Follow the White Rabbit

Our skin is our largest organ. The content of the substances we put on our skin as well as the foods we take into our bodies have an impact on our health. Many products, from shower gel to body cream, from tanner to sunscreen, can increase our toxic load with the harmful substances they contain. Moreover, human is not the only living thing that it threatens.

If you are a curious and animal-loving tag reader; You may have seen the phrase “cruelty-free” on cosmetic products. No matter how overwhelming, confusing and even misleading reading labels can be; there are still “animal friendly” products on the market that are controlled by the participation of animal protection groups. So how do we decipher the "cruelty-free" tags?

“cruelty-free”, which we come across on the labels of cosmetic products or hear from our animal-loving friends; briefly described as "cruel free" or "not tested on animals". But there is no legal definition for this term; This gives the companies the right to use the phrase “cruelty-free” unlimitedly. However, when you come across a product labeled "not tested on animals", there are certain steps that must be followed to ensure that a product and company treats animals.

The first step is to visit the company's website. Relevant companies often detail their stance on animal testing in the frequently asked questions or about us sections of their websites. But if that explanation doesn't satisfy you, there are two logos on the products you should check out: Leaping Bunny and PETA Bunny.

Leaping Bunny

Often regarded as the highest standard of “cruelty-free,” this logo is “the only international icon to represent the strictest non-animal testing standard,” according to Leaping Bunny. In order for companies to use this logo on their products, they must apply and pass tests with different stages.

PETA Bunny

PETA conducted a short survey of companies producing cosmetics; the animals sign a statement of assurance confirming that they have not done any testing on them and have promised not to do so. So unlike Leaping Bunny, PETA does not take over control of company facilities. But they check the honesty of the companies with the documents they have signed; companies adhere to these contracts to protect their reputations.

"Not tested on animals.”

What about the products that carry this phrase on their labels? According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “unrestricted use of this phrase by cosmetic companies is possible because there is no legal definition for these terms.” Moreover, many raw materials used in the cosmetics industry were tested on animals until they became the building blocks of the products we use today. So, even if the product you are using now has not been tested on animals, any ingredient in it may have been tested.

Is cruelty-free cosmetics possible?

While the situation is so depressing, how will we, the consumers, reach products that respect both the environment and the living things around us, as well as our own bodies? Perhaps this is not as difficult as we think. Because each of the choices we make as consumers leaves a mark in this world. With new techniques to minimize this trace; We can search for cosmetic brands that produce with alternative, natural and vegan ingredients, ask questions to these brands on social media, and refuse to use products that we are not sure about.

More for the curious:


The views expressed in this article aim to shed light on alternative studies and encourage conversation. These views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Be People and are for informational purposes only, even if they contain to some extent the advice of physicians and physicians (medical doctors). This article; It is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, and the information herein should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.

About the author:

Deniz Şenliler – Be People Publication Coordinator

Having completed her undergraduate education at Boğaziçi University, Department of Sociology, Deniz Şenliler is pursuing her master's degree at Istanbul Bilgi University, Department of Cultural Studies. Şenliler, who started his editorship at BUMED Boğaziçi Magazine in 2012; editorship in publications such as Artful Living and Zero Istanbul; She worked as a freelance writer for publications such as Sinefil, Istanbul Art News, Great Art Istanbul, Istanbul '74 A Journal, Kale Unicera Magazine and Kolektif House Komag, and was the editorial coordinator of BÜMED Boğaziçi Magazine and Assembly Journal. Şenliler, who has been working as a content manager at Shop Creative since September 2018; has produced content for Niche Istanbul, Kutnia, Assembly Buildings social media accounts; He still maintains his post on the Be People Blog and social media accounts.

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