Cruelty-free Beauty Guest Blog by Toni Heague

The following has been kindly contributed by our guest blogger Toni Heague, Founder and Director of Eva & Violet Cruelty Free Beauty (


The issue of cruelty free beauty can be a murky one. Statements like “cruelty free” and “not tested on animals” are not legally governed, which puts the onus on the consumer to research products and companies. So, what do you ask a company to determine it’s stance on animal testing? It boils down to four key questions:

  1. Does the company test on animals?

Some companies test finished products or ingredients on animals themselves, or pay researchers to carry out animal tests on their behalf.

  1. Does a company’s supplier test on animals?

Some companies buy, use or benefit financially from ingredients that have been tested on animals by their suppliers.

  1. Does the company sell into China (which requires animal testing)?

China requires that all cosmetics produced outside of the country be tested on animals. Therefore, cosmetics companies selling products in China are not cruelty-free.

Avon, Mary Kay and EsteeLauderwere among the first large international cosmetics manufacturers to ban all tests on animals after being targeted by PETA. Sadly, they resumed animal testing in 2012 because of requirements of the Chinese government in order to market products in that country. For Estee Lauder, this impacts all of their +30 brands, including Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Bumble + Bumble, La Mer, Prescriptives, Clinique, MAC and Smashbox.

  1. If there is a parent company, does it do any of the above?

There are opposing views on this point. One opinion is that the profits are going to a parent company that utilises testing, in whichever form, so they should be boycotted.

Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) will not accredit any company that has a parent or subsidiary that still conducts animal-testing. On the other hand, PETA and LeapingBunny continue to certify companies, even if they have been bought by a parent company that does not comply. Notable examples are:

  • Owned by L’OrealThe Body Shop, Urban Decay and (newly purchased) NYX Cosmetics
  • Owned by SheseidoBare Escentuals (Bare Minerals) and NARS Cosmetics
  • Owned by CloroxBurt’s Bees
  • Owned by KOSETarte

PETA maintains that when “massive corporations buy smaller, more compassionate companies, the big companies learn from the smaller companies’ success that consumers are concerned about things, such as animal testing”. Essentially, they hope the no-animal testing policies will persuade the new owners to change their stance. Where necessary, PETA has the parent company name on their lists and Leaping Bunny specifies if a parent company does not comply, which gives consumers the required transparency to make up their own mind. Considering only 9 of the 537 Leaping Bunny accredited companies are a “cruelty-free subsidiary of parent company that does not comply with the Leaping Bunny Standard”, there are many options available for those you choose not to support them.

To know which companies have satisfied the requirements to be certified as cruelty free, there are downloadable lists from Choose Cruelty Free (CCF), Leaping Bunny or PETA.   There are also handy Shopping Guide Apps by Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) and Leaping Bunny. Ensure you keep them up to date, as the lists (frustratingly) change!

Toni Heague, Founder and Director of Eva & Violet Cruelty Free Beauty







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