MARCH 11 ͭ ͪ  2013

The use of cosmetic tests on animals has always generated clashes and debates among the population. On March 11 ͭ ͪ   2013 an important milestone for the European Union was reached: on that date, the ban on the sale of cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals for particular toxicity studies came into force. In particular:

  • Repeated use toxicity: low doses of a test substance over long periods or even carried out over the lifetime of the animal (chronic toxicity);
  • Reproductive toxicity: the ability of a substance administered to a pregnant animal to cause problems in its offspring;
  • Toxicokinetics: how the substance physically reacts and causes any biological damage.

Before March 11 ͭ ͪ , it was still possible to test a new ingredient and subject it to scientific tests on animals.

It has been a long process which began in 2004 with the ban on animal testing of finished cosmetics, later on extended to the ban on testing also the single ingredients on animals, with the resulting impediment of comercialization of such products whose formulation has also been subjected to animal testing outside the European Union.


European cosmetic factories are committed to the continuous search for alternative methods that can replace all types of tests required for the marketing of a new ingredient. Fortunately, thanks to the work done by the many companies in the field, it was possible to develop 5 alternative tests validated by ECVAM (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods):

  • a test for the evaluation of skin corrosion;
  • a test performed on human skin models for the measurement of skin corrosion;
  • a test for the measure of phototoxicity;
  • an in-vitro test for the evaluation of skin irritation;
  • an in-vitro test for the measure of skin absorption.


Assuming that it is PROHIBITED by law to carry out experiments on animals, the words “not tested on animals” no longer have any validity. This is an advertising medium that causes unfair competition between cosmetic companies: the absence of this expression does not imply that a certain product has actually been tested on animals, since it is forbidden by law to do so.

Here is an example to understand better the situation: the law establishes that to drive a car, you must be provided with the appropriate driver’s license, but nobody writes on his own car “I have a driver’s license”. It would be inopportune because it is an unmovable legal obligation: without a driver’s license it isn’t possible to drive a car. The comparison is clear; why claiming a cumpolsory fact for everyone to the detriment of other competitors?

Logically, entrepreneurial activities in general act to generate a profit, but obviously cannot harm other realities in order to achieve that goal.

The use of the famous symbol representing a stylized bunny does not have any value, it is an unsuitable advertising medium: I’m making the consumer believe that the products which do not use that logo had carried out cosmetic testing on animals, which is absolutely not true because, as we already said, this type of experimentation is illegal! Obviously, using symbols and captions that boast business ethics because it does not carry out animal testing is to the detriment of those who, instead, rightly decide not to include this information on the label.


The responsible person may indicate on the product’s packaging or on any document, leaflet, label, band or card accompanying or referring to such a cosmetic product that it has been developed without recourse to animal testing only on condition that the manufacturer and his suppliers have not carried out or commissioned any animal tests on the finished cosmetic product, its prototype, or any of its ingredients, and that they have not used any ingredients that have been tested on animals by others for the purpose of developing new cosmetic products.