Graphic Content Warning: Regardless of how much you love animals, some of this info is going to be pretty hard to read. The third paragraph was the toughest to write, so maybe skip that one if you’re feeling called to.
What is animal testing in cosmetics and why is it a thing?
The Humane Society International (HSI) reports that 500,00 animals suffer and die each year due to cosmetic testing. That’s insane. And even though it’s not legally required or necessary for FDA approval, companies have used animal testing for cosmetics and medicine since 1937. Sadly, it began after an untested liquid chemical caused the death of over 100 kids and adults. After that, instructions on how to use drugs as well as FDA approval was required for new drugs to be placed on the market. Back in the day (the 30’s), animal testing was the way to get ingredients approved and prove their safety.
The FDA defines cosmetics as "articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions." So your foundation, shampoo, cologne etc are cosmetics, and in some cases your deodorant and toothpaste are cosmetics too. To check if these products do or don’t do what companies claim they should do for humans - they test them on rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and even dogs in rare cases.
How are animals tested for cosmetics?
The testing methods used the most are skin and eye irritation tests, to see if the product will cause reactions in our (human) eyes and on our (human) skin. To do this, chemicals are dropped in the eyes of rabbits and on their bare skin. And then to test long term effects like cancer -- chemicals are fed to rats. These tests can last for weeks before any conclusions can be made about how humans will respond to the cosmetic or drug. As you can imagine, the tests become more horrible to see if the substances can cause death.
But there is some good news-- PETA has alternatives to animal testing that can make the required FDA testing possible without harming animals, like:
- In Vitro Testing with human “organs on chips”. The chips contain human cells to mimic our organs and organ systems. This type of testing can be used to test toxicity levels and would provide more accurate results to the human body, than it would on animals. There are also tissue based models that can be used to test cosmetics and chemicals.
- “Microdosing” with Human Volunteers can give more accurate results about how humans will respond to medicines and substances. A low dosage of the experimental drug is given to people who willingly sign up for the trial. Listen, we're pro-choice in every definition around here and humans can provide consent, bunnies can't.
- Human-Patient Simulators are used in medical schools for training. The computerized and lifelike models can bleed and even “die”. PETA also mentions advanced medical training using TraumaMan, which “replicates the anatomy and physiology of a real human torso, including realistic layers of skin and tissue, ribs, and internal organs.” Another way to get more accurate results and safety risks for the human body.
DoneGood.com may not be your go to for the type of cosmetics you automatically think of: foundation, mascara, eyeliner etc. yet, but we do have a selection of self-care products that are cruelty-free and vegan (and considered cosmetics by definition)! Not only are our products good for both humans and animals, they also give back to different causes.
5 Sustainable & Ethical Self-Care ProductsTeadora’s goal is to plant 1 million trees in the rainforest. You’re helping them get there since each purchase plants a tree!
P.S. If you know of other cruelty-free or vegan items (that are ethically & sustainably made) and should be on DoneGood you can suggest 'em’ here.
- If My Shampoo Wasn't Tested on Animals, How Do I Know It's Safe?
- Humane Society Cosmetics Animal Testing FAQ.
- Everything You Need to Know About Animal Testing for Cosmetics
- Be Cruelty-Free Campaign
- DoneGood Vegan Hair Care Products