Sorry it’s late…

I wish I had posted this in December, before the Xmas shopping spree – but I didn’t. My health kind of dictates how prolific my posts are – which is a shame because I may have missed the chance to influence you against a bad shopping decision. But maybe I can make up for it now.

Lots of the big stores – Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid etc – sell lovely sets of eye shadows, lotions, lipsticks, nail varnishes which all look wonderful and seem like perfect gift choices, especially given the price point, which is usually very low.

That should be your first warning sign. When something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Most of these gift sets are made in China – I have already posted about China and it’s relationship with cruelty free beauty, but suffice it to say that China has a horrendous record on animal cruelty in cosmetics.

So, before buying these sets, check the back and see where they were made. If it’s China, and there is no leaping bunny symbol, you should be take your business elsewhere.

And if you get given one of these sets, what do you do? My best advice is to break the news gently to the giver, after a little time has passed, that you only use cruelty free beauty products, and you heard or read that these products are surprisingly not cruelty free. Surprisingly, because not many people realize the reality behind beauty products and animal cruelty. Let the person know that you are telling them so that they are educated in the future – you are passing on what you just learned. You are assuming that the person would want to shop cruelty free if given the choice – if they do or not, you have sewn the seed and also let them know your own preferences.

So, go tell Aunt Mary that the 100 shimmering eye shadow collection she gave you for Christmas is actually made in China and is not cruelty free – it may be hard, but you will be doing Aunt Mary, yourself, and especially the animals, a great favor.

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!