Update December 10, 2014: Milani and Jordana are now re-certified as cruelty free by Logical Harmony! You can read more details here.
Since Logical Harmony first posted about Milani cosmetics stating that they may use ingredients tested on animals, the cruelty free community has been all over the topic. Milani and Jordana were recently approved for the PETA cruelty free list. However, at this time, they will remain on the Brands to Avoid list here at Logical Harmony. The reason for this is due to inconsistent information and unclear responses being offered by Milani. As well as them not fully answering the questions that many brands (all featured on Logical Harmony and included on the Cruelty Free Brands List answer without issue).
Since that post was first published, I have exchanged countless emails with higher ups at Milani and had a lengthy phone call with their Chief Marketing Officer. Since they received their PETA certification, PETA did send me a press release but has not been responsive to my questions about what their certification covers.
I’ve been talking to Milani/Jordana for several weeks. At this time, I am still not comfortable promoting them as cruelty free. The original statement I received from them stated that their ingredient suppliers may test on animals to comply with regional laws and regulations (such as REACH). Since that time I have received many different statements from them, but none that contradict that statement. Even when asked directly about this specific statement. The number of responses that I have received combined with the amount of times they have avoided answering my direction questions, or told me directly that they will not answer some of the specific questions, makes me very uncomfortable.
I noticed that the statement provided in the PETA press release stated:
“The companies have provided PETA with written assurances that they do not conduct, commission, or pay for tests on animals anywhere in the world. Both will also carry PETA’s cruelty-free logo. “
This statement only pertains to Milani and Jordana themselves. It does not cover ingredient suppliers or other companies that they may work with. I asked PETA specifically for clarification about this statement and if ingredient suppliers were covered. I also asked if PETA required a certification from the ingredient suppliers. Leaping Bunny requires an independent investigation into the ingredient suppliers of brands, so I know that it is possible. I have not received a reply from PETA with clarification or answers to my questions.
When I spoke to Milani on the phone about 3 weeks ago, I was told that they had just started to ask their ingredient suppliers about their animal testing stance and did not expect to have confirmation from all of them for at least one year. Milani has not addressed my questions when I asked if this was completed and if they had received confirmation from their suppliers. Nor did PETA reply when I asked if they were aware of any outreach to the ingredient suppliers that Milani uses.
Even when I have asked Milani directly I have not been able to get them to discuss their ingredient suppliers stance on testing on animals. I was told that because their ingredient suppliers are located in the EU, they do not test on animals by default and that it had not been looked into by the brand since the 70’s. As many are aware, the ban on animal testing in the EU is not a complete ban and it is still possible that ingredient suppliers may be testing on animals to comply with laws. Which is the statement included by Milani customer service representatives that caused this whole issue.
PETA also has brands listed as cruelty free that state that they do test on animals when required by law or to comply with local and regional laws. I think that they do amazing work, but they do not provide transparency into their certification process in the way that others such as Leaping Bunny do. This makes it hard to tell what a cruelty free certification from PETA really means about a brands practices.
As many of you are also aware, it’s very easy to get most brands to provide detailed information about their stance on animal testing. Most have absolutely no issue with answering the specific questions that I ask and many are even happy to send along details from their suppliers to me. So the lack of a consistent and clear response is very concerning to me.
For those who are interested, here are the specific questions that I have sent to Milani multiple times –
Are Milani/Jordana finished products tested on animals by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
Are Milani/Jordana products tested on animals during the production process by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
Are any ingredients used in Milani/Jordana products tested on animals by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
Are any ingredients used in Milani/Jordana products been tested on animals by Milani/Jordana, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company to comply with any laws and regulations?
Does Milani/Jordana require their ingredient suppliers, affiliate companies, or 3rd party suppliers to go through a certification process of any sort to show that they do not test on animals? How does Milani/Jordana know that their ingredient suppliers, affiliate companies, or 3rd party suppliers are cruelty free?
Are any ingredients used in Milani/Jordana products tested on animals, or do they contain ingredients that have been tested on animals, by Milani/Jordana, an ingredient supplier, an affiliate company, or a 3rd party supplier in order to comply with laws such as TSCA, CEPA, ELINCS, EINECS, REACH, NICNAS, SCCP, etc?
Are Milani/Jordana products sold in any markets where animal testing is required by local law and regulations?
Is Milani/Jordana currently working towards a cruelty free certification? If so, which one is the brand in the process of filing for?
Does Milani/Jordana use animal ingredients in their products? If so, what animal ingredients are used in Milani/Jordana products? Is a list of vegan options (free from all animal ingredients, including beeswax and honey) available?
The most recent response that I received stated –
“In response to your inquiries, please be advised that Milani does not sell its products in any markets where animal testing is required by local law or regulation. Milani never has tested its products on animals, and never has allowed others to test its products on animals. All Milani cosmetic products are manufactured by reputable suppliers who do not use animals for product or raw material testing. In this regard, Milani is a PETA “cruelty free” company.“
The issue that I take with this statement, and have clarified to Milani, is that in saying that their suppliers to not use animals for product or raw material testing does not cover ingredients. Many ingredients that are included are not raw goods. For many cosmetic ingredients, the “raw ingredient” is the beginning process. These raw ingredients are often combined to make the ingredients of the cosmetics. Since Milani and Jordana are not natural brands and they produce color cosmetics, their ingredients are comprised of multiple raw ingredients that have been combined. A raw ingredient is the simplest form of an ingredient available. For example, lanolin is a raw ingredient, but it can be combined with other raw ingredients to create lanolin derivatives. These are no longer raw ingredients. It is these items that, under the EU REACH law, may be tested on animals as required by law. Which is what was originally stated by the Milani customer service department.
Fellow cruelty free blogger, Phyrra, has similar feelings after Milani was unresponsive to her direct questions as well. You can read her post, which clarifies on her thoughts and her experience with communication.
I do not feel comfortable labeling Milani or Jordana as cruelty free. I have expressed this to the brand multiple times and stated that I would have no problem endorsing them as cruelty free if they would respond to a specific question set (that all brands who are featured on Logical Harmony or listed as cruelty free have answered in detail). In each case, it’s questions about their ingredient suppliers that are either not answered at all or not answered in detail. Because of this, despite their PETA certification, I do not feel comfortable promoting either brand as being cruelty free.
As always, I feel that everyone needs to decide what is best for themselves. I do not think that anyone should take any certification, even one from Logical Harmony, with blind trust. I think it is very important that all consumers understand a brands stance on animal testing with facts provided by the brand. Do your research, talk to brands, and in the end decide what is right for you.