Wednesday, 18 February 2015

'Think Dirty' App

Since becoming a cruelty-free makeup artist, I have also become increasingly interested in natural, organic and green cosmetics. I am currently trying to clear my kit of products with harmful chemicals. Whilst researching into ingredients and products, I came across an app called 'Think Dirty'. I think it's really helpful for people, like me, who are starting out and learning which ingredients are safe and which ones to avoid. I have found it extremely helpful when looking for new products, so I thought I would share in the hope that it will help some of you too!

How it works
Think Dirty works using its own rating system. You can search or scan the barcode of any product and it will rate it a number between 1 and 10. Anything between 1-3 has no known negative health effects, anything between 4-7 has potential moderate health effect and anything between 8-10 has potential serious health effects. 

Once you've searched and selected your item, you will come to a screen that shows you an overview of the safety of that product. On this page there is information in a sort of bar graph form. The bar graph shows which parts of your health may be effected by the ingredients in the product. Whether the bar is white, yellow or red shows how 'dirty' the product is. 

If you want to learn more about the individual ingredients in a product, there is a separate tab for this. On this screen, you will see all the ingredients in the product and their individual rating. You can click on each individual ingredient and view their safety, health impacts and links to sources that have contributed to its 'Think Dirty' rating.

The only problem I have with is it that being from the UK, there are a lot of products not yet entered into the system. However, there is the option to scan a product and take a photo of the packaging to submit it as a new product. I have not tried this yet, so am unsure of how long it then takes to be added and rated. 

As I've already said, this has really helped me, so I hope some of you find this useful! 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Why Cruelty Free?

As you may know, I only use products that are cruelty free. It was about this time last year that I was just reading through reviews and looking at blogs, when I came across a post that somebody had written about why they were cruelty free. I'm an animal lover so it interested me. I researched a little into it and it's safe to say the things I read and pictures I saw were not pretty.

This made me determined to change and make sure that purchases I made from then on did not support animal testing. I don't think it's right that an animal should suffer for our cosmetic needs.

Before I'd read the post about animal testing, I literally had no idea what sort of things went on or which brands tested etc. Me and my family have always been animal lovers and have rescued animals and given them loving homes. My parents and I have often sponsored animals and given money to animal charities. I was not aware, as I'm sure many others aren't, of the horrible things that happen behind the scenes. Understandably, it's not something brands publicise. When shopping at fancy makeup stands, many people are unaware that a lot of those companies have policies in place, which mean either ingredients in their products, or the final product have to be cruelly tested on animals. Whether it be that company that conducts the tests or a third party that do it on their behalf, when you purchase that product, you are funding extremely bad treatment of some animals. After doing some research, I realised many of the products I used on myself and around the house were from companies that conducted unethical, cruel and inhumane tests on animals. Unless I hadn't discovered what actually went on, I would have carried on completely naive to it all.

It was after all of this that I made it a conscious decision to make sure I knew more about the companies that I decided to purchase products from. I feel like it really opened my eyes. I decided to write this post in order to hopefully provide some of you with some more information and show you ways in which you can start to help make a change, if it is something you feel you might like to do.

                                                     (My boyfriends gorgeous little Border Terrier pup.)

I searched cruetly free Youtubers, and came across Amy Sass. I believe she is from Australia and I watched a ton of her videos and learnt a lot of initial information from her. She made a great video
that you can watch at here.

She then made a great follow up video and read out a template a letter/email, that could be sent to a company to ask if they conduct animal testing or not. That can be seen here. I think originally this template was created by a lady named Naomi and her Youtube channel can be found in the description box of Amy's video - although it seems her last video was uploaded in 2010 so some of the products she uses if her videos may no longer be cruelty free.

Here is a written copy of the template letter (I think I edited it a little from Naomi's version) :

'Good afternoon,
I’m writing to ask you about your policy regarding animal testing. I’m interested in trying products from this brand but I don’t use products that contain ingredients that are tested on animals. I would therefore appreciate if you could let me know if any of the product ingredients or products themselves have been tested on animals either by your company, or for you by a third party company or manufacturer.

Could you also confirm if you have a parent company and if so who is it, and do they test on animals?

Additionally, I would be grateful if you could let me know whether any of your products are vegan and if so which ones? I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this matter and thank you in advance for your co-operation.

Kind regards

[Your name goes here]'

You have to be careful with this. Some companies will come back with a response such as, 'We are against animal testing and don't test on animals unless it is required by law'. This means that they DO test on animals and it is likely that they do so because they sell their products in a country such as China, where it is required by law that the products must be tested on animals.

They also may completely avoid questions about parent companies, third party companies or manufacturers. It is down to you what you do in this case. My personal opinion is that if they avoid questions like these, they have something to hide. I will either email again asking the specific questions that they avoided, or just not buy from them.

Personally, I try and send these emails to companies every couple of months because many brands can be sneaky in changing their cruelty free status either to sell in China, or are brought by a larger company that do test. In this case, buying from these companies results in your money ending up in the pockets of an animal testing company.

Another beauty Youtuber that I found was Beauty Talk With Cin. She's my favourite. There are regular uploads on her channel and she often shows brands that aren't as well known and much less likely to sell out. She also has a video on her channel where she reveals her cruelty free story so if you're interested you might want to check that out. One of her recent videos featured a cruelty free beauty box called Petit Vour. I checked it out and they ship all over the world, so I'm subscribing to that as soon as pay day gets here! Click here for her channel :).

Pirouette Makeup is another. I just really like her channel, she knows what she's talking about! She also has her own brand of cruelty free makeup brushes which I can't wait to get my hands on!

Organisations such as PETA and Leaping Bunny have lists on their websites of companies that don't test but you have to be a little careful here too, depending on how strict you want to be with it. As far as I know, the PETA lists only ask the companies to write a statement declaring that they are cruelty free and don't ask for proof. I use the list more as a way of finding new brands and I still like to email them to make certain. PETA'S don't test list can be found here.

The Leaping Bunny organisation ask companies to prove that they are cruelty free I think. The companies on their lists all will have the little picture of their logo (which is a leaping bunny.. funnily enough) printed on the packaging. On this list the companies with a purple square next to them have parent companies that do not comply with Leaping Bunnies standards, so depending on how strict you want to be with this, you need to look out for those. That list can be seen here.

There's a really great post that goes more in depth into both organisations and differences between them that you can read if you click here. If you are interested in becoming cruelty free and using both the PETA and Leaping Bunny lists I suggest you give this a read - it's pretty helpful. There's also a list of cruelty free bloggers and other bits and bobs on the 'Cruelty Free Info' section of the blog.

My Beauty Bunny is another good one. I used this a lot when I was first making the transition. They had a few good dupes posts on there which I found quite helpful. They also keep pretty up to date with which brands are cruelty free and often post when there is a change with a brands status.

(My lovely doggy wog & bestest bud <3)

I mentioned I come from a family of animal lovers, so it goes without saying that we have a few pets. The thought that animals similar to my beloved doggy or kitty are tortured in order for a cosmetic product to reach the shelves really drives me to continue to look for cruelty free alternatives and support brands that are against testing.

                                    (My rather grumpy cat who's not too keen on cuddles, but extremely keen on sleep and food!)

I hope this post has been informative enough and hope its been helpful to someone somewhere! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or email me and I will be more than happy to answer :)

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