Q&A with cruelty-free beauty blogger, Sarah Landman

Beauty enthusiast, Sarah Landman, is an animal welfare advocate who started blogging just over a year ago. It seemed only natural that her love for make-up and animals would one day collide and so Kitty Approved Beauty was born.

Q&A with cruelty-free beauty blogger, Sarah Landman

In her posts, Sarah investigates different brands of cosmetics for their cruelty-free status and reviews beauty products from those brands she finds furry-friendly. Sarah also took the time to brush up on her European Union law.

“I’ve discovered that animal-testing is unfortunately still a very common practice in many popular cosmetic companies but it doesn’t have to be.

“Animal-testing is a very out-dated practice and is not required by law (except in China… get with the program, China!)”, she wrote on her blog, before adding that there are so many safe testing methods for cosmetics that do not involve animals.

I spoke with Sarah about how to go cruelty-free at our vanity tables.

Why should we care about animal-testing and what do you think people don't know about animal-testing for cosmetics?

Most people, given the choice, would agree that animals should not have to suffer needlessly.

In animal-testing for cosmetics, small animals like rabbits, mice and guinea pigs are forced to endure great pain and discomfort. Animal-testing is becoming more and more outdated as scientific advancements, like in vitro methods [on cell cultures], are without question the more accurate and reliable alternative.

On top of ethical reasons, product safety is another reason to fight against animal testing; a rat's skin is simply not the same as a human's.

I also think many people don't realise how powerful their money is. It's so important to ‘vote with your dollar’ to let companies know you won't support them if they test on animals, no matter where in the world they do it.

For people who now want to switch to cruelty-free cosmetics, where should they start?

I recommend finding resources you trust. One of my personal favorites is the Leaping Bunny website, which has a helpful shopping guide of tons of cruelty-free certified brands. This is a great place to start but keep in mind that not all cruelty-free brands are Leaping Bunny certified. There are other animal-friendly brands not included on their list.

Also, when switching to cruelty-free cosmetics, I believe it's okay to keep and use up the non-cruelty-free products you already have. You already spent your money on these products, so why waste them? Once you run out of the items you already have, you can start to replace them with cruelty-free alternatives. This will make the switch gradual and less of a shock.

How do you verify a company's cruelty-free status?

There are two main factors I want to be able to check. I typically email the company and ask them a set of specific questions.

First, I need to know that the company's finished products and ingredients have not been tested on animals. This means that they must not be tested on animals at any point in the production process, including by suppliers of raw materials, manufacturers, or any other third party.

Of course, to be sold in the EU, no finished products or ingredients have been tested on animals - but to determine whether it is cruelty-free, remember that many brands are manufactured and sold in countries outside the EU where animal-testing is allowed and the money spent on products from those brands could be indirectly funding animal-testing if those companies partake in animal-testing in other parts of the world.

Secondly, I want to confirm that the company does not sell in China, where animal-testing is required by law, or any other country that requires animal-testing on finished products or ingredients. If I find out that a company sells their products in China, I remove them from my shopping list because they have chosen to sell in a market that requires all products to be tested on animals.

Those are the two most important components of a company's cruelty-free status but I also like to ask if the brand has a parent company, and if so, I also investigate the parent company's policies in the same way.

Some strictly cruelty-free companies are owned by non-cruelty-free parent companies, so it's up to each consumer whether they feel comfortable supporting these types of brands.

What should shoppers look out for?

It's important to know, first of all, that many brands sell in countries all over the world, so even though no products sold in the EU have been tested on animals, products from any particular brand may also be sold in other countries that do allow animal-testing.

I encourage everyone to contact companies themselves to form an educated opinion on each brand's animal-testing policies. If the company doesn't seem to give a clear answer the first time around, don't be afraid to follow-up with a second email asking further questions.

What are your favourite go-to brands?

My blog is primarily focused on cruelty-free products that are both affordable and accessible. I want my readers to know that it is easy to make the cruelty-free switch without spending a fortune or going out of their way to find them.

I've tried many brands but some of the brands I've grown particularly fond of are e.l.f. (Eyes Lips Face), Milani, and Jordana; all very affordable yet high-quality brands.

For skincare, my go-to brand is Paula's Choice; this line of skincare has something for every skin type and concern and I've never been disappointed by their products. I also love Yes To Carrots, which makes wonderful skincare and hair products.

Tom's of Maine is my favorite toothpaste/mouthwash brand. And for household cleaners, I love using Method products. These are just a few of the brands I'm familiar with but there are lots of other excellent brands that are also animal-friendly.

For cruelty-free brands investigated and approved by Kitty Approved Beauty, check out Sarah’s list right here.

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