Save Ralph is an animated short film that champions the banning of animal testing on cosmetics. Released earlier this month in five languages, the film has gone viral, clocking in more than 3.7 million views (as of 19 April). If you are moved to replace your existing beauty products with those that are cruelty-free, TheHomeGround Asia shortlists nine brands that are certified or vouch to be cruelty-free.
As an animal lover and someone who used to have a dog, I teared up when watching Save Ralph, a stop-motion animated short film directed and written by American filmmaker Spencer Susser.
The mockumentary follows Ralph over the course of a day as a “tester” at a toxicology lab. Created for animal welfare group Humane Society International (HSI), the film features its campaign spokesbunny Ralph, voiced by Oscar winning screenwriter Taika Waititi, and a host of other celebrities, including Zac Ephron and Ricky Gervais, lending their voices to other characters in the film. It aims to shine the light on the plight of animals that continue to be used as ‘lab rats’ in cosmetics testing.
Says Ralph matter-of-factly at the start of the almost four-minute short: “My daddy was a tester, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, my kids, all testers. And they all died doing their job.”
Save Ralph director Susser says, “I felt that stop motion was the perfect way to deliver the message. When you see the horrifying reality of the way animals are treated, you can’t help but look away. What I was hoping to do with this film was create something that delivers a message without being too heavy handed. I hope that audiences fall in love with Ralph and want to fight for him and other animals like him, so we can ban animal testing once and for all.”
Adds puppeteer Andy Gent, “The beauty of stop-motion animation – I think the beauty of animation, full stop – is that you can tell very complicated, very challenging stories and bring them to life in a nonthreatening way that helps to educate and inspire people.”
According to HSI, most major beauty brands have not been animal-tested in years, even decades, and the practice is banned in 40 nations. But some countries still require final cosmetic products or ingredients to be tested on animals for safety and effectiveness. In these instances, it is not the company that chooses to test on animals, but “is being forced to do so by government regulators”, says HSI.
Cruelty Free International reports on its website that hundreds of millions of animals suffer and die from testing every year in laboratories around the world. Besides cosmetic testing, this figure includes what is carried out using chemicals, drugs and food, as well as in scientific experiments.
But how does a consumer navigate the myriad of brands that claim to be ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘vegan-friendly’ to make a credible purchasing decision? HSI explains that companies that have been certified ‘cruelty-free’ have “committed as of a certain date not to conduct or commission third-party animal testing of finished products or ingredients, and to monitor the testing practices of ingredient suppliers.” It also warns that not all cruelty-free products are vegan, nor all vegan products cruelty-free. It advises consumers to read the fine print on the label or write in to the company to get some answers.
But before you throw out your favourite foundation or body lotion, refer to some of these useful resources to check if they are cruelty-free, or not; LeapingBunny.org, BeautyWithoutBunnies, Logical Harmony, ChooseCrueltyFree and Te Protejo. If you cannot find the products that you already own in these shopping guides, rest assured there are more than 2,000 cruelty-free beauty brands available worldwide that you can switch to, including Garnier, Dove and Herbal Essences.
For starters, here are nine we picked.
A brand that is ranked high on the anti-cruelty list is Urban Decay, which is globally known for their ever-so-famous range of Naked eyeshadow palettes. So now that you know they do not harm any animals in the making of their makeup products, perhaps this is a sign to get your hands on that coveted palette that you have been eyeing for a long time.
Kat Von D
While it takes a level of skill to master that edgy incomplete liner that has been all the hype these days, it also takes a long-lasting eyeliner to perfect that look. Look no further than Kat Von D that not only has the holy grail liner that will make you a loyal fan, their brand also vouches for being cruelty-free, so you do not harm any cats while you draw on your cat-eye.
Tarte Cosmetics (Kose)
Aside from their volumising mascara for that dramatic look, Tarte is also highly sought-after for their eyeshadow palettes to elevate your eyes and give it a pop of colour. Phew, knowing that their brand is cruelty-free sure brought some relief, as I would not want to throw away my prized possession. Not only are they not testing on animals, they also use organic ingredients without preservatives, like sulphates and parabens.
Nyx Professional Makeup
For those who are on a tight budget, Nyx is a godsend that provides affordable, yet quality, beauty products, including foundations, lipsticks and mascaras. So good news for diehard fans – you can continue to purchase your favourite products as they are cruelty-free, and also available is a range of vegan products for those who want to go a step further in caring for animals.
Too-Faced Cosmetics (Estee Lauder)
Another staple brand for every girl’s unending makeup stash, Too-Faced continually brings to the table revolutionary eyeshadow palettes that are simply irresistible. The good news is they do not test their products on animals, making them free from cruelty.
The Body Shop (Natura Cosmeticos)
From body butters to shower gels, The Body Shop houses all our beauty and skincare essentials to achieve supple and moisturised skin. Not only are they cruelty-free, they also commit to sustainable and ethical business practices, as well as women empowerment with the belief that everyone is beautiful.
We all know a staycay is not a staycay without a bathtub and a bath bomb for that mandatory IG story, so most of us are no strangers to Lush Cosmetics that is our one-stop-shop for rainbow-coloured and sweet-scented bath bombs to complete our bubble baths. A respectable brand that champions many causes, they are cruelty-free, 100 per cent vegan and fight against animal testing.
This one is for all those who #supportlocal. A local brand that offers a range of lip balms, they even have uniquely Singapore flavours like the Coffeeshop Kopi O lip balm and Gula Melaka and Kueh lip scrub for the patriotic. Now is your chance to support a local business, while championing animal rights.
Another one that is proudly local, Balm Botanique provides all things body and skincare that are purposefully tailored to suit Singapore’s tropical heat. From body moisturisers to nipple balms, the brand is cruelty-free and vegan, as their products do not contain animal derivatives like honey or beeswax.