Animal Testing: Your Guide to Shopping Cruelty-Free

Animal Testing: Your Guide to Shopping Cruelty-Free
Michael Thompson for Elle

While many of us craft New Year’s resolutions to start working out or quit peeping our ex’s Instagram (we’re guilty!), there’s another idea that’s piqued our interest for 2014: learning more about cruelty-free products. The hot button issue got a lot of press in the ‘90s, but what’s changed since then? What do we need to be aware of now? It turns out, a lot.

Let’s start with new regulations. China’s economic boom has played a part in animal testing, since they’re the only major market that actually requires animal testing on all cosmetics. What does that mean to us? Many brands that once swore by cruelty-free practices have quietly changed their stance to enter the $22 billion dollar a year Chinese market. Luckily, there have been recent reports predicting that China will officially change their policy. Why? The European Union—which actually banned the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals last year—and various others are pressing for a legislative change. The U.S. is in the middle of the argument: we have not required or banned animal testing on cosmetics.

We won’t get into detail about the things that happen to animals during cosmetic testing, instead let’s talk about the good news. (Yes, there’s good news!) With a little more awareness and thoughtful shopping on your part, it’s very easy to revamp your medicine cabinet. In fact, you may not even realize that some of your favorite products are already cruelty-free. You can check in on your favorite brands using the watchdog group Leaping Bunny—they even have a free app to check while shopping—or just shop our slideshow. We’ve curated our favorite must-haves from 100 percent cruelty-free brands. No one is asking you to toss the contents of your makeup bag and start from scratch, but when it’s time for a new mascara next month, consider buying off this list. Nothing goes better with a bold lash than a warm and fuzzy feeling.

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