Pure, unvarnished truth coming your way…
I’ve occasionally gotten frustrated with people who claim to only buy cruelty- free products. They have, at times, come across as condescending or superior in their thinking and life-style choices. BUT before you want to string me up with all-natural hemp rope and torture me with videos of sad bunnies, know that the opposing camp frustrates me, too. Those who claim it doesn’t matter what products we purchase irritate me just as much. So that group can string me up with something equally as strange or heinous and test ugly neon pink blush on me for that last comment. (I hate ugly neon pink blush. Sorry if you love it, but I said I was being honest today.)
Truth be told, this isn’t a black and white issue. I bet those who jumped on that cruelty-free bandwagon have no idea how many of the products they use everyday are tied to companies testing on animals for one reason or another. Also, the other side has no clue what is involved when someone says a company promotes or conducts animal testing.
Where someone draws the line on animal testing is a personal choice. I’m not going to tell someone where they should draw their line. That’s not the intent of this post. To further complicate things, though, companies are not always clear on what they consider acceptable practice. While some companies produce some cruelty free products, not all their lines are cruelty free. Still others have policies opposing animal testing in one country, but not in others. So claiming you buy only cruelty-free products OR disregarding the subject all together isn’t a realistic approach in this day and age as a consumer.
I’m assuming if you are still reading this, I haven’t made you too mad. So what is the solution? A wise person once told me that this whole thing was a process. Once I decide to do something, I’m in 100%. As Michele and I started this 40sRestyle, I wanted to dump all my products in favor of cruelty- free ones. I wanted to trash everything not certified by Leapingbunny.
Personal care products, beauty products, cleaning products – all were about to be given the boot in my house. Not even acknowledging the hundreds of dollars that I would have wasted had I done that, I was in no way prepared to replace everything. I hadn’t researched the companies, I hadn’t sampled products I’d like for my skin and hair type. I hadn’t done anything other than decide where I drew my own personal line in the sand. I was in no position to make a purchase yet. THAT is my point in writing this. Going cruelty-free is a choice requiring some work. It isn’t a fad we follow and brag to our friends about, and it isn’t an impossible task we should just ignore, either.
Looking back at the process and emotions I went through switching to cruelty-free products, I realized the process is not easy. And I am, by no means living 100% cruelty-free, but I’m getting there little by little. Will I ever be 100% on that bandwagon? Probably not. It’s a full time job just keeping the list of cruelty-free companies current. Leapingbunny and PETA admit they do their best, but their lists are not all-inclusive. They do an excellent job, but if the animal advocates themselves find it hard to keep up with all the companies that come and go in one way or another, I’m pretty sure I’m going to slip up.
So, we are back to the topic of solutions. Read a label. Look up the company’s policy on animal testing online. Search the aisles of your local store for that little section of cruelty-free personal care products. Start small with one product. I think both sides I mentioned today will be surprised. One side might find out that their favorite products are not quite as cruelty-free as they thought, while the other camp may find a product they love that is cruelty-free.
Start somewhere. Start small. But, for heaven sakes, START!
Don’t be intimidated by the task and don’t smugly assume you know all about it. Maybe you want to start with a product line you already know and love like Bath and Body Works. They are NOT a 100% cruelty free company! They do have a line called Aromatherapy that is. Vote with your purchases. That is possibly the most effective way to convince huge corporations to make changes. Look for “all-in” companies such as Pacifica, Juice, AlbaBotanica, Simple, Gud, or LUSH (Yeah, yeah! I know. We have mentioned them a few times on this blog.).
Leapingbunny has an app for smart phones to look products up while you are at the store to see if they are cruelty free. I use it all the time rather than just assuming the product is. Check it out because product names can be misleading.
The bottom line is, DO SOMETHING.
Keep learning and help each other. In the words of the great twenty-first century philosopher Jimmy Buffett, “You got to bend a little one way or the other. You got to leave your mind open to discover. Seems we’ve been fighting it all along, but you got to bend a little no matter which side you’re on.” (Yeah, I just did that. You read it right. I connected Jimmy Buffett and beauty products together. You can thank me for that later if you haven’t made me watch sad bunny videos or put pink blush on me.)
Now go do something to support cruelty-free products or someone who doesn’t know where to start. Go on…you know you wanna.