Not all companies who make the claim strictly avoid animal-tested ingredients

COSMETICS COUNTER

May 12, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

Many companies proudly boast that they do not test their products on animals.

However, it isn't often clear whether or not the products contain animal ingredients or whether the ingredients individually were ever tested on animals.

Some companies, including The Body Shop, have a self-imposed five-year "grandfather clause," which means that they will use ingredients previously tested on animals as long as the testing took place five years prior to the date the raw ingredient was purchased.

Beauty Without Cruelty is one of the few companies with a strict, rigorously defined position concerning animal testing.

None of the company's products is tested on animals, they contain no animal by-products, and none of the ingredients the company uses has been tested on animals since 1965. The ethics of this company in this regard are admirable.

Its moisturizers (and prices) are quite good, and are now being carried in drugstores such as Payless and Drug Emporium.

You can also order direct by calling (707) 769-5120.

Beauty Without Cruelty may be something to take a look at for those particularly interested in truly cruelty-free cosmetics. (The prices listed below represent recent purchases from Drug Emporium.)

* Aloe and Olive Cleansing Cream ($5.83 for 8 ounces) is a fairlstandard wipe-off cleanser that can leave the face feeling fairly greasy. It contains mostly water; thickeners; coconut oil; a humectant (propylene glycol, which can be irritating); olive oil; aloe vera (listed as a moisturizing ingredient; it is no more moisturizing than water, but it can soothe skin); thickeners; vitamins A, E, and D; some herbs; and preservatives.

* Foaming Herbal Face Wash ($4.49 for 8 ounces) is OK but it can be quite drying. It contains a small amount of balm mint and peppermint oil, which can burn the eyes and irritate sensitive skin types.

* Gentle Herbal Face Wash ($4.49 for 8 ounces) is a good face wash. It can be drying for some skin types, but overall would be a consideration for someone with oily skin.

* Gentle Loofah Face Scrub ($4.50 for 5 ounces) isn't what I would call gentle. It contains mostly water, walnut shells, detergent cleanser, thickeners, loofah powder (which is more scrubbing material), thickeners, herbs and preservatives. It would work as a scrub, but it would also be quite drying and irritating for many skin types.

* Camomile Freshener (Alcohol-free) ($4.49 for 8 ounces) contains water, witch hazel (which can be an irritant and does contain some alcohol), aloe vera, a humectant (propylene glycol, which can be irritating), a cleansing agent, menthol and camphor (both can irritate the skin), herbs and preservative. The name makes it sound gentle, but there is actually very little camomile in this product, and many of the ingredients can be irritating.

* Cool Peppermint Freshener (Alcohol-free) ($4.50 for 8 ounces) is almost identical to the Camomile Freshener above except for the addition of peppermint, which can be a skin irritant.

* Oil-Free Hand and Body Lotion ($4.50 for 16 ounces) contains mostly water, aloe vera, glycerin, thickeners, vitamin E, a soothing agent, herbs and preservatives. This wouldn't be great for dry skin, but it would be soothing and lightweight.

* Oil-Free Hydrator with NaPCA ($4.99 for 4 ounces) is a lightweight moisturizer that contains water, NaPCA (a water binding ingredient), humectant (glycerin), thickener, cocoa butter and preservatives. This would be good for dry skin, but the cocoa butter can cause breakouts in certain skin types.

* Aloe and E Moisture Cream ($6.25 for 2 ounces) is a good emollient moisturizer, best for someone with dry skin. It contains mostly water, glycerin, safflower oil, thickeners, vitamin E, a water binding agent, almond oil, more vitamin E, herbs, vitamins A and D, a small amount of sunscreen (but not there isn't enough to protect the skin adequately) and preservatives.

* Oil-Free Moisturizer ($6.32 for 2 ounces) is mostly water, humectant (propylene glycol, which can be irritating), thickener, a water binding agent, vitamin B6, vitamin E, a soothing agent, liquefied protein (a water binding agent), vitamins A and D, herbs, a small amount of sunscreen, and preservatives. Oil-Free Moisturizer would be a good lightweight moisturizer, but there -- really isn't enough sunscreen to protect the skin adequately.

* Oil-Regulating LotionNatural Oil Control ($4.99 for 4 ounces) contains water; aloe vera; a humectant (propylene glycol, which can be an irritant); thickeners; vitamin E; a soothing agent; liquefied protein; a water binding agent; vitamins E, A, and D; and preservatives. There is nothing in this product that would decrease oil production, and the thickeners can cause breakouts. However, it could be considered a lightweight moisturizer for someone with normal to oily skin.

* Preventative Age Cream ($7.29 for 2.2 ounces) contains almost all the same ingredients as many of the above moisturizers. Why aren't any of those advertised as preventing aging? And the other ones are cheaper, too. If you claim a product prevents aging, I guess there are those who are willing to pay more for it.

* Purifying Clay and Rye Flour Mask ($4.99 for 2.5 ounces) contains water, glycerin, zinc oxide, clay, rye flour, more clay (from Jordan -- Jordanian clay is not better than clay from anywhere else), thickener, herbs, vitamin E, live yeast and preservatives. This heavy, thick mask won't purify anything, and there isn't enough yeast in it to raise a dough.

Paula Begoun publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update, a newsletter that comes out every other month. For an introductory copy of the subscription newsletter, send $1 for shipping and handling to: The Beginning Press, 5418 South Brandon, Seattle, Wash. 98118.

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