The Flaming Vegan

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The Tarte Dilemma and the Search for Truly Cruelty-Free Cosmetics
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The Tarte Dilemma and the Search for Truly Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

Recently, Tarte Cosmetics sold out to KOSE, a non-cruelty free Japanese brand. Many of Tarte’s loyal vegan customers were understandably upset, and Tarte CEO Maureen Kelly’s response did little to ease their concerns.  Ms. Kelly argues that the brand can still deem itself cruelty free, as the Tarte products are not tested on animals and Tarte is not sold in China, which requires animal testing before cosmetics go on the market. Many customers disagreed, pointing out that their money is still going to KOSE, which does test on animals.  To my knowledge, Ms. Kelly has not directly responded to these concerns.

PETA and My Beauty Bunny seem to have taken the position that Tarte is still cruelty free, and that it’s acceptable for Tarte to continue to market itself as such. They argue that Tarte can change a big company like KOSE from within, by showing them that customers want to buy cruelty free products. I respectfully disagree. KOSE and other large companies are only concerned about the bottom line (it’s understandable, they do have to make money). They are going to view cruelty free products as just one product they happen to offer, rather than a standard to which they should aspire. There is no real incentive for them to change their policies. As far as Tarte goes, it is clear that they care more about money than they do about selling a truly cruelty free product.

Prior to the KOSE sale, I was a very loyal and vocal Tarte customer, but I will never buy their product again. I think continuing to market their products as cruelty free is dishonest and deceptive, and I cannot support a company like that. I have been doing my best to search for vegan alternatives for their products, and I will try to share my reviews in the upcoming months.

What are your thoughts on the KOSE sale? Do you agree or disagree with my position? Have you found good alternatives to Tarte products? Please share with me in the comments, I would love to know your thoughts!

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  1. Andrea
    This is a dilemma similar to many others, like when Silk Milks were sold to Dean, the giant dairy corporation. I agree, we should still avoid that situation as long as there are alternatives. Regarding cosmetics, I now use many NYX products. It's a cruelty-free brand that is sold only online and in a few outlets like ULTA. It gets extremely high ratings and reviews and is ridiculously cheap to boot.
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