on animals. The Chinese test the completed products on animals before allowing them to go into retail. The Chinese don’t test on animals the cosmetics that are manufactured in their own country. L’Oreal are working with the Chinese to teach them how to do in vitro testing in order to move them away from ALL animal testing.

    I’m attaching this link to the frequently asked questions page from L’Oreal – you can find answers to all questions about animal testing, and the cosmetics industry in China, etc., there:

    I think there’s been so much shaming from organisations such as Peta, that cosmetics companies are slinking off with their tails between their legs, when, in fact, they aren’t testing on animals. Most wouldn’t even be condoning the testing on animals required by the Chinese government – in China only, and only on the completed products that everyone outside of China can buy cruelty-free.

    My concern is that money is coming before integrity so, if they know their completed products are being tested on animals in China, why aren’t they making a stand by NOT going into the Chinese market until the animal testing is completely eradicated? Those are the companies I want to know about, so I can buy their products. If Lavera are moving into the Chinese market, and their product is being manufactured in China for the Chinese, then it isn’t being tested on animals. If they’re importing completed products, then it probably IS being tested on animals…

    I hope this information is of some help…

    • gingerama

      Hi there, and thanks: I think we’re on the same page here!
      My position on this as being an abstract ethical question remains the same; over the last three years since the China-testing issue first raised its head, my position has shifted as I’ve learned more about what’s going on (and changing) on both sides. And other sides. (See other posts on this blog.)
      See, it’s not the case that every product is tested; only certain newly-developed ones in what counts, for Chinese legal purposes, as non-cosmetic innovation; and at the discretion of the Chinese authorities.
      *Which* products might be tested = akin to the EU distinction between “cosmetic” and “medical” and the US one between prescription (= effects beyond the superficial, medical) and over-the-counter / open shelf (= surface of skin only, cosmetic).
      The ethical and political problem is of handing over control of your products (and innovations).
      There’s the obvious risk of copying, patent infringement, and wrecking your business. On the other hand, if your company has a genuine innovation, they should have proper data for it; experiments should be replicatable; and I would argue that any genuine medical innovation should be open to all in the public interest. Not locked up behind patents for as long as possible, putting profit above public health.
      I wonder if one way around the China issue would be to make all research data on medical innovations, including the kinds of skincare products that count (ex. sunscreen), totally public worldwide. This would eliminate any specific anxieties about China (and their industries wrecking those of other countries by undercutting them, as has happened over the decades from ship-building and toy-making onwards…). Putting all data and product information sheets up, openly accessible, freely online for everybody worldwide after, say, a first stage of that innovation/product only being available in the company’s home country. (This first stage is basically what happens anyway, with new ingredients and products.)
      A second problem with handing over control of your product is a political one, to do with power. Here lie the dragons of cultural issues and diplomacy and international relations. And this is why it is difficult for private individual citizen-consumers to find the kind of information that looks concrete, definitive, clear. Because publicly-available information just can’t be clear right now: there is no stable fixed clear-cut information in existence because the situation is itself unclear as it is in flux, changing day by day. And because it is in the nature of delicate diplomatic work that it requires finesse: another lack of definition and clarity, and, again, in a state of constant change. And, finally, because it would be usual only to make public statements once conclusions have been reached and agreed: like with treaties, international agreements, national laws, and business dealings.
      Making any statements before all sides are ready could jeopardise negotiations, break trust between the negotiating parties, and end any chance right now of progress on the ethical treatment of animals. Or at least postpone it for a generation or two or more… and hamper other negotiations with China, and if that happens for that length of time, the entire environment is totally royally screwed and we’re all dead.
      A third one, the most important for anyone who cares about rights, is the testing methods and practices employed in China. The reason I’ve become less inimical towards Icky Lauder, L’Ucifer, and Unilevil is that they’ve been investing time, people, material, money, and ideas in working *with* China on alternative methods of testing.
      This will take time, work, and skilled diplomacy and intercultural understanding–on all sides–and it would be wrong and foolish for a Western company (or country) to barge around in an imperious imperialist way. The same is true of animal (and human) rights advocates.
      Now, one could argue that we should simply not deal with “evil régimes” at all; boycott them, freeze them out, treat them as a total pariah like North Korea. I think that’s simplistic and possibly lazy (as well as arrogant and ignorant): if there’s an opportunity for change (and saving animal lives in the long term) by changing attitudes, it should be taken, even if that means time and effort. I think there are grey areas, because the world is not a simple black-and-white place.
      The same goes for us individual citizen-consumers in our relationships with companies and our own governments. We should still bug them, question them, hold them up to public scrutiny. But we should also respect the delicate process of diplomatic negotiation, even if it’s not clear what if any good is being done, even if it doesn’t look very “clearly good.” Blundering bullying imperialism and gung-ho eco-warrior protector of the earth: they’re equally macho and foolish; equally inappropriate, ignorant, and insensitive; and therefore equally bad and stupid.
      I think there are also lines to be drawn and there are those who are beyond the pale and with whom we should not deal, except to remove them fro the face of the earth with as little collateral damage as possible (IS, Boko Haram).
      My own main problem recently (see posts from March onwards this year) has been that, due to medical skin conditions, there is only a small number of products that I’ve been able to use. I am using them for medical reasons on medically-problematic skin. This is a completely different situation from that of someone with healthy skin who’s using products for purely cosmetic reasons.
      There are no products by squeaky-clean companies that are options for me, right now, for a cleanser and a moisturiser and a mascara. Other products I’m using–shampoo, conditioner, hair-gel, oil, antioxidant serum, sunscreen, eyeliner, concealer, lipstick–are OK by my ethical criteria, and re. China. Of the available options that are possible, where I have a choice I’m using those from the less heinous companies, companies who do not test themselves (and haven’t done since 1989 anyway) and who are investing in trying to change Chinese animal testing attitudes and practices.
      I did not have any other choices on prescription medication or in drugs administered to me in hospital, or a choice in the maker of medical equipment used (syringes, needles, lab testing equipment,…).
      That’s the best I can do. I am an animal with survival instincts like any other. I am not a saint or a martyr. At least I have the humility to acknowledge that.
      That’s life, complicated and compromise. Aiming for mutual understanding and greater peace and harmony; but that does include understanding, which means learning about other alien things (however weird), and having an open mind (however hard that is, when animal–and human-animal–suffering is concerned) so as to be able to discuss questions abstractly and rarionally, and so that there is a shared space in which discussion can take place at all, without which there is no possibility for change.
      Genuine change, that has been thought through and chosen by free reasoning people. Not imperious bullying, invasion, oppression, imperialist conquest, forced conversion; we’ve several thousand years’ worth of history, worldwide (including China), to tell us how far and how well *that* gets humanity, peace and harmony, and the planet as a whole.

      • Cindy Nielsen

        Yes, some interesting comments here… It’s funny, I was just thinking of the eco-warriors who really just want to control, bully, and create cults rather than do any long-term good…

        Down to skin issues. I am of the belief that if anything is irritating me, my body will react to that and become inflamed. So I look inside myself, instead of looking to a product to fix it. Having said that, I also eliminate all external irritants (including toxic people) from my life. Have you tried Inika organic mineral mascara? It’s Australian and is certified organic. Another Australian product (I’m an Aussie) that I love is the Love System range of skincare products from the Australian Bush Flower Essences – all found wild in the Australian bush, and made in North Sydney by the Naturopath who developed them. I find sunscreens cause more problems for me than the sun. Instead, I take Mulla Mulla (an Australian Native) drops, and I put them in water and spray over me before going into the sun. I’ve sprayed it on people who were getting sunburned with their sunscreens, and it protected them… I eat organically, and have cut all processed sugar from my diet. These are the things I’m doing for myself, because I need to walk my talk and BE the change I’d like to see in the world (I stole that from Gandhi)…

        I also believe that real change can take many millennia, and that any group or individual who wants immediate change (either in themselves, or outside of themselves) is possibly a bit of a control freak, and needs to deal with their own issues first. I also believe that, if each individual took care of themselves (real care, not just narcissistically looking out for numero uno – self-care and nurturing, inner healing), which is all the control we ever really have in this life – then the world will take care of itself, as it has been doing for billions of years before we even got here. We’re such funny creatures, thinking we’re so important and that we have so much impact. If all humans were to disappear tomorrow, the earth would go on as it always has, evolving, and would grow over all signs of us having ever been here… I love that thought 😀

          • Cindy Nielsen

            And this is the Inika web site’s link:

            I think you’re probably on the right track with Lavera and Weleda – I mean, Rudolph Steiner developed Weleda, and they’ve kept that philosophy going strong since its inception in 1921. I’m going to ignore the Peta list and go by my own intuition about a company, and how it feels to me. If it’s using organically grown products, and the company has a long-standing reputation of being ethical, then I’m going to be drawn to their products.

            Thanks for such a thought-provoking and insightful blog!

          • gingerama

            Inika does, I agree, have nice make-up. But I don’t wear foundation–don’t see the use of point, really, 99% of the time–and their mascara I’ve tested.

            It would be absolutely fine for most people, but to be honest it’s much like many other mascaras out there, good solid basic old-fashioned waxy formulation. The brush is OK. The formula is like many other like it: goes on pretty smooth, doesn’t irritate surrounding skin, stays on more or less.

            But, like others like it, it smears on my glasses. And runs with rain.

            Give me a tubing mascara any day (especially an allergic irritated day, or a rainy day as happens a lot in Vancouver). But but but: if you’re in Australia, you generally have cheaper access to Blinc / Kiss Me than we do (and they’re vegan); and there’s also the fabulous Australian company, Mirenesse (also vegan) 🙂

            My other reasons for not ordering from Australia if there is something equivalent here are ecological / environmentalist:
            1. Factoring in shipping from Australia, by air.
            2. The cost plus shipping plus customs/import duties: the difference in total real price could be donated directly to an environmental charity, for greater immediate impact.

            In the light of the Nepal earthquake, I for one am not buying anything that’s an experimental extra (like possible alternative mascaras) and am upping my regular charity donations from the money saved. I would encourage anyone reading this to do the same. If you can stretch your mascara to last an extra month, if you get one that lasts longer (and ideally is cheaper), even if it’s less ethical (however you choose to define that) you will be doing more good in the world by saving money and giving it where it is needed.

            Sure, if we were all saints, we’d give up buying anything except the bare necessities and give all our money away. But few of us are saints, I’m certainly not one. That’s a sad fact of life. We can still give what we can; in the immortal words of a British supermarket classic advertising campaign, “every little helps.”

          • gingerama

            I’m glad if this works for some people, but I see nothing here that I would be able to use on my skin: lots of irritants (I am talking serious skin issues here).

            And while I am happy with some alternative medicines that have a long history of use (and, therefore, a substantial body of experimental data), I am very wary of anything that requires belief systems, depends on closed-circle arguments for how it purportedly works, and is pseudo-scientific (in the classic Popperian sense, on which see elsewhere on the blog plus Quackwatch, Ben Goldacre, etc.).

            Sorry. I am a rational sceptical atheist. I know that some people do find bodies of belief help them, and systems of health-care based on them; placebo effects aside, their own belief is at least as important a factor in something working as the thing itself. That’s great, and works, and helps them. But it’s no use to an unbelieving kind of person like me who cannot, no matter how dire things are, suspend disbelief and relax their (healthy, self-protective) scepticism.

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