The aim of Flawless And Pawless is to educate people in Ireland about cruelty free and vegan products. As well as the reality of testing on animals
We were so disheartened to discover that some of our favourite brands still test on animals. It really made us think about the products that we buy. Cruelty free makeup should be the norm.
We chatted to Ailsha aka. Flawless And Pawless, to find out everything that you need to know about cruelty free and vegan beauty products…
Tell us about your blog.
Flawless and Pawless is Ireland’s premier cruelty-free cosmetic blog, which provides a resource to the Irish market to go to in order to determine which products and brands are cruelty-free. The goal of the site is to show Ireland how easy it is to go cruelty-free in the areas of cosmetics, household cleaning products, babycare, pet care and intimate care.
Why should we be using cruelty free products?
A product that is cruelty-free means that it has not been tested on animals at any point during its production process. By purchasing cruelty-free products, we- as consumers- are casting a visible vote that shouts about how we want ethically-produced products. Not only this, but most non-cruelty-free products contain an insane amount of toxic chemicals that can become potentially dangerous with long-term use. Using cruelty-free products means you can be sure that your money hasn’t helped to fund animal tests or the production of many harmful ingredients.
When did you start to become conscious of animal testing for beauty products?
I had been a professional makeup artist for years. I always had an idea that some makeup products on the market were possibly tested on animals. However, I decided to remain blissfully ignorant of the truth in order to continue with my career to help fund leisurely activities at the weekend.
Things for me changed when I saw an image of beagles in a cosmetic lab being gassed to death for the likes of hairspray, cigarettes, bleach and household cleaning products. I decided to research more into the brands that payed for these horrible tests to be carried out. To my horror, I discovered that many of my favourite cosmetic products were tested on animals in inhumane, torturous and evil tests. I immediately ventured on a mission to revamp my professional makeup kit. And I decided to help the rest of the Irish do the same.
What’s the difference between cruelty-free and vegan?
‘Cruelty-free’ purely means that a product has not been tested on animals at any point during its production process. This includes the raw ingredients used, the suppliers and manufacturers ethos and the final finished product. If a brand sells in China, they are automatically no longer cruelty-free. The Chinese government requires by law for all cosmetics to be tested on animals before being sold to the Chinese market.
‘Vegan’ means that there are absolutely no animal ingredients or by-products in a product’s formula, for example beeswax and carmine. Unfortunately, just because a product is ‘vegan’ does not necessarily make it ‘cruelty-free’, and vice versa. The only way to determine that a product is both vegan and cruelty-free is by reading the ingredients label and looking for one of the official cruelty-free certification logos by the Leaping Bunny program, PETA or Choose Cruelty Free. Vegan certification logos that are reliable are by The Vegan Society and Vegan.org.
How can you tell if a product is cruelty free?
Most cruelty-free brands are certified by the Leaping Bunny Program, PETA or Choose Cruelty Free. However there are many European brands that either don’t have the funds for an official certification or don’t believe it’s a necessity due to the EU ban on animal testing and marketing that became the law in 2013. This law ensures that all products sold within the EU haven’t been tested on animals themselves. However the same product by the same brand is being tested on animals somewhere in the world- either by the brand themselves or by a third party.
When you can’t see one of the official cruelty-free logos on a product, the best thing to do is find out if the brand sells in China. Many companies on their websites will claim to be ‘cruelty-free… except where required by law’, which means they are NOT cruelty-free and that they allow third parties to test on animals on their behalf.
If you are confused about a product or brand and you cannot find reliable information anywhere, visit www.flawlessandpawless.com to see my official list of cruelty-free as well as vegan brands available in Ireland.
Did you know that beagle dogs are the most used breed of dogs for animal tests? Due to their extremely gentle nature, beagles show the most distress, pain and despair more than other dogs. These beagles are gassed to death where they are forced to inhale toxic fumes of hairsprays, cigarettes, bleach, household cleaning products and more. Once 50% of the beagles are killed from the test, the experiment is regarded as ‘complete’. The remaining 50%, who have been tortured to the point of insanity and unbearable pain, are disposed of and slaughtered anyway.
If you do not want your money to fund these horrible tests on beagles, please please do not buy from these brands, who are also the world’s biggest parent companies: L’Oreal (if your hairdresser uses L’Oréal in their salon, try to encourage them to opt for a cruelty free alternative like Kevin Murphy) Clorox (notorious for testing their products on dogs) Johnson & Johnson Estée Lauder Unilever Procter & Gamble Coty Kose Shiseido Palmolive-Colgate Find out more at www.flawlessandpawless.com
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What animals are usually used for testing products?
The most common animals used in animal testing are bunnies, mice, rats and guinea pigs, particularly for cosmetic testing. These animals spend their lives in cramped cages with barely any food. They are burned, skinned, injected and gassed until they are either dead or ‘disposable’.
For medical tests and for products like hairsprays, shampoo, tobacco products, bleach and household cleaning products, dogs are used- but most commonly the beagle. It’s only when 50% of the dogs have been killed through these tests that the test is considered ‘complete’, providing accurate results of only 40%. The rest of the dogs are usually killed anyway.
In neurological tests, cats and kittens are used due to their quick response to pain and terror. And in toxicology tests for the likes of AIDS and Hepatitis, monkeys and baboons are used.
An important thing to note is that animal tests provide accurate results of only 40%. Alternative, cruelty-free methods such as in-vitro testing provide accurate results of up to 80%.
What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to go cruelty free with their products?
I would advise to start slowly. You may have the urge to throw out every product you own that is not cruelty-free, but there’s really no need for it. If you have products that are brand new and barely touched, donate them to a women’s shelter. If you have half-used products, continue using them until they’re gone. This gives you an opportunity to find an accurate cruelty-free alternative to the product. It also respects the animals that may have had their lives taken from them in tests for the product’s formula.
What are your favourite cruelty-free brands?
I have many! It’s really hard to choose. For makeup, I absolutely love budget-friendly brands like Essence and Wet N’ Wild. But for nights out I love more high-end brands like Charlotte Tilbury and Kat Von D. For skincare, I’m obsessed with Murad and 100% vegan brands like The Konjac Sponge Company and Dr. Konopka. For my hair, I always go back to JASON shampoo and conditioner. It’s so accessible as it’s in pretty much every health food store, and it’s also a Leaping Bunny certified brand.
I’m also hooked to Pit Putty natural deodorant and Emma’s So Naturals Eco-Soy candles. They’re both vegan and completely unique- I also find them to be quite budget-friendly.
What’s in your makeup bag?
I could talk all day about the amazing products in my makeup bag- or even my professional kit! But the stand-out products that I can’t be without would be:
- NOTE Cosmetics BB Cream (which is 100% vegan)
- The Vegan Veluxe Makeup Brush range by NIMA Brush
- Essence’s False Lash Effect Mascara
- Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Highlight and Contour palette
- Wet N’ Wild’s Megaglo Blusher in Rose Champagne
- Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Penelope Pink
Cruelty Free Makeup Is Widely Available
Missy really thought that it would be a lot harder and far more expensive to wear cruelty free makeup. But most of Ailsha’s makeup recommendations are available in chemists around the country. And some of the brands are Irish too which is an added bonus. The next time we’re shopping we’ll definitely be reaching for cruelty free makeup.
Flawless and Pawless is a really great resource for information on products and brands. Check out Ailsha’s comprehensive list of brands to avoid. There are also cruelty free shopping guides to help you navigate a number of stores including Boots.
Check out Ailsha’s blog: www.flawlessandpawless.com
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