Cruelty-free cosmetics UAE


Where in the UAE can you buy a mascara or eye-shadow that hasn’t been rubbed in a bunny’s eye to make it ‘safe’ for humans? Awakenings investigates cruelty-free cosmetics UAE… words by Tamara Pitelen and Katrina Valente.

We’re typical women who love make-up. We love how a new lipstick can make us feel like a million dollars and we love how mascara can make all the difference when we mean business with our eyelash fluttering. We don’t, however, believe that some poor little animal has to be tortured and killed in the name of safety testing to create our beloved beauty products. Happily, parts of the world are coming round to the same idea. In March this year, the European Union finally banned animal tested cosmetics after a long battle waged by groups like Cruelty Free International, the British Union for Abolition of Animal Vivisection (BUAV) and The Body Shop. But the fight still goes on, more than 80 per cent of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics products and ingredients. Worse, with the rapidly rising wealthy middle-class in China, global corporations are falling over themselves to sell to Chinese women – unfortunately China is the one country in the world where the government actually insists on animal testing so some companies that did have cruelty-free status, have now gone back on this in order to sell into China. This includes companies like Estee Lauder and Avon. There is a glimmer of hope though. On 6 November 2013, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration proposed to abolish the requirement for animal testing for cosmetics and domestic products such as shampoo, skincare or perfume from June 2014. Instead it proposes that industry cont. overleaf should now have the option to assess the safety of a substance based on the toxicological profile of ingredients, similar to the Cosmetic Product Safety Report under the EU Cosmetic Regulations. A definite and gratifying breakthrough but it’s not enough. Happily, while we wait for all cosmetic companies to embrace cruelty-free, many cosmetic manufacturers are sticking by their belief that animals don’t need to suffer so women can have lipstick. We’ve compiled some of the brands and stockists that are available here in the UAE but if you know of any others that we haven’t mentioned, let us know.

Email the information to tamara@awakeningsme. com, we’ll put this list on the Awakenings website ( and keep adding to it when we find new cruelty-free products. For this article, we’re dealing with cosmetics only, in future articles we’ll look at skincare, hair and body care, and so on.


This company gets a big gold-star for its commitment to cruelty-free cosmetics. NYR owner Peter Kindersley is committed to creating products that don’t harm the planet or the beautiful, sentient beings we share it with. Traditionally more focused on skincare, the really good news for animal-loving beauty queens is that in 2013, NYR launched a cruelty-free, organic range of cosmetics in the UAE that includes eye and brow liner, eye-shadow, eye make-up remover, lipstick and lipgloss, foundation, bronzer and more. In addition, NYR recently added mascara to the range that will be available in the UAE first quarter of 2014 (this took longer to develop because NYR found it difficult to source a recyclable wand, bless them).

Buy it: NYR has outlets in Dubai at Wafi Mall, Sun, Level 1 (04 324 5141); Dubai Mall, Level 1 near Nayomi (04 325 3154); Dubai Marina Mall (050 189 3191); coming soon to Town Centre Springs. Sharjah locations: Sahara Centre, Sharjah (06 554 6702)

Abu Dhabi locations: Fatouh al Khair Mall (02 628 9044) and Al Wahda Mall extension, unit E239 Second Floor


A cruelty-free brand stocked by Sephora, Too Faced is super glam, gorgeous and fun. The range has everything you need for day and evening looks. We love the Lip Injection for lip plumping.

Awakenings contacted Too Faced to check their cruelty free credentials, here’s what Juli Jones, Regulatory & International Compliancy Manager for Too Faced told us: “Our cruelty-free statement includes all individual ingredients as well as the finished goods. Our cosmetics brushes are also synthetic (no animal hair) and many of our products are vegan friendly (absolutely no animal derived ingredients at all).” So, go and buy Too Faced products from Sephora with a clear conscience.

Buy it: Sephora has outlets at Dubai Marina Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, Deira City Centre, Citywalk Al Wasl, Dubai Festival City, and Abu Dhabi Mall.


This is the official line: “Dr. Hauschka Skin Care opposes animal testing. We neither perform nor commission animal testing of our products or ingredients. Compliance with the European ban on animal testing of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients is verified during certification of our products as Natural and/or Organic Cosmetics according to the BDIH and/or NATRUE standards.”

Products include eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliners, lipliner, lipstick, lipgloss, foundation, concealer, face powder, rouge, bronzer, brushes, etc.

Buy it: Dr. Hauschka is stocked at Holland & Barrett, The Organic Foods and Cafe, The Change Initiative, Life Pharmacy, and The Nutrition Center.


We still feel cheated about L’Oreal buying Body Shop but as a brand Body Shop is staying true to its cruelty-free principles and was a driving force of the campaign to ban animal testing for cosmetics in the European Union. In 1993, led by it’s founder the late Dame Anita Roddick, Body Shop was the first beauty company to take action on animal testing by enlisting the support of its customers across Europe to support the ban. After a twenty year campaign, the EU banned animal testing on cosmetics in March this year. Next stop, the world. At the end of October, Body Shop presented the Cruelty Free International pledge to governments and regulators calling for a global ban on animal testing in cosmetics. Buy it: The Body Shop has outlets in Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Ajman. For your nearest store, check the website or call the head office on 06 530 22 27.


We already love Marks & Spencer for so many reasons, their undies, their food hall… now there’s another reason. M&S are loud and proud on cruelty-free cosmetics. This is what they state on their website: “We don’t test any of our M&S beauty or household products on animals. We guarantee that none of the individual ingredients in our beauty or household products is tested on animals either, starting from a fixed cut-off date of January 2006. “This covers more than 1,200 products and, more importantly, their individual ingredients, from lavender laundry liquid to tea tree face wipes. All these products have the stamp of approval from Cruelty Free International.” Thanks Marksy, we’ll be in your make-up section very soon. Buy it: Marks and Spencer have stores in Dubai at Al Ghurair Mall, Deira City Centre (04 294 3242), Dubai Festival City (04 206 6466), Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates (04 395 8977), Mirdif City Centre, and Wafi (04 324 5145). In Abu Dhabi at Dalma Mall, Fatouh Al Khair (02 621 3646), Marina Mall Abu Dhabi. In Al Ain at Mazyad (03 784 0900).


Champions of creativity, edgy British make-up brand Illamasqua is about individuality. The brand takes its inspiration from members of the ‘alternative scenes’ for whom self-expression is paramount. This is what Illamasqua says about animal testing: “Illamasqua products have NEVER and will NEVER be tested on animals. As such we don’t support or permit animal testing on any of our products, and only work with suppliers who uphold these principles. Bringing you high quality products that meet strict consumer health and safety regulations is our priority, so the only alter egos we’ll ever test on are our own!”

Buy it: Illamasqua has its own stores in Dubai Mall (+971 4 3398208) and Mirdiff City Centre (+971 4 3398208). The brand is also sold through Bloomingdales in Dubai Mall (+971 4 3505395), Harvey Nichols in Mall of the Emirates (+971 4 4098609), and Areej stories in Mall of the Emirates, Mercato Mall, Marina Mall, Mirdif City Centre, Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi and Ajman City Centre.


A professional make-up range, Glo-Minerals is committed to creating the smartest and safest formulations with only superior pharmaceutical-grade vitamins and minerals. Their base formulations don’t have any perfumes or chemical dyes and are 100 per cent talc, paraben and gluten-free as well as not tested on animals. The cosmetic line has comprises lipsticks, eyeshadows, primers, concealers, various base make-up such as tints, pressed base, liquid foundations and camouflage kits. There is also a great range of five different mascaras, brow shadows and a full range of make-up brushes. Price range from AED 95 for a lipstick, AED 110-130 mascaras, AED 256 foundations, AED 105 blushers and make-up brushes from AED 90 to 200. Buy it: Glo-Minerals make-up studio and retail outlet is at 205B Falcon Building, Al Mina Rd, Bur Dubai. To book an appointment with a make-up artist, call 04 354 2905.


There’s a lot of misinformation out there about animal test-ing that’s just plain wrong, often stupid. Here are some of the common misconceptions…

Myth 1: A product that says ‘Cruelty-Free’ or has a bunny on it, hasn’t been tested on animals. Not true sadly, the devil is often in the details. Designation as ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals’, or even the image of a bunny on a label may only refer to the finished product, when in fact, most animal testing occurs at the ingredient level. Furthermore, while a company may claim, ‘We do not test on animals,’ it could still contract other companies to do the testing. The only way to be 100 per cent certain a company is cruelty-free is to buy products from companies that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program, which requires that no new animal testing be used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers.

Myth 2: If a product isn’t tested on animals, it might not be safe for humans. Utter rubbish. There are many reliable alternatives to animal testing, including cell and tissue cultures and sophisticated computer and mathematical models. Companies can also formulate products using ingredients already determined to be safe. Cruelty-free companies can use a combination of methods to ensure safety, such as employing in vitro tests and/or conducting clinical studies on humans.

Myth 3: It’s hard to find products that really are cruelty free. No, you just need to do a little research. Resources include the Leaping Bunny Compassionate Shopping Guide (www. or download the free Leaping Bunny app from iTunes ( cruelty-free) or Android Marketplace to have your shopping guide right on your smartphone. You can also download or order a free pocket-sized Compassionate Shopping Guide from Source: Information reprinted from the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program website at www.leapingbunny.o


Here are some great resources to start with if you want to know more about the campaign for beauty without cruelty: Cruelty Free Dubai Dubai-based expats Michel Dos Santos and partner are passionate supporters of cruelty-free products, they’ve set up a Facebook page to provide information and a forum in order to share information about where to buy cruelty-free products in the UAE. Website coming soon.

Cruelty Free International Started by the BUAV (see below) CFI is the only global organisation working solely to end animal testing for cosmetics and consumer products. They are calling on governments and regulators around the world to introduce a ban on the testing of animals for cosmetics and consumer products and ingredients. Ambassadors include Ricky Gervais, Joss Stone, and Sir Paul McCartney.

Leaping Bunny The Leaping Bunny Program is the international gold standard for non-animal tested cosmetics and household cleaning brands. Look for the Leaping Bunny Logo.

PETA The website for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has masses of information on living a cruelty-free life including a Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide.

British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) Launched by a women’s rights activist in 1898 who was deeply disturbed by the suffering of animals during scientific experiments she witnessed while travelling around Europe, the BUAV has been peacefully campaigning for over 100 years to create a world where nobody wants or believes we need to experiment on animals.


Cruelty-free cosmetics UAE


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