Society Plays The Three Monkeys: Animal Experiments

Everyone has used hundreds of cosmetic products in their lifetime. Maybe because the first products that come to mind when talking about cosmetic products are make-up materials, “I didn’t use it!” we said. However, when we look at the dictionary definition of a cosmetic product, “They are products prepared to be applied to various external parts of the human body (epiderma, nails, hair, hair, lips and external genital organs) or teeth and oral mucosa.” We see the sentence. [1]. In other words, everything from the shampoo we use while showering to the hand cream is considered a cosmetic product. So how did the cosmetic products that everyone uses in packages come about?

First Cosmetic Products

The first cosmetic products in history were actually found years ago. These products, which were used to paint cave walls and decorate the body in the past, have developed over the years, sometimes with a paint that paints the eyelids, and sometimes with an arm yellowed with saffron powder [2]. It is said that the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, who lived in the B.C. 1350s, applied make-up to her eyebrows and eyes at that time, or that Cleopatra laid the foundations of the first masks made of honey, milk and eggs [3]. So, has this cosmetic always existed just to look beautiful? No! This process, which started as a beauty-centered process, gave way to the feeling well-groomed and clean, maybe even healthy. Thus, new cosmetic products began to be used: Bath products, creams, balms and much more… With the diversification and change of products, the harm they could cause to humans began to be wondered at and today’s cruelty began… ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS!


First Step of Animal Experiments

Animal experiments actually started to elucidate the anatomical structure of cosmetic products, not to test them. These experiments were dating back to the B.C. 400s, Galen, known as the father of pharmacy, started the first physiological studies with animals and revealed the first forms of treatment methods. While these experiments continued to advance the developments in medicine, Descartes dealt with the thought of those times in his works with the subject that “animals differ from humans in that they are callous and thoughtless“.


In the 1700s, Jeremy Bentham said, “The question is not, can they reason? Nor can they talk? But can they suffer?”. In fact, he puts forward the idea that animals are not senseless. In the 18th century, it was accepted that animals are creatures that feel like humans. After that, we can come to our main topic today. If animals can feel the same as we do, how come we continue to experiment with animals?

Today’s Violence

People have actually been harming animals for years already by eating animals or using their products. Sometimes they even used them as a learning tool. So isn’t that enough anymore? I guess the answer to that is still “no” for industry giants…

Today, we continue to be a part of the cruel processes in which thousands of animals suffer to find the answer of questions like “Will our creams burn our eyes?”, or “Will that shower gel we use to make our hands itch?” We continue to be a part of the cruel processes in which thousands of animals suffer. But are animal experiments really indispensable? While the cosmetics giants are still producing their own answers, science actually says that the similarity between animal and human genetics is very low. “We can only expect 25% of drugs that are toxic to animals to have a toxic effect on humans,” Flecther explains, revealing that side effects in humans and animals are often inconsistent. So why are we doing this then? Don’t we have an option? In fact, there is! Cell cultures (in vitro tests) actually aim to be tested on cell and tissue cultures grown in a laboratory environment.

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Some of the other methods are toxicology experiments, microfluidic chip tests, tissue organ baths, microdose applications, and many more! There are even separate tests developed specifically for the problems that cosmetic products can create, you can access them in the bibliography section and examine them in more detail!

So Why Do We Still Continue?

In fact, although many companies have tried to change themselves in this regard, thanks to the recent efforts of people to be more sensitive to the environment, most companies cannot completely abolish animal testing due to sales to China. Because China requires testing on animals to sell foreign-origin cosmetic products.


How Can We Stop This Situation?

If you still think that animal experiments should be done, we would like you to realize that we take you to the “Save Ralph” video here and realize that we have made animals experience these events, which we can’t even stand the animation of.

If you want to take action regarding this situation, by paying attention to the products you buy from now on, that is, by searching for the phrases “No animal test“, “Cruelty-free“, “Vegan“, “Not tested on animal” or by checking the brands online. You can start by buying your products! Our next step can be to raise awareness of the people around us and support these cruelty-free brands!


Thank you for choosing an animal-friendly shopping style and fitting it into your life!

References and Further Readings

[1] Guidance on cosmetic products and borderline products Version 2.0 . Tick. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

[2] Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, January 9). Cosmetics _ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

[3] Şahindere, SK (2019, December 11). History of Cosmetics . Cosmetic Compass. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from If %B1m%C4%B1%20,that is%20self%20cosmetics%20%C3%BCr%C3%BCs%%C4%B1%C5%9Fs.

About animal testing. Humane Society International. (2020, May 27). Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

Arguments against animal testing. Cruelty Free International. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S. C. (2013, November 18). Alternatives to animal testing: A Review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

Kinikoglu, O. (2019, September 3). Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments . Vegan Health and Living. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

Images not cited are used through Canva Pro with a royalty payment.

The proofreading has been done by Özge Arslan and Mete Esencan.

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Büşra Gültepe

Hello there! I am Büşra Gültepe, graduated from METU Industrial Engineering this year. I am currently working as a business and process development specialist in a corporate company. In my personal life, I like to develop myself in different areas and share them. That's why I'm in OkButWhy too! You can also follow my social media accounts to reach my other content!

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