Tell NARS COSMETICS to reverse its decision to sell in China
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As someone who writes about beauty for a living - I am a freelance journalist specialising in beauty who has written for Vogue and the Financial Times among others - I've heard every tired excuse about animal testing and how important it is to share the exceptional qualities of a particular product with Chinese consumers - despite the Chinese government's pro-animal testing policy - time and time again.
But somehow I wasn't expecting NARS Cosmetics to join the ranks of those putting profit before principle and pretending it's in the interests of democratising beauty. Founded in 1994 by French make-up artist Francois Nars, with chic black packaging designed by Fabien Baron, NARS was always ahead of the curve - its beautiful coral-pink blusher, "Orgasm" being typical of the kind of innovation in both technology and name that it prided itself on. Naturally, it was always cruelty-free.
A new decision to sell in China now means that it is subject to Chinese import laws, which means it will have to submit its products to animal testing there.
What does this mean to those of us not living in China? You can now no longer claim to buy a cruelty free product if you use NARS.
NARS claims it has taken this decision so that the people of China can have the same access to the artistry and quality of cosmetics that other NARS consumers around the world currently have. In a statement issued to fans, it added, "The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen."
"We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China."
While it's true that non-animal methods are now a superior way to test whether products are safe or not, they're not currently available as an alternative to animal testing in China. Banned in the UK since 1998, sadly, in China, some 375,000 animals are estimated to have been used in tests in 2015 alone, including the infamous Draize Test invented in 1944, where rabbits have cosmetics squirted in their eyes.
NARS's claim that they're just "spreading the love" so to speak - is just a cop-out. Chinese consumers already have access to many other European and American brands of cosmetics, who have already submitted to Chinese animal testing policies. L'Oreal, Unilever, Estee Lauder and their subsidiary companies (NARS is a subsidiary of the Shiseido group) already sell there.
The real reason NARS is going into China has more to do with the vast profits that can be made. According to one US report, China had an estimated $50 billion in domestic sales of beauty products in 2015 and the market is growing. It's set to become the largest market for personal care and cosmetics products globally in the next five to ten years.
There are many beauty brands who have put principles before profits and despite the huge amounts of money to be made do NOT sell in China - Chantecaille, RMS, Julisis, Codage, Dr Hauschka, By Terry, Le Labo - to name but a few. (Check out PETA/Paula's Choice websites for more information on how to buy ethically). There is talk of the Chinese authorities changing their policy, but as long as beauty brands continue to inadvertently support it by selling there, they know there's no hurry.
Dr Julia Baines from PETA UK acknowledges attempts by L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Unilvever (who all sell in China) to push for alternative non-animal in-vitro tests there and says, "The beauty industry is on board, but the Chinese are slow to accept change because they've had massive problems with cosmetics contamination in the past. It's inexcusable when you consider the wide availability of the alternatives."
Please sign my petition to urge Barbara Calcagni, the President of NARS Cosmetics, to re-consider this decision and pull out of China. It's the only way animal testing - a completely unnecessary practice that tortures and destroys hundreds of thousands of innocent creatures all in the name of vanity - will be stopped. It's the only way the Chinese authorities will understand that cosmetic beauty brands are serious about putting an end to animal testing. And it's the only way consumers will know that NARS Cosmetics really values their opinions.
NARS - you are bigger than this. Please stop selling in China and protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent aniimals.
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