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.