Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Let's Talk About Being Cruelty Free

I have actually filmed a ton of videos over the past couple of months. Have not edited a single one. But during one filming session, I said something along the lines of "for those of you who are into the Cruelty-Free thing..." etc. Immediately after that, something clicked in my brain. Why am I not into the Cruelty-Free thing?! I literally decided at that second that I was into it. Which makes it sound like a "thing," I know, but hopefully you guys understand that I'm in no way trying to make it sound like a phase people go through. So I wanted to sit down and just chat about it, and let you all know where I stand, plus what it means for my blog and YouTube channel.

What I learned right away when I started my research is that "Cruelty-Free" does not always mean the same thing. When looking through different resources, I found that some people list certain brands as CF, when others list the same brand as a "Grey-Area," and yet others list as "Do not buy." And THEN I found that "grey area" doesn't always mean the same thing. So what the fuck?! What do I buy? What do I do? This discrepancy in information is really what made me want to talk more about it and find my own answers, my own definitions, and my own comfort zone when it came to what I do or do not want to continue to purchase, and which brands I want to continue to support.

How Do I Choose Which Brands to Support?

First, I look for information directly from the brand. If a brand has listed on their website that they do not test on animals and do not contract other companies to conduct animal testing on their behalf: You're in. Some companies are very sneaky, and will include "except for where required by law." Those brands are out. 

If a brand doesn't have any kind of animal testing statement on their website, I will look at their Instagram. I know that doesn't seem super official, but many brands do state whether or not they are CF on their IG.

If both of those options don't give me an answer, I will look them up on the Logical Harmony website. I've seen other lists out there, but in my experience, Logical Harmony has the most comprehensive list, and they are generally in line with my individual research on the brand. The thing I *don't* like about Logical Harmony is that they require brands to fill out their specific paperwork before they will list them as CF. In theory, I understand why they do that. But I do find it a little presumptuous, just to be super honest. So if Logical Harmony and I don't agree on something, I will side with my own research. I can't expect every single company to put Logical Harmony's paperwork at the top of their list of things to do. If I was told by some random website that I needed to jump through all their hoops to be on their list, I may or may not give two shits. Just being real!

The Grey Area

The tricky part is when I can't find a straight answer, and Logical Harmony doesn't have an answer either. LH lists some brands as "grey area." To LH, this means that they don't really know. It's kind-of a "purchase at your own discretion" situation at that point. Until now, if I can't find a yes or no anywhere, I assume it's a no. If I ever encounter a brand that I'm dying to try but they don't have a clear stance posted, I will just contact them directly. As of now, I haven't found anything I wanted badly enough to reach out to a brand.

Another definition of "grey area" brands are ones which are CF, but are owned by a larger corporation that is not CF. An example of this is Kat Von D Beauty. Kat is very vocal about her brand being CF. She is also in the process of reformulating some of her products so that her entire line will be vegan. However, Kat Von D Beauty is owned by Kendo, who is in turn owned by LVMH. I hadn't heard of either company until I started my research on CF companies. As it turns out, Kendo owns mostly CF companies, but they do own companies that conduct animal testing where needed. LVMH is apparently a giant blob that owns a little of everything. 

What Do I Do If A Parent Company is NOT Cruelty Free?!

So there's another issue: Do I now stop supporting KVD Beauty, even though they are completely cruelty free at every stage of their production? 

There are two ways to think about this:
  • The first idea is one I first heard from Kristen Leanne on YouTube. She talks about this concept of "voting with your dollar." Basically, when you choose to purchase from only CF brands, their umbrella corporations will start to see that the CF brands are making them more money, while their non-CF brands are starting to dwindle. This will hopefully make them realize that we as consumers prefer CF brands, and therefore they should cease animal testing.
  • The second idea is that Cruelty-Free means Cruelty-Free. If you are owned by a company that continues animal testing, you are by default, not Cruelty-Free. 
I am kind-of in the middle of the two arguments. I do like the idea that we can make a difference by choosing which brands to continue supporting. What I'm not sure about is if these larger corporations really care. At the end of the day, no matter where I cast my dollar vote, they are still getting that dollar. So is it that important to them where it comes from? Who it comes from? Who it's spent on? Who it's not spent on? I don't know! Does your "vote" only count when it's for a company who's  not owned by one of these mega-corporations? 

Since I am super new to being CF, I really need more time to think and research this one. I would love to see if there are actually changes that take place within these parent companies. I have not been around long enough to see if they have actually started to drop non-CF companies or if they have started to change their own stance on animal testing. The one thing I have seen are two companies (Becca and Too Faced) that were recently purchased by non-CF parent companies. So the trend seems to be shifting the other way. I'm not going to pull my support from companies such as KVD Beauty YET, but I really hope I do see a positive change soon.

What's This About China?

So what about companies that are "Cruelty-Free..........except where required by law?" I don't buy it. And I mean that both ways. I don't buy the products, and I don't buy the excuse. Let's talk about MAC. Yes, y'all. I have sworn off MAC. This is how you know I'm serious. They re-released Whisper of Gilt and I didn't even bat an eye. Here is what MAC does (and not just them, but they are one of the giants, so they get to be singled out right now): If a product is sold in China, they are required to test that product on animals. Companies such as MAC blame this on China and their horrible legislation. Is it terrible that China has this legislation in place? Absolutely, 100%. But let's be real - MAC is still choosing to sell their products there and profit from that legislation. So it's really not fair to put all of the blame on China. Some people argue that MAC is very proactive in fighting this legislation, and they contribute a large amount of money to change the law. I think it's great that they are trying to get the law changed. However, they are still profiting from that law at the same time. So they can blame China for having this shitty law, but they can only blame themselves for still choosing to participate in selling their products where this shitty law is in place. 

How Will My Blog/YouTube Change?

The only changes you guys will see is that when I do use products that are not Cruelty Free, I will let you know. I have a TON of product, guys. I have stockpiled ungodly amounts of beauty products over the years.  A lot of it is CF. A lot of it is not. I am not going to destroy all of my non-CF products in a bonfire or throw it all away. I am just going to continue to use my products as I normally do. I have just decided that in the future, I will only continue to purchase from CF brands. So far, I have not had to replace anything that is *not* replaceable. Let's face it: there are dupes for everything out there. I've also discovered some brands that I had not even looked at before, but that I'm really enjoying. 

My goal is to inspire at least one person to make this change, too. I really think it's a positive change, and I would love to see things change in the beauty industry. I hope you guys found this helpful, informative, and not excessively rambling. If you have any questions, or any suggestions of products to try or additional resources, please leave me a comment down below! I would love to hear what you all think. 

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