When it comes to your makeup bag, how good are your morals?
This week I found out that NARS are about to starting stocking their products in China, which means that, in accordance with Chinese regulation, they will need to start testing their products on animals, something that I am vehemently opposed to.
They are not the first brand to do this, it's no secret that brands such as L'Oreal and Estee Lauder have been doing it for donkeys years. Although these brands claim to be against animal testing full stop, in order to be stocked in China, they are required to submit to compulsory animal testing in government labs before regulators approve products to be sold. We are then invited to read between the lines when the statements on various websites read that the company "does not test on animals and we would never ask others to do son our our behalf. If a regulatory body demands it for its safety or regulatory assessment, an exception can be made."
The first time my morals were called into question regarding my makeup bag was when I found out that MAC, despite them claiming to be "working toward a cruelty free world" on their website, is a brand that stocks in China and therefore has their products tested on animals by the regulatory body. Despite loving the brand (and not just since my first grownup makeup came from there), I have tried to studiously ignore makeup reviews featuring their beautiful products and even passed up on buying and trying Fleur De Force's collaboration lipstick that I wanted so badly, putting my morals ahead of my makeup bag for the first time.
Since then I have kept one eye on the labels, to check that I wasn't accidentally endorsing a company that was putting an animal through hell and the other eye, I'm ashamed to say, on reviews and palettes, creams, colours that I want to badly.
The brands that I use ARE cruelty free, in that they don't test on animals at all, but the confusion arises when you consider the fact that many of these brands are owned by companies that do. Take Urban Decay for example, and The Body Shop who are owned by L'Oreal, Too Faced are owned by Estee Lauder and then of course NARS, previously cruelty free but owned by parent organisation Shiseido, who are not.
To explain: the parent brands, whist perhaps not directly testing on animals themselves, are stocked somewhere that requires them to do so. Can we hold our favourite brands to account because of what their parents do and boycott them? I don't think so, not least of all because I would hate to be held accountable for everything that my parents had ever done, as it is of course totally out of my control.
But it gets more complicated still with the announcement this week from NARS. This is where my morals are put to the test, because I ADORE this brand. Their foundation and concealer are two of my every day obsessions and I've always loved and owned their bronzer and blush. But do I love them enough to turn a blind eye to the fact that they are now knowingly having their products tested on animals? No, in short, I don't.
But it's an interesting question nonetheless.
The good news is that the use of animals to test cosmetic products or their ingredients is banned in the UK and all EU countries as of March 2013. Unfortunately, there is no ban on it in the US, so companies can if they want to and then of course in China it is a legal requirement.
Suffice to say, research needs to be done and depending on how strongly you feel about the matter, a judgement call needs to be made. Personally for me, the fact that NARS have sold out, after years of priding themselves on being 'cruelty free' is enough to make me say goodbye to the brand following this decision. I'll finish with the products that I already own, and bought from a company who was against animal testing, and then begin the hunt for a CF brand that is yet to sell out.
But is that as far as it goes?
My morals have been called into question AGAIN this week, following an explosive scandal surrounding Jeffree Star, the creator of a highlight that I adore and liquid lipsticks that my sister wears every single day. The products are totally vegan and cruelty free, but what do you do, when you find that the face of the brand is actually a bully and a racist? The drama is actually too much and too complicated to explain, but to put it shortly: he has attracted more than his fair share of bad press. Past videos of him have emerged being racist and sexist, he is famed for his temper and recently described another YouTuber as a 'rat' on Twitter. He has this week posted a video on his channel titled 'racism' and in it he apologises for the comments he has made in the past.
And whilst this might be enough for some people, for me, I'm afraid it was too little too late, and much like with NARS I will finish with the products that I have and will not be buying from him again.
I think the thing for me, the bottom line, is as follows: there is not, to my mind, any product good enough to get me turning against what I believe in. A good foundation is, at the end of the day, a sacrifice that I am more than happy to make if it means I am not supporting a brand, or an individual, who I do not believe to be good.
Whilst I understand that brands such as NARS find it nearly impossible to turn away the billion dollars market that China opens up the them, I personally cannot support a brand that has put money before ethics and have gone back on the promise that made them so popular in the first place.
Ultimately the fault here lies with China and their government for requiring this, but until it can be accepted world wide that no animal should be subjected to testing, I believe that it is the responsibility of a brand to do the right thing. As for Jeffree Star? I simply cannot support a racist, apology or no apology.
I'd be interested to hear your views on this if you have any...