Last week, there was a little shake-up in the cosmetics world, when NARS Cosmetics announced that they will start selling their products in China. Now, at the best of times, a statement like this wouldn’t raise any eyebrows. Who cares where companies want to sell their products?!
Ah, but you see, entering the Chinese market brings with it the looming spectre of animal testing. China notoriously requires, by law, cosmetics brands to test their products (or ingredients) on animals to ensure product safety. Their version of it.
NARS, before this, while not wearing their policy on their sleeve, did not test on animals and was one of the high end brands that could claim to be cruelty free. So, it wasn’t surprising to read about the backlash that the decision to enter the Chinese market brought the brand. There were numerous reports of customers announcing boycotts of the brand.
So, I’m curious. Has this decision by NARS Cosmetics affected your perception of the brand? Will you stop using their products?
Here is the statement given by NARS on their Instagram page.
We want you to know that we hear you. 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. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see: http://bit.ly/2rVjnwV
I cannot say that I support animal testing of products. Who can? It’s cruel. (But don’t believe everything PETA tells you – I don’t as I find them to be unnecessarily over-dramatic, and there are also numerous articles out there exposing their own heinous behaviour – just Google)
Yet, I can see the logic of NARS wanting to enter the China market. The Chinese market is a huge market, and NARS is, at the end of the day, a global business driven by one key thing – profits. They must know that there is a big demand for their products, and they know they can reap the benefits, because as much as we hate to admit it, China is an economic force to be reckoned with. Not only by sheer population numbers, but also their purchasing power. I’m actually surprised it took them this long.
To answer my own question, I’m going to put forward the unpopular opinion that it won’t overtly affect my decision to purchase NARS products in the future. I hesitate to use the word “support” because you offer your support for a brand, every time you use or purchase their product. But I don’t otherwise blindly support, nor put any brand on a pedestal.
I’m afraid that I will have to continue purchasing the Radiant Creamy Concealer, because that is the best concealer I’ve ever used. Perhaps I’ll find another in future? It’s hard to say. I don’t buy very much from NARS, as it is, and am not particularly a die-hard fan of its products because of their dumb rubber packaging. I like some of them (the Audacious lipsticks are nice, as are some base products, and of course their risque-named blushes) but I dislike the rubber packaging with a passion (most of mine have degenerated to a sticky mess) so I usually stay away. If I can find an alternative, I will. But will I boycott the brand? I can’t say I will.
As much as I’d prefer to use a product that is cruelty-free, I’m afraid I cannot wear that pledge on my sleeve, for I realise that many products I use aren’t. I will not make a pledge, nor commitment that I cannot keep. I’m an omnivore – I eat meat, and I also realise that not everything I eat is necessarily reared in a comfortable environment. I also sometimes question if a product that is cruelty free takes into account that the individual ingredients may not be, or may have, at one point or another, been tested on animals for safety.
So, that’s my position. I don’t necessarily seek out cruelty-free brands. If a brand makes that claim, I say good for them and I support them. But it’s not my deciding factor whether to choose the products of one brand over another. I go on product efficacy – on my skin. Not a cat or dog or a rat. My skin. For this reason, I wish a cat or dog or rat was not sacrificed in the process, for ultimately, the products are being used by humans – and maybe they should instead, be tested on humans? But I can’t be a hypocrite and pledge to go cruelty-free, when I am fully aware my lifestyle isn’t. I will, where possible, support a company who makes this decision to go cruelty-free for no one and nothing should be harmed in our vain pursuit of beauty, should it?
What say you? Does this commercial decision by NARS to enter the China market and therefore have to test their products on animals, to comply with local laws, affect your purchasing decision?
To be honest (and venture the unpopular view), I feel like it might be a little storm in a teacup. Most major brands are available in China, and that hasn’t hurt their bottom line, has it? When NARS made this decision, they knew what they’d be in for. Honestly, I feel like they would have balanced it out, and decided that entering the Chinese market will reap monetary benefits that far outweigh any boycott they may face. Maybe. Feel free to disagree – politely of course 🙂