Animal Testing & Cosmetics: The Good, The Bad, and The Fuzzy

Airdate: 12/24/13

Animal testing and cosmetics is a tricky, controversial issue. Paula’s Choice Research Team members Nathan Rivas and Bryan Barron go into detail about why this topic is so complex and discuss the spectrum of issues that make animal testing so murky and confusing. From brands selling in China (where animal testing is required) to brands that truly don’t test on animals, we’ll help you sort this out and arrive at some consensus so you can feel good about the cosmetics you buy.

Bryan Barron: Hey everyone, it’s Bryan Barron, the Cosmetics Cop Team, Paula’s Choice Research Team Research Director, Content Guy. I do all kinds of things with my team. And I am here on today’s radio show with Mr. Nathan Rivas.
Nathan Rivas: Hello.
Bryan Barron: Nathan is our Social Media Community Manager, as well as a member of the content team. So, a lot of the words that you read on our site come from his mind. We work collaboratively. We are a team and we do our best to bring you the research information about all things beauty, whether it’s skincare, hair care, makeup.
00:00:38 And on today’s show, this is kind of a show that we’ve been thinking about doing for awhile because it’s one of those topics that a lot of people are very passionate about, ourselves included. Today we’re going to be talking about animal testing. And we’re calling this show “Animal Testing: The Good, the Bad, and the Fuzzy.” So, a little cuteness in the title there but --
Nathan Rivas: Very serious topic.
Bryan Barron: It is a very serious, and it’s a very controversial topic.
Nathan Rivas: It is.
Bryan Barron: It is a very seemingly black and white, but then when you know more and more about it, not really, it’s more shades of gray, and where do you draw the line.
00:01:11 So, we’re going to get into that. Prior to delving into that topic, though, I wanted to bring up something that I shared with Paula, the original Cosmetics Cop, not too long ago. We reviewed a line from a dermatologist named Dr. Andrew Ordon. And he is the dermatologist on the television show The Doctors. Have you ever seen that show?
Nathan Rivas: No, I avoid it.
Bryan Barron: Well, we’re not here to make a commentary on the show. But, yeah, suffice it to say it’s kind of a polarizing show.
00:01:46 So, not too long ago we reviewed Dr. Ordon’s line called Derm Exclusive that actress Minnie Driver was fronting with her cute little airbrushed face on the cover. And so I came across -- I was on The Doctors’ website and I came across another brand called Ratio, or it might be pronounced “Ra-Tio,” but it’s a collaboration with Dr. Andrew Ordon and Dr. Ritu Chopra. And so I told Paula apparently Derm Exclusive isn’t that exclusive, it’s not all it’s made out to be, because now Ratio, which costs more, is the way to go. I wish I could say I was shocked by this, but sadly I’m not.
00:02:30 And Paula wrote back and said, “So Derm Exclusive is gone?” And I said, “No, it’s still being sold.” And so you’ve got one doctor fronting two different anti-aging product lines. Talk about a double standard. And talk about which line is better? Because you read the claims for both of them and they both sound really compelling.
Nathan Rivas: It’s like Derm Been Around the Block.
Bryan Barron: So, you can check on our reviews of Derm Exclusive at, the Beautypedia Reviews section. We may or may not review Ratio. I’m kind of curious to see how long --
Nathan Rivas: Now I’m curious.
00:03:05 Now I’m curious to see what it is; exactly how exclusive it is.
Bryan Barron: It has a bit more of that like, it almost seems like a fusion of western medicine and Chinese or alternative medicine, whereas Derm Exclusive is more like these are the cutting edge cosmetic ingredients. This is what’s going to allow you to skip that Botox and not get that dermal filler injection because these products are going to produce such brilliant results.
00:03:29 And then you wonder why there’s a dermatologist fronting a line like that, because you have to assume if he’s a dermatologist he’s making most of his money from those procedures.
Nathan Rivas: You’d think so.
Bryan Barron: That the skincare products supposedly mean you can skip.
Nathan Rivas: Well, I assume he’ll probably know that people won’t see the results that they’re looking for and will eventually come back anyway, but he’s already sold them something in the interim, so he can make a cool hundred and something whatever bucks that he’s making off that in-between.
Bryan Barron: Right.
00:03:57 So, back to animal testing. Let’s start off by saying that, well first just full disclosure here. If you don’t know, Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, has her own line of products called Paula’s Choice. We’ve been selling skincare and reviewing products from other brands. We’re the only company that does that since 1995. Since its inception, since its development, Paula’s Choice has never tested on animals and we never will.
00:04:25 It is something that we have been very firm on from day one. We have never contracted with any third party or special interest groups to do any sort of testing on our behalf. And we have recently been Leaping Bunny Certified.
Nathan Rivas: Leaping Bunny Certified.
Bryan Barron: And, Nathan, other than that being a very cute symbol, what does it mean?
Nathan Rivas: Leaping bunny certified means that we’ve had a -- Leaping Bunny, the organization themselves, they do a very thorough check into every step of the supply chain process, from raw material all the way up to the finished product to ensure that a brand that has obtained certification can confidently say that at no stage of development has any ingredient or product been testing on animals at any point.
00:05:10 So, you can really say, you know, because it is complicated as we’ll go into that, well, do we say animal testing, but do you really mean that you haven’t been animal tested up till such and such a point? Well, Leaping Bunny makes it easy for consumers. They always know going into their site they’ll find brands that have not been tested at any stage of development from the certification.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
00:05:28 So, we’re very proud to be Leaping Bunny Certified. It’s something that we have been wanting for quite awhile. And we were finally able to make it happen, not because we were doing anything untoward; there’s just a lot of hoops that you need to jump through to get to that point and we finally have the staffing to do that.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah, absolutely.
Bryan Barron: But as someone who has been working at Paula’s Choice since 2000, animal testing has always been on our minds, and every edition of “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me,” pretty much every edition -- don’t quote me on this -- but we’ve included a list of brands that do and do not test on animals as well as brands whose animal testing status is unknown.
00:06:16 And that same information known as the Animal Testing Report Card can be found on under the Beautypedia Reviews navigation. So, here’s the thing -- animal testing, it’s one of those topics where you’re not even quite sure where to begin.
Nathan Rivas: It is. It’s very complicated, especially when it comes to, I mean, well, when it comes to cosmetics, but then also just for medicine as well. It’s complicated. It’s complicated.
Bryan Barron: On the one hand it’s easy to understand why any consumer who loves animals, has pets, doesn’t have pets but loves animals, doesn’t want to use a personal care product, a shampoo, a cleanser that’s been tested on animals.
00:07:00 Why do animals have to endure any sort of pain and torture so that I can have a cleanser or a shampoo? On the other hand, what about animal testing for medical purposes? What about animal testing for drugs that may save and/or prolong human life? It’s a whole political discussion on, well, is an animal’s life worth more than a person’s life, or actually vice versa; is the person’s life worth more than an animal’s life?
00:07:25 And you look at the way these medical tests on animals are done and you realize that the only other way for now that we could replicate those tests would be to do them on people.
Nathan Rivas: In a lot of ways, yeah, in a lot of ways that is true. They do have some newer technologies out which do help to replace some of those types of studies. But, you know, then again it does take quite awhile to have those types of technologies approved by the FDA, especially by the FDA. If you want things developed, then yes.
Bryan Barron: And then how close do they get?
00:08:01 I think that in terms of alternate technologies to animal testing, we’re a lot further along in terms of alternatives to animal testing of cosmetics versus animal testing for medical purposes in terms of like finding out what a certain dose of a drug does in a living system. How do you approximate that without testing on a person or an animal?
Nathan Rivas: Yeah, it is tricky. Because you have that consideration that is absolutely right. You know, it’s hard to find all those variables that I think can happen when you’re testing in a live subject. Then at the same time you have those differences in species, you know, at the same -- there are things there that you have to account for, too. But it’s all underlying the fact that it is a very complicated topic to discuss, to look at.
Bryan Barron: We are going to focus on today’s show regarding the issue of animal testing and cosmetics.
00:08:56 Cosmetics being the collective group of skincare, makeup and hair care, even nail care products. And even -- one of the points that makes deciding whether or not a product really is or isn’t tested on animals is that one could easily argue that for many products that even if the product itself wasn’t tested on animals, for example, Paula’s Choice isn’t, we know that our products contain ingredients that at one point in the past were tested on animals.
00:09:26 For example, sunscreen actives, over the counter anti-acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Part of the process that got those ingredients to the point where they were proved for use in consumer products involved some amount of animal testing.
Nathan Rivas: I think pretty much across the board any type of ingredient in cosmetics, because of the toxicity testing they have to use, always has to involve at some point --
Bryan Barron: At some point. Again, as we mentioned earlier, there are newer non-animal methods that are coming into play A lot of companies, bigger companies like Procter & Gamble sink quite a lot of money, despite the fact that Procter & Gamble is considered a tester due to the nature of their brands and how broad they are, they also are sinking a lot of money into alternatives to animal testing.
00:10:13 So, yes, it’s unfortunate they continue to test on certain groups of products, but on the other hand it’s good that they’re looking for ways to get around that, to not have to do it anymore. These companies that test on animals, they know that by and large most consumers don’t want that. And it can be a big issue, such as the Urban Decay snafu from, what was that, last year around this time?
Nathan Rivas: That was early last year, early last year that it happened that they were looking at selling in China.
Bryan Barron: So, separate from the fact that products that aren’t tested on animals, if they’re going to really do much of anything for your skin, particularly in regards to acne or wrinkles, they contain ingredients that at some point have been tested on animals. You need to reconcile that fact and approach it from the standpoint of, okay, I get that, and I can’t change that, that’s done. But, I can support a brand that is using those ingredients that we know work but that brand isn’t testing the products or the ingredients on animals because they’ve taken what we’ve already learned and extrapolated that this is how you formulate a safe product.
00:11:23 A segue from that would be, and this is part of what’s made our animal testing list change a lot faster than it has like in between books and what not, because for quite awhile the lists were fairly standard.
Nathan Rivas: Yes.
Bryan Barron: For example, we knew year over year that the Johnson & Johnson owned companies, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, that they were always going to be animal testers because Johnson & Johnson is the parent company and they’re a very large company and they have a pharmaceutical division, on and on and on. Animal testing is just part of the game for that company.
00:11:56 But then along came China.
Nathan Rivas: Along came China. The China Syndrome.
Bryan Barron: Along came China and the import of cosmetic products, the burgeoning middle class in China who have disposable income and they’re very interested in western brands. I swear the citizens of any country, we all suffer from the grass is always greener. Here in the United States we think that European or French Skincare is the way to go. That they must know some beauty secret we don’t or that Korea has all the answers.
00:12:24 Over in Korea, and Nathan you’ve been to Korea.
Nathan Rivas: Yes.
Bryan Barron: What kind of products are they looking for?
Nathan Rivas: They’re looking for really the same types of product s that we’re looking for here.
Bryan Barron: But what brands are they interested in?
Nathan Rivas: Oh, absolutely, that’s a great point. So, without exception it was all about American brands. When I was in South Korea it was all about American brands. You know, they really didn’t, there was, “Oh, okay, yeah, we have our brands here, but at the same time what is a makeup brand like Urban Decay, or what’s a makeup brand like Stila, or all these other people -- what are they doing? What is it like there in the US? Our products are not the same; we wish we had this and that.”
00:12:59 It was funny.
Bryan Barron: And then here in the states we’re reading in the fashion magazines that Korean countries are the future of beauty. They have the best skincare. They’re on the cutting edge of makeup. They’re doing this before anybody else. And, yeah, it may seem that way from an outsider’s perspective, but it’s just so fascinating when you’re there in the thick of it, as you were, and you’re talking with these women who are very beauty savvy skincare conscious women. They want to use whatever is the best. They’re going to have the same concerns.
Nathan Rivas: Yes. Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: And they’re asking you, “Nathan, what about the American brands?”
Nathan Rivas: “I wish we could get this. I wish we had this year.”
00:13:36 it was very amusing, but at the same time it just really underscored how strange it is that it is always grass is greener. It is always what are they doing over there. What is their skincare like? It’s funny.
Bryan Barron: And as Paula has said from traveling around the world and speaking with women in dozens of countries, the skincare concerns that women in particular have, because we speak with a lot more women than men, but we’re getting a lot more male involvement which is great.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah, absolutely, especially in social media.
00:14:04 We see a lot of questions.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Nathan Rivas: I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s just easier for them to ask when they’re not --
Bryan Barron: Yeah, well much the same way men find it easier to shop for skincare online.
Nathan Rivas: True. Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: Than they do going into a place like Macy’s or Nordstrom and going up to the counter, “Uh, do you have anything?” And, believe me, I totally get that apprehension. But the women we speak with all over the world have the same concerns.
00:14:28 They worry about dark spots. They worry about wrinkles. They worry about breakouts. And, sometimes they ask about animal testing. So, let’s talk about China. Why did so much change with China?
Nathan Rivas: So, with China, it was back in late 2011, I think that was the change. So, China, looking at all the imported cosmetics and skincare products and personal care products just kind of flooding into their markets, for a variety of reasons they established new regulations on establishing what they say is safety for their citizens.
00:15:00 And there wasn’t anything previously in place, but because of all these brands interested in getting into their markets they established a registration process. Part of that registration process is animal testing in terms of toxicology and a range of other types of tests. And any product, any beauty product, whether it’s makeup or skincare or hair care or body care, anything that is sold in China, whether it’s sold online or whether it’s sold in the physical store, if it’s sold in mainland China—
00:15:29 And that doesn’t include Hong Kong or Shanghai for example, but actual mainland China, that includes some form of animal testing. There is no way around that. And any brand that says, “Oh, we found a loophole,” if they’re products are being imported into China they don’t have a loophole. It’s just something that they’re saying to you. And so that was a really big change because all of a sudden, just it seemed like just overnight, just dozens of brands went from the brands that do not test on animals to the brands that do test on animals on Beautypedia.
00:16:01 And it was quite a big controversy.
Bryan Barron: And that is why on certain larger cosmetic company websites, Estée Lauder comes to mind, as does Mary Kay, you will read in their company’s animal testing statement, it’s been revised to read something along the lines of, “We do not test our products on animals except where required by law.”
Nathan Rivas: Correct.
Bryan Barron: That is specifically referring to China, because to the best of my knowledge, correct me if I’m wrong, Nathan, there are no other countries that have that requirement on imported cosmetics?
Nathan Rivas: That’s absolutely correct.
Bryan Barron: That you must have animal testing data.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely correct.
Bryan Barron: It’s been phased out of Europe, the European Union member countries. It doesn’t apply to Australia, Canada, Mexico.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah, it’s just China.
Bryan Barron: Just China.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. Hopefully it’s something that will change, but yes.
Bryan Barron: And Mary Kay, the billion dollar companies like Mary Kay and Estée Lauder, if they’re smart -- and we’re assuming they are -- then they are taking steps to work with the Chinese government to come up with alternatives because they are undoubtedly taking somewhat of a hit, maybe not a big hit, but somewhat of a hit from those women, those consumers, who are disappointed that now you really can’t say with 100 percent accuracy that your brand doesn’t test on animals.
Nathan Rivas: It’s interesting. I think it has become even more of an issue for people as more information gets out there about China.
00:17:26 Because looking at it from social media, from that perspective now, compared to even just a year ago, the amount of questions we get on social media about animal testing, even just talking about a product from a brand like Estée Lauder almost always -- it’s a point that people want to talk about or they want to mention or they’ll always say, “Gosh, I wish it wasn’t sold in China,” those sorts of things. It’s a bigger issue, I think, than it was even a year ago.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, oh absolutely. And especially with expansion, Sephora being in China.
00:18:01 And that’s another consideration when you’re trying to decide where on the animal testing spectrum you fall. Because I hope, if you’re getting nothing else from this show so far, it’s that there is a spectrum on the animal testing. It isn’t so black and white. Because even if you say, “I’m only going to use products from a brand that has never tested on animals,” well, what about the fact that that line may use ingredients that at one point were tested on animals -- is that okay?
00:18:31 And then let’s say that you don’t want to shop at Sephora because they sell in China and China has this requirement so that everything Sephora sells in their China stores has to be tested on animals, but then the US Sephora stores may carry a brand that Sephora in China doesn’t have. And that brand doesn’t test on animals, doesn’t sell in China. So, you’re standing there at Sephora in Seattle. Are you okay shopping from Sephora in that situation, but you would never buy from them if you were in China?
Nathan Rivas: It’s interesting that there is that whole parent company argument there. Because some people, they say if they look at a brand that doesn’t themselves test on animals, like Aveda for example, but then they belong to a company like Estée Lauder which absolutely does sell in China, and we do consider to be a brand that tests on animals.
00:19:21 So, do you support Aveda for being a non-tester, but then at the same time how do you -- are you okay with supporting Estée Lauder. Same thing, would you support a brand that doesn’t test like Josie Maran which is sold at Sephora, even though you are still in roundabout way supporting Sephora who sells in China. It is a very complicated argument and decision.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then you can also consider the fact that pretty much most hair dyes have been tested on animals and some continue to be tested on animals.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: So, depending on how fervently you feel about this issue, are you going to stop dyeing your hair?
Nathan Rivas: That’s very true.
Bryan Barron: All of these things need to be considered.
00:20:04 And that’s why we’re talking about where you fall in the animal testing continuum as far as like is a little bit of testing okay for this type? Is it okay to test animals if we’re looking at pharmaceuticals but not cosmetics? There are geographic considerations. There are international distribution issues.
Nathan Rivas: I think it’s interesting because even with as much information as consumers try to get about animal testing, I still run into people who are surprised about why we might rate a brand like Mary Kay as being an animal tested brand.
00:20:39 And they fervently state that they’re not. And then what we say on Beautypedia is that, well, you know, they might say that they’re not, but because they are sold in China we consider them to be a brand that does test on animals.
Bryan Barron: We are forever editing our animal testing report card list. And what we say, and I’ll get to this in just a moment, one of the things I wanted to bring up that you just reminded me of is that sometimes we get questions or comments from our readers and customers that want to know why we favorably review products from a brand that test on animals.
Nathan Rivas: That’s an excellent question.
Bryan Barron: For example Olay would be a good brand.
00:21:22 Olay is considered a brand that tests on animals. We like several Olay products and their price point and their efficacy. Ever since Paula, and then later on myself and Paula, and then later on myself and Paula, and Nathan, and Heather, and Mercedes, and everyone in the research team who writes reviews, we have never considered a brand’s animal testing status as criteria. It is all about whether the product works as claimed. In the case of makeup how it feels, how it looks, what the shade selection is like. The animal testing decision is something we’ve always stayed out of in terms of not letting it bias or influence our review.
00:22:00 It is up to each consumer, and I’m including ourselves in this mix, to decide whether they think that’s okay or not in terms of are you going to buy from a brand that does not test on animals, are you okay with sometimes buying from a brand that does? If they happen to have a product that you know works well for you -- we hear from women all over the world who find certain products that we recommend and they say, “Oh, I love everything about this product. It’s my favorite daytime moisturizer. It does this, that, and the other thing. But the brand tests on animals and I can’t get past that. Can you tell me an equivalent product from a brand that doesn’t test on animals?”
00:22:38 And sometimes we can’t.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. The thing with that issue with Beautypedia is that the only reason that Beautypedia is really useful to anyone is because we do all of our reviews based purely upon what published independent research says can or cannot work for skin. So, whenever we’re reviewing a product, we’re looking purely at the science, at the research, at what the data in a sense says about the product. And we don’t -- and this is another reason why we don’t actually personally use the products to measure our results as part of the review, because our personal experiences are completely anecdotal.
00:23:16 Those aren’t going to be good to you at all, but part of that is that we have to remain kind of dispassionate about the product. We just have to look at the research, look at the data, look at what ingredients are there, and look at their claims.
Bryan Barron: Right. There is any number of websites that you can use along with ours to find out the more personal details of a product. Because what Nathan is saying is exactly true as far as Nathan has oily to combination skin --
Nathan Rivas: Yes. Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: So, let’s say Nathan was trying the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizing and our protocol was, “Nathan, you need to try this on your face before you can write about, because otherwise how are you going to know what it’s really like?”
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: Well, a very rich emollient moisturizer on someone with oily skin, of course they’re not going to like it.
00:24:00 It’s going to feel thick. It’s going to make their skin feel greasy. It’s going to make makeup slip right off. They don’t need those ingredients in that product. But on the other hand, if somebody with dry skin was testing that product, they may just go nuts over it and think it’s the best moisturizer ever. So, it’s not that those considerations aren’t important; it’s just that there’s a million and one websites, consumer review sites where you can find that out. And then come to our site and look at what the facts are.
00:24:27 Look at what the research says. Does this product contain ingredients that will really do what the product is saying it will do? I love that approach. We do the same thing; we’ll look at what other people are saying about products that we’ve reviewed, not what they say about our reviews, but what they think of the products.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. Exactly. It’s just an interesting comparison just to see what people’s personal experiences are.
Bryan Barron: So, before we wind down on this topic, did we -- did we cover the whole Urban Decay?
Nathan Rivas: We didn’t specifically. We just touched on the whole China issue.
00:25:01 And Urban Decay was kind of caught up in that. But I can briefly summarize that.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, tell, I think that was a really fascinating story, and then if you are up for it, mention the more recent brand.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely. So, the interesting thing with Urban Decay is they were really one of the first companies to be almost kind of a casualty of the whole China controversy. And admittedly they kind of did it perhaps in a somewhat less than transparent way, which is I think what got them into trouble.
Bryan Barron: Trouble with consumers, yes.
Nathan Rivas: Trouble with consumers, yes.
Bryan Barron: With their customer base.
Nathan Rivas: Yes. Exactly.
00:25:34 With their customer base. So, Urban Decay has always been this kind of smallish marketed brand and one of their policies has always been we don’t test on animals, never will, it’s part of our core ethics. Well then the option to sell in China came open and that was a lot of money for them. And so they made the decision to start selling in China.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, just to add to that, there is a huge, huge, huge profit incentive to be sold in China.
00:26:07 And the brands that are there, and they’re weathering this animal testing storm, they are weathering it for a reason because their products are in demand in China and they’re making a lot of money. And I don’t necessarily think we need to characterize making money in this sense as being a bad thing. Businesses succeed and thrive and can make even better products when they are successful. So, I’m not knocking that, but there is a quandary for sure that they’re in.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: And then do they take those products that the Chinese consumer has gotten used to away, which is essentially what Urban Decay did.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah.
00:26:42 See, the thing with that is that I think brands who make the decision , they just need to be transparent about it and just be upfront and this is what we’re doing and that’s the way it is. But with Urban Decay they really didn’t address the issue. They just sort of said, well, we’re going to be selling in China now. And then that it was just silence and consumers everywhere, because they had gone for Urban Decay, and a lot of their products are marketed as vegan products.
00:27:08 So, they were pretty understandably upset. So, Urban Decay kind of weathered a hurricane of bad press and then eventually a few months later they said, “Well, we’re not going to go back into China. We’ve heard all of your feedback, thank you for that, and we won’t be selling there.” And then they were bought by L’Oreal.
Bryan Barron: It was, ugh, and L’Oreal as a brand does do animal testing.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah.
00:27:38 That’s a complicated topic as well because they’re also sold in the EU. It’s actually where their headquarters is still located, I think, in France isn’t it? Isn’t L’Oreal’s headquarters -- ?
Bryan Barron: Yeah. Paris.
Nathan Rivas: And so with the EU having a ban on all animal tested import products in there, it’s another complicated layer.
00:28:02 Do you support L’Oreal because they stopped testing in the EU but then they still sell in China?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Nathan Rivas: Another layer, yet another layer.
Bryan Barron: And then Nathan singlehandedly, at least so it seems, from what we’ve been able to put together, he made the brand Too Faced aware of the fact that they were being sold --
Nathan Rivas: In China, yes. Another loophole that was surprising to me. And I really don’t even know how I came across this whole thought process was that brands that didn’t sell in China, you know, they don’t have a physical store, they’re not sold in some department store in China.
00:28:39 Well, then I thought, well, what about Sephora China, or what about Skin Store China? They’re not really making a lot of marketing efforts that US citizens see, but at the same time they sell a lot of brands that do claim to be non-tested on animals. Well, we found out that Skin Store China was selling Too Faced among other brands which we had to, unfortunately, update in Beautypedia.
00:29:00 And so as a requirement of that, you know, just like all of China’s imports regulations, any imported product has to be tested on animals. Well, we did change their status and Too Faced did reach out to us. And at first was very upset about their status being changed in Beautypedia. But through successive communication they updated us that they had stopped selling through Skin Store China.
Bryan Barron: Yeah?
Nathan Rivas: Yeah, which was great, because we were able to update their status as being a non-animal tested brand.
00:29:29 And we were pretty about that, because Too Faced is a good brand. They have a lot of products that we like. So it was nice for them.
Bryan Barron: They do. And it was really one of those things where I think as a team we can sometimes lose sight on just how far reaching our work is and how many people are impacted by it. And it’s always really, really humbling, and even more so when we can interface with the brands and help them to “see the light.” And that they will take our information, I guess, in a more serious way as opposed to thinking, “Well, if they don’t like all of our products then they don’t like any of our products.”
Nathan Rivas: Yeah, exactly.
Bryan Barron: And they don’t know what they’re talking about because they can’t say that half of our products are great and half of our products are a problem for skin because we think they’re all wonderful. And they don’t know what they’re talking about.
00:30:25 So, we love having an interaction with the brands. Let me wrap this up by just reiterating the fact that the issue of animal testing is complex. There are many sides to it, many different facets, considerations. The easiest thing to do if I can say anything is easy about animal testing, if you’re concerned about which brands do and do not test, which brands have unknown status, you can come to or Go to Beautypedia reviews and you’ll see in that dropdown there is a link that says, “Testing on Animals.”
00:31:00 You can click on that, read about the standards that we follow as to whether or not a brand makes the tests or doesn’t test list. We have notes there about the whole China thing, summing that up in as few words as possible. And I don’t really quite know, do you have any closing remarks on this topic?
Nathan Rivas: I think that Bryan, as you said --
Bryan Barron: It’s going continue to be confusing.
Nathan Rivas: It is. Yeah. Everyone kind of needs to decide where they fall on that spectrum.
00:31:28 You know, what brands do they support, what brands do they not support, and do your research to find out what a brand really is doing if you want to make a decision. And then, by all means, if you see something, and I’m glad you mentioned Beautypedia. If you see something there that you’re curious about or that you think that you have information that’s otherwise, please let us know. With dozens, and dozens, and dozens of brands, we try to monitor as frequently as possible. But, you know, we might miss something.
Bryan Barron: Exactly. Please. We love the feedback. You can submit feedback right from the site. If you see a brand that you think is on the wrong list, let us know. Do recognize the fact, though, and this is another unfortunate point of confusion, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA’s lists, and the National Anti-Vivisection Society, or NAVS’ list, which is the list that we consult, the NAVS list and PETA’s list can differ.
00:32:23 So, if you see a brand that is on PETA’s list as a tester, and maybe we have it listed as a brand that doesn’t test, it is almost certainly because NAVS has it listed differently than PETA and we are following NAVS’ list. If you choose to follow PETA’s list, again, this whole issue of animal testing is about where you fall in the spectrum, what you’re comfortable with. Go ahead and follow what PETA is advising.
Nathan Rivas: We’re going to go with the scientists though!
Bryan Barron: Yeah. All right, with that in mind, we hope you’ve enjoyed this information. Come visit us, if you aren’t already on our site, at or and we’ll talk with you next time.
Nathan Rivas: Bye-bye.
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