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.
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 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?