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Cosmetics have been branded as one of the primary aspects of product enhancements in the field of fashion and beauty. Different cosmetic products ranging from lipsticks, concealer, mascara, foundation to eyeliners have been around since forever. And since then, consumers and beauty products rose together with the desire to ‘look good’ and ’feel good’ - men included.
The Defaced Powder
While considering that almost all cosmetic products are made from synthetic materials, brands have responded to this by offering a greater range of "clean", "natural" and "organic" options than ever before.
However, a new report has highlighted the fact that many of these products may not be as ethical as they may appear. In simple terms, this is because brands are unlikely to be able to verify the exact composition of all their ingredients.
"Given the depth and breadth of the cosmetics supply chain, tracing and monitoring the tiers of production is virtually impossible," says the report by global risk consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.
Laudiss Labs LLC, a company based in Winston-Salem, has chosen to focus on developing innovative over-the-counter products at a lower cost for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and veterinary industries.
The secret ingredient that the company had been trying to perpetuate is something even lay people find intriguing: a proprietary micro/nano-technology platform to encapsulate natural organic plant lipophilic and hydrophilic bioactive molecules.
“We have developed a line of skin care cosmetic formulations, and transdermal tests showed our products are more effective than our competitors. Furthermore, our cosmetics are formulated with 100 percent natural organic plant bioactives and have been clinically shown to be safe and effective,” says Lucien Houenou, the company’s president and co-founder of Prosperon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Because of this, many skincare products may be classified as cosmeceuticals, a mixture of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, several topical skin pharmaceutical products were also formulated as effective veterinary products to be used for pet grooming.
The industry has been notably criticized for its methods of manufacture and production which involves the issue of utilizing laboratory animal testing and patronizing the child labor force.
Many major beauty brands claim they do not test on animals, but some of their products may subject to animal testing requirements in other countries, most notably China. If a company wants to expand its business into China, which has a growing beauty market, they have to comply with the animal testing rule.
China is the last major country to require animal testing on cosmetics, according to Bloomberg. In 2013, the European Union banned both the import and sale of cosmetics products containing ingredients tested on animals.
According to The New York Times, the ban was meant to encourage countries, such as China, to look for alternative testing methods. Countries like India, Israel, Norway, and Switzerland tend to have similar laws against animal testing, Bloomberg added.
Animal testing isn’t mandatory in the U.S., but it’s not banned, either. Cosmetics don’t need premarket approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and the law doesn’t even require cosmetic products to be tested on animals to determine their safety. Instead, the FDA advises cosmetics manufacturers to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products.”
The FDA notes that use of terms like “cruelty-free” and “not tested on animals” is unregulated in the U.S. ― and therefore may not be totally accurate.
“Some cosmetic companies promote their products with claims of this kind in their labeling or advertising. The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms,” the agency warns.
In other words, it’s possible that ingredients used to manufacture such products are not actually cruelty-free. Some companies that label their products as such may rely on suppliers or laboratories to perform animal testing to make sure an ingredient or product is safe, according to the FDA.
Aside from that, many of the materials or ingredients used in cosmetics were previously tested on animals, but a company can still use these ingredients and call their products cruelty-free, said Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and author of Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry.
In addition, since there are no legal definitions for “cruelty-free” and “not tested on animals,” brands can seemingly interpret these terms and claim they do not utilize these methods in their own way.
Romanowski added that, in his opinion, “there are no ‘cruelty-free’ companies because they use ingredients derived from farming or materials which are employed in the pharmaceutical industry.”
While some of the biggest international beauty brands comply with China’s animal testing rules, many of them also say they fund initiatives that support ethical alternatives to such testing. Some are even working with Chinese authorities to change the animal testing requirement.
L’Oréal, which owns Kiehl’s and IT Cosmetics, has ceased animal testing in 1989 and since then has invested over $1 billion over the past years to help develop cruelty-free testing methods, according to its website.
Estée Lauder, which owns MAC and Clinique, works in partnership with the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, a non-profit research lab in the U.S. working to advance non-animal testing methods. The brand is also a member of the European Partnership for Alternatives to Animal Testing, according to its website.
|cosmetic products/ Photo By Africa Studio via Shutterstock|
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and other Labor Unions alike continue to pursue against these ethical concerns regarding the industry of cosmetics and beauty products. Certain brands were approved and certified to be cruelty-free and are designated as safe and effective.
According to Logical Harmony, not all vegan products are limited to cosmetics which do not have animal-based ingredients. They are also known as cruelty-free cosmetics, since these products are not even tested on animals.
Vegan cosmetics are beneficial for consumers as it contains less harmful ingredients such as its anti-aging cream containing vitamins and minerals. These natural products can be used for dry skin as most of them are water-based and good for skin of all types and many more.
Increasing the vegan population and rising demand for vegan cosmetics are major factors driving the growth of the global vegan cosmetics market. But, the high cost of these cosmetics with less variety of products than conventional cosmetics may hamper the growth of the target market in the near future.
Products that are not tested on animals are not necessarily vegan. Most of these ingredients include honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, etc. If you wish to avoid these ingredients, then buying vegan products would be the best course of action for you to take.
Whatever course of the cosmetic brand you wish to use, take into consideration what lies in those products especially how they are made or manufactured. Even if they claim that these are essentially safe or did not utilize methods of brutality in the course of its production, then we still have to be aware of it and provide extensive research to fully support its claim. Hence, with all these aside, we could say that “Beauty is only skin deep”.