There are MANY cosmetic and brush companies that claim to be ‘Cruelty Free.” Although the only ones that would truly be able to claim cruelty free would be those that only make synthetic bristles. Which is perfectly fine… unless you are a makeup artist.  Because the very best synthetic brush in the world, cannot apply powder products like a natural bristle can.  Even the companies that claim they have new technology that gives the tips of the bristles a frayed edge to pick up powder better than they used to…. I’ve tried them and although frying the edges may work slightly better, I still consider them unacceptable for use with powder products which would include eyeshadows, powder blush, bronzer, face powder, etc.

What bothers me most is that many brands that make natural bristle brushes and still claim to be cruelty free which is impossible. Let me explain why. In order to get away with their claims, these companies often claim that they don’t kill the animals for their hair. Instead, they opt to “give squirrels haircuts.”  This statement mesmerizes many people, who are happy to hear that the animals are not harmed. But it is nothing more than an outright lie that has proven to be a profitable marketing gimmick. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no such thing as a bald squirrel farm.  Besides shearing sheep, there is no other type of animal barber business.  No one is grooming squirrels or any other animal for that matter.

Who could think up such a thing?  Well, you have MAC to thank for this claim originally.  I am unaware if the animal haircut theory was literally taught through their corporate trainers or that some MAC salesperson took it upon themselves to say it sell some brushes and it just caught on like wildfire.  But MAC certainly didn’t put a stop to it.  Since they got away with it without being questioned for decades, many other brands have followed in their footsteps.  Claiming to sell “cruelty free,” natural bristle brushes results in millions of dollars in business.  A large portion of these customer sales are made up from cruelty free advocates and those that innocently believe it and promote it!  There are many lies and myths in the beauty industry but this is one of the biggest.  It completely saddens me that dozens of companies get away with promoting unethical lies and profit greatly from it.

If you still believe there may be such a thing as cruelty free, natural bristle makeup brushes, or bald squirrel farms, please consider the following facts.

#1. Can you imagine being the squirrel wrangler that has to run around catching the squirrels to give them haircuts or grooming? There is no such position.

#2. How exactly would you get the squirrels to sit still while you gave them a haircut? They’d have to be sedated. Which technically would also be considered cruel in itself to drug them with shots in order to get them to hold still to give them actual haircuts.  Or they’d have to keep them in metal bondage unable to move for years at a time like the bunnies, ducks and beagles used for medical research.  Now ask yourself, would that be cruelty free?  And how long do you need to brush a fridge squirrel before you get 10 hairs?!  Forget about how many it takes to make a dame eye shadow brush!

#3. If there is not a squirrel wrangler, than it would mean that the squirrels would have to be kept in cages for the years it would take their hair to grow back before you could shave them again. That would be considered cruel also.

#4. What would the expense be to house, feed and clean up after tens of thousands or even millions of bald squirrels for the years it would take to grow their hair to grow back just so someone could give them additional haircuts?  Now add to that, the expenses it would take to also pay a staff of employees to take care of them, feed them, pick up the feces and such for all the years in between haircuts?! And include the cost of having to keep a heater on since the squirrels are bald most of the time.  Because if all their natural hair is gone their body temperature would extremely drop and cause illness.  Or maybe in addition to the squirrel barbers and squirrel wranglers, there might be squirrel fashion designers that knit them sweaters. ;)

The point is that the expenses that would be incurred to give squirrels haircuts would be FAR greater than the cost of what the hair could be sold for to make makeup brushes.  If all that common sense isn’t enough to convince you, here are more facts.

#5. If animal hair was actually cut with scissors or shaved off the animal, then there result would be millions of random single loose hairs that would take thousands of manual hours to sweep up and separate hairs by hand to arrange by length, thickness, softness necessary to be utilized to make a single brush. (The tail hair is different than breast hair, etc.) This manual labor would cost more then you can imagine even at 3rd world country pay rates, resulting in brushes that would be hundreds of dollars each to make a profit. And we all know that there are makeup brushes on the marketing in prices starting at just a few dollars.

Although there are some brushes over a hundred dollars, the average quality natural makeup brushes are typically between twenty and fifty dollars each. So once again, this is evidence that there is no such thing as a bald squirrel farm or any bald animal farm that is used for makeup brushes for that matter.

I have personally interviewed numerous people in many positions within the brush industry.  When interviewing an actual brush manufacturer, if you ask if animals are harmed, most dance around the truth.  Because, no one wants to think about animals being harmed or killed and of course they want your business.  Unethical companies often get away with using psychology by eluding to what people want to hear. But they don’t say what most ‘think’ they are hearing. They are taught to say, “Animals do not have to be harmed to make a brush.” And most people accept that answer and assume the rest… It is simply a game of psychology and wishful thinking that has allowed many brands to fool millions of consumers for many decades.

So their statement could be better clarified if they actually said, “Animals do not HAVE to be harmed to make a brush. But that is only if you have endless supplies of money and the manpower to do everything necessary to do “the haircut” thing.” But they don’t say that. If all brush manufacturers were honest, they’d say, “Our company make brushes from the pelts of dead animals.” Because they all do.

I have even personally spoken to the owners and Presidents of 4 of the top brush companies in the world and while most are honest and admit to using pelts, one of them was insistent on their natural brush line being cruelty free. Even after enlightening the owner to the above, this person swore that her brand was cruelty free.  However, she had more doubt in her voice. Than she said, “Look… I don’t know how they do it but the manufacturer that I work with knows that they would not have my business if they were not cruelty free.” Hmmmm, think about that for a moment. If the manufacturer told her the truth, they would lose her business. And she’d go to one of their competitors, who would likely lie and get all her business or tell the truth since ALL rushes are made from pelts. As they had nothing to loose by lying to her.

She proudly told me that she had been to the factories and seen her brushes being made. So I said, “So… you’ve actually seen the squirrels and other animals getting haircuts?!”  She then said, she had never witnessed the hair being removed from the animals.  So I asked, did you see or smell any live animals at your manufacturers facility?  She thought abut it and said, “No.”  The reason for this is because there are no animals at these facilities, they are shipped pelts of the dead animals.  So I then asked her if she had ever asked for proof of their claim that they didn’t harm or kill the animals.  She then informed me that she simply took their word for it.

She then became angry that I did not believe or have the faith in her resources. So she proudly gave me their information to find out for myself. So, of course I called them.  They tried to bullshit me with the same crap they tell everyone… I pressured them for proof. I said show me the bald squirrels, show me a video of the haircut process.  Because you know there would be video footage of that if it existed!  Not to mention there would be a job description filed with the government or E.D.D. for squirrel wranglers, squirrel shavers, etc. and there is NOT such positions! Anyway, I proceeded to point out all the ways that it was not possible to do what they were eluding to… It took about 25 minutes into the conversation, but he finally admitted that all brushes were made from pelts… Just as I had known all along.

It’s business and people tend to believe what they want to hear.  If you think that all skin care is truly good for you, you’d be mistaken about that as well.  An enormous amount of products women use literally expedite self inflicted aging at a faster rate then genetic aging will occur.  You know why?  So we will start using anti-aging and wrinkle creams sooner and they are more expensive.  So the cosmetic companies all get even richer.  It’s business.  Cigarettes and nicotine, soda and caffeine, processed foods make you crave more food, its all legal and we are all being duped.  People need to stop being sheep and question things.

And for the record, I love animals very much.  I do not condone animal abuse or torture in any way shape or form. But the facts are… a synthetic brush is only good for applying wax based products.  Even though lots of brands claim their synthetic brushes are different and work great for powder.  They cannot even compare to a natural bristle brush in application or product usage.  So please don’t kill the messenger.  I am only here to deliver the truth.  But a lot of people don’t want the truth and prefer the unethical, scam version that makes them feel better about themselves.  As I always say, you don’t know what you don’t know until someone enlightens you about what you didn’t know.


Love and Wisdom,

Donna xo