The Revolution Behind Cruelty-Free Cosmetics
By Caitlyn Halliburton
It doesn't take much to figure out that human beings aren't the only living creatures on this planet. Stretch that notion a little further, and it becomes quite obvious we also aren't the only creatures to experience pain and suffering. That being said, why is it we have found it acceptable to test chemicals on animals?
The first documented instances of animal testing go back to the 19th century. While we aren't sure how long animal testing has actually been going on, it's safe to say it's been a while. Naturally, as the cosmetics industry is reliant upon the mixing and formulating of different chemicals, the industry quickly fell into the practice of testing on animals in the early 1900's.
Before understanding why animal testing is harmful and unnecessary, it's important to understand what this process entails. As you probably already know, there are many different ingredients that go into many different types of cosmetic products. Every single ingredient is tested for its reaction to living organisms in its purest form. Therefore, when companies test their products on animals, they aren't simply swiping some mascara onto a little bunny's eyelid, they're bathing it in stearic acid to see whether or not it kills, causes inflammation, makes hair fall out, or produces any other undesirable side effect.
What this means is animals used for cosmetic testing are suffering the effects of each and every chemical in its purest and most potent form, even if a product only has a minute trace of a chemical..
What good does it do to put an animal through such suffering if humans aren't going to get this kind of exposure to the different chemicals in our products?
Furthermore, humans and species used for animal testing have different biological makeups. If you're not familiar with how chemistry works, different biological makeups mean different chemical compositions. Different chemical compositions mean different reactions to foreign chemicals. Simply put, testing chemicals on animals doesn't sufficiently determine what kind of effect those chemicals will have on human beings.
What we learn from this is animal testing is not only cruel, it's also an inaccurate measure of a chemical's effect on human beings.
So how can we accurately determine a chemical's effect on human beings?
Well, lucky for us, scientists are pretty good at their jobs and have already advanced new ways of testing chemicals for human use. Currently, there are cost-effective methods cruelty-free brands use in lieu of animal testing: computer generated models and human cell-based tests.
Since scientists learned how to split and clone cells in the early 1900's (anybody ever read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks?), any kind of testing imaginable can be done with a 100% living human cell. Any chemical we think we want to put on our bodies for whatever reason can be tested accurately and relatively cheaply, considering our labs have a solid supply of human cells and can always get more if they need it.
Computer model testing is a fantastic feat in technology as it replicates a liver's reactions and chemical processes through complex algorithms. Basically, a computer is programmed with bodily functions to mimic a human's biological response to different chemicals. However cool this process is, it is also widely underused in chemical testing laboratories, which makes it's genius unresolved.
Both computer model and cell testing are humane forms of alternative testing that are proven to render more accurate results at a much lower cost than animal testing.
Fortunately, more and more countries realize this and are taking steps to ban this unreliable, cruel, and expensive practice. The United States has propositioned the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would prohibit animal testing on cosmetics. Despite legislation's slow action, many brands collaborate with humane societies in order to demonstrate their commitment to cruelty-free products.
Beauty For Real is one of those brands who have taken progressive steps in ensuring no animal goes harmed during the formation of our products. We have taken the necessary measures to become PETA approved as a sign of our dedication to a cruelty-free world. If you're ever wondering what products are officially cruelty-free, simply check the packaging for the little pink bunny logo.