Over 10,000 distinct chemicals are used as ingredients in hygiene and cosmetics products.[1] Whereas some companies have chosen to manufacture products with ingredients that are safe enough to eat, other companies disregard potential health effects and create products that contain highly toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, several chemicals used in everyday hygiene and cosmetic products have been identified as highly toxic to human health and the environment.[2] For example, the active ingredient in “anti-bacterial” soap, triclosan, has been linked with endocrine disruption at very low doses[3] and promotes the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.[4] The irony is that so-called anti-bacterial soaps are no more effective in killing bacteria than triclosan-free soaps.[5] In another example, ingredients common in sunscreen, such as oxybenzone, penetrate the skin, mimic estrogen in the body, and frequently cause skin allergies.[6] In 2014, Congress introduced the Sunscreen Innovation Act to address this problem (safer alternatives have long been available in Europe).[7]

You may be surprised that the U.S. government permits the manufacture and sale of unsafe products, especially as the European Union has banned over a hundred chemicals for use in cosmetics.[8] In fact, the official policy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows for “a cosmetic manufacturer [to] use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.”[9] The chemical industry continues to lobby our elected representatives to minimize the power of the FDA to regulate the ingredients in cosmetics and other products.[10]

Animal welfare regulations in relation to product development have also been very weak in the U.S. Various tests are performed on  rats, mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits, and afterwards the animals are killed:

  • “skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief
  • repeated force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards such as cancer or birth defects; and
  • widely condemned “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death.
  • At the end of a test the animals are killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking, or decapitation. Pain relief is not provided.”[11]

While South Korea, the European Union, and Brazil banned animal testing for cosmetics, a similar regulation has not been introduced in the U.S. Many animals in the U.S. thus continue to suffer in product toxicity evaluations, despite the fact that most consumers prefer products that have not been tested on animals.[12]


The Cosmetics Blacklist: Companies that Test Products on Animals

AhavaDoveNoxzemaYves Saint Laurent
AlgenistDr. BrandtNu Skin
Amazing CosmeticsDr. JartObagi
AmorePacificElizabeth ArdenOlay
AvageEstee LauderOrigins
AvènefreshPeter Thomas Roth
AvonGarnier NutritionistePevonia Botanica
Avon MarkGiorgio Armaniphilosophy
Banana BoatGivenchy MakeupPond's
BlissHada Labo TokyoRenova
Bobbi BrownJergensReplenix
BorgheseJurlique InternationalRetin-A
BosciaKiehl'sRetin-A Micro
Botox CosmeticKorres NaturalRevlon
Burberry BeautyL'OccitaneRimmel
Caudalie ParisL'Oreal ParisRoC
CetaphilLa MerRoC Canada
ChanelLa PrairieSephora
ClarinsLa Roche-PosayShiseido
ClarisonicLab Series Skincare for MenShu Uemura
Cle de Peau BeauteLancomeSimple
Clean & ClearLaneigeSK-II
CliniqueM.A.C.Skyn Iceland
CoppertoneMake Up For EverSt. Ives
CoverGirlMary KayStila
CurelMaybelline New YorkStriVectin
DDF - Doctor's Dermatologic FormulaMD FormulationsTazorac
DHCMetroGel, MetroCream, and MetroLotionVaniqa
DiorNeutrogena CanadaVichy
Dolce & GabbanaNiveaVivité

Source. Beautypedia. (2016). Animal testing report card.



Take Action

  1. Tell Congress that you support better regulations of the cosmetics industry.
  2. Get the mobile app, Think Dirty, to evaluate product toxicity on the go.
  3. Purchase Non-Toxic Cosmetics and Hygiene Products that have not been tested on animals:


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Video Pick: Story of Cosmetics