Do you know how the ingredients in your shampoo were tested? Do you know the production stages for your favorite foundation? Probably not, but here’s why you should.

Despite the fact that the U.S. FDA does not require it by law, several cosmetics companies continue to use animal testing for their production. These experiments lead to horrible treatment, and ultimately death, of innocent animals. Though there are several alternatives to using live animals to test these products, popular companies and brands continue this practice despite the fact that outside of the United States, animal testing has been banned.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about this until recently, when I was advised to follow a vegan diet for a month to help me through an illness and restart my digestive system. My choice to follow this diet was more for health than for ethical reasons, but while scouring Pinterest for vegan recipes that non-vegans might enjoy, I began seeing more and more articles about companies that are not considered “cruelty-free” due to their business practices. I began to educate myself, and even though my doctor ended up forbidding me from continuing a long-term vegan lifestyle, I knew that having this new knowledge, I could not continue to buy brands that don’t share my same values.

While I was sad to give up my favorite foundation and blush, both made by Nars, when they decided to enter the market in China (where animal testing is required by law), I knew that my strong beliefs against animal testing for cosmetics was much more important. I can (and did) find another product to give me that same rosy glow I loved, but I couldn’t justify trading an animal’s well-being for my appearance.

Disagreeing with animal testing goes beyond ethical concerns and love of animals, it also relates to environmental protection, as it can generate chemicals and hazardous waste that are released into the environment. Moreover, most companies that are considered cruelty-free also contain more natural ingredients, such as Method cleaning products or Ilia Beauty, which both use pure ingredients in their production. It isn’t just about protecting animals, it’s also about protecting the environment.  

Thanks to popular blogs and websites such as Leaping Bunny, Cruelty-Free Kitty, and more, it is incredibly easy to be a cruelty-free consumer – and their guides and lists can help you do so.

It isn’t up to me to decide what your definition of cruelty-free is – if you choose to start small and purchase brands that still sell in countries where animal testing is required, or their parent companies are not cruelty-free, that’s okay. Once I changed my shopping behavior, it made me feel better about myself and my decision to do something that helps both animals and the environment. And the best part? That rosy glow looks even better when you know where the ingredients came from.

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