How the cosmetics industry supports animal abuse

Amy McNeel

Cosmetic products are “pretty” makers: They’re supposed to make our skin look flawless, our lips look bigger and our eyes look more vivid. However, underneath all the glitter and beauty lies a very gruesome truth: Our artificial prettiness is a product of the lives and well-being of animals. It’s so sad to me that something as unnecessary as makeup is produced at the expense of helpless lives.

Many cosmetic companies use animals for testing and research. Tests are most commonly done on guinea pigs, mice, rats and rabbits, and some companies also use other animals, such as dogs, cats and chimpanzees. According to The Humane Society of the United States, the most common tests involve injecting or rubbing chemicals into the skin or eyes of the animals or forcing them to swallow large doses of test chemicals to determine the lethal dose. Pain relief is never provided, and in the end, the majority of the animals die. 

Knowing this, I feel appalled that so many popular beauty companies get away with animal testing. I think the main problem is that people are not well-informed on the topic. In fact, I only just recently found out that this kind of testing was done for cosmetics, and I feel extremely disappointed that I was so ignorant for so long. The torture of an animal is in no way worth the ability to make my eyelashes longer. 

Today, many countries have banned animal testing for cosmetics. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not included in this group. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, animal testing for safety is not required but is also not illegal; if a company wishes to research on animals, it can. 

Furthermore, in China it is actually required by law that cosmetics be tested on animals. Therefore, if a company sells its products in China, it does so knowing that animals will be tested.

This is shocking to me because there are so many alternatives to animal testing that are more accurate and ethical, as well as completely harmless. According to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), some of these alternatives include computer models, cultured cell tissues and in vitro testing. 

With so many alternatives, it seems entirely unreasonable that people still inflict pain on animals for testing. Companies that test on animals include, but are not limited to, NARS, L’Oréal, MAC, Clinique, Maybelline and Benefit. These are all huge corporations with quality products and millions of buyers. Unfortunately, when a person purchases makeup from brands like these, they are, in effect, supporting and fueling animal testing. Worse than that, most of these people do so unknowingly. 

The good news is that although many companies test on animals, there is also a good amount that are cruelty free. Cruelty-free companies do not perform any tests on animals or sell products where animal testing is required by law. 

I hope that more companies will start to become cruelty free and that the fight against animal cruelty will continue to progress. If more people start spreading awareness and purchasing cruelty-free products, we can change the fate of so many animals. When shopping for cosmetics, let’s all be more mindful. Our artificial beauty is not worth the lives of animals. 

For more information on cruelty-free makeup and animal abuse in cosmetics, visit