Is The Body Shop cruelty free? Yes! And no…

Years ago I worked for a non-profit international development agency in the UK. We had meetings with Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, as a potential funder of our work. It didn’t pan out, but it made me aware of The Body Shop and what it stood for: a one stop shop for cruelty free, ethically sourced skin care and makeup. Not to mention wonderful scents (EVERYONE wore White Musk in the ’80’s!), bath products, makeup brushes, gifts – it represented guilt free shopping and an excuse to stock up on wonderful goodies whenever I came across one of their stores (usually in an airport terminal). So I have always believed that The Body Shop was probably THE safest place to shop for cruelty free beauty products.

What happened?

The Body Shop was wildly successful, and went public in the 1990’s. In 2006, it was sold out to cosmetic giant L’Oréal – which was still testing its products on animals at the time. In response to protests that Anita was betraying the very ideals that she had built her business empire upon, she was reported to have said that she hoped the acquisition of The Body Shop would lure L’Oréal towards the virtues of cruelty free beauty. Whatever the case, the fact is that today The Body Shop is owned by L’Oréal.

What’s up with L’Oréal anyway?

It’s Big Business…

It depends on how far you want to go “down the rabbit hole”. They sell their products in China, which legally requires that they be tested on animals. L’Oréal USA appears on the PETA list of companies that DO test on animals. Other common brands that L’Oréal owns include: Kiehl’s, Maybelline and Lancôme, among others. All of these still test on animals.

So, Is The Body Shop cruelty free…or not?

The Body Shop stuck to its guns when it was bought out – i.e. they still adhere to their no testing, cruelty free credentials. The Body Shop IS listed on PETA’s cruelty free cosmetics list.

However, when you buy from The Body Shop just be aware that you are lining the pockets of a huge cosmetics corporation that supports and carries out animal testing (L’Oréal).

It’s up to you – where do you want to draw the line?

The many shades of “cruelty free”…


The war of hotel bathroom beauty – who knew?

OK, I admit it. I am that person who takes home all the unused bathroom products from a hotel stay – not the towels you understand, but the “free” soaps, shampoos, conditioners and body lotions (actually 73% of travelers do the same thing, so I guess I won’t feel too guilty about it!) My justification is that they will be handy to take on a future trip – but of course, the “future trip” provides its own treasure chest of these lovely little take-aways, and my hoard just keeps growing.

Recently I was staying at a hotel in Arizona, and had occasion to use the free body lotion. It actually smelt really good, and did a good job of moisturizing my skin too. It used to be that bathroom freebies were really basic – kind of an after thought. But with the stiff competition in hotel bookings that now exists, hoteliers are now taking these amenities a LOT more seriously. In December 2015, an article in USA Today stated that a Comfort brand hotel can typically spend up to $13,000 per year on bathroom products; and that Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites looked at 20-30 different brands before deciding to start their own brand. Some high end hotels have even partnered with perfumers to create their own, signature scent for their products.

A few top chains and the verdict on their bathroom toiletries

  1. Hilton Hotels & Resorts uses PeterThomasRoth. This brand DOES test on animals!
  2. Joie de Vivre uses Lather. This brand does NOT test on animals.
  3. Fairmont uses Le Labo. This brand does NOT test on animals.
  4. Sheraton uses Shine by Bliss. Bliss DOES test on animals!