The European Union totally banned animal testing in 2013. Other countries like Australia, South Korea, Israel, New Zealand, India and Switzerland have also enshrined similar laws against animal testing. It would seem the whole world is on the road to only having crulty free makeup
In these countries, cosmetic labeling always come with an indication to that effect, and there is a growing awareness and concern among consumers about the cruelty-free claims of their favorite cosmetic brands and their actual adherence to the reverential animal testing ban.
But where does China stand regarding this policy? And why is it so important for China to join the cruelty-free bandwagon? Are there cosmetic brands who claim to be cruelty-free, but are not?
What Is Animal Testing?
In order to prove or demonstrate that the chemical compounds used in cosmetics (as well as the cosmetic product itself) do not contain harmful products, cosmetologists often resort to testing them on animals. Animals used in these tests include rats, mice, bunnies and guinea pigs. Tests that are often carried out on animals include:
- cancer screenings
- in-vitro assessments
- skin patch testing
- eye irritation tests
- inhalation toxicology tests
These tests appear to be life-saving techniques for verifying the safety of cosmetic products. However, they do not give an accurate proof of what exactly will happen when a chemical is applied to the human body and how long it will take for that something to happen. This is because the chemistry of human bodies is different from that of critters and other animals.
The cruelty comes from the fact that the animals used in these tests are exposed to hazardous chemicals and thus develop unimaginable allergic reactions. Then they are killed after performing the tests.
Examining Chinese Animal Testing Laws
China is on the verge of becoming the world’s largest cosmetics consumer market, exploding even in the face of recession. This demographic proves to be quite promising for foreign investors and retailers. It has now become a race for premium brands to capture this massive market via online and on-ground sales channels. There’s a lot of money to be made.
However, many foreign and domestic cosmetics companies stop cold in their tracks due to China’s compulsory animal testing regulations.
It is mandatory for all cosmetic products that are manufactured outside of China and imported into mainland China to be registered, and therefore animal testing must be carried out by law on all such cosmetic products.
While the animal testing regulations have been lifted from locally manufactured cosmetic products, they must be registered if they must be sold in physical stores within mainland China. And thus, locally produced cosmetic products are again subjected to animal testing regulations if they must be introduced for sale into stores.
What this implies is that companies that claim to be cruelty-free brands but sell their products physically inside China cannot truly be cruelty free because they will still be subjected under this law.
Hong Kong is an exception because the political system of Hong Kong is different from that of China.
Recently, China began efforts to meet up with world cruelty-free standards for cosmetic products, but a major drawback for the country is a lack of alternative technology and testing techniques to replace animal testing.
Cruelty-free And Vegan Makeup Brands
Many high-end and drugstore cosmetic brands are gearing up for the race to be truly cruelty free because consumers are actively boycotting brands that insist on succumbing to animal testing. These cruelty-free makeup brands are also on the way to reformulating their products to be purely vegan as well.
Listed below are some of the companies that are now truly pro-vegan and cruelty-free:
- Jolie Beauty
- Kat Von D
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Lily Lolo
- Wet ‘n’ Wild
- Mineral Fusion
- Young Terry
- Rogue Bunny Rogue
- Alima Pure
- Gabriel Cosmetics
- Hard Candy
- Makeup Geek