Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about making art, too much eyeshadow and becoming a grown up.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Cruelty Free Cosmetics: The Game Plan

As I originally talked about in this post, when I first started looking at going Cruelty Free with my cosmetic purchases, I honestly thought it would be so difficult that I was only ever planning to swap out 50% to be Cruelty Free - figuring that at least that would be a big improvement on my current habits. The more research I did though, the more I was sure that I didn't want to buy animal tested products at all, and then when I found the website Cruelty Free Kitty, I became convinced that I could somehow find a way to switch over completely. I thought it might be interesting or helpful to talk about how I went about breaking down all the challenge, so here's how I made my game-plan:

Planning for buying Cruelty Free cosmetics

1. Decided what I meant by Cruelty-Free.

Sounds like a fairly obvious starting point, but it's a bigger issue than you might think in the Cruelty Free community. There are largely two schools of thought. One, is that shopping from brands like NYX who are cruelty free themselves but owned by a parent company that tests (in this case L'Oreal), sends a message to said parent company that consumers will actively choose to support Cruelty Free brands and cause parent companies to reconsider their overall policies. The second school of thought is that shopping with the likes of NYX still puts money in L'Oreal's pocket, and frankly, they don't care where the money comes from as long as it's ending up with them. I can see the argument for both sides, I really can, however at the moment I'm leaning towards defining Cruelty Free (for myself) as only being from brands who are themselves Cruelty Free and not owned by a parent company that tests. The only caveat to this will be if I really, truly cannot find a suitable product in a certain category from a totally Cruelty Free brand (I have very fair, sensitive skin so a lot of products are unsuitable for me), then I will buy it from a Cruelty Free brand owned by a testing parent company.

2. Made a list of all the product categories I typically used.

I excluded a couple of things such as toothpaste and anti-perspirant here as I currently have no plans to swap them over (at least not without further research), but I literally listed everything else I would use on a typical basis.

all the makeup products I use List of non-makeup beauty items that I use

It's really a lot of products when you see it like that, right?
P.S can we all just pretend that doesn't say "foor cream"?

3. Accepted that Rome wasn't built in a day.

Changing my shopping habits on this scale was not going to be straight forward. I decided that anything I could change right away, I would, but also that some categories would require some more research lest I ended up spending a fortune on items that are totally unsuitable for me, and consequently having to throw them out - which would not be a step in the right direction. I decided to view this as a journey, rather than a magical, overnight swap.

4. Established my starting point.

I looked at all the categories one by one and made a note of brands I would typically shop in that category. So for example, I buy mascaras from a lot of places but my favourites are from Sleek, Too Faced and Essence (great value for money there). Essence is a cruelty free brand, and because I know I can happily buy mascara from there, I ticked it off as being 'sorted'. Repeating this through all the categories, here's what I was left with to try and find solutions for:

So as you can see, I was able to take out probably about half of the listed categories without changing anything. These were products that I was already sourcing from Cruelty Free companies - and products I already knew I liked. Suddenly, it all seemed so much less intimidating now that I realised I was already half way to my destination!

5. Research and Contact

The next step was trying to match new (to me) Cruelty Free products with the categories I still have listed above. I spent a lot of hours researching  - some more frustrating than others - as while there are some great resources out there, there is also a lot of double-speak and companies seemingly trying to avoid giving complete information.
Cruelty Free Kitty maintains a great list of Cruelty Free brands, but there were a few brands that I couldn't find clear information on and so I decided to contact them directly to ask about their policy with testing, any parent company, suppliers or third parties that might test on their behalf and also whether they sold in mainland China where animal testing is mandatory.

I've heard back from Sleek and Makeup Revolution, I'm still waiting to hear from MUA.

I had intended to post Sleek's response here, but have noticed that on the email it states that copying and sharing is not allowed. I have no idea, what, if anything that means for posting it on a blog, but I won't do it anyway, just in case. Overall the email was really inconclusive so to be honest, you're not missing much. At one point they confirmed that none of their products are tested on animals (which made me super happy), but then their was also some very confusing and contradictory information about their ingredients and testing that may or may not take place with those, although not by them. While I appreciate that Sleek took the time to respond, I really think there should be a page that all cosmetics/beauty/household products have to have up on their website and it's just like a tick-box, yes-no type situation for all the relevant information - trying to untangle some of the information a company's site and in their emails is far, far more complicated than should be allowed. Anyway, I'll email Sleek again and hopefully get clarification.

The response Makeup Revolution:

"Hi Kitty
Thank you for contacting us.
We can confirm that we do not test our products nor ingredients on animals and neither do any third parties (and we are not owned by a parent company). We cannot claim that our products are vegan friendly but we are looking into this soon as we get a lot of requests for this.
TAM Beauty"

This all reads great, except that in my original email I explicitly asked about their suppliers, and they've made no mention of this one way or another. I also clearly asked about selling products in mainland China and again, no mention. Now it could be an innocent mistake, or it could be a deliberate avoidance - I think I'll need to email back.

So for now, inconclusive really, but I still feel good for being pro-active and contacting companies to ask the questions.

6. Continued to check items off the list

I learned so much about brands during my research and while I was really bummed to out some of my favourite brands would no longer be an option, there were also a lot of exciting brands I'm looking forward to trying products from. So the next step was to go back through the list and take off any category that I had now found something I was confident and happy to try from a Cruelty Free brand. Now this doesn't mean the new foundation will be perfect and the only one I'll use for life, or that I will never have a problem with panda-eyes after trying a new liquid liner, but for now, I'm content that I've found a lead. So here's what I was left with after this stage:

 7. Evaluated where I am now, and made a plan for going forward.

As you can see, there's not a lot left on those lists at all! Powder, bronzer and contour are products I usually source from MUA and Makeup Revolution , so I'm holding out until I have clarification from them on their policy, one way or another. Eye makeup remover,  face primer, body lotion and foundation are products I struggle to find at the best of times - having taken a lot of reactions to products in these categories over the years, I need to be really cautious about trying new ones. As for my hair mask, hair gel and scrunching gel, they are all non-cruelty free brands I've been using for years and becaue I've loved them for so, so long I've literally hardly bothered to even look at what else is out there - so more research is required. Dry Shampoo is just because I don't know of what's available here in the UK (and preferably is budget friendly), and razors, frankly I have no idea where to start on this! If anyone has any suggestions on good Cruelty Free options in these categories, please do let me know!

So mostly, the next step is research - I need to read some reviews, and possibly head out to my local Whole Foods to see what kind of haircare and bodycare brands they're carrying. Still, I'm optimistic that in just a few months I should be fully able to only be purchasing Cruelty Free products, which brings me onto my last point...

8. Deciding what to do with Non-Cruelty Free products I already own.

I know that for some people, when they decide to go Cruelty Free, they begin to really dislike the idea of putting any animal tested products on their bodies, irrespective of whether they'd paid for them already or not. While I do have an inkling of that feeling, overall, I feel that not much would be achieved by me throwing a bunch of lipsticks and mascaras in the trash (I really don't know many people I could give my makeup too - and I wouldn't feel comfortable giving away older used lipsticks etc. anyway). The other reality, is that I absolutely can't afford to start from scratch again with my makeup collection right now. So the plan is to simply try to use up what I have and to make better decisions goin forward. One rule I've set for myself though, is that I want all the Non-Cruelty Free products out ASAP, so they need to get finished up and moved out before I start shopping for exciting new Cruelty Free things, because I know once I have those actively available in my collection, then I probably won't want to use the tested products anymore.

 I'm sorry that this was such a lengthy post *pushes long beard over shoulder*, but I really want this blog to contain more than just magazine style, buzzword-ridden, mini-posts: I really want to record the journey I'm on, for me to look back on, or to help anyone following on a few steps behind me. If you took the time to read this, then I really appreciate it, and if you have any recommendations, questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments below.


  1. Hi Kitty, I don't know if you'll recognise me but I'm a subscriber to your YouTube channel!! I've been toying with the idea of going cruelty free for a while but because I know how much of a long hauled challenge it is trying to figure out if a company is 100% cruelty free or not it's kind of put me off. I am definitely trying to be more aware of brands though and I've decided to use up all of my non cruelty free products first before buying others just because at one point or another I did spend money on them and in a way I'd feel like those poor bunnies would have suffered for no reason. I've really enjoyed reading your posts on going cruelty free and I'll be following along :) I have heard that batiste are cruelty free but I'm not 100% sure! Sorry for the long comment!! X

    1. Hi Charlotte, I do recognise you, it's lovely to see you over here :)
      I'm in the process of working myself up to film a video 'signing off' from my YouTube channel. As much as I LOVED being a part of the Panning community there, experience has shown me that with my ongoing anxiety issues it just isn't a hobby I'm able to maintain.
      Like you, I had toyed with the idea of going CF for ages - I kind of always knew it was something I wanted to do, but like you say, it just seems so very daunting to overhaul everything - not least because it can be hard to find the truth, even if you are taking time to look for it! Batiste is a weird one (still not 100% sure I am caught up with it), but I think they have been CF for years but now are, or are at least making moves to sell in China, so they'll lose their CF status. That's such a pain as they were a great, affordable option and they were CF for a long, long time! Thank you for the suggestion though!
      I'm so glad you're enjoying the posts and are following along - I really appreciate the support (and the company)!

    2. I'm so sad to hear that but you have to be happy and if it's going to help with your anxiety I completely understand! I hope you don't delete your videos because I often go back to watch them as I enjoy them so much. (Really hope that doesn't come across sounding weird!!) I will still be reading your blog for definite! I really wish more brands were open and clear like Lush Cosmetics! I think the hardest products to find will be make up for me. At the end of the day a shower gel is a shower gel - there's probably no such thing as a 'rubbish' shower gel, however a mascara is completely different! To find a CF mascara that's on par with a non CF mascara I think is going to be difficult! (Again I hope that makes sense!!) xx

  2. Love your game plan! It's been a few years since I first began my cruelty-free journey so I always enjoy reading stories from others! It's waaaaaay easier than ever before to switch over to cruelty-free options, because of amazing resources like Cruelty Free Kitty, so I find it fascinating hearing what other cruelty-free shoppers are struggling or enjoying during the process! I especially love your mentality and positivity! Hopefully this will inspire MORE people to go cruelty-free as well!!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment. :)
      In all honesty, I wish I had started to swap over years ago (though, I'm trying not to give myself a hard time - better late than never after all), but it just seemed so freaking difficult to get a straight answer from anywhere. I was using the Peta site and finding information there that contradicted a lot of what I was reading elsewhere and I just got so down heartened by it all. Finding Cruelty Free Kitty was like the mental push I needed to make a move, and the site is just FULL of useful info so I felt like I had a strong foundation to build on. I'm loving documenting the journey, and yeah, even if it helped one person move towards making a change I would be so, so excited - but it's also fun to have the chance to speak with other like minded people like yourself :)
      Do you still struggle with finding any CF stuff now? Or did you have any big struggles in the beginning?

  3. Wow thanks so much for sharing, I loved your in-depth blog post, and it’s nice to see someone so genuine. I’ve been having similar struggles with going cruelty-free and your blog has really helped me. I now feel like going cruelty-free might be more manageable. I can see myself returning to your blog soon, it’s definitely a fav on my bloglovin account!! :-) xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog


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