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Know What Your Makeup Brushes Are Made of

Posted on November 05 2015

Did you know that most makeup brushes still use animal hair? And did you know that this hair is extracted using barbaric, cruel techniques where animals are often skinned alive?

The Facts:

Makeup brushes have traditionally been made of animal fur. This is because the texture of the natural fiber provides a luxurious, even distribution of product and grips color. Brushes are made from squirrels, goats, horses and mink fur. These animals are usually raised in labs or bred specifically to provide fur for cosmetic brushes. They are often drowned, electrocuted or skinned alive to preserve the integrity and softness of their fur.

Recently many companies have started selling ‘cruelty free animal brushes’ to address consumers’ concerns about these practices. However, when you dig a little deeper even these brushes are not what I’d call cruelty free. In many instances manufacturers collect their fur through 3rd parties, thereby distancing themselves from the inhumane activity and giving them plausible deniability. Others use scraps or off-cuts of fur from the fur industry and justify it by saying that the animal was killed for other purposes. Many ‘cruelty-free animal hair brushes’ are made from horsehair obtained at slaughterhouses that use horse parts for other products. The rationale is that the horse isn’t being killed for its hair but rather it is a by-product. While technically this counts as being cruelty-free, many vegan advocates (me included!) are enraged at these loop holes and misinformation to consumers!

The misinformation continues on the packaging of makeup brushes as the materials used are generally not listed, so it can be hard to ascertain if a brush is truly cruelty free or not. A rule of thumb is that if it has animal hair in it, something was hurt in its making. But do not disappear, you are in good company! Most ethically minded individuals have at least one makeup brush that does not meet their standards.  I’ll admit, when I went through my own brushes while writing this article I found an old animal hair brush in my own collection! This is just another reason why I am so passionate about the Clean Beauty Lobby on Capitol Hill…we desperately need transparency within the beauty industry!

The solution:

But fear not, living a cruelty free life does not mean you have to resort to applying makeup with your fingers! There are many excellent synthetic hair makeup brushes on the market that work just as well, if not better than their animal hair counter parts. Plus, synthetic brushes are more hygienic and easier to clean.

Synthetic, vegan brushes have had a lackluster reputation, but there are several excellent lines of brushes designed to mimic natural fibers providing an even color grab and distribution of product. Of course all of our brushes in the Au Naturale Cosmetics range are 100% vegan and cruelty free. They are made from high quality synthetic fibers and provide professional, even coverage. As always, at Au Naturale you never have to sacrifice your ethics for your makeup regime!

If you want to find out more about the Clean Beauty Lobby, read and sign our petition here and if you want to learn more about our vegan, cruelty free brushes navigate this way!


Au Naturale Cosmetics is organic, fresh, beauty




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