“Beauty Without Bunnies”: Consumer Power and the Fall of Cult Beauty Brands

It’s 2017, and the scope of influence for public opinion is increasing by the day.

Think about it. In the world of industry, success relies on the public. We’re a tangible force to be reckoned with, living in an era where a series of bad Trip Advisor reviews can ruin the future of a hotel or restaurant. With cruelty free beauty rising in relation to the favour of the public, it makes sense to question whether huge cosmetic brands that refuse to ban testing completely are ultimately heading in the direction of closure.

In 2013, the EU banned animal testing, and although that may have seemed like the end to an issue there were significant loopholes for brands that wanted to bypass the new rules. There was no barrier preventing certain ingredients from being tested, and if a product was to be sold in China, by government law animal testing was required. Enter, the big cult brands and a quest for profit. In the past, the success of a company was based largely on profit margins – for beauty businesses like L’Oréal, Maybelline and MAC, climbing up the ladder was a money game. Nowadays, the situation is different.

With beauty bloggers becoming one of the most influential groups of people in the cosmetic industry success is now based on reputation, and there is no space for businesses to hide. Cruelty free spending is flying upwards in the blogging agenda, and the more influencers that say no to animal testing, the more consumers that take note and follow. If social media stars say that they won’t buy something, you can guarantee that it will have an impact on sales. Companies such as L’Oréal and MAC are slated by bloggers on twitter for their unethical programmes, and as a reader it has the potential to make you think twice. It’s a walking contradiction to be against animal testing and to sell products in China, and the companies that dominate the cosmetic industry are becoming just that.

Credit: https://ethiquebeauty.com/cruelty-free/

Although their influence is waning with our increased compassion, it’s arguable that we will never reach an animal testing free world. A rise in veganism will most likely never bring about a closure of the meat industry, just like a boycott on animal testing won’t stop customers that remain loyal to a brand. As long as our cult brands continue to bring out new releases, people will hand over their cash. A new lipstick collection by MAC has a lot of power, maybe even more so than the image of a rabbit with eyes red raw from chemicals. What does that say about the current state of our consumer compassion?

The Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) list of cruelty free brands deemed “beauty without bunnies”, is easily at the fingertips of consumers. And guess what? The majority of the contents of your makeup bag probably isn’t on it. Cruelty free is always a choice, for both consumers and companies. It’s time now with cosmetics in the social media spotlight, to see how our consumer power shapes the future of the industry and how our voice, now more influential than it ever has been before, has the power to put an end to cruelty.

Emily Merrill

Photo Credit: http://www.petguide.com/breeds/rabbit/florida-white/