Before a product can be sold, they have to prove that it is safe for people and that it will not harm them. For many years cosmetic products (like perfume, shampoos, dyes, creams, make up and deodorant) and home hygiene products, and all the ingredients that make up these products, have been tested on animals.
The animals which are most used in cosmetic testing are rats, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs. These are animals which are easy to keep in captivity and also reproduce quickly.
Nowadays there are many tests and ways to validate the procedures which do not use animals. New cosmetic products can also be obtained by using ingredients which have already been proved safe for humans. There are currently over 15,000 ingredients which have already been recognised as safe.
Animal testing on cosmetics has been banned in the EU since 2013. In 2009 it was accepted that animal testing for cosmetics was totally unnecessary and following a period of two phases of application, from March 2013 the sale of all finished cosmetic products or ingredients that had been tested on animals was banned, as was importing ingredients that had been tested on animals.
In USA more than a million animals are used each year in tests on cosmetics, in Canada the number is 3 million.
Any company making cosmetic products within the EU has to follow Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, 30th November 2009, about cosmetic products.
Thanks to the decision taken by the European Union and the great demand by the citizens, today there are a large amount of cosmetics and products for the home which are not tested on animals.
Even so, outside of the EU animal testing is still a reality in many countries. Animal testing for cosmetics is a real concern in USA. Big global brands are still testing their products on animals despite consumer demand and the existence of many existing alternatives.
For the above reasons it is very important to check the origin of cosmetic products on sale. If they are imported from outside of the EU non-animal-tested products are not guaranteed. Furthermore, some companies manufacture cosmetics with ingredients that are tested on animals outside of the EU.