Did You Know Your False Eyelashes Could Be Causing Cruelty To Animals?

In our search for the perfect flutter, most of us don’t think twice about applying a set of false lashes. With so many brands now available, providing incredibly natural results for only a few pounds, false lashes have never been so popular – or such a normalised part of our regimes. Ten years ago they may have been so uncomfortable to wear that we only resorted to using falsies on a Saturday night (when we knew after a glass or two of Pinot Grigio we’d forget all about it,) but in 2017 lashes are comfortable and lightweight enough to wear every single day. The shelves of our local Superdrug are awash with every style, length and celebrity-endorsed brand you could think of, while even the more premium brands (Illamasqua, MAC and Huda Beauty being among them) are getting in on the act; false lashes are undoubtedly as part of our routines as spray tanning and brow threading. However, there’s a secret practice within pockets of the lash industry that many brands are not too forthcoming about when questioned: many of our lash lines are being enhanced at the expense of animal cruelty.

Mink lashes are being increasingly used as a premium, more natural looking and softer feeling alternative to synthetic hair. I’ve seen an number of press releases for them land in my inbox over the last year or so, but until recently I didn’t think twice; I didn’t believe mink lashes were anything to be concerned about, but since having my eyes opened a little I’m completely aware of the horrific practices that can go into their production. Despite many brands stating that their mink lashes are ‘cruelty free’ and ‘ethically harvested’, after having done an extensive amount of research it’s clear to see that this is not the case. Mink are aggressive and solitary animals who wouldn’t happily give up chunks of their fur in return for a treat or two; any mink used within lashes (or otherwise) can only be harvested via a fur farm, where conditions are often cramped, dirty and completely unnatural for the water-loving mink.

PETA say: “…crowding and confinement is especially distressing to minks, solitary animals who may occupy up to 2500 acres of wetland habitat in the wild. The anguish and frustration of life in a cage leads minks to self-mutilate (biting at their skin, tails, and feet) and frantically pace and circle endlessly. Zoologists at Oxford University who studied captive minks found that despite generations of being bred for fur, minks have not been domesticated and suffer greatly in captivity, especially if they are not given the opportunity to swim.” (Find out more info here, although some of the images and video content is distressing.)

Although I’ve seen quotes within press releases saying the mink are ‘brushed’ and the fur ‘collected’, having read up on this issue it’s safe to say that’s simply untrue. All you have to do is spend a few seconds researching the (upon first glance) cute little animals to see that they’re actually quite vicious – and there’s no farmer in the land that would be able to calm them enough to give them a good stroke. Any brand that uses mink hair to create false lashes is sourcing said hair from a fur farm, and in my opinion that’s not ok. If you want to make a concerted effort to buy and use only mink-free lashes, the brands I’ve found to be totally cruelty free include Ardell, Urban Decay, Sugarpill, Forever 21, NYX, Illamasqua, Tarte and Eylure – however, this isn’t a complete list so it’s always best to do your own research before you buy. (The ones pictured are from Sara Beauty and are made from 100% fake mink hair. They also provide up to 25 uses, if you’re interested!)

This personally has opened a whole can of worms for me, as now I’m considering the ethical practices of those brands that source animal hair for makeup brushes – as well as many other animal derived ingredients in skincare and makeup. (If you’re interested, there’s a full list of animal derived ingredients here.) Every individual should be free to make their own purchasing decisions, but I’ve always believed that we should also be equipped with the information to make informed choices. Too many brands count on consumers (an influencers) buying their marketing lines and PR spins, rather than questioning their sources and procedures, so I’m all for doing my own research and continually questioning what goes on behind the scenes. If you’re trying to become more ethically aware, or want to ensure you’re not facilitating the farming of mink (or other animals) then it’s worth getting to know the brands you use and ensuring they’re 100% synthetic – and therefore truly cruelty-free. Each of us needs to find our own personal boundaries when it comes to animal derivatives, but for me the hair of innocent animals stuck onto my lashes is just too much to bear.

As a result, from hereon in I’m pledging to be a savvier shopper – and a savvier blogger too.

Find out which brands are certified cruelty free via the Leaping Bunny logo here.

Superdrug have a whole cruelty free part of their website, helping to make shopping easier, here.

 Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  



  1. Fee - Makeup Savvy
    March 28, 2017 / 1:04 am

    I'm glad you wrote about this Hayley. I know a lot of people would like to believe the 'cruelty-free' claims of mink eyeslashes… which definitely need to be stopped, because as you say are completely untrue. I've known about the cruelty to minks for some years after watching a video so graphic it's still so vivid in my mind and really did upset me at the time. I'm not sure if it's still available but Reggie Yates did a documentary called Inside a Russian Fur Farm which shows the conditions and effects of caged minks. But to play devil's advocate, which is something mentioned in the documentary, there is a still a problem with faux fur products and even prints/skins being popular. Of course the above lashes you have featured are a good alternative but the brand is still suggesting that the look of mink for lashes is a good thing, which is a problem in itself really. Why do we deserve to have fluttery lashes that look like they could be real mink? Surely synethic standaard eyelashes are more than adequate. Just a bit of food for thought! šŸ™‚ Fee x http://www.makeupsavvy.co.uk

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:10 am

      Hi Fee. You're so right – we shouldn't strive for the 'mink look' really, but I guess they're providing a product that will appeal to those that love mink lashes, but not the ethical implications? I guess it's become more of a descriptive word, like leopard print? But definitely something to think about. I've watched a few videos online and I'm horrified to be honest. The way the animals are caged and treated – and then how they're killed. I just can't bring myself to look again. Horrific.

  2. Vivian Yuen
    March 28, 2017 / 5:34 am

    I never knew this about mink lashes, I had always thought it a bit strange to have animal hair as false lashes in the first place. Thank you for enlightening me…Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE~

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:11 am

      I wasn't aware either until recently – I think it was actually Jane from British Beauty Blogger that wrote something initially.

  3. Anya Bowman
    March 28, 2017 / 8:16 am

    Great post, as you say so many people just don't do the research as PR companies are amazing at what they do, it's so sad! But don't forget just straight up animal testing too, most mainstream companies still do it and it is just horrendous! There are so many amazing alternatives we just don't need to use them anymore šŸ™‚ xx

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:13 am

      Animal testing is a different issue, but equally as important and something I've written about many times before. There's really no excuse for any form of animal cruelty to happen to help us look prettier.

  4. Rachael Dickinson
    March 28, 2017 / 11:48 am

    Wow I did not know this! I will look into this before I purchase any!Rachael xoxhttp://gatsbyandglamour.blogspot.com

  5. Ela BellaWorld
    March 28, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    I've never bought mink lashes and after reading a few things about it, I vowed myself not to buy any. Whenever I buy false lashes, I make cure that they are cruelty free and synthetic lashes. When you get the hair from animals, there's no such thing as cruelty free and people should try to understand it! Ela BellaWorld

  6. Gemma Louise
    March 29, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    I saw some very heartbreaking images of some poor animals that had been harmed due to mink lashes and I don't think I will ever be buying any again. I've only purchased one pair but I want to throw them away after what I've seen! xGemma Louise

  7. What Mum Loves
    April 1, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post! I know we can't change everybody's opinion, but the more we talk and write about cruelty-free beauty, the better! At least people who read these wont say they didn't know x

  8. ExperiĆŖncias e ConstataƧƵes
    April 8, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    This is so sad. I never imagined fake eyelashes could come from animal fur.Humans and their greed and envy of what's not theirs! – FUR!Thank you for sharing.Luckily I never used fake eyelashes.

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