The Horrors of Halloween Makeup

What animals go through for you to dress up like them

Halloween might be one of the stressful holidays — and I’m not just referring to the jump scares around every corner. The struggle to find out what you want to dress up lasts weeks, if not months. The saved makeup videos on my Youtube “watch later” list have been accumulating since I was seven years old. Going through them, however, it becomes glaringly apparent what is overlooked in the chaotic hustle to put together the perfect Halloween costume. Halloween makeup recommendations from popular makeup artists tend to be based on whichever company pays them the most money. This overlooks a problem in the makeup industry: animal testing.

I didn’t fully understand animal testing for a long time. Like everyone else, I averted my eyes during the terrorizing videos I was forced to watch during high school. After I researched the subject to write this article, I wished I’d stayed in blissful ignorance.

One of the ways for makeup companies to best understand whether or not their products will be harmful to the human body is animal testing. Surprisingly enough, animal testing for the purposes of makeup and other household chemicals was originally championed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — and mandated in 1938. The FDA, having just been created, was looking for a way to make a name for itself. Hence, they created the Draize Irritancy Test, which involved injecting new chemicals into an animal’s eye and gauging its reaction to decide whether or not the chemical would be safe for human consumption. The Draize Irritancy Test isn’t even the worst test conducted by companies today, nor is it extinct.

Looking up a company’s animal cruelty policies should become the standard behavior prior to buying any new product. A year ago, my TikTok for you page was full of influencers showing off their new liquid blush and lip stain. In excitement, I almost purchased these products, which would’ve supported Benefit Cosmetics, a company that abuses animals in order to pump out products.

Halloween looks typically require colors not generally found in regular makeup palettes. The more dedicated of us may seek to locate said colors, and in doing so, may accidentally support makeup brands that are not animal cruelty-free. An example of this is popular makeup brand MAC, and according to Sonia Summers, founder and CEO of Beauty Barrage, its wide array of pigmented eyeshadow colors make it a commodity during the Halloween season. Accidents happen, of course, and it is difficult to avoid brands that test on animals or use animal products. However, a little bit of research can go a long way. For example, sites such as Ethical Elephant, Logical Harmony and PETA can provide you with an easy-to-access list of cruelty-free products.
Instead of using brands such as MAC, Benefit Cosmetics, L’Oreal and other incredibly popular brands which test on animals, use alternative options, including makeup from small businesses trying to get their name out. Unearthly Cosmetics, founded in 2017 by Amanda and Christopher Hayden, is a New York-based makeup brand featuring unconventional eyeshadow colors, making it the perfect choice for Halloween looks. The company is entirely vegan and cruelty-free.

For something a little more local, look no further than Chica Beauty. A San Antonio-based, Latina Owned makeup brand, they’re cruelty-free, vegan and all their packaging is recycled and environmentally friendly. Their tinted moisturizer is the perfect base for any spooky scary looks you’re aiming to embody this Halloween.