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Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a reliable method to test the irritability of mascara, using tiny protozoa.  Since rabbits are commonly used by labs to test the limits of discomfort of mascara, the scientists set out to create a method that does not involve animal cruelty. Their new process uses “slippers”- or slipper ciliate along with eyelash ciliate, two organisms with genetic similarities to humans.

protozoa, mascara, animal testing, rabbits, eco-beauty, sustainable beauty, eco-friendly beauty, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animal rights, David Montagnes, University of Liverpool

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Cutting out animal cruelty in cosmetics has been a long-waged fight, and the scientists at University of Liverpool have just created yet another alternative. The process measures the growth of protozoa placed in chambers with each mascara sample, comparing their survival with toxicity of the product.

The slippers and eyelash protozoa were placed with six different mascara types on a slide under the microscope, and observed. The protozoa, which are large enough for scientists to see, then either thrived unaffected , or began to die, depending on which mascara they were placed in. This test allowed the scientists, led by Dr. David Montagnes, to determine which mascara brands were safe and which would irritate a living organism, without using an animal.

Rabbits have long been used to test cosmetics because they are inexpensive, yet the cosmetic testing process, called the Draize test, is not only cruel, but time consuming and expensive. Protozoa are not classified as animals, so the new process takes animal cruelty out of the equation, while also cutting costs and time.

[Via Medical Xpress ]