I’ve been a cruelty-free (CF) beauty consumer for almost 2 years now – I honestly can’t believe how quickly that’s gone by. It’s high time I revisit my thoughts on what it’s been like and whether the approach I adopted has worked for me.
You know, I can’t say going CF has been overly difficult or expensive for me, especially as I decided initially not to declutter anything from my collection. From the time I made the decision to go CF, before I considered culling anything I switched the direction of my spending and because of shifting sands of the beauty industry when it comes to who is and isn't CF at any given time it turned out doing that alone wasn’t a bad idea.
After finding out who is and isn't CF (my favourite sites are Cruelty-Free Kitty and Logical Harmony) my biggest challenge has been keeping up with the changes in CF status: Non-CF brands that I previously loved and purchased from became cruelty-free (Stila, and Marc Jacobs are two recent examples that come to mind) and one favourite CF drugstore brand, Burts Bees, actually lost their CF status only to recently regain it. My head was almost spinning over that one. I would have been especially disappointed to part with products from such brands only to find them on the list again!
I’m definitely not judging those who decide to declutter their collections of non CF products as part of the switch and I can see why they do. Decluttering non-CF products from your collection may be symbolic – cutting the old ties maybe? - and doing it on social media delivers a strong message to your audience. Until the laws on animal testing change universally it’s a personal decision to go CF and I think it should work for the individual.
My gentle way of easing in to transitioning my collection has been using those non-CF products up largely outside of the social media space (except for popping up as empties in my Instagram “Makeup Use-up” challenge), and even giving myself permission to enjoy them, then moving on to CF options. Over time as those older non-CF products no longer interest me or expire they’re moved out of my collection. Recently I've become better at parting with things and because it felt like the right thing to do I donated a whole bagful of unused(!) products to a charity.
For that reason I don’t judge people for being too rigidly CF or not CF enough. If we are all somewhere along the path that is all that matters to me. As Tashina from Logical Harmony recently tweeted: "Instead of being upset if someone doesn't fit your standard of cruelty-free, support that they are on their own cruelty-free journey."
The parent company issue is one that continues to divide the community too. Some consumers decide to avoid brands that are owned by a non-CF parent company (all power to you because a full boycott will hurt!) and some like me choose to support these CF brands in the hope the parent company recognises - if not being moved by the ethical argument alone - that CF is where the dollars are to be made. In support of the latter approach, I see that Logical Harmony is also encouraging consumers to support newly CF brands like Smashbox where the parent company is not CF. See the article here. Again, I'm not judging. Do what is best for you.
Do I get pangs for the brands that are off the list? I’m human and after years of spending my money on certain luxury brands I still get a bit wistful when I see pretty new things but I no longer follow those brands on social media and I tell myself that if and when they see the light I’ll support them again. Having said that there are enough luxury CF brands out there to satisfy any cravings for the finer things (like Charlotte Tilbury, Chantecaille or By Terry for some really chic luxe products) and I haven’t really scratched the surface with those.
Anyway my stream of thought is exhausted. What are your thoughts? If you have made the switch to CF, what’s made it easier for you?