Hourglass Cosmetics talks a good game. On their website, www.hourglasscosmetics.com, they make is seem as if their products are all vegetarian and/or vegan. They assert that their offerings are cruelty-free, and mention this on the site, as well. In fact, Hourglass received special certification from PETA, claiming that their company neither tests on animals nor authorizes any third parties to do so on their behalf.
All this is well and good. However, a more detailed investigation by our staff revealed that Hourglass isn’t cruelty-free at all, since they still use carmine in their products. Carmine is a substance derived from beetles’ wings, used as a dye in lipsticks, rouges, etc.
Obviously, this does not jibe well with Hourglass’ claim of being cruelty-free. The label “cruelty-free” is far more extensive than simply refraining from animal testing. It also encompasses fair and humane treatment of all animals, including insects. Beetles are crushed and ground up into particles to release the desired colorization that some beauty companies seek for their products. This doesn’t sound at all cruelty-free by our standards.
To Hourglass’ credit, the company says they plan to go cruelty-free by 2020. According to Allure, this means that “commonly used cosmetic ingredients like beeswax, lanolin, and carmine (a dye made from beetles’ wings) will be replaced.” Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, which is removed from the sheep’s body using an extremely painful procedure known as mulesing. Huge chunks of flesh are removed from the sheep’s buttocks without the use of anesthetics. Needless to say, this procedure does not qualify for a cruelty-free designation.
It is commendable that Hourglass plans to be cruelty-free by 2020. However, it’s disingenuous for the company to claim they are already cruelty-free, and we urge consumers to be aware of this fact. Don’t be afraid to write companies and ask them about their policies and procedures. That is how we obtained our information (though it took several emails for us to learn the truth).
Hourglass does offer an all-vegan line, with such offerings as marbled blushes, Veil Mineral Primer, and their highly rated Confession lipsticks. They recently launched an all-vegan cosmetic case, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Nonhuman Rights Campaign. This organization defends the rights of all nonhuman animals. The company is making strides in the right direction, and should be commended for that fact.
Meanwhile, be sure to do your homework. A lot of companies say one thing and do another, at least until consumers hold their feet to the fire. We’re glad we took the time to do a little digging.