Cruelty free france

I have a problem. It's to do with living here too.

I thought I'd treat myself to some perfume. I'm 50 this year (YAY!) and what's more, I appear to be living in the PARFUM capital of the world.

Malheureusement, I'm not much of a girlie though, and I'm so far from being a "fashionista", that I'm firmly rooted on the exact opposite side of that particular planet.

But, as we get older, I can't help noticing, on a daily basis, that we get smellier. Not in a good way.

I've also recently started a fitness plan to fight disability, which involves swimming twice a week, so when not smelling of old lady or biscuits, I smell of chlorine, however long I spend in the shower at the piscine.

So I plan to spend the next 50/40/30/20 or so years, making a concerted effort to cover up the granny scent with whatever nice pongs nature provides. As long as it stops me smelling of rich tea biscuits in the morning, I don't mind.

I find it a dilema here, because I do mind, big time, about animal tested cosmetics.

I don't even do cosmetics much : a bit of nail varnish on the old tootsies, lipstick & eyshadow once or twice a year for a wedding or some such event, body lotion, suncream, my best friend's handmade soap and lip-salve and shampoo and I'm done. With a list that small it's not hard to find cruelty free stuff and it's pretty much everywhere in Blighty. All the major supermarkets have several choices.

The only thing I know I use, that is probably tested or was many years ago when it was first lauched, is the same brand of eylash dye kit that I've used for 20 years. I justify this to myself because I have dry eye syndrome which results in a kind of pinky red conjuctivitus eye appearance, which turn into blotchy sore messes in all dry weather and dry indoor heating. So that's almost always. The sad, non-girly result of this is, that I can't do mascara and I really hate my puffy, blotchy, red eyes. So once every 2 months, I allow myself the guilty, girly "luxury" of poking myself in the eyes with a stick coated in black dye and hydrogen peroxide and I suffer a couple of hours of stinging redness followed by tiny dark eylashes and eybrows that don't look non-existent (blond) for the next 6 weeks. I suppose the irony of this is that at least I'm suffering sore eyes as much as the poor bunny that they probably tested it on 15 years ago.

At this point some of you might be thinking "hypocrite, she's banging on about cruelty free but giving herself a get out clause for her vanity, so what a holier-than-thou numbskull is she?" Mmmm. I suppose I assess my moral compass around a kind of 'means tested' level of culpability, where one small transgression is sanctioned by taking the whole view of the thing. Generally speaking I have a cruelty free attitude, as far as is reasonably possible. If someone brings out an eylash dye kit that isn't tested on animals, I'll absolutely buy one.

I tend to buy most of my miniscule bathroom shelf contents, from a selected few outlets in the UK, partly to save money, but mostly because I find it disgusting that it seems all French companies apparently have no interest in the subject at all and continue to feel the need to create new products, with total disregard for the fact that animal testing in cosmetics is both barbaric and obsolete.

I find it bad enough that it's still something you need to actively seek out in the UK, even. Why on earth hasn't animal testing on cosmetics and bathroom products been banned?Where is the EU regulation on this? I want one!

I tend to come home from visits home, with a good sized box full of co-op shampoo and conditioner, Sharon's "NANNYS SILLY SOAP" and her gorgeous peppermint lipsalve, CO-OP or Sainsburys toothpaste and several bottles of co-op mouthwash. I've even ordered online from Boots who also do a cruelty free range, and I once did one of those ex-pat "deliver to a town near you" services, where you but 150 quids worth of shopping and they bring it to France from Sainsburys who often pop the little bunny logo on their stuff,...a special treat during our first 3 years. They were our "good life" days, without running water and EDF electric.

Well, I thought, I'm not to be outdone. Where there”s a will there's a chemin. I set out, on the setee, this evening, with my trusty netbook and my fabulouse wifi, to search this fine French land for supplies of perfume, available in most large retailers, who declare cruelty free formulas. The exhaustive list is a s follows;

yves rocher, thierry mugler, nina ricci

Phaa! Rubbish. Is that the best they can do?

Any comments appreciated, French or British, PETA supporters, or even from those who are totally in favor of animal tested cosmetics.

I'll challenge you to a cross channel cross attitude cruelty duel and I guarantee, I'll come up smelling of roses (or something by the above companies) !!!

Boots The company is listed in the 11th edition of Naturewatch's Compassionate Shopping Guide as a company to avoid. To see how they rated and for alternatives see Ethical Consumer's free Buyers' Guide to shampoo.

A fascinating site which gives lots of free info aswell as a paid-for really detailed guide to just about every ethical list of anything available in europe and worldwide.

Does anyone have a favourite home-made perfume?

I always use lavender or bergamot essential oil as a standby.

Yes sorry Lynda, I have looked it up and can definitely confirm that Avon test their products on animals. So they definitely don't deserve a "CRUELTY FREE FRANCE" thumbs up. What a shame.

I studied aromatherapy too, in 1998, I did a diploma in holistic therapy. It was fascinating and laid the foundation for my nursing diploma. I then had a stall selling aromatherapy products for a year, but I had to give up due to back problems.

I always had trouble mixing scents though. I have several mixes that I really like, but I find they are always a bit bland in some way. My friend Sharon, who makes the Nanny Silly soaps etc, has a much better "nose" than I do and creates some great scents.I keep trying to get her to do a perfume but she needs a higher turnover first I think, to create and market something so expensive.

I think aromatherapy perfumrie, as distinct from aromatherapie massage, is definitely an art form which I very much appreciate, but is not my forté. I do still have a lot of oils left so maybe will give myself a bit of time for a blending session as well soon.

BTW I find vodka makes a good standby perfume base because oil bases have stained my very few nice clothes far too often. You have to shake the bottle before spraying it.

As an aromatherapist, I am a great advocate of natural perfume - and you can create your own with 100% natural essential oils (distilled from aromatic plants). France has some of the best small distilleries (Provence). One is called Florihana and you can buy essential oils directly from their website. You can also buy them from a lot of pharmacies and herbalists shops. You should be sure they are pure and unadulterated, and the ones most prized for their scent (and used in perfumery in the 'olden times' - now, mostly everything used in the perfume industry is synthetic - and they don't have to tell you what is in the perfume...lots of scary ingredients that haven't been tested for safety? I am afraid so. I personally can stand most perfume. My nose starts stuffing up and I can smell the 'fakeness' of it) okay, done ranting, back to the essential oils used for perfume, the traditionally popular ones - the flowers - are the most expensive because you get the least for the most work (in distilling the petals): rose, jasmine (which is actually an absolute, not an essential oil technically), neroli, ylang ylang. Popular base notes are patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, vetiver. Citruses are lovely top notes, but don't use the expressed citrus essential oils on your skin if you then expose it to the sun (depending on the dose) - they are phototoxic, esp. grapefruit, lime, bergamot (but you can get the bergapten-free version thus avoiding the phototoxicity). I love making custom perfumes for my clients using only essential oils and jojoba oil as a base (no need for alcohol, but you can use it if you want something thinner that you can spray - I make a blend of oils and put it in a small roller-top bottle). Just search the internet for 'essential oil, natural perfume' and you will get lots of ideas. This site has some interesting info: It's great to know what is in what you put on your body - and to have your own unique scent - remember simple is best! If you want an more info. or advice, etc., feel free to email me at Happy creating! amy

Jo, you can get perfume which is not tested on animals from many suppliers, other than "perfume suppliers" per say. Melvita, L'Occitane and others sell perfume. With regards to International campaigns, you have the list of names and that is the most important. If you want to check each site then indeed, you will need more time. You can just print the list, keep it in your wallet and check the brands you see when you go shopping!

thanksNatalie. The label on voice liste looks usefull; I could only find one perfume supplier on it though. but it looks a good one and resonable prices.

The international campaigns page downloadeda PDF file of a list of sites. No links unfortunately so will take some extra time but a good long list and all the suppliers seem to have websites.

things are definitely looking up!!!

Hi Jo, my partner Joe asked me to help.

With regards to animal testing in France (for cosmetics or otherwise), it is safer to assume that it has been tested.

All big names are tested (this includes Clinique, although some of their staff think it is not!!). As far as Yves Rocher is concerned, the products themselves are not tested but they are part of the giant group L'Oreal (one of the worst for cosmetics animal testing). So if you buy Yves Rocher, 23% of your money goes to animal testing (not something they advertise). The Body Shop of course also belongs to L'Oreal so are not ethical for the same reasons.

One Voice is a French animal welfare group and they publish a list of "cruelty free" brands on their site. They actually award the "One Voice label" to ethical companies but the problem is that they have a rather flexible approach to ethics and award their label to companies who don't deserve it (like Yves Rocher). However, still worth a look. This is the page where you can search by brand or type of product:

I would otherwise suggest this non exhaustive list for example:

Organic shops (Biocoop network and similar) are a good place to shop. The products are not only natural and do not contain nasty substances but many of them are NOT tested and of excellent quality : Centifolia, Cattier, Melvita, Ciel d'Azur, Logona (not tested but often not suitable for vegans), Weleda...

I hope this helps. I am happy to answer further questions if you have any. Animal testing is barbaric and the shame of humanity. More people should take a stance against it and it starts by not buying tested products.

Good luck and enjoy your cruelty free products! Nathalie

Sorry Lynda but as far as I am aware Avon products ARE tested on animals and the claim to the contrary has been removed from the website. They accept tests on animals in order to sell their products to countries which require it by law such as China. You won't find Avon on any cruelty free products lists(BUAV or others). Nathalie

I'm off to London soon for a few days, so perhaps I will find a Lush shop.

They are more expensive than the UK, so worth stocking up while there! But not horrendously so. Body Shop can be ordered online too, I presume they will post, however I have never been able to load a page on the French site , no probs with the uk site though!

Avon products are not tested on animals, you can message me at for your nearest rep.

Yes, I've seen Urban Decay in their shops but haven't tried it

Ordered my last stuff on line from Lush....they cant send liquids abroad...but if you have a UK address you can order....

I agree Carol,perfumes from the body shop are fantastic.One of my all time favorites is "white musk".

I discovered lush on a recent trip to England.I love their products.There isn't one near me for the moment but they seem to be expanding rapidly so hopefully one will be opening near me soon. I love going to the body shop,I could spend hours there!!And as you say Yves Rocher have some great products too

They do however (sometimes) have some lines of cosmetics which are cruelty free.I know for sure that "urban decay" are not tested on animals and they can be found in some of the sephora shops

Yes :(

Does Sephora test on animals?

I think you will find Body Shop and Lush Cosmetics are also animal testing free sites....the oils from Body Shop are fantastic perfumes...and last much longer on the skin....imparting a lovely subtle all day fragrance...and Lush have brought back the best perfume in the world due to huge numbers of customers imploring them to reintroduce Ginger perfume.....which is amongst my all time favourite perfumes...and I am comparing here with Dior, Lancome and no mean feat. Many English/USA costmetic companies and pefumiers still animal test....but of those you mention above...Ricci and Thugler produce some fabulous perfume and Yves Rocher...some great skin care not so bad a choice.