Monday, January 23, 2012

Are Samantha Chapman's Real Techniques Brushes Cruelty Free?

One of the most popular youtube beauty items of 2011 was undoubtedly the Real Techniques brushes released by Samantha Chapman of pixiwoo. I have been watching Sam and Nic’s channel for a while, and they claim to be cruelty free. To make a long story short: They aren’t cruelty free.

When I first tried to be cruelty free, I only used products Nic and Sam applied since they claimed to be cruelty free. With a little research, I quickly realized almost every single brand they used in their videos was not cruelty free. Obviously they have no malicious intent, but it called into question their research and their dedication to being cruelty free.

So when Sam announced she was creating a cruelty free brush line I had reservations about the product. As I will discuss later, her brushes are undeniably cruelty free, but I was worried about the parent company Paris Presents Incorporated. Their most popular subsidiary is ecotools. A full list of Paris Presents Incorporated’s additional subsidiaries can be found here.

While it appears that Paris Presents sells mostly synthetic brushes (EDIT: some of their subsidiaries do sell animal hair brushes), I didn’t understand exactly what some of their subsidiaries sold so I wanted to make sure they are cruelty free. I sent off my usual email and received this response:

Paris Presents, Inc. does not subscribe to any animal testing on our finished products or individual ingredients. With today’s huge bank of safety tested ingredients and several alternative methods to animal testing available, we find it unnecessary to conduct animal safety studies on our products or ingredients.

In those cases where chemicals may have never undergone safety screening, and we believe there is a reasonable basis to question the safety of such an ingredient, we take two paths. First and foremost, we try to avoid the use of such ingredient. Secondly, in some instances where the ingredient is vital to the performance of the product, we conduct other (they put this in bold) types of laboratory testing, but do not conduct testing on animals.

Customer service satisfactorily answered whether their finished products and ingredients were animal tested but did not overtly address the possibility of third party testing. I believe the second paragraph was meant to address this and to reinforce the statement in the first paragraph that their products are not animal tested. I am always overly paranoid about these things so I took a look around their websites. Ecotools has a line with Alicia Silverstone, the ultimate ethical vegan celebrity, and this made me feel a lot better about the company.

I will continue to purchase from Paris Presents/Real Techniques.

The Real Techniques line of brushes are, as stated previously, definitely cruelty free. These brushes have Taklon bristles; Taklon is a synthetic material and therefore cruelty free, but it also has many other benefits.

Taklon is:

· Cruelty free

· More Sanitary

· Provides better application

An article on Taklon makeup brushes is available here to provide more in depth information. With all the information just in this article I’m surprised that any company would still make brushes with animal hair.

I own a few of the Real Techniques brushes for face and eyes, and I thoroughly enjoy them. In the US, they are very affordable and available at Ulta. They are great quality, amazingly soft, and provide great makeup application. I recommend them to anyone who needs a great, affordable, and cruelty free brush!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is Burt's Bees and Clorox Cruelty Free?

This is going to be a complicated post regarding Burt’s Bees and Clorox. Burt’s Bees is a company approved by Leaping Bunny. However, Leaping Bunny lists Burt’s Bees with a little purple square signaling that they are owned by a parent company that does animal test. Clorox is Burt’s Bees animal testing parent company.

For a full list of The Clorox Company’s other subsidiaries, click here.

Burt’s Bees is readily available across the US in places ranging from cosmetic shops to grocery stores and my own university’s book store. It is clearly labeled as cruelty free with both the Leaping Bunny image and an additional “We do not test on animals.”

In the FAQ section of their website they state:

“Burt’s Bees does NOT conduct product or ingredient tests of any kind on animals. A few of our products contain ingredients derived from animals such as beeswax, royal jelly, milk and carmine.”

I like how quickly they communicate their policies and let consumers know that they carry vegan products. I emailed their customer service to see what additional information they could provide me and received a lengthy reply:

“Thank you for contacting us with your inquiry. Burt's Bees has never and will never test on animals. We respect animals and don't believe they should be used in this way. It isn't necessary for the development of our products, and it isn't in harmony with our commitment to The Greater Good. We also ask all of our suppliers to uphold our core beliefs, which include no animal cruelty and no animal testing. Additionally, we are certified under the Consumer Information on Cosmetics' (CCIC) Leaping Bunny program. One of the core requirements of the Leaping Bunny program is that the company and vendors are both investigated to achieve certification.

Please note that Burt's Bees operates as a semi-autonomous business unit of the Clorox Company and they are aware of, and fully support, our position on animal testing, as they are also committed to the welfare of animals. For Clorox, animal testing is a rare exception, used only when required by law or when all other efforts have been exhausted to establish a product's safety profile. If you would like to read Clorox's full policy on animal testing, please use the following url:

Let me first say, I like that they were upfront about being a subsidiary of a company that animal tests. As you will see later in this post, the second paragraph essentially summarizes the animal testing statement on Clorox’s website. The information provided in the link basically says that they do test but apparently not finished products.

I emailed Clorox’s Customer Service because I was unable to find any information regarding their animal testing policy (I emailed Burt’s Bees and Clorox at the same time so I had not yet been sent the link with this information).

“At Clorox, we are committed to providing consumers with products they can trust when used as directed. Before reaching market, our products undergo rigorous safety testing and careful evaluations by highly qualified, skilled scientists. Except where mandated by law, using non-animal product safety evaluations is the norm at Clorox and animal testing is the exception. The vast majority of our products reach the market without testing on animals.

To further demonstrate our commitment not to use live animals, we recently updated our product safety testing policy to require senior management approval of any discretionary animal testing. Rare exceptions to the no animal testing policy, if any, will only be considered when all other efforts have been exhausted to establish a product's safety profile. The updated policy may be found on our Web site at in the Corporate Social Responsibility section.

For more than 20 years, Clorox has been assessing alternatives to animal testing and working with industry groups and regulators on the issue. We believe that the science today firmly supports the efficacy of alternatives, and are committed to working toward a future where animal testing has no role in product development.

I do like that Clorox is upfront about the fact that they do animal test (even if it is “the exception”) because so many companies try to hide this information under paragraphs of misinformation. On the other hand there are two major issues for me. Why does this email specify that Clorox does “not want to use live animals?” I’m not any more alright with Clorox if they kill animals and then test on them. Secondly if they believe in “the efficacy of alternatives” why do they still animal test even when it is not “mandated by law?” (Simply because it is not “the norm” doesn’t mean that Clorox only tests for legal reasons.)

I no longer purchase Burt’s Bees products and will now stop purchasing from all of Clorox’s subsidiaries. Although Burt’s Bees is cruelty free, the money I give them goes to Clorox. I would rather spend my money supporting companies and brands that are 100% cruelty free on every level.

This is clearly a case of how comfortable you feel when buying cruelty free products, and I suggest that everyone seriously consider whether or not they believe giving money to Burt’s Bees funds Clorox’s animal testing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some Cruelty Free and Vegan Favorites

I wanted to share some of my favorite cruelty free and vegan things I’ve been enjoying recently! I don’t buy a lot of things on a regular basis, so this will be a mash up of some products, entertainment, bloggers, etc.
The Naked Palette
***Edit:  As of November 2012, Urban Decay will become a subsidiary of L'oreal and will no longer meet my cruelty free standards.***

I got this palette from Urban Decay a while ago but never really used all the colors. However, with the recent holidays this was great! I like how I can keep wearing neutrals with this palette but branch out a little with their shimmer and glitter shades. If I was running late to a party, I didn’t have to think too much about what colors I was using because they all look great with one another as well.

Derma e Vitamin A Retinyl Palmitate Wrinkle Treatment Crème

I’ve been using this product for a while, and I love it! As a very pale lady, I use this to get rid of dark spots caused by acne scars and other discoloration. It also helps to control acne. This works better than the retinol creams I used before going cruelty free and is very gentle for my sensitive skin. 
*I will giving a more in depth overview in an upcoming post.
Individual Smoothie Maker
I’ve really been enjoying this tiny blender I got for Chanukah. It is tiny enough for a hefty but individual sized smoothie. When the cup is unscrewed from the base, it becomes a travel mug. A top is included but does not lock onto the mug which makes me slightly nervous. However, this works so much better than a large blender and is much more convenient and well priced!
Nature’s Baby Organics Face and Body Moisturizer

I recently switched over to this moisturizer for the colder winter months. This vegan product has great ingredients and makes my skin feel amazing. While it is very moisturizing, this lotion is very light and absorbs into my skin quickly.
*Disclaimer: I live in the South East USA so it doesn’t get incredibly dry and/or cold. I will also give a more in depth overview in an upcoming post.
Shit Vegans Say I am loving this video by arionthedaily! If you are vegan, you will laugh your butt off! He also has a sequel on his youtube channel.