Vegan and Cruelty-Free lifestyle became mainstream in the United States. Consumers are searching for these products and producers started to deliver them. Activists assemble lists, create certificates, bloggers review products from that perspective, discussions in social media are carried on. However, I can see a void in regards to information about cosmetics made in Europe. I will try to fill in that gap.
American consumers should know that ALL cosmetics and skincare products made in the European Union and sold there, are cruelty-free, regardless of the presence of the “Cruelty-Free” label or symbol on the packaging.
In 2013 Europe completely banned testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals and the sale of cosmetics that have been tested in this way. The prohibition applies irrespective of the place where the tests were carried out. It is also forbidden to place cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals by a given manufacturer to develop a product or to carry out a safety assessment of this product.
You can still find some lists of producers who test or who do not test their products on animals. These lists are not a reliable source of information because they are outdated. Currently, no company is testing cosmetics on animals, because it is not allowed.
Europe replaced animal testing with alternative methods gradually from 2004 to 2013. It was challenging to develop and refine alternative methods.
Cosmetics are the only group of products that have been banned. The ban on animal testing does not apply to, for example, medicines, biocides, dietary supplements and other products, as well as the chemicals themselves. The law requires data obtained in animal studies to assess the safety of these products and substances.
The European Union legislation regulates that any substance of the cosmetic products must be registered in a special registry. And to register it, it must be demonstrated that it is safe, that is, provide relevant toxicological data. Many of them are data obtained in animal studies. It is worth remembering that there are virtually no materials that have never been tested on animals in history. Most chemicals have been tested on animals in the past to assess whether their use is safe for human health. Thanks to this, there is no need to repeat many tests, as they are described in the literature. Many years ago, even ... distilled water was tested on animals in Europe. It is difficult to imagine a cosmetic that does not contain any substance that has never been tested on animals
Some companies still put on the cosmetics label "Not tested on animals". It happens because of low public awareness regarding the current ban on testing cosmetics on animals. After the introduction of the ban on testing finished animal cosmetics on animals in 2004, many companies that abandoned the label received negative signals from consumers: "the label has disappeared - why did you start testing your products on animals?".
The lack of such labeling on the cosmetic does not mean that the product or its components have been tested on animals.
After the entry into force of a total ban on the use of ingredients tested on animals in cosmetics, the marking 'not tested on animals' (or ' cruelty-free') is considered to be misleading. Currently, no cosmetics or its ingredients are tested on animals to assess the safety of the cosmetic. In contrast, there are virtually no substances that have never been tested on animals in history. To make a cosmetic safety assessment required by law, it is necessary to use data derived from animal tests. These are historical data, available in literature and specialist databases.
Author unknown, website owner: Polski Związek Przemysłu Kosmetycznego (Polish Association of Cosmetic Industry), the title "Kosmetyki a Testy na Zwierzetach" ("Cosmetics and Animal Tests"), www.kosmopedia.org.
Translation by Alina Cosmetics team.