Those of us who are socially conscious animal and beauty lovers know how hard it can be to find ethical, cruelty-free beauty products.
Not only do many of the big beauty brands out there (including Estée Lauder, Avon, Clinique, Maybelline, and L'Oreal) still test on animals, pay for animal testing in China, or commission/contract animal testing, but there are laws in Canada that allow beauty companies to test on animals.
But the good news is that on Oct. 4, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology unanimously voted in favour of S-214, the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act. This bill would prohibit not only cosmetic animal testing in Canada, but also the sale of cosmetic products or ingredients that have been newly testing elsewhere in the world, reports the Animal Alliance of Canada.
The proposed legislation will move to debate and a final vote in the Canadian Senate, and if the bill passes, it will move to the House of Commons.
Here in Canada, [animal testing] remains perfectly legal for cosmetic chemicals to be dripped into rabbits' eyes and spread on their delicate skin, all for the sake of a new lipstick and skin cream.
"Cosmetic testing on animals is an outdated, needless practice with no place in a modern and progressive society," Troy Seidle, Humane Society International's (HSI) senior director of research and toxicology said in a statement. "Yet here in Canada, it remains perfectly legal for cosmetic chemicals to be dripped into rabbits' eyes and spread on their delicate skin, all for the sake of a new lipstick and skin cream."
The alternatives to these methods, notes the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), include using donated human cells and tissues in vitro, computer simulations and genetic testing.
According to a poll conducted by Animal Alliance and HSI, 81 per cent of Canadians support a national ban on cosmetic animal testing.
PETA also has a searchable database, so if you're unsure whether the product you're interested in is cruelty-free, you can just type in the name of the brand and PETA will do the work for you. Meanwhile, Cruelty-Free Kitty, Logical Harmony, and PETA also have lists of companies that do test on animals.
Below are 16 cruelty-free beauty brands — from drugstore brands to high-end ones — you can either buy in Canada or that will ship to Canada.
This drugstore brand is not only cruelty-free, but their products are also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free and gluten-free. Known for being a great brand for people who have sensitive skin, Physicians Formula's offerings will take you from day to night with just a few key products.
Our favourite product:Hypoallergenic lipstick in berry
Price point: $10 for lipstick to $15.99 for a powder palette
This Canadian-born beauty brand is a high-end, vegan, preservative- and cruelty-free skincare line made entirely of natural, sustainably-grown ingredients. Oh, and did we mention that their products are ultra-luxe and can make your skin feel like you've just been at the spa? Yeah, they're that good.
Our favourite product:Illuminati Facial Mask
Price point: $15 for a travel-size hydrating mist to $96 for a facial serum
Kat Von D Beauty
The tattoo artist and known animal lover started her beauty brand for Sephora in 2008, inspired by her own personal journey. Kat Von D Beauty is known for its goth aesthetic (just like Kat herself), and its beautiful, versatile products. Yep, people can't get enough of this cruelty-free makeup line, which went completely vegan in 2016.
Our favourite product:Saint & Sinner eyeshadow palette
Price point: $15 for a Studded Kiss lipstick to $86 for a mini liquid lipstick set
Where to get it:Sephora
Lippy Girl Makeup
This Vancouver, B.C.-based cosmetics brand offers organic, natural makeup products including lipstick, lipgloss, blush, eyeshadow, and powder.
Most of their products are vegan, with the exception of a few items, which contain beeswax. The company also has a line of organic and vegan lipsticks called Vego-Maniac, and is certified cruelty-free by PETA.
Lippy Girl takes their love for animals one step further by supporting the Humane Society International's Be Cruelty-Free Campaign, whose goal is to end animal testing in cosmetics.
Our favourite product: Vego-Maniac organic vegan lipstick
Price point: $8 for a Power Pom lip moisturizer to $35 for pressed mineral foundation
The cult beauty brand, which is entirely cruelty-free, finally started shipping to Canada in July 2017, and even opened up a temporary pop-up shop during the Toronto International Film Festival this September.
Fans of the company can't get enough of their skin and makeup products: easy, buildable, and versatile for all occasions. They also recently launched a body line and just came out with their first ever fragrance, Glossier You.
Our favourite product: Milky Jelly Cleanser
Price point: $14 for lipgloss to $35 for Priming Moisturizing Rich cream
The company became Leaping Bunny certified after its decision to remove all its products from China, a country that requires animal testing. However, it's important to note that in 2015 Dermalogica was acquired by Unilever, which is not an animal-friendly company. Despite this, Dermalogica itself remains vegan and cruelty-free, and produces high-quality products for the face and body — specifically, they're well-known for products that calm sensitive and red-prone skin.
Our favourite product:Ultracalming cleanser
Price point: $27 for a cleansing bar to $98 for an exfoliant
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
Known for their standout cruelty-free cleaning products, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day also makes select body care products: body wash (comes in five incredible scents) and soap bars (also in five scents). Fans of the brand can't get enough of their natural-smelling products, with options such as basil, geranium, lavender, lemon, and honeysuckle.
Our favourite product:Lavender body wash
Price point: $10 for the bar soap and $21 for the body wash
Where to get it: Select grocery stores and Amazon.ca
The Toronto-based brand offers products ranging from mists and oils to masks and serums that are vegan-friendly and 100 per cent cruelty-free. For those of you who experience cold winters, we suggest stocking up on their ultra-hydrating luxe beauty balm to soothe rough, dry, and dehydrated skin.
Our favourite product:Blemish serum
Price point: $8 for lip balm to $118 for a deluxe beauty kit
Known for being experts in skincare (it's easy to fall into a rabbit hole of information if you want to know which alcohols are safe and unsafe for your skin), Paula's Choice is a leader in the beauty industry, and part of the Leaping Bunny program.
The products aren't cheap, but they're made with care, with different products for varying skin types, all made without harming animals. They've been recognized by the beauty industry for this quality care, with their priming serum winning Allure's Best of Beauty 2017 Award and their niacinamide serum booster winning the Teen Vogue Acne Award 2017.
Our favourite product:CALM Redness Relief Skin Moisturizer
Price point: US$10 for a travel sprayer to US$56 for retinol treatment
Trust Fund Beauty
The Montreal, Que., company is known for its nail and lip offerings, but Trust Fund Beauty, which is 100 per cent vegan and certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, also offers lip glosses, liquid lipsticks, face primers and highlighters.
Our favourite product:Call the Psychic Liquid Lipstick
Price point: US$10 for nail polish to US$25 for face primer
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Certified cruelty-free by PETA, the cosmetics brand is known for making some of the best brow products in the industry. Brow connoisseurs have their pick of the litter with pencils, gels, brushes, definers, and palettes, plus a ton more products for the lips and cheeks.
Our favourite product:Brow Wiz
Price point: $23 for a brush or liner to $55 for an eyeshadow palette
Where to get it:Sephora
The simple, bright packaging is enough to draw us in, but Yes To products actually deliver: refreshing, natural offerings (face, body, hair, and lips) that will give you healthy skin and hair. The company is Leaping Bunny certified, formulated without parabens, and packaged in recyclable packaging whenever possible. They also guarantee that their products are made of 95 per cent natural ingredients so you can use those cucumber wipes with peace of mind.
Our favourite product:Yes To Cucumbers Calming Mud Mask
Price point: US$2.99 for a single-use mask to US$15.99 for a Pore Perfectiom Brightening Peel
Where to get it:Shoppers Drug Mart
Charlotte Tilbury is known for its high-end "miracle" makeup and skincare (and for founder Charlotte's celebrity friends), so it can come as a bit of a surprise to some to find out that the brand is actually cruelty-free; neither the brand nor their suppliers test on animals. Many of their products are also vegan, including the Air Brush Flawless Finish Powder, Brow Lift, Brightening Youth Glow, Goddess Skin Clay Mask, and more. Yes, the products are expensive, but many can testify to their quality and attention to detail.
Our favourite product:Magic Night Cream
Price point: $27 for a dry sheet mask to $360 for a Luxury Lipstick Wardrobe
Where to get it:Holt Renfrew
Herbivore Botanicals is a completely non-toxic, therapeutic skincare brand, which uses zero synthetic ingredients, parabens, fillers, mineral oils and petroleum. Naturally, they also don't test on animals. Instead, their products are made with natural, organic, plant-based ingredients. So you can feel good about yourself, and the knowledge that you're not harming the planet, when you're relaxing in a luxurious exfoliating mask.
Our favourite product:Coco Rose Body Polish
Price point: $14.98 for a Cleansing Bar Soap to $109.84 for Phoenix Facial Oil
Did you know that everybody's favourite lipstick brand is cruelty-free and Canadian? Yep, the Canuck brand, which has a warehouse in Toronto, uses food-grade, antioxidant ingredients to achieve their stunning lip products. They've also just recently launched an agave collection, which features masks, balms, and scrubs. We're ready to shop!
Our favourite product:Amuse Bouche Lipstick
Price point: $5 for a lip pencil sharpener to $39 for a Champagne Discovery Lip Set
This Toronto brand, which makes the most gorgeous, luxurious skincare products in the biz, is Leaping Bunny and Green Business certified, vegan, and is part of the Just Beautiful Pledge to help consumers make informed decisions about the products they buy. Speaking of the products, you'll fall in love with their natural oils, soaps, serums and moisturizers, which will do wonders for your skin and make you feel good about being a friend to animals and the environment.
Our favourite product:Lover's Oil
Price point: $14 for a bar of soap to $78 for Clear Skin Advanced Spot Serum
Where to get it:Their website and their Toronto store
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