Mother Earth

April 22nd, 2015

April 22nd, 2015

Whether you’re working in the industry or just a consumer browsing the aisles of Boots, we’ve never been so inundated with choice.  With so many brands, so many formulas, so many products, it’s easy to forget how they found their way to the shelf.  Yet consumers, we would argue, are becoming more savvy and conscious of what they put on and into their bodies more than ever before.  Brands are required to disclose ingredients and how they have been tested, and the internet has allowed us to research and access information which would otherwise be barred from us.

Following on from this technological availability are revolutions in manufacturing. This has allowed us to create products in ways which were previously impossible – including being able to formulate cosmetics for vegans as well as for those who suffer from allergies, sensitivities or concerns for the chemicals which so regularly populate cosmetics.  Warpaint have gone green this week and brought you some of the best brands and products for ethical and conscientious make-up.

It’s currently illegal in the EU to test products on animals, but elsewhere in the world the regulations are not so strict.  There is movement for a similar ban in the States, for example, but this still has some way to go.  The enormous governing body in the US, the FDA, does not have to approve or review cosmetics, or what goes in them, before they are sold to the consumers. China, on the other hand, swing the opposite way and demand that all products be tested on animals if they are to be sold there. So it is safe to say that if a product is sold in China, somewhere along the way it’s been tested on animals.

There has been a rocketing surge in brands offering organic cosmetics, or those which don’t contain unpopular buzzwords – ‘parabens’, ‘SLS-free’ or fragrances. But omitting these doesn’t necessarily mean anything; they can have added other chemicals to achieve similar effects. We’ll be focusing on vegan and cruelty-free make-up, but we’d love to know what you think too. Leave comments below with your thoughts.


At the recent launch for ECOTools’ new brush range, we had the chance to speak to Justine Jenkins – Cruelty-free make-up artist, Humane Society International’s Beauty Ambassador and co-author of Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Book.  We wanted to know how she became interested in cruelty-free artistry.  “I was already very interested in natural beauty, so I signed up for a course on ‘Making Your Own Cosmetics,’” she told us.  “During the course a conversation with the tutor turned to animal testing. I, like most people, had assumed cosmetic testing on animals had been phased out years ago, so I was deeply shocked when she told me it was still happening.”

Justine Jenkins

Justine Jenkins

” When I got home I immediately went looking and was horrified to discover that the majority of brands are still involved in animal testing,” Justine went on.  “Big brands want profits so they sell in markets such as China where animal testing is required by law.  Immediately, I decided to change my kit to a cruelty-free one, and support those brands with a moral compass who are brave enough to be truly cruelty-free.  Few people know about the extent of this issue and that is because brands conceal their testing practices by misleading statements regarding testing.  For example: ‘We do not test on animals’ can actually mean that the brand doesn’t itself do the testing but contracts it out to a third party company that do test on animals, or that the final product was not tested on animals, but the ingredients were.  It’s a minefield, and there’s absolutely no transparency.”

She showed us the new Complexion Collection from ECOTools, which have sustainable bamboo brush handles, recycled aluminium ferrules and beautifully soft synthetic bristles.  We love the collection’s beautifully decorative teal ferrules, and the range of brushes covers everything from powder to concealer.


Finding brands which fit PETA and The Humane Society’s parameters is difficult, Justine conceded.  “Letting go of the products that were staples in my kit for 15 years was difficult. Researching cruelty-free replacements worthy of a place can be time consuming.  There aren’t that many high-end cruelty-free brands at the moment so it’s also frustrating.  But, on the positive side, more and more brands are coming through and I have really got to know and discover fabulous brands that I potentially wouldn’t have noticed before.”

Some high-profile brands which are officially Cruelty-Free include Hourglass, Smashbox, Kryolan, Urban Decay, Tarte Cosmetics, OCC and Trish McEvoy.

You might think that mineral make-up is a safe bet as a vegan and cruelty-free, but not necessarily.  bareMinerals and Lily Lolo are both certified as cruelty-free, so be sure to check the next time you’re stocking up on mineral make-up products.  We love the latest base from bareMinerals, Complexion Rescue, which is a beautifully light coverage for spring and summer.  Meanwhile Lily Lolo’s Laid Bare Eye Palette has a lovely, wearable range of colours with great pigment quality.


The Body Shop is well-known for its ethical credentials, and despite its change in ownership it has retained its Leaping Bunny.  They’ve just launched a new range of eyeliners in a variety of formulas, from matte khol kajals to gel pen liners and felt pens in various weights.  Barry M, Burt’s Bees, Bourjois, GOSH, Marks & Spencer, Revlon, Superdrug and Boots own brands are all other high street options which are cruelty-free.  For more information, you can check this table of brands.




To be classified as Vegan, products must not have any tie to animals at all. As with choosing a vegan diet, it requires a lot of preparation, awareness and understanding of just how integrated animal products are in just about every area of our lives.  Siân Richards, founder of the London Brush Company, who has created Vegan brushes and is also one of our leading MUAs, talked to us about what it takes to be credited as Vegan.


Siân Richards

“Vegan Products require different glues, paint, handles and hair.  In all LBC collections I have applied the first three requirements.  What makes Vegan ‘hair’ different from regular synthetic is the quality of it.  Vegan hair has grades too.  At LBC I only use the most premium grade of any Vegan hair which is why the NouVeau collection has such soft Vegan brushes.  I do not compromise or cut corners to save money, preferring to give the best quality possible.”


Her Vegan Brush Shampoo is perfect for cleaning your brushes without resorting to animal by-products.  We’re fans of the Young Coconut Milk scent, although it’s also available in Clary Sage and English Lavender scent options.  PETA has a fantastic list of animal by-products to be aware of.  If you can familiarise yourself with the ingredients, you can be aware of which brands and products you can and cannot use.

LBC shampoo2

You don’t even need to spend a fortune on brands to ensure they are Vegan.  A lot of affordable options are proudly Vegan, and the lower price points are a great encouragement to opt for Vegan or cruelty-free products.  e.l.f. products are all Vegan, and all untested on animals – they recently replaced the beeswax and lanolin in their products with synthetic versions.  Their product range is enormous, and they’re well-known for their value for money.  NYX are another brand which is almost entirely Vegan (although there are some exclusions, so be sure to check ingredients) and untested on animals.

B. at Superdrug is entirely Vegan and cruelty-free. They’ve got good availability, is very affordable and has a great range of products and textures. We particularly love unusual texture of the B. Sweet Candy Shop Collection’s Whipped Blush.

B. blush

Cute Cosmetics is another retail site which contains only certified Vegan and Cruelty-Free brands which are less well known but definitely worth checking out – including Sugarpill, TheBalm and Neve Cosmetics.  If you want more options, try Green People and Tropic for a great range of products – from skincare to brushes to lipsticks. has an excellent guide to brands and parent companies regarding their stance on animal testing. Their table of brands and can be found here.

As with many people who have concerns in skincare and make-up, knowledge is key, and the more informed you are about ingredients and brand policies, the more you can make informed decisions.  Justine Jenkins had some great advice about larger companies:  “Do not believe what brands state on their websites; always do your research.  Unfortunately some brands use a lot of legal loopholes and misleading  marketing claims to give the impression they are cruelty-free when in fact they are not.  If in doubt, always stick to cruelty-free lists from charities such as HIS, PETA and the Leaping Bunny list.  They have done all the hard work for you, having cleared their listed brands as cruelty-free.  They also provide up-to-date information on any changes in the law worldwide.

“My aim isn’t to name and shame brands that do sell tested products, but to encourage them to make changes.  We need to support the brands who are cruelty-free, to show cosmetic companies that there is a huge demand from the buying public that we do not want products tested on animals.  My clients love the fact I’m cruelty-free.  If I convert one person, or encourage someone to buy one cruelty-free product and make people more aware of the issue… then I’ve done something positive,” Justine concluded.



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By Deborah Murtha

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