Cruelty-free cosmetics is a category containing all cosmetics that have not been tested on animals. The FDA has not approved a legal definition that binds this term to a certain set of criteria.However, in addition to the final product, most advocates for cruelty-free beauty agree that none of the ingredients used in the production of the cosmetics can be tested on animals in order to be cruelty-free. Many companies brand themselves as cruelty-free but still use raw materials that have been tested on animals.
The types of tests performed on animals include acute toxicity testing, eye and skin irritation testing, skin sensitivity testing, carcinogenicity testing and re-productivity and developmental toxicity testing. Numerous studies have shown that the effectiveness of these tests are limited, and valid alternatives exist for many of these tests.
Buying only from cruelty-free companies is effective because it boycotts the practice of testing on animals and proves that there is a specific market for cruelty-free consumers, incentivizing brands to "go" cruelty-free and follow their guidelines.
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