Monday, 2 May 2011

Stop Animal Cruelty & My Thoughts on Animal Hair Brushes

Last night, whilst having a perusal of Twitter, I brought up the subject of make up brushes, and how it infuriates me that so many companies still insist on using animal hair in them. I was expecting some response - but was glad that so many people in the blogging industry agree with me. I thought I would post about this as it's something I feel EXTREMELY strongly about. Cruelty to animals makes my blood boil and although you might see this post as a bit preachy-preachy, I think it's so important that more people are made aware of what goes on.

I have been an animal lover all my life, and a serious vegetarian since the age of six. I have extremely strong values when it comes to animals and how they are treated - if I had my way we would all be vegetarians, but don't get me started on that one. I don't wear leather, I use vegan/vegetarian beauty products as much as possible (all hail Lush!), I avoid brands that test on animals as much as I can (although in this day and age I find it very hard to know who to trust), and I ALWAYS use synthetic brushes.

All images found via Google images

A fair few years ago, when I was younger and less aware of the beauty industry, I discovered, whilst perusing the MAC website, that a vast majority of their brushes are made from goat hair. It was odd seeing it there on the screen, the word 'goat' amongst the pretty MAC make up brushes. After some frantic Google searching, I discovered that a huge selection of make up brushes (the majority, in fact) are made from animal hair. I was shocked and taken aback - and also sickened that I may have been using animal hair to paint my face. I immediately threw all my brushes away - at the time the majority I owned were No7 and Superdrug's own brand (I'm not sure what Superdrug's brushes are made from but as far as I know No7's use animal hair) - and went on the hunt for synthetic brushes. And they're not hard to find. Ecotools, The Body Shop, ELF's Studio range (their main line is, unfortunately, not synthetic - as far as I know), Crown and a handful of others all readily use synthetic fibres, usually in the from of Taklon.

Why, then, do so many brands STILL insist on using animal hair? How do they source it? What goes on behind the scenes? Well, it's been said that many of the brands who source animal hair get them either as left overs from the meat industry, or, in fact, the fur industry - both cruel industries which take the hairs in the most inhumane ways. Some brands, supposedly, source the hairs through natural shedding, and therefore don't harm the animals in the process. This, however, means that the brushes are a lot more expensive (I'm thinking MAC - although I don't know for sure how they get their hair). Many brands excuse for using animal hair (even though I believe it is COMPLETELY unnecessary) is because it makes a better quality product. I'm sorry, but I think my ELF brushes are second to none and they are synthetic.

Something which annoys me a huge amount is the fact that the whole 'animal-hair-in-brushes' thing is kept under wraps. I know growing up I wasn't aware of it (until the day I found the MAC website), and it makes my skin crawl how young girls with strong values about animal cruelty might be using these brushes without being aware of it. You see, a lot of brands do not make their customers aware of what their brushes are actually made of. They simply won't state on the packaging, which I think is completely unacceptable. It is essential for us to know what ingredients are in our products, so why not inform us of the hair used in our brushes? If the product says it uses 'natural' hair, it means it comes from animals. If it's synthetic or Taklon, it's cruelty free. But some brands refuse to put either.

If I had my way animal hair use in brushes would be banned, as it just is too difficult to determine where the hair comes from. Animal testing would also be banned - something that was supposed to be enforced in the EU in 2013, but is now under threat of being held back another ten years. I'm sorry, but it's taken us this long to get here. We should NOT still be testing on animals. It is completely unnecessary and inhumane; the images of such cruelty are soul-destroying. I do not see the need for putting animals through such needless harm for vanity's sake. The beauty industry is not worth THAT much.

Yet so many brands (including lots of very popular brands) do still test on animals. If you want a fuller list of some the brands click here. I have, however, decided to list a few very well-known brands that DO test on animals, just to make you aware:

  • Aussie             - After a long discussion with Aussie they have informed me they do NOT test on animals. They actually put a great deal of research into other methods of testing, which is really good to know, especially considering I've previously been a huge fan of the brand.                                           
  • Clairol
  • Cacherel 
  • Biotherm
  • Gillette 
  • Herbal Essences
  • L'Oreal
  • Matrix
  • Neutrogena 
  • Pantene
  • Piz Buin
  • Redken
  • Maxfactor
Shocking, right? I just hope this ban is enforced SOON so this can stop. To make sure the ban stays for 2013, if you could please take a couple of minutes to follow the instructions on the Lush website that would be such a great help - please click here.You can also get a 'Little Book of Cruelty Free' - a book which lists all the brands that do not test animals - available to download or order for free here.

Have the cute pics melted your heart yet? They have mine!

A lovely lady called Samantha tweeted me about her fabulous cruelty-free beauty blog after I mentioned this on Twitter; I'm so pleased more bloggers are aware of this, and making others aware - check it out here. Jess from Star Violet Beauty also posted about this after our Twitter discussion, check out her post here.

I apologise for the length of this post but it is something which I feel extremely strongly about. I just hope things start to change, and soon. I'm now going to cuddle my puppy, and remember how lucky I am to have him.


  1. Thank you for posting this! I 100% agree with all that you said. I hate to even think about using products used on animals.
    Also those pictures are oh so cute, i love animals <3

  2. I admire your strength and passion about this issue, but I always believe that if an animal is going to be killed then nothing should be wasted. That includes cows skin (leather) and maybe hair as long as it's removed after the animal has been slaughtered.

    Also, may I point you to this website:

    Please don't think I'm pooping all over your post, these are just my opinions :) Regardless of what I think though, stay passionate about what you believe in. x

  3. That is SO intesting! I'm really glad I read this now because I had no idea about the brushes etc! Great post I wish every animal was as loved as your puppy and my cat it's what they all deserve and it breaks my heart that they're not :(


  4. I'm so glad that more and more people are choosing to go cruelty free with their products and accessories

    On a good note Superdrugs own brands are BUAV approved, on a bad note sable brushes are made from horse hair - another popular choice amongst make-up brands

    A fab post!



  5. Also, with PETA, they're against animal testing etc, but (unfortunately) medical science wouldn't be where it is today without animal testing. The big shot of PETA (I can't remember her name) is a diabetic, and in order to stay alive she has to inject insulin, which is a by product of animal testing. When asked why she injects herself with something that defies her and her organisations beliefs she couldn't answer. I just dislike the charity, there's something wrong with them. Fair play for the awareness they raise that animal cruelty IS wrong, but they're utter hypocrites. RANT RANT RANT, haha. sorry! xx

  6. Fantastic post hun - I really had no idea, as you pointed out, that so many brands out there still test on animals - does make me a little worried about what I use! I shall be heading over to the Lush website now! Also, just wanted to say, very well written! XX

  7. Lauren - I've since changed the link re - Peta. I am aware of what they've been accused of doing and don't agree with it at all, but I never really know what to believe regarding these things. To be honest I disagree completely with any killing of animals, be it for meat or otherwise. I just don't think it is necessary, I've been vegetarian for the majority of my life and I'm still here. I don't see why just because we are smarter than them, that gives us the right to kill them to the extent that we do. I wouldn't eat my pets, why would I want to eat another animal. I won't get started on the veggie thing though as I know people get defensive about it when I do. I just think it's all wrong, the world is messed up in so many ways and this is one of them. Everyone has their own opinion though.

  8. This post is so important, and very close to my heart! Thank you for highlighting this awful cruel ugly aspect of beauty! xx

  9. Really enjoyed reading this post, its such an important issue and, like you said, people know so little about it. I recently found out that Armani and Benefit also test on animals so have thrown out all my products of theirs. I really admire your passion for this, we need more people like you to make sure people see how horrific animal testing is x

  10. Ah, I completely agree with you, though you are right, I had no idea that so many companies were using animal hair!
    I am a strict vegetarian too and I HATE animal testing, I was aware of a few of the brand that animal tested so I avoided them , but herbal essences!? why do you need bloody animal in your hair!!!!?????
    Benefit tests on animals too!
    I just think, the way I see it is, if some brands can do it, why cant others???
    Its not fair that humans just use animals as they please, for testing and eating and god knows what else.
    It really makes me sad as Iove animals and my pets are amazing, to think that any pain would come to them for fashion or beauty is horrible, thank you for raising this issue, I learnt a lot and completely agree with you!
    Rant rant rantyy!!!
    Izzy <3 xx

  11. OMG ive just thrown over half of my make up draw away (I didnt actually realise they were still testing on animals in this day and age)

    As a scientist i can see why they deam it nesscessary unfortuanly (computer moderling aint great yet), however I know their is a pertition from scientist kicking around somewhere looking for alot more regulation.

  12. I'm not really an 'animal lover' per say, as i do enjoy a bit of meat on my plate, however I definately agree here.
    After researching the company mentioned, Lush, it came to my attention that, with a bit of effort stopping animal testing is so easy and should definately be achieved!

  13. Someone reposting something you said on twitter on this led me to your blog, and I'm now addicted! This post has also really opened my eyes to some things in the beauty industry I didnt even know was going on. Never had a clue some of the brands you and other commenters mentioned tested on animals and I'm quite shocked!Have gone back and read every single post, and look forward to reading everything you write in the future! x

  14. I'm honestly a little applauled that Aussie test on animals, I wasn't aware such well known brands were still doing it, and especially one that does focus on it's natural ingredients - specially sorced nuts or something.
    I do love Aussie products but now i'm a bit aprehensive


  15. Yeah it melted my heart, so cute and naive puppy and sharp cat with him. I really enjoyed this awesome collection.

    hp coupon code

  16. I didn't realise they made makeup brushes out of animal hair, I guess I thought it was all synthetics. I don't think animals should be tested on for beauty products. Thanks for this post :) x

  17. Amazing post, thanks for alerting me about this very important issue. xoxo

  18. Excellent post!

    Just fyi, as far as I was last aware The Body Shop is owned by L'Oreal so if you're spending your money there it's going into the pockets of the people that test on animals.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I think its great you are making people aware of this issue I strongly agree xoxo

  21. I have exact same values as you! I have been using M.A.C Brushes and I have recently found out this horrible news :( I'm going to have to investigate, I know M.A.C do not test on animals - one of the reasons i started using them! I was also not aware that Aussie test on animals :( so disappointing. I am disgusted.

  22. This is so absolutely shocking thankyou so much for sharing this, I'll definitely be more careful with my brushes in the future. Sigma just sent me a complete set of brushes, luckily they are synthetic! I could never use animal hairs on my face!

  23. thanks for this it is good to know as many of us just bury our heads in the sand - me included x

  24. Thank you for this post. <3
    People have started paying attention to makeup products that are animal-tested but no one is really mentioning the brushes. So I think this is an amazing thing you are doing :)


  25. Thank you for writing this article because i think it is important to let everyone know about this matter. If you don't mind can I post this link up on my blog? If you can, reply me back on my comment box

  26. A very interesting post :)

    An eye opener for those wanting to be more "animal friendly" :)

    pinklittlebean blog

    Clare x

  27. Hiya,

    I also agree with using cruelty free products, I have noticed in some of your posts though that you use Rimmel products, I do not use Rimmel as it is a known brand for testing on animals, just wondered if you were aware? And thought I'd best let you know incase you weren't.

    Take care xxx

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Just discovered your blog and was scamming through past posts and am so greatful i've read this one!!! I'm as disgusted that animal hair is used for make up brushes, how revolting! I immediately checked the topshop website (I only use a foundation brush) and they have synthetic hair brishes thank goodness! The only other brush I use is a Ruby & Millie eyeshadow brush and I checked the Boots website and it said 'natural hair' so I'm throwing that out and finding a new one asap!!
    Thanks so much for this information! xx

    Hello Procrastination


All images and content © Hannah Vickers for Away with the Fairies 2010- unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.