Beauty brand NARS is facing the wrath of make-up fans after announcing its decision to ditch its cruelty-free stance in favour of selling in China.
The company responded to backlash over the disappointing decision in an Instagram post, explaining that in order to expand into the Chinese market, it must test its products on animals to demonstrate safety.
“We want you to know that we hear you,” the statement reads. “The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China.”
Or you could just not sell in China as a matter of integrity, rather than seeking yet more profit, could you not NARS?
— Victoria Bigliardi (@aeolianesque) June 25, 2017
Sadly, this isn’t the route they are taking, deciding it is more important to “bring [their] vision of beauty and artistry” to the country.
“NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law,” the message continues. So, you do test on animals then. Right.
NARS adds that it is “committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods”, supporting the Institute for In Vitro Sciences in its pursuits, but this all feels rather meaningless when greed has so explicitly been put before ethics. If companies continue to bend their laws for China, China will have little motivation to change its laws. Simples.
We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see: https://bit.ly/2rVjnwV
There are now calls to boycott the brand, with fans deciding that “animal lives are more important than reaching another market”.
Of course, plenty of other leading brands sell in China (Rimmel, L’Oreal, Benefit, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Maybelline to name but a handful), but NARS amassed many devotees as a direct result of its cruelty-free commitment, making this bombshell extra devastating.
So which brands can we trust?
The answer is to look for brands that make it clear on their websites that they will not sell in China unless its laws change. Be on your guard though, as many include deliberately ambiguous statements to try and trick buyers into thinking they are cruelty-free when they aren’t.
Take L’Oreal for example, whose website includes this suspiciously vague disclaimer:
“L’Oreal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world, not does L’Oreal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regularly authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.”
In case you missed it, that’s L’Oreal covering its back so that its ethics cannot compromise its profit when it wishes to expand into new markets. Groan.
Head to the reliable website Cruelty-Free Kitty for a full list of cruelty-free (and some vegan) brands, including Barry M, Gosh, NYX, Ilamasqua, Kat Von D, Urban Decay and more. Note that NYX and Urban Decay are owned by L’Oreal yet refuse to sell in countries that demand animal testing.
Breaking up with your favourite Orgasm blush is going to be painful, but with a bit of digging, you can find a replacement that looks just as lovely without doing any harm. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of animal testing, you may just find a new number one brand.