Cruelty Free MUA: The Age Of The Ethical Face

Art. The body as a temple. The face as a canvas. The world as toxic?

Every MUA worth their salt knows the ins and outs of brands like Nyx and MAC because the industry has held them as the standard for well over a generation.  Every TRUE artist however knows that once you learn your craft in any medium, the only way to make an impact is to break the rules. So the artists of Trend Prive are constantly on the lookout for something fabulous in uncharted waters.

Today’s uncharted is the idea of using cosmetics that are not full of really… really nasty chemicals. Gillian Deacon, author of There’s Lead In Your Lipstick, divulges the dirt from deodorant to…well… lipstick. And the info is scary. The EU has banned more than 1300 harmful chemicals from cosmetics. The US has banned… 11.

More and more people are thinking in terms of toxins when it comes to what they drive, what they put in their home, what food they put IN their bodies… but when I tell people that their lipstick quite possibly contains lead, they can’t fathom. When I say that their vitamin infused foundation contains particles of plastic so tiny that it fills their pores so that their skin can’t breathe, they actually stop to weigh out the importance of flawless looking skin vs worldwide ocean pollution and possible cancer. The issue isn’t that they truly choose the lead lipstick, it’s that they are victims of brand loyalty. And it is my industry that created that.

Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin
Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin

Therefore, it’s my duty to provide options. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Our Trend Privé Beauty Squad have already uncovered a plethora of gorgeous, natural, cruelty free products on our website and we will continue to research, dig up new products,  do product reviews and interviews for your benefit. In keeping with our Team’s wishes to support humanitarian brands, we are looking for the best of the best in ethical everything. But even with the not so new trend of shouting your natural ingredient roster from the rooftops, it is ridiculously difficult to find truly, honestly, organically created products that are not simply greenwashed and re-labelled. You would think that by now companies would be making an ACTUAL effort to change the way things are done in the lab. Or… without the lab.

Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin
Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin

The fact is that we do not need animal testing. More and more companies are admitting that it’s simply tradition in the field of science.There are actually pages such as Understanding Animal Research  set up to try to influence people to KEEP testing on animals. The link that states “40 Reasons We Need To Keep Testing On Animals” doesn’t actually lead to a list of reasons, it leads to a plea for science types to spend five minutes a day “de-bunking” the arguments that “Activists” (I love it when they call people who care about something… anything… activists,) are making,  in favour of continuing animal testing. They use the hashtag #ARnonsense to alert each other to a statement they feel needs attention.

Here’s a thought. Lead in lipstick is bad. It’s bad on bunnies… and bad on humans. Solved.

Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin
Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin

Strangely, it has been widely accepted for some time now within the cosmetics industry that we no longer need animal testing. In fact, an excerpt from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine back in 1997, states that not only is animal testing inconclusive at best, the results are often disregarded in favor of human trials, regardless of the findings of the animal studies. Worldwide, the understanding that animal testing is a thing of the past is so obvious that there is an entire multi-billion dollar “faux skin” industry in development. Yes, petri dish dermis will soon take the place of Fluffy in the lab.

Now I know that somebody reading this is thinking… “but RED!” And “It’s not that simple, in order to create new products we need to test them SOMEplace…” But here is the thing. How many NEW products do we need? What could we POSSIBLY still need to invent? The industry has now tested (both positively and negatively) hundreds of thousands of ingredients.

Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin
Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin

According to the 2016 PREDICTIONS FOR THE LUXURY INDUSTRY: SUSTAINABILITY AND INNOVATION report from Positive Luxury, millennials are almost three times as likely to look to work for a company because of its social and environmental practices and twice as likely to purchase from brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Those numbers keep growing and loyalty to ethical and “green” is more and more dedicated with this generation.

According to their Ethics Director, Hilary Jones, Lush cosmetics simply doesn’t feel the need to use ingredients that have not been tested already. “For us, it’s important that all of our business practices are inherently cruelty-free.” Yes, there is such a vocation as Ethics Director. Telling.

Thankfully, we have options. Actually, we have had options for a long time now. Even within the mainstream companies like Nyx there are products that get the green light. You can test the products you use on sites and apps such as Skin Deep  to see where they land on the Bad Guy spectrum. We will also continue on our website to list the best brands for both Cruelty Free and Natural Ingredients. While very few products (if any) are 100% fabulously Guilt Free, you may be surprised how close some of the best ones come… withOUT sacrificing quality.

Brands like Sappho are the new goal. Award winning MUA JoAnn Fowler has created cosmetics that not only meet the FDA approval of her home country, Canada, but has exceeded the more stringent European requirements. Organics by Sappho have been designed to bridge the gap between fashion and safety. Paraben and phthalate free, their cosmetics use natural ingredients to achieve the results that conventional (read cheap) ingredients aim for. Their liquid foundations are preserved with a system of essential oils, all of which have antioxidant properties and some which help promote collagen production such as frankincense. This, people, is the new luxury.

In a culture of slow food and yoga, it is time to apply the same philosophy to our daily beauty regimen. Do your due diligence with what you put on your body. There are so many ways to educate yourself and knowledge is power. Most importantly, by sending a message to companies that we won’t sacrifice our health or the world’s, we are having a positive impact that we can be proud of. We cannot be beautiful on the outside if we don’t feel good about it on the inside.

Let’s empower ourselves to shine.
Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin
Photo from FLORA series by photographer Juila Rabkin

Thankfully, we have options. Actually, we have had options for a long time now. Even within the mainstream companies like Nyx there are products that get the green light. You can test the products you use on sites and apps such as Skin Deep (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) to see where they land on the Bad Guy spectrum. We will also continue on our website to list the best brands for both Cruelty Free and Natural Ingredients. While very few products (if any) are 100% fabulously Guilt Free, you may be surprised how close some of the best ones come… withOUT sacrificing quality.

Companies like Sappho are the new goal. Award winning MUA JoAnn Fowler has created cosmetics that not only meet the FDA approval of her home country, Canada, but has exceeded the more stringent European requirements. Organics by Sappho have been designed to bridge the gap between fashion and safety. Paraben and phthalate free, their cosmetics use natural ingredients to achieve the results that conventional (read cheap) ingredients aim for. Their liquid foundations are preserved with a system of essential oils, all of which have antioxidant properties and some which help promote collagen production such as frankincense. This, people, is the new luxury.

Andrea Bell

Contributor

Having over twenty years in the fashion and PR industries, Andrea has covered positions as an author, editor, stylist, art director, consultant, marketing director, social media director and in various media stations in publishing. Green longer than she can remember. Updo in the clouds and feet firmly planted in a fabulously structured garden.