Monday, July 22, 2013

Manic Panic Review


          For the past few months, I have been rocking some green Manic Panic streaks in my hair.  My experience with Manic Panic products was different than I anticipated so I’ve decided to do a review of their Flash Lightning bleach kit and Classic hair dye.  Overall, I am happy with the way my hair turned out but disappointed with the Manic Panic products.  Honestly, some of my disappoint stems from my own lack of research but other issues are inexplicable.

           Manic Panic is a cruelty free company, and all of their dyes and bleaches are vegan as well as some of their cosmetics.  They label their Classic dyes as semi-permanent, and they have a rather large variety of unnatural hair colors.  Using this brand was convenient, since unlike my other hair dyes, I could pick all this up at my local Sally’s, and the bleaching kit included a bowl and brush.

          I purchased the Flash Lightning 30 bleach kit because, on top of having dark hair, Manic Panic recommends bleaching your hair first to get a vibrant color.  I followed the instruction manual exactly but had issues.  I had a friend help me apply the bleach from tips up to roots in an even coating.  However, within ten minutes the hair at my forehead and temples was almost completely bleached and the rest of my hair was still black.  I also didn’t realize how yellow my hair would be after the bleaching process without a toner.  Manic Panic’s website and the bleach kit made it sound as if the kit was all I needed to get a true color so I assumed a toner or something was in the mix.

          I colored my hair with Manic Panic’s Classic dye in Midnight Blue.  Now you may be thinking ‘Didn’t she say she had green hair not blue?’ and you would be correct.  The yellow in my bleached hair mixed with the blue dye giving me green hair.  I was happy with my hair eventually, but it is disappointing to spend money only to have issues with a product that seemed pretty popular.

         The thing that has annoyed me the most is this product’s lack of staying power.  I’ve used semi-permanent dyes in the past, and I would not categorize this dye as semi-permanent.  The vibrant color you get is gone after only two washes (I’m being generous here), and it fades revealing the bleached hair in less than six washes.  It came off on pillows and stained the floor of my shower, but couldn’t manage to stay in my hair very long.  So little of my hair was properly bleached that I kept re-dying the small sections as they quickly faded.  However, I will not be repurchasing this now that I’ve run out.

         I’m baffled as to why this is such a popular hair dye company and wish I had done more research before purchasing with them as it seems other people had the same issues.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Does Cruelty Free Mean?

I know there are many terms that get thrown around in the cruelty free community that might be slightly ambiguous and confusing.  My mother recently went cruelty free and vegan as well, and I noticed some of the issues she was having with terms assuming one thing actually meant another.  So today I’m putting together a little Cruelty Free vocabulary lesson to go over some basic terms.

Cruelty Free
Cruelty free only refers to the testing of products on animals (anything from rats to monkeys and dogs) usually through vivisection.  Because there is no way for consumers to learn if a specific product (say your mascara or dish soap) has been tested on animals, this term usually applies to an entire brand or company.
What qualifies as cruelty free is different to many people.  For me, a company should not animal test ingredients or finished products, not contract another company to do this for them, not stipulate “unless required by law,” or sell in China or any other country which requires animal testing of all beauty products.  To some people, a product is cruelty free as long as there is no animal testing of the finished product.  Cruelty free does not mean vegan, natural, or anything else although it may also be these things.

Vegan products contain no animal products (ex. bone or sinew) or byproducts (ex. milk or other secretions) as ingredients.  There are many ingredients that can come from both animals and vegan sources so double check with a company to see which theirs is if they have not specified on the ingredient list.  Some items are considered vegan even though they contain insect ingredients.  Some people consider these vegan, and others (like myself) do not.

 There are many 100% vegan companies that are also cruelty free, and many cruelty free brands will provide you with a list of vegan products even though they aren’t completely vegan.

Parent Company & Subsidiary
A subsidiary is a company owned by another company (ex. Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox).  A parent company is the company that owns the other (Clorox).  I avoid purchasing from brands like Burt’s Bees because their profits really go straight to Clorox, the parent company, who do animal testing. 

Some people do not mind purchasing these brands and consider them cruelty free.  On the Leaping Bunny list, subsidiaries owned by an animal testing parent company are marked.  For more information, check out my previous post on the subject here.
Leaping Bunny List
TheLeaping Bunny List is a list of cruelty free brands put together by the CICC.  It is free for a company to get on the list, but there is a fee to put the Leaping Bunny symbol (not all rabbit symbols are from LP) on products.  These companies must not animal test ingredients or finished products or have a third party do so on their behalf.  These companies must also not sell in China or any other country which requires animal testing. 

Unlike many other lists, the company’s claims are verified by a third party audit.  Companies can be and are routinely taken off the list if they do not continue to meet these standards.  For more information, check out my previous post on the subject here.

PETA’s “Don’t Test” List
This list is compiled by PETA with companies which signed their “statement of assurance.”  These companies must not animal test ingredients or finished products or have a third party do so on their behalf.  These companies must also not sell in China or any other country which requires animal testing. 

PETA does not verify the company claims and has had questionable companies in the past that eventually lost their cruelty free status.  It is free for a company to get on the list, but there is a fee to put the PETA bunny symbol on products.  Although this would not be my only or first source for information, they do have a plethora of companies listed and have begun labeling vegan companies.

The Vegan Society
TheVegan Society Trademark is truly the gold standard for people looking for products where absolutely no animals were harmed whether through animal testing, harvesting for ingredients, or previous testing. 

To get on this list a product must not contain animal or insect products or byproducts, not have ingredients or finished product tested by the company or a third party, and contain no animal derived GMOs.   They do verify these claims.  This list appears to go by product rather than company.
[EDIT:  It has been pointed out to me that The Vegan Society does certify products that are sold in China.]

I hope this crash course was helpful.  These seemed to be the main terms thrown about, but there are obviously more concepts, labels, and groups out there.  Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or would like to clarify anything above. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Is MUA (Makeup Academy) Cruelty Free?

MUA or Makeup Academy is a cosmetics brand available in Superdrug stores.  From what I understand, MUA is on the low end of the quality spectrum, but I still wanted to check it out.  I was disappointed in the response I received and will not be pursuing any more clarifying information about the brand.

April 26, 2013
“I have some inquiries about MUA's animal testing policies. I understand the EU ban on animal testing recently went into effect, but I would appreciate if you would still answer these individual questions for all of MUA's products, not only those produced and/or sold in the EU. Does MUA test ingredients and/or finished products on animals or have a third party do so on its behalf? Does MUA direct sell to China or any other place which requires animal testing of products? Also, are any of MUA's products free of animal products and suitable for vegans? Thank you in advance for your help!”

April 26, 2013
“Thank you for your email.  We can confirm our products are not tested on animals and are 100% cruelty free. Our products are not Vegan or Vegetarian suited, as some of the ingredients are derived from sources not accepted by Vegans or Vegetarians. If you would like more info on the ingredients please see our ingredients page on the website.”

            I will be avoiding MUA because I can’t be sure about vegan products.  Although they provided a link to ingredients it isn’t actually that helpful since many ingredients can be either plant or animal based.  They also didn’t provide information about selling to China.  However, after poking around their official website I see that they ship directly to China.  I’m assuming this is a transaction the Chinese government would step in and test the products.

I will not be purchasing from MUA.