Thursday, March 29, 2012

Selling (out) to China

I wanted to take the time out of reviewing products and boxes to let you all know that I no longer support Avon, Mary Kay, nor Estee Lauder. This wouldn't really effect me directly if it wasn't for the fact that Estee Lauder owns and operates all of the following brands:

-Aveda
-Origins
-MAC
-Kiton
-La Mer
-Bobbi Brown
-Donna Karan
-Aramis
-Clinique
-Prescriptives
-Lab Series Skin Care for Men
-Tommy Hilfiger
-Jo Malone
-Bumble & Bumble
-Michael Kors
-Darphin
-American Beauty
-Flirt!
-Goodskin Labs
-Rassroots Research Labs
-Sean John
-Missoni
-Tom Ford
-Coach
-Ojon
-Smashbox
-Ermenegildo Zegna

The ones I put in bold are the major companies that I have bought from in the past. So why am I removing my support from some of my favorite cosmetic companies?

These three companies are pursuing the Chinese market. Chinese laws and regulations require the submission of cosmetic products to animal testing laboratories before the product is allowed on the market. Therefore, if the company wants to sell to China they must pay these labs to test their products.

Cosmetic animal testing is gruesome and disgusting. Cosmetic testing on animals is done to test for the safety and hypoallergenic properties of the product for use by humans. It may be for a finished product (say a MAC lipstick) or an individual ingredient (dyes, oils, etc). The substances to be tested are applied to the mucous membranes of animals: eyes, nose, mouth. 'Scientists' record the damage to the skin over an average period of 72 hours, although some tests may last days or weeks. The most common reactions are swollen eyelids, inflamed irises, ulcerations, bleeding, massive deterioration, and blindess. Many animals get hurt while trying to free themselves from the hands of the scientist or from the clips that are holding open their eyes.

Also, acute toxicity tests (aka lethal dose tests) are done to determine the amount of the product required to kill the test animals. In these tests the products are directly injected into the bloodstream, gas masks, through tubes that are forced into cut holes or orifices (eyes, vagina, rectum, etc), or other cruel, and unusual methods. The 'testing' continues until at least 50% of the animals have died, so approximately 2-4 weeks is common. During those weeks the animals prior to their unnecessary death they suffer from internal bleeding, convulsion, skin eruptions, breathing problems, and more.
These tests are done mostly on rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, dogs, chimps and other animals.

In the United States the FDA does not require animal testing, so there is no reason for these inhumane tests to still be used. And even though it has been found that most of the tests performed are inaccurate animal testing is done on almost all products on the market. And often times the same products will be tested over and over again even if they have been proven safe and effective on humans.

Plus, there are so many humane testing methods possible! Cruelty-free beauty does exist! Cell and skin tissue cultures and computer models exist and are approved by the FDA.
The worst part of these companies selling out to China is that they been paying for animal testing while their website policies (until recently) still stated that they were 100% cruelty free. They still make it very unclear for the customer what their policy is. Take a look at Estee Lauder's:

"DOES YOUR COMPANY TEST ON ANIMALS?

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety, and bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which our products are sold.

We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. We evaluate our finished products in clinical tests on volunteer panels.
Estée Lauder fully supports the development and global acceptance of non-animal testing alternatives. To this end, the Company works extensively with the industry at large and the global scientific community to research and fund these alternatives."

Avon is even worse with a large speel about how committed they are and that they permanently ended animal testing in 1989, and then two paragraphs down they state this: Avon will conduct animal testing only when required by law, at the request of government health or medical authorities, and only after having first attempted to persuade the requesting authority to accept non-animal test data. It was reported that Avon complied without any attempt to get around the law. Mary Kay is the only company that is currently working with the Chinese government for an alternative; but it is worth noting that they currently are testing.

These companies are misinforming their customers. Making them assume that they do not test on animals when they do. In the past, these companies have all so strongly fought for alternatives. Yet they have sold out for profit... I would never trust these companies again. 

I'm really sad since I have a lot of beloved MAC, Clinique, and Origin products. But once I run out, I will not be buying them ever again. I do try my best to buy cruelty free. I know sometimes it isn't always possible. I need my contacts and have very sensitive eyes so am limited to what kind I can wear, or I need to take a medicine, etc. Sometimes I am just ill-informed about a company or product, but once those products run out I move on to better, humane products. I used to get really upset with myself if I found out a product I used was not vegan or cruelty-free. I learned to stop beating myself up and to instead spread the message and hope to make other consumers conscious. 

If you'd like more information on cosmetic animal testing take a look at:

And a handy guide of companies that DO and DO NOT test on animals:

What are your thoughts on animal testing? Do you think Estee Lauder, Mary Kay, and Avon have been dishonest with their customers? Let me know in the comments below. Remember to respect everyone's opinions!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this! I have always been against animal testing, but have been very ignorant/misinformed until the last few years. I am trying to go all natural/eco and animal friendly with my beauty routine and it is hard sometimes but worth it. I can't stand any mistreating of animals. It is really scary how so many things you can buy test on them.

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    1. Yeah Ive not been well informed either. I knew the big brands to avoid but didnt really realize how many companies they owned. It is really frustrating. What is even more frustrating is some companies that say they are cruelty free may buy their ingredients from companies that do and we as consumers have no idea.

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  2. wow, good for you! once you start digging deeply into so many brands, there are really ugly things behind them (animal testing, bad factories, union busting, sexual harassment, bad politics, etc) and it is so commendable to do your research and figure out where you stand ethically! bravo, i'm cheering for you!!

    p.s. christopher works about a block away from the gap on connecticut and i will definitely stop by sometime. i love that place :)

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    1. Thanks so much! It's difficult to truly know all you can about all these big corporations, there is so many ethical issues to consider! But once I learn something horrific, I stick to my guns.

      I only began to love it after I started working there. But I love finding pieces I have in my closet on your blog, helps me to refresh my looks. Take care and good luck on your next venture! Dont be shy if you see me. I'm the only Sarah that works there. ;)

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  3. Your blog is very informative. It is very interesting and i have enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I'm happy i found what i am searching for. Damiana

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