Animal Cruelty in the Makeup Industry


Emily Romero

House of Lashes in ‘Midnight Luxe’ is a cruelty free lash brand that uses synthetic hairs as ‘faux mink’. It gives me the perfect cat eye look with comfort and ease. A fun fact is I used to promote and was an actual small local influencer that had promoted mink lash companies before I educated myself on the industry and decided to lose my sponsorships and promotions with lash companies who weren’t ethical.

Emily Romero, Journalist

In the world of beauty and cosmetics, not everything is perfect as it seems.  The makeup industry boomed with new influencers who rose to the top and created standards in beauty, promoted inclusivity in body positivity and catered to all genders, and created a new era of beauty we have not seen before.  Influencers have great responsibility in selling brand names and products which dictate consumer’s choices. 

It delves deeper into the question over what is ‘cruelty-free’ and holding brands accountable for their honesty to their customers. 

Influencers like James Charles, Nikkie Tutorials, and Jeffree Star rose to popularity and gained massive following via social media platforms such as YouTube.  Successful brands came out such as Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Also, there was the infamous James Charles’ collaboration  with Morphe, called the  “James Charles Palette”, but there’s an outstanding inside world amongst these influencers and brands when it comes to cruelty-free makeup for fans alike.  

Several companies like Jeffree Star cosmetics are cruelty free according to Jeffree Star Cosmetics Q&A. However, some companies like Benefit, L’Oreal, and MAC that you may think are cruelty free and say that they are cruelty free on finished cosmetic products, but “however these companies may rely on raw material suppliers or contract laboratories to perform any animal testing necessary to substantiate product or ingredient safety.”  It comes into question for consumers and ethical buying, at what cost for the makeup we love to buy from influencers and brands?

Huge influencers affiliate with makeup brands to create a huger platform and create brand images, brands skyrocket with the popularity among the newest products with social media influencers, or beauty gurus raving about a brand’s product or reviewing them.

Senior Xoshil Alas-Felipe says, “It’s contradicting when huge top influencers like  James Charles, who promote brands like Lilly Lashes, use mink fur but then promote other brands who are cruelty free and vegan, it’s supporting a brand that ultimately hurts animals and fans without even knowing,” She also comments on the impact of influencer marketing on their fans, but criticizes their genuinity in what they promote.  She states, “. . .I feel like I have worn mink lashes before being educated about makeup. Cruelty free makeup wasn’t ever brought up to my attention, but once you explore the world of makeup you want to support brands that aren’t harmful to you or other people/animals.”  Xoshil later talks about  makeup that isn’t cruelty free and not FDA approved, “An issue in the makeup industry are counterfeit products labelled as big brands who have unsafe chemicals in places like Santee Alley, Los Angeles that are unsafe and dangerous. Brands like Kylie Cosmetics have been copied, counterfeited, and have given my skin a terrible chemical reaction due to my eczema.”  Essentially she is cautious about products safe for her and ethical to others, her favorite cruelty-free brands consist of NYX, Milani Cosmetics, and Morphe Cosmetics, which are cruelty free brands.  

Lashes are a luxurious statement to complete makeup looks all around, with the rise of lash brands like Lilly Lashes and Tatti Lashes, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and influencers  use mink fur in their lashes for the luxurious, lighter feel.  

Junior Alyna Ramos , expresses herself through makeup and is her outlet to creativity.  With all her favorite influencers like James Charles, she purchased his palette in collaboration with Morphe ‘James Charles Palette’.  “. . .Makeup is just something that inspires me everyday with my creativity. When I buy new products or see beauty gurus rave, I check and see whether it’s vegan and cruelty free because I want to support creators who promote ethical makeup.  I have used mink lashes unknowingly because I would buy them off sites from China who claim to not use mink.  I switched a year ago to ‘faux mink’ which feel the same as mink lashes.”  Alyna explains after criticism she saw online of the industry of lashes and cosmetics, she made more conscious decisions about where to buy makeup.  Her favorite brands consist of Kiss Lashes, Morphe, and Jeffree Star Cosmetics.  

“It’s heartbreaking to see small animals locked up in cages for people to wear on their eyes and most people aren’t even informed by brands where they come from,” Junior Alyna explains after switching to faux mink after learning about ethical consumerism of lashes.

Junior Sara Mahho agrees. As she dives in and pursues cosmetology, she is up to date on all the new makeup trends and keeps up with her favorite influencers. “Makeup is something I always make sure is okay to put on my face that won’t have any harsh chemicals or bad things including animal cruelty. I like to support brands and people who support brands who give extra care to research and give the best quality to their customers and their environment. I feel like if people who buy makeup and don’t pay attention to how it affects the world, then we would contribute more harm to animals that have to suffer because of us.” Mahho says about using animal cruelty in cosmetics. 

Mind over matter or quality over ethical consumerism?  

Here’s how you can help prevent in buying cosmetic products that practice animal-testing, 

  • Research into brands you’re buying and if they are approved by the FDA for cruelty-free testing.
  • Look at your packaging if it claims to be cruelty-free.
  • Sites like have a list of companies that are cruelty free.