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What Does "Cruelty Free" Mean?

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Behind many mascaras, lipsticks, foundations, body scrubs, lotions, and other everyday beauty items, the unfortunate practice of testing on animals can still be found. While the EU outlawed animal testing in cosmetics in 2013, many companies still test on animals throughout the world. Surprisingly, companies labeled as “cruelty free” are often not, due to legal loopholes and parent company polices.

According to PETA:

“Hundreds of thousands of animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year in archaic product tests for cosmetics, personal-care products, household cleaning products, and even fruit juices. Although more than 1,700 companies have banned all animal tests, some corporations still force substances into animals’ stomachs and drip chemicals into rabbits’ eyes. These tests are not required by law, and they often produce inaccurate or misleading results—even if a product has blinded an animal, it can still be marketed to you.”

Among some of the biggest perpetrators are household names like Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, and Revlon. Certain countries require by law that companies test products on animals – China being one of them. This leads to quite the conundrum for companies that label themselves as “cruelty free” and claim that they “do not test on animals,” if they want to sell in a market which requires animal testing.

Why do beauty and cosmetic companies still test on animals? It seems unnecessary, considering the plethora of alternative methods to animal testing - methods that are both effective and non-harmful. According to, the practice stems back to a few tragic incidents from the 1930’s:

“Drugs and cosmetics contain chemicals that can have dangerous side effects. U.S. law has required animal safety testing of drugs and cosmetics since 1938 when Congress passed the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in response to public outcry after several tragic incidents involving untested products. In the 1930s more than a dozen women went blind because of Lash Lure, a mascara that was made with a chemical that could burn the skin. One woman had such severe burns that she died due to infection. In 1937, more that 100 people died after taking a new cough syrup called Elixir Sulfanilamide because the medicine was dissolved in diethylene glycol, which is toxic.”

Even in the EU, with its stronger animal protection laws, there are still loopholes allowing for animals to be tested, especially when it comes to instances of harmful chemicals in a “workforce exposure.” Chemical ingredients, that may harm workers in areas where the beauty products are being manufactured, seems like the first problem. The workers would be safer, and animal testing unnecessary, if the ingredients used in the cosmetics, lotions, body scrubs, and makeup weren’t made up of harsh chemicals in the first place.

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Consumers have a voice, and supporting companies that test on animals keeps the practice going. At Pura Vida Body, we are proud to be cruelty free and never test on animals. Our ingredients are suitable for both vegans and conscientious consumers, and we are dedicated to keeping our products cruelty free for as long as we make them. Our organic coconut coffee scrub is made with all natural, organic, ingredients, and we support fair trade and sustainable practices, so we can all scrub sensibly and safely. 

Pura Vida!

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