What Products Are Considered Cosmetics?

Cosmetics are typically thought of as nonessential beauty products to improve how femmes look, such as lipstick, mascara, and blush. But cosmetics also include products that help you clean your skin and hair, like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant, and even creams to fight acne and inflammation. If you’re applying something to your body—whether rubbing, pouring, sprinkling, or spraying, for the purposes of beautifying, perfuming, protecting, or cleaning yourself—that something can be considered a cosmetic product.


What Products Are Tested on Animals?

In the U.S., cosmetics manufacturers have to demonstrate to the FDA that their products are safe for humans, but they are not required to test on animals, and the FDA even encourages nonanimal testing. However, some cosmetics that treat or prevent disease—like sunscreen, anti-dandruff shampoos, and anti-acne creams—are considered drugs, and are usually tested on animals in order to comply with FDA drug testing requirements.


Why Do Cosmetic Companies Test on Animals?

A primary reason for cosmetic companies to test their ingredients or products on animals is legal liability and consumer safety. The use of animals in testing products for safety is based on “an outdated theory that animal responses in a lab will accurately predict what will happen when humans are exposed to the same substances,” according to an AV Magazine report. Companies and researchers tend to prefer historically accepted methods over newer, updated ones.


Is Animal Testing of Cosmetics Necessary?

Newer ways of testing product safety, and new ways to use ingredients that have already been deemed safe, make animal testing increasingly unnecessary.


Why Animal Testing of Cosmetics Is Bad

The main reason for opposition to animal testing of makeup products is the pain and suffering of the nonhuman animals, who can’t give consent to participate in experiments on their bodies. But on top of this, the physiology of nonhuman animal species is different from that of humans, and this makes animal testing a flawed method of assessing product safety.


What Are the Alternatives to Animal Testing?

Alternatives to animal testing include tests on human cells and computer simulation models. The creation of products using ingredients that have already been tested for human safety and do not require additional tests is another alternative.

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