Animal Makeup: An Open Letter to Cosmetics Companies

lpobeauty.comI LOVE makeup. Thank you, Captain Obvious, right? Well why have I not bought any for the past six months? Well,  I finally broke my way out of my “ignorance is bliss” mindset and decided to educate myself. And I was disturbed. So disturbed in fact that my blog has virtually been in limbo. I’ve felt paralyzed at how daunting it can be to check all the ingredients, compare them with what I’m ok with and not ok with (for example, I can handle beeswax but the stomach lining of an animal is SO not ok to me), try to figure if ingredients are an animal or a synthetic form, etc. The days of just picking something up because “ooh I like this” are gone. I’ve learned a lot and I’ll include some links and tips for avoiding animal products in your makeup at the end. But for now, this post from Beautylish breaks it down great; it was a huge eye opener for me. So it’s finally time for me to have my say, and I’m doing it in the form of letter.

Dear Cosmetics Companies,
You have been the benefactor of a good chunk of my expendable income for the past 17 or 18 years … ever since I visited my first MAC Cosmetics store in California. I was in love. The color … oh the color. So much so that, four years ago, my friends encouraged me to start a blog to share the product reviews I did for them with the world.

I have been a vegetarian since 1997. I don’t expect anyone else to live that way, to avoid leather because I do. But it’s pretty clear cut, I know what to avoid and what to embrace. Buy you have so carefully hidden the fact that animal parts are rampant in your products. I had NO idea that because of carmine coloring, I’d been putting BEETLES on my lips and eyes for years. Beetles! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So I just have two questions for you:

  1. Why do you make it so hard to determine what I’m putting in my hair and on my face?  How do I know if the musk in perfume is from beaver genitals or if it’s synthetic? I know not everyone shares my views, bur ripping an animal apart in the name of beauty is not cool with me. And putting those things onto myself – seriously, ground animal hooves and derivatives from horse urine? No thank you. I have a feeling that your answer is going to include something relating to cost cutting measures, which leads me to my second point.
  2. Eyes Lips Face (e.l.f) products are completely vegan. Their items mostly sell for $1-6 each. If the most affordable cosmetics company out there can eliminate animal products, why do we need them at all?

I can’t wait to hear your answers. In the meantime, I’d like to thank those of you that do NOT use animal products and those that provide transparency on their websites about what’s in their products.

Liz Perry

So if you’re as grossed out as I was, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. I’m about 50/50 on PETA – Im not a fan of the whole world HAS to be vegan mentality or its shock tactics. However, PETA has accomplished some really great things (exposing animal abuses, helping end animal fighting, etc.) and one thing I really appreciate is their educational aspect. I’ve been referring a lot to this list of completely vegan companies, which takes out the need to read every single ingredient. I’m a big fan of Pureology (pricy but worth it), Skyn Iceland, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, and Pacifica.

2. Sephora’s website actually has great search function. Just type in “vegan and you’ll get pages of results.

3. Companies that are awesome with transparency include:

4. There are some really great bloggers that keep tabs on what’s available sans animal parts.Cruelty-free Kitty has great listings by brand and Logical Harmony does a great job of breaking down vegan products by store and by product category (foundation, skin care, etc.). They’ve done a ton of legwork contacting the companies who don’t publicly list what’s in their products.