Going Cruelty Free Can Be Tough

I’m going to start this off by saying that this isn’t in any way to say I regret going cruelty free. This has been an incredibly important step in my life as a makeup enthusiast, animal lover, and spiritual being and it’s one that I have found rewarding and grounding. But there are some challenges and frustrations that one deals with when they make a lifestyle shift like this one. We still aren’t in a place in the world where cruelty free is the norm, and it’s a movement that has a lot of traction to gain still. The world is not structured in such a way to accommodate for it in a way that makes life easy.

Is it easier than it was ten years ago? Hell yes, absolutely, But it’s still more of a fringe movement, and when you’re on the outside edge things can be a little rough. And when you’re still new to this lifestyle, habit and old comforts can sometimes make it tough.

Challenges of going cruelty free

Household Products

I know, this one sounds pretty odd to start off with, but it’s one that I think a lot of people easily overlook. Hell, I did! Household things like cleaning products, razors, and health related items (bandaids??? pet food???) are often tested on animals. And this is something that I’m still struggling with finding alternatives that are suitable. For me, this is a little more difficult because I actually live with family that aren’t cruelty free. So even if I don’t buy it, someone else may.

I have found cruelty free razors, and I’m going to slowly come through the house and see where we can easily make swaps and where we might have to be a little more cognizant. Like I mentioned in my post about  transitioning to a cruelty free lifestyle, there are a million ways you can make your life more cruelty free and where you draw the line personally. For myself, I want to make as many swaps as I can, and my beauty products are a starting point. The hardest part I’ve had with the household products are the medical products, like bandaids and medications. And I can say with complete honesty that I’m still not at 100% cruelty free.

Subscription Boxes

Here’s another big one. And by big I mean weirdly relevant to the blogging world. Ever since beauty subscription boxes in particular became big, the most popular are not cruelty free. In order to find one that is CF, you often have to subscribe to one where that is it’s main goal. As a blogger, this can be a bit of a bummer as you can’t support the boxes that everyone seems to love. You get left out of the loop. Is it worth it in the end? Yeah, totally. But there’s always gonna be that little bit of FOMO if I’m being completely honest.

However, I am looking forward to trying all the awesome dedicated CF subscription boxes out there. There are a growing number, and each looks better than the last. I’m currently getting the Goddess Provisions box, which I mentioned ever so briefly in my everyday makeup bag post, and I’m digging it. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments!

PR Opportunities

This kind of comes with the territory, obviously. But as a CF blogger, there are a lot of major beauty brands I simply will never be able to work with until they change their status. L’Oreal, Bobbi Brown, Lancome, etc. A lot of bloggers dream companies are immediately disqualified when you switch to cruelty free makeup. This is a bit of a downer, simply because you do lose a lot of exposure. And when you’re trying to get the numbers, that doesn’t necessarily help.

Here’s another ‘but’, though. It stings a little less when you realize that there are still a ton of companies left to work with, and that the collaboration or sponsorship will be just that much more gratifying. You’ll know that the company reflects your values, and that you are creating sincere content that is congruent with your values. Am I a little bummed knowing that I’ll likely never have MAC on my future (and hypothetical) blogging resume? Kinda, yeah. But it’s for the best, and that’s what matters.

Having Others Understand It

Since CF isn’t a mainstream thing yet, it’s one of those things that people still don’t quite get. It’s not exactly a popular conversation starter, unless you have access to someone’s Twitter bio or something, and it’s something that many people simply don’t want to talk about either. There are a lot of reasons for this, with two of the most common being that people don’t exactly like the subject matter, or they simply have no clue what it is and really don’t want to know why the crazy animal rights people are at their shit again.

It can get a few odd looks, the occasional probing question, or just a shrug. Some people who like to argue with animal lovers tend to get a bit aggressive about it, almost like you’ve mentioned you’re vegan. And it makes gift giving a bit of an awkward situation. My partner decided to buy me some lovely sheet masks, but they weren’t cruelty free. Thank you though, babe.

When it’s something you’re passionate about and want to talk about, it can take a little digging to find people who are on the same wavelength. And then you get the odd person who’s interested in learning more, and it’s always nice to share your passions and knowledge and get a new discussion going.

Status Can, and Does, Often Change

Here’s one that always has everyone second guessing themselves and constantly double checking on Google. Cruelty free status changes. Quickly, and easily. It’s already vague enough, as you can consider everything down to the manufacturing of the ingredients before they even get near the final product. There are little to no legal definitions of CF, so changes aren’t actually all that regulated or easily predicted.

For example, take NARS, and Stila for that matter. For a while, NARS had been out of the Chinese market and as such was able to be considered cruelty free. However, they recently began selling in China, requiring that they begin testing their products on animals. Conversely, Stila pulled out of China earlier this year and now they are once more considered cruelty free. Most companies maintain their status somewhat steadily, but there are moments like with these where status changes at the blink of an eye. This necessitates that you keep a tab on the status of changes, just in case.

This is all on top of the regular grind of having to check the status of an unfamiliar brand, or one where you aren’t sure of their status. This is a change that requires attention, but once you adjust to the cycle it becomes more or less hassle free for the day to day. Certain things need extra thought or a little more effort, and sometimes concessions will be made.

And please, don’t let this scare you off trying a CF lifestyle. These are just things to consider before you decide to make the change. Some people say it’s very easy, and in some ways it absolutely is! For others, it can be challenging, and difficult. I want to say CF is for everyone, but there are likely some people for whom this isn’t suitable, whether it has to do with research, ability to find certain products, or personal opinions.

What are some things you’ve struggled with when looking for cruelty free products?


  1. Freya fleming 10/27/2017

    i’ve been trying to change up my skincare and beauty products, and the hardest part for me is knowing which brands are cf. Here in Belgium, we don’t seem to have clear labels indicating whether a product is cf or not, and it’s a bit of a hassle to look it up on my phone. I’m powering through, though, and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of which brands are ok in no time!


    • makeupbykaelin 10/29/2017

      That seems to be a challenge here too. A lot of brands don’t clearly label or state whether or not they’re CF, or they’ll say (quite sneakily) that they only test on animals where required. It definitely gets easier over time, especially when you learn the lingo! You’ll get it in no time, doll.


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