Fresh off the back of a successful fundraiser to rescue dogs from the Yulin Dog Festival, Ireland’s cruelty-free cosmetics expert and animal rights activist Ailsha Davey agreed to speak with us about her blog, Flawless and Pawless, and how she started fighting for the voiceless.
Flawless and Pawless was set up in October 2017 with the goal to encourage Irish people to buy cruelty-free. “When I originally embarked on my cruelty-free journey just over a year ago,” she began, “I realized that there was a lack of resources for the Irish market when they wanted to find out if a brand was cruelty-free or not.” American blogs like Cruelty Free Kitty and Logical Harmony inspired Davey to create a site applicable to the Irish market.
For many people, learning about animal testing and cruelty-free makeup may come from friends or websites, but for Davey a love and respect for animals came from within her own family. “Myself and my family are all musicians,” she said, “And with our creative temperament, we all have a particular sense of compassion, which we all have reflected onto our love for animals.”
Davey worked as a professional makeup artist for over eight years. She said, “For a long time, I deliberately remained ignorant of cosmetic animal testing, as I wanted to focus on my successful career. However, it came to a point when two of my older sisters encouraged me to start using cruelty-free products in my makeup kit and they introduced me to the Leaping Bunny logo.” She realized that not every cruelty-free brand chose to wear an official cruelty-free certification logo on its packaging, so she decided to set up the blog to help people figure out which brands matched their beliefs.
Davey has always been a makeup lover. She started doing makeup for Debs and fashion events when she was just fifteen. “I was always advanced at makeup for my age,” she said, “but when I left school I studied an ITEC course in Fashion Theatre & Media Makeup, from which I gained my professional status.”
Although Davey is the first Irish makeup artist to set up a site informing the Irish public about brands’ cruelty-free status, she believes that other makeup artists are following suit by giving their clients options. “I was at a product launch recently and many of the professional makeup artists there were telling me about how a large portion of their clients specifically request that only vegan brushes are used, cruelty-free makeup is used, vegan lipsticks and so on.”
However, she believes that there is still a lot of work to do in regards to the general attitude towards animal testing in Ireland. “I think that 2018 has been the beginning of a new era in Ireland regarding veganism and cruelty-free products. Unfortunately, a large portion of the Irish market are still in the mindset that I was in for years during my freelance makeup career. They deliberately don’t want to know about cosmetic testing.”
Despite the long way to go, Davey is optimistic and has lauded the many amazing cruelty-free Irish skincare brands. “[Nia is my favourite] as the range caters for all skin types and it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients or byproducts,” she said. “All the ingredients are completely natural and their products are to die for. I love their Cherry Blossom and Calendula Cleansing Balm. It would be a staple favourite in my skincare regime.”
Davey is a vegan and has several favourite vegan-friendly skincare and beauty products. “Charlotte Tilbury’s Bronze & Glow palette [is my holy grail]. It’s the easiest palette to use for all skin tones and skin types and it just makes contouring easy. I [also] love the Konjac Sponge Company’s konjac sponges. I’ve been using them for several months now and they’re gentle enough to exfoliate without aggravating the skin, which makes it suitable for the likes of eczema and rosacea. I recently became brand ambassador for them as their products are some of the best vegan beauty tools on the market.”
Davey has a few tips for anyone wanting to change their beauty bag to a cruelty-free one: “Start slow. Going cruelty-free is a process very much like becoming vegetarian or vegan is a process. Allow yourself to use up any products that aren’t cruelty-free as this gives you an opportunity to test out cruelty-free products side by side to find a cruelty-free alternative that suits you. If you have non-cruelty-free products that are brand new, donate them to a women’s shelter.”
In March this year, Davey was invited to attend Cruelty Free International’s Anniversary event at the House of European History in Brussels to celebrate five years of the ban on animal testing and marketing within the EU. She represented Ireland and had the opportunity to meet likeminded people and discuss the future prospect of global animal testing practices. She is currently working alongside the organization to achieve a global ban on animal testing.
She has also been named on Goss.ie as Ireland’s Leading Cruelty Free Blogger. When she heard the news, she was absolutely thrilled. “It’s not easy doing what I do,” she said, “Every day I have to subject myself to horrific images and videos of animal cruelty and I have to tackle many obstacles that involve politics and animal welfare. Setting out to be a cruelty-free blogger – more specifically, providing a thorough resource site like mine – has been full of unprecedented challenges. But it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life, so to have seen that title by Goss was a dream come true.”
There’s plenty ahead for Davey; she is not only the Irish ambassador for the Konjac Sponge Company, she also works as the PR and Marketing Consultant for Skinfull Affairs, Dublin’s only cruelty-free and vegan beauty salon. And after her successful fundraiser for U.S. based Second Chance Dogs China, she is eager to continue combining her passion for cruelty-free beauty with her passion for animal activism. “I am hoping in the next few years to travel to China by myself to rescue animals from the DCMT (Dog Cat Meat Trade),” she said.
Best of luck to Davey in the future, though we’re sure she doesn’t need it.