Stop Animal Cruelty & My Thoughts on Animal Hair Brushes

Monday, 2 May 2011

Last night, whilst having a perusal of Twitter, I brought up the subject of make up brushes, and how it infuriates me that so many companies still insist on using animal hair in them. I was expecting some response - but was glad that so many people in the blogging industry agree with me. I thought I would post about this as it's something I feel EXTREMELY strongly about. Cruelty to animals makes my blood boil and although you might see this post as a bit preachy-preachy, I think it's so important that more people are made aware of what goes on.

I have been an animal lover all my life, and a serious vegetarian since the age of six. I have extremely strong values when it comes to animals and how they are treated - if I had my way we would all be vegetarians, but don't get me started on that one. I don't wear leather, I use vegan/vegetarian beauty products as much as possible (all hail Lush!), I avoid brands that test on animals as much as I can (although in this day and age I find it very hard to know who to trust), and I ALWAYS use synthetic brushes.

All images found via Google images

A fair few years ago, when I was younger and less aware of the beauty industry, I discovered, whilst perusing the MAC website, that a vast majority of their brushes are made from goat hair. It was odd seeing it there on the screen, the word 'goat' amongst the pretty MAC make up brushes. After some frantic Google searching, I discovered that a huge selection of make up brushes (the majority, in fact) are made from animal hair. I was shocked and taken aback - and also sickened that I may have been using animal hair to paint my face. I immediately threw all my brushes away - at the time the majority I owned were No7 and Superdrug's own brand (I'm not sure what Superdrug's brushes are made from but as far as I know No7's use animal hair) - and went on the hunt for synthetic brushes. And they're not hard to find. Ecotools, The Body Shop, ELF's Studio range (their main line is, unfortunately, not synthetic - as far as I know), Crown and a handful of others all readily use synthetic fibres, usually in the from of Taklon.

Why, then, do so many brands STILL insist on using animal hair? How do they source it? What goes on behind the scenes? Well, it's been said that many of the brands who source animal hair get them either as left overs from the meat industry, or, in fact, the fur industry - both cruel industries which take the hairs in the most inhumane ways. Some brands, supposedly, source the hairs through natural shedding, and therefore don't harm the animals in the process. This, however, means that the brushes are a lot more expensive (I'm thinking MAC - although I don't know for sure how they get their hair). Many brands excuse for using animal hair (even though I believe it is COMPLETELY unnecessary) is because it makes a better quality product. I'm sorry, but I think my ELF brushes are second to none and they are synthetic.

Something which annoys me a huge amount is the fact that the whole 'animal-hair-in-brushes' thing is kept under wraps. I know growing up I wasn't aware of it (until the day I found the MAC website), and it makes my skin crawl how young girls with strong values about animal cruelty might be using these brushes without being aware of it. You see, a lot of brands do not make their customers aware of what their brushes are actually made of. They simply won't state on the packaging, which I think is completely unacceptable. It is essential for us to know what ingredients are in our products, so why not inform us of the hair used in our brushes? If the product says it uses 'natural' hair, it means it comes from animals. If it's synthetic or Taklon, it's cruelty free. But some brands refuse to put either.

If I had my way animal hair use in brushes would be banned, as it just is too difficult to determine where the hair comes from. Animal testing would also be banned - something that was supposed to be enforced in the EU in 2013, but is now under threat of being held back another ten years. I'm sorry, but it's taken us this long to get here. We should NOT still be testing on animals. It is completely unnecessary and inhumane; the images of such cruelty are soul-destroying. I do not see the need for putting animals through such needless harm for vanity's sake. The beauty industry is not worth THAT much.

Yet so many brands (including lots of very popular brands) do still test on animals. If you want a fuller list of some the brands click here. I have, however, decided to list a few very well-known brands that DO test on animals, just to make you aware:

  • Aussie             - After a long discussion with Aussie they have informed me they do NOT test on animals. They actually put a great deal of research into other methods of testing, which is really good to know, especially considering I've previously been a huge fan of the brand.                                           
  • Clairol
  • Cacherel 
  • Biotherm
  • Gillette 
  • Herbal Essences
  • L'Oreal
  • Matrix
  • Neutrogena 
  • Pantene
  • Piz Buin
  • Redken
  • Maxfactor
Shocking, right? I just hope this ban is enforced SOON so this can stop. To make sure the ban stays for 2013, if you could please take a couple of minutes to follow the instructions on the Lush website that would be such a great help - please click here.You can also get a 'Little Book of Cruelty Free' - a book which lists all the brands that do not test animals - available to download or order for free here.

Have the cute pics melted your heart yet? They have mine!

A lovely lady called Samantha tweeted me about her fabulous cruelty-free beauty blog after I mentioned this on Twitter; I'm so pleased more bloggers are aware of this, and making others aware - check it out here. Jess from Star Violet Beauty also posted about this after our Twitter discussion, check out her post here.

I apologise for the length of this post but it is something which I feel extremely strongly about. I just hope things start to change, and soon. I'm now going to cuddle my puppy, and remember how lucky I am to have him.