I’ve been using and liking some fluffy vain unnecessary stuff recently. Yes, ’tis Folly, and I’m somewhere between ashamed, making excuses, and just enjoying the damn stuff. The whole green movement can be irritatingly “holier than thou”: too much sanctimonious do-gooding, a surfeit of self-sacrifice and suffering (especially if you get to show off about it and berate others for their faults and foibles); a worrying preoccupation with purity, often of the selfish “my body is a temple” variety; and a desire for perfection, both absurd in its impossibility and lack of contact with the real world, and absurd if that’s what “desire” has sadly been reduced to. Grim and gloomy and all rather unhappy and unfriendly. Damn it, the world is shitty enough as it is, we all need more enjoyment, joy, and pleasure from time to time.
So here’s some frivolous foolish fun stuff that’s vain, self-centred, pleasurable, and also Good: no animal testing, small independent companies, good ethics on ingredient-sourcing and labour (as far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong), sustainable plant-based biodegradable ingredients, recyclable packaging (which can also be reused for repotting and decanting other things, DIY products, travel sizes, etc.). Most of the items below are from the small-ish online independent, Garden of Wisdom. I’ll also indicate the veganism, or not, of ingredients in the products at hand.
- Garden of Wisdom oat enriched facial serum
+ Aubrey Organics aloe vera + Garden of Wisdom witch-hazel hydrosol
- Garden of Wisdom Majik eye cream with CoQ10
- ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy Hand Cream
- 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
- Garden of Wisdom Pack your Bags and Say GOOD BYE… Eye Gel
UPDATE (2014-05): see also
This is really just a FYI post. My thanks to Blushing Biddies for giving me the idea, via this comment: here are screenshots from sephora.cn, showing what brands they sell. I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this before…
At present in China any imported cosmetics *may* be subject to animal testing. Note, MAY: that does not necessarily mean that they are, but it does mean that a company relinquishes control over and responsibility for their products by moving into the Chinese market. That is an unethical decision, position, choice, and action: whether or not the products are in fact / in practice tested on animals there. The more so, and morally worse, for companies that otherwise claim to be cruelty-free.
So having a look at major sales-locations like Sephora China is a good way of seeing which companies are affected.
That’s the main Praise of Folly list of cruelty-free mascaras, first posted in March 2012. I’ve just updated it somewhat.
It’s been updated a few times along the way; for example, taking account of the animal-testing-in-China shenanigans. That is still a grey area at present, so companies and brands involved are in the grey-to-black but anyway “shady” list.
While there are some other posts on here on mascara, this is probably the main one; it’s one of the posts that gets read the most, so is probably worth updating. There are others on mascara. About once a year I try to revise the list of mascaras I’ve actually used myself. I haven’t actually tried that many this year, but will do a post on them at some point. I am getting old, and don’t necessarily have mascara on my mind in quite as obsessive a fashion as I ought. Considering how many of the damn things I’ve tested, and how much of a sucker I am for trying out new ones. So the 2014 version might be a post on mascaras I vaguely remember using within around about a year, with links back to the more comprehensive posts.
On the other hand, the post of mascaras I’ve used from 2012 is still pretty useful to me, for reminding me NOT to try out certain mascaras because I have in fact tried them out before. So I might update it at some point. We’ll see.
Much, as ever, depends on work and how much time and energy I have to do nitty-gritty finicky listy things. Given VANCOUVER. I mean, it’s raining right now but still lovely to walk outside in the woods. And walking in the woods is more enjoyable than doing stuff on a computer.
(OK, originally posted a year ago. But still.) This came to my attention through a link via another link on a discussion board. It’s nice. No, it’s excellent. Well-written, wise, witty, to the point, and true. I agree with everything here, even though my own buying and deploying decisions have differed.
“Oh no! Who Put ‘Sad’ and ‘Guilt’ In My Lotion?” Stuff I Put On Myself (2012-10-09)
[…] I get questions about this stuff all the time… variations of which chemicals to avoid, how to avoid animal testing, how to find natural products, blah blah blah. People really want to pick the right thing, so it does what they need AND doesn’t cause them guilt and/or anxiety about poisoning/abusing themselves or animals or the whole planet.
I am going to preface this by saying that my feelings on these topics aren’t going to be popular. That’s fine! We can all think different things and still be pals!
I’ve read a lot about cosmetic industry standards, terminology and what you have to do to be allowed to use certain terminology, and I am married to a chemical engineer who will always spend 45 minutes explaining the minutia of any little question you ask about chemicals, and also will go all Mr. Wizard on you and lay it down if you slip up and say some buzzword that is essentially bullshit marketing. Dude can even tell you what’s in the tanker truck by looking at the little number on the back.
Unfortunately, much like with everything else in the world, it is sobering and depressing to actually know what’s up.
[Read on… ]
[…] announcement by China’s Food & Drug Administration that from June 2014, China plans to remove its mandatory animal test requirements for domestically manufactured cosmetic products. For the first time ever, Chinese companies producing “non-special use cosmetics” such as shampoo or perfume will have the option to substantiate product safety using existing safety data for raw ingredients, or European Union-validated non-animal tests instead of having to submit product samples to the government for testing on rabbits, mice and rats.
“China to phase out mandatory cosmetics animal testing”
Human Society International, 2013-11-07
- Be Cruelty-Free
- The Be Cruelty-Free original pledge:
“I believe that animals shouldn’t suffer and die to test cosmetics or their ingredients. All cosmetics should be cruelty-free, and I support an end to animal testing for cosmetics and on the sale of new cosmetics that have been tested on animals.”
- The HSI Welcomes the EU Sales Ban on Animal-Tested Cosmetics as Major Moral Milestone (2013-03-11)
- (and other posts here on The Praise of Folly on cruelty-free-ness and the Be Cruelty-Free campaign)
To celebrate, here is three minutes’ worth of happy bouncing “binking” bunny, accompanied by appropriate uplifting triumphant music:
And a classic happy bunny-themed Christmas message from the RSPCA:
UPDATE (2014-05): see also
‘Sold in China’ Could Take on New Meaning in Campaign to End Cosmetics Animal Testing
–Mark Jones, Huffington Post 2013-07-15
Be Cruelty-Free: the global campaign, Humane Society International
PETA, eat your monoglot America-centric aggressive imperialist hat: here’s how the intelligent, courteous, civilized, constructive grown-ups do it.
Another late item, as I’m going through stuff I’d skim-read rapidly last month and bookmarked or vaguely saved.
“Taking the lead: India becomes first South Asian country to ban animal testing for cosmetics” (India Today, 2013-06-28)
In a historic decision, hailed by activists, animal lovers and environmentalists, India has banned animal testing for cosmetics.
In a decision of rare unanimity, the Bureau of Indian Standards has decided to remove animal testing as a legal and legitimate standard for cosmetics. Going a step further, to avoid exploitation of loopholes, the Bureau has also made alternative non-animal tests mandatory.
Supporting the decision, MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, said: “This is a great day for India and for the thousands of animals who will no longer suffer, yet more work must be done. Our government must go a step further by banning cosmetics products that are tested on animals abroad and then imported and sold here in India. Only then will India demonstrate its commitment to compassion and modern, non-animal research methods and truly be cruelty free.”
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA), also hailed the ruling, saying, “India’s decision shows the way for all countries that are still undecided about whether to ban cosmetics animal testing. Those countries should take action now, follow India’s lead and end cruelty for beauty.”
As per the new rules, any manufacturer interested in testing new cosmetic ingredients or finished products must first seek approval from India’s Central Drug Standards Control Organisation. A manufacturer will be given approval to test only after complying with the BIS non-animal standards.
However, this is not the end of the road and will not completely eradicate animal testing. The ban will actually achieve its full goal of preventing animal cruelty if a follow-up ban on selling cosmetics newly tested on animals in other parts of the world is put into place. A sales ban will prevent companies from outsourcing testing to third countries and importing the animal-tested beauty products back into India for sale.
Internationally, Israel and all the 27 EU countries are the only ones to have implemented both testing and sales bans, comprehensively.
The news item in brief:
The consumer watchdog Choice (Australian version) led an undercover investigation in Australia. Choice sent secret shoppers to the counters of major cosmetics companies to find out if these companies were upfront with consumers about their policies on animal testing. They found that many manufacturers’ websites, packaging, and sales staff are failing to inform Australian customers that their beauty products are tested on animals in China.
These companies included, amongst others: Avon, Bobbi Brown, Dior, Estee Lauder (and their sub-brands), Lancôme, Mary Kay, L’Oréal, MAC, Shiseido, SK-II.
Choice will be reporting a list of these offenders to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this week.
Sources and further information:
- “Top cosmetics brands ‘lying to customers about animal testing,’ ” AAP c/o News.com.au (2013-05-06)
- “Consumers ‘being misled’ over cruelty free cosmetics,” Amy Bainbridge, ABC News (2013-05-06)
- “Which major cosmetics companies are misleading consumers about animal testing?” Melody Marks, Examiner (2013-05-06)
- “Animal testing labelling: Can you trust a cosmetic company’s claims that its products aren’t tested on animals? If it sells them in China, possibly not.” Zoya Sheftalovich, Choice.com.au: The People’s Watchdog (2013-05-06)
- careful careful CAREFUL on actual situation, i.e. Chinese law and what happens in China in practice, may be more complicated: it’s not necessarily a simple case of “sold in China = animal-tested”; I don’t know enough about Chinese law (and can’t read, write, or speak Chinese), would defer on this to experts who do; I hope Choice (or anyone else similarly solid and reputable) works with such people, and maybe even has them lead the team, in conducting follow-up further investigations.
Note the difference in reporting, and the effects of increasingly sensationalist/~ising tweaks to the statements made: just looking at the headlines, you see a move from “possibly” (Choice) via “misled” to “lying.”
- caveat emptor as ever on “beauty consultants” and other sales assistants/associates. But their job is to sell you stuff, and as soon as they figure out what you want and don’t want, they’ll try to sell you that. If they don’t have that, they’ll try to persuade you either (a) to buy something else because it’s the same/better, or (b) that something they do have is actually what you’re looking for.
Examples: foundation that’s the wrong colour, a different mascara, scented skincare, “it’s all-natural so it’s good for your skin,” “all our products are suitable for skin with acne/eczema/bubonic plague”… or, as here, “yes all our stuff is cruelty-free.”
- Yes, all people (whether or not they’re selling stuff) should be honest; but maybe they don’t know, maybe they’re not the smartest cookies in the jar (and maybe that’s why they’re in these jobs?).
Maybe that’s been exploited by their managers and trainers, in limiting what information they give out.
Maybe (to be fair to the trainers) keeping things simple (for simpler minds), dumbing down, simplifying the information, and result: some untruths.
Maybe SAs aren’t capable of asking the right questions (to those Higher Up), or thinking about non-robot questions that customers ask them, and the result is “a fatal error has occurred, reboot and meanwhile spout garbage.”
- More on cruelty-free stuff and China here