With the continuing trend in the cosmetics business towards eco-friendly and organic cosmetics, customers are seeking out cruelty-free products, as well. These products appeal to consumers who are eco-conscious or animal-lovers, but they also appeal to consumers interested in higher-end products; the best of the cruelty-free cosmetic lines are also created with organic, natural ingredients by the cosmetic manufacturers.
Though it’s not always an accurate assumption, educated customers may also see cruelty-free cosmetics as more gentle on their skin. Stocking a good selection of cruelty-free cosmetics isn’t as simple as asking makeup distributors which brands are cruelty-free, or looking for the “cruelty-free” label on packaging or in product descriptions. Because there currently isn’t a legal definition for “cruelty-free” in the US, you’ll have to do some homework and thoroughly research cosmetics manufacturers before buying.
As you decide on which make up companies to build your selection from, keep the following in mind:
- Determine your own definition of cruelty-free, keeping your current and projected customer base in mind. Many see the definition as designating something that isn’t tested on animals. Others go further and say that only something that doesn’t contain animal products is cruelty-free. Vegans see even honey and beeswax as potentially interfering with something being cruelty-free.
- Though many cosmetics manufacturers use the “cruelty-free” label or note “this product not tested on animals,” the words don’t necessarily mean anything because they don’t have a legal definition. A company that uses the “cruelty-free” label may outsource their animal testing; a cosmetic manufacturer that says its products aren’t tested on animals may test individual ingredients on animals.
- Cosmetics labeled as “cruelty-free” may include slaughterhouse by-products, which might not sit so well with your eco-conscious customers, even if they aren’t vegetarian.
- Opt for the higher-end products from organic and natural skin care companies to give your cruelty-free cosmetics greater visibility. Also keep a few lower cost cruelty-free cosmetics in stock so cruelty-free products don’t strike the average consumer as overpriced.
Understand the logos and words used by cosmetics manufacturersThough "cruelty-free" and "not tested on animals" don't carry much weight, some private organizations investigate products and allow them to carry a logo that identifies them as certified cruelty-free by the organization.
Choose cruelty-free cosmetics that help customers achieve the latest lookMany consumers looking for cruelty-free cosmetics are hip and well-informed about makeup trends. If you keep up with the latest looks and tailor your cosmetic selection to them, your cruelty-free selection better matches consumer interest.
Carry cruelty-free versions of classic cosmeticsWhile many consumers looking for cruelty-free cosmetics are already well-informed, others may not know about these options. For them, carrying cruelty-free versions of classic cosmetics can pique their interest is switching brands.
Stock some cruelty-free mineral makeup, too, which is a step up from traditional powder foundations, shadows and blushes, but is used in the same way. You can also find mineral-based lipsticks. Sevi supplies a small line of cruelty-free mineral makeup and is also a natural skin care company.
- Market your cruelty-free cosmetics. Because cruelty-free cosmetics aren't always obvious as such, draw attention to your new selection with in-store displays or a newsletter update.
- Some commercial brands, such as L'Oreal, have stopped testing on animals. Train your staff so they can inform consumers which brands don't test on animals and which brands are 100% cruelty-free.