As someone who has never been a makeup buff (missing gene), I can truly take it or leave it. Ironically I find myself looking more and more at labels perhaps due to the more experienced I get with body care sourcing and ingredients, not because I enjoy putting more layers of "stuff" on my face. I'm allergic, have sensitive skin, and quite frankly, it all feels like goop to me (not the Gwyneth Paltrow kind). My occasions for makeup are probably the job interview, fancy dinner, photo shoot, weddings and funerals; something like that. So the one time a year I do buy cosmetics, I do my homework. I'm a picky customer and I ask a lot of questions. I look first at: The company, including who is the parent company, their sales market, their overall labeling quality, their product quality and lastly, their price. As someone who is partial to buying Made in USA goods whenever possible, I support those brands first and foremost. Cosmetic companies who sell to China are doing animal testing plain and simple. It's not bad mouthing; it's a fact. It is part of the requirement to do business in that country as odd as that may seem by today's standards. Its proven to be a huge challenge (mostly PR-wise) on the business front for companies balancing modern consumer desire for less animal testing and corporate greed or expansion goals. It's a giant sacrifice for companies to walk away from that market and, in my opinion, they should be applauded for it. Taking a hit for the cause is never easy and often not good for business. This is where the "ethics" come in to play which brings me to another strictly marketing word and tool.
Animal testing is cruel, outdated and should end like a lot of other unsafe practices involving animal welfare around the globe. Sadly, like other industries out there that rely on storytelling as their core vehicle for sales, much of what we're sold in the stores on beautiful labels and packaging, and in an all encompassing advertising culture is simply untrue. I know this from my experience in the soap world of fourteen years. I've run into enough people who manufacture or have been part of large companies that manufacture for big brands. All we can do is ask questions. What do you think those consumer lines are for in the fine print on the back? I use them all the time and don't bat an eye when the phone rep on the other end acts like I'm asking for state secrets. Its their corporate responsibility to their customers to answer important safety questions or concerns, whatever they may be. Every legitimate company should be willing to do so. I've called E.L.F. and Neutrogena myself and they made sure they got me the answers I was looking for. In the end, the most important and perhaps only thing to remember is that the FDA does not regulate or impart any legal authority over the terms "Cruelty-free" or "Vegan" when it comes to cosmetics produced in the United States. It's all marketing. End of story.