'Cruelty free' false lashes came from minks - ASAI upholds complaint against Irish beauty company
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) upheld four complaints made against an Irish beauty company claiming its false eyelashes were cruelty free.
BiaBelle Beauty Lashes is an online retailer which sells 18 different types of lashes, which it claimed, via its website, were made cruelty free and one particular set, the Lolly lash, were made using "faux mink". The term cruelty free refers to products that do not harm animals during its testing and/or creation.
The frequently asked questions section of their website included the following question and answer: "Are the lashes cruelty-free? Yes, all of our lashes are made cruelty-free", which the ASAI found to be misleading.
The complainants said it would be impossible for mink lashes to be obtained this way as minks are wild animals who would be required to be caged for the process.
Of the decision, the ASAI said: "One complainant referred to the fact the lashes were imported from China, where animal cruelty laws did not compare to those in the EU."
Another said there was a discrepancy between what was advertised on its website in comparison to social media, in which they said they saw the lashes being described as made from genuine mink.
The company launched in December of last year and the owners said they had researched their supplier before importing them to Ireland and had an agent visit the supplier's premises to ensure it was of an acceptable standard.
They received a certificate from their supplies stating, "Our mink fur eyelash is made of 100% mink fur. The mink has not been killed, the hair is only cut down. It’s cruelty-free. We hereby certify!"
The advertisers said they felt that they had carried out the correct procedures when researching their supplier and described it as a "genuine mistake" put down to teething issues during their first year in business.
"They said that it had been put into the mink category on their website but the description had incorrectly stated that it was faux mink and hadn’t been spotted by them. They said that as they were a new business, they had encountered a few teething problems, however, mistakes were corrected immediately," the report read.
In order to assess the validity of the claims, the ASAI consulted the School of Veterinary Medicine at UCD about the specifics of what the term cruelty free and its corresponding Leaping Bunny Program certification, entails.
Professor Bairbre Redmond, Independent Head of the Complaints Committee of the ASAI, said that consumers are more aware than ever of best practice in advertising to ensure a transparent experience for both parties.
"The Complaints Committee has also spent considerable time highlighting awareness in relation to advertising best practice within the advertising industry, ensuring all relevant parties are equipped with the knowledge and resources to correctly identify commercial marketing content across their platforms," she said.