There’s a common misconception out there in the universe that mink lashes are always, if not mostly, cruelty-free. Some people may be trying to tell you that mink fur is plucked delicately from the body of said mink, while it’s being caressed and fed fresh delicacies. Others might tell you that there’s no possible way that a poor mink could be harmed during the fur retrieval process – if anything, it’s fun for the mink. These claims are half-truths at best. So, in short, unfortunately – you’re probably being lied to. Sorry ‘bout it.
What are mink lashes made of?
To break it down, we’ll give you a quick run-through on all things mink related – think of it as Mink:101. Mink are animals, wild animals, whose fur is used for things like false eyelashes, eyelash extensions and brow fillers. Mink fur is 100% natural so it provides a beautiful natural shine and it’s super lightweight and very flexible, giving a feather-like, wispy look. Perfect for eyelashes, right? Curled to look like real, human hair, mink products may come with a hefty price tag but they can be worn for long periods, time and time again. Considered a premium “high-end” product, mink lashes are worn by people all over the globe.
Wait, what even is a mink?
Good question, avid reader. Naturally territorial, mink are mammals with long, thin bodies, short legs, pointed snouts and claws. Related to ferrets and weasels, their fur is highly valued.
Solitary creatures, mink are often found near bodies of water, and typically only come together to breed. There are also two species of mink – European and American. Side note: the European mink is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Fur Institute of Canada states that the mink was first raised in captivity during the Civil War in Lake Casadacka, New York. The first mink farming attempts in Canada took place during 1866 to 1887 by the Patterson Bros in Richmond Hill, Ontario – but today, mink are farmed in most provinces.
Naturally aggressive, mink are housed in individual wire-mesh pens and it’s common farming practice to house up to three kits (baby mink) together for the first month following weaning. Then, the mink are provided with a nest box for the breeding season. Mink boxes are not heated or insulated and animals are reared under natural daylight and left exposed to the elements.
Winter fur development begins in August and the fur is fully developed in November or December when it’s harvested. Mink pelts come in many natural colours such as black, mahogany, pastel, demi-buff, sapphire and white.
The Good, The Bad and The Downright Nasty
Many people have been duped into thinking that mink eyelashes, are cruelty-free. However, mink are unable to be kept in a free-range environment as they’re aggressive, autonomous animals.
Reports of life on fur farms is nothing less than horrific – kept in tiny cages, it’s been reported that in some cases mink are given restricted access to water and other necessities. Now, it could be a case of a few farms resulting in others being tarred with the same brush – so let’s dive in and take a closer look.
More than 85% of pelts used in the world’s fur trade come from small, family-run farms. As at 2013, in the US, there were approximately 273 mink farms across 23 states which annually, produced around three million pelts with a value of more than US$300 million.
In North America at least, there are strict codes that must be adhered to when it comes to mink farming. National codes of practice and operating guidelines provide further assurance that farmed fur-bearing animals are cared for. In addition, mink farmers may voluntarily adhere to even more stringent codes of animal husbandry to become certified in the Fur Commission Humane Care Farm Certification Program.
Ok, now for the not-so-good AKA the bad.
Let’s be clear – any item or good that is sourced from animal products runs the risk of being associated with animal cruelty.
Some companies claim their lashes are “cruelty-free” or “safely collected from a free-range farm”- and because of this, there’s a long history of controversy surrounding mink products.
So, why do companies claim they’re cruelty free? Namely, because the fur used to make mink lashes and other such products is obtained by brushing the animal – as opposed to killing it. Even so, the process of obtaining the hair raises a number of questions.
According to PETA, mink are the most commonly farmed fur-bearing animals in the world. They’re “bred and slaughtered” on fur farms around the world.
Because of this, PETA has come out and said that mink lashes are not approved by them as mink suffer on fur farms and ultimately, will be killed for their fur. So, they instead encourage customers to choose alternatives to ensure they’re not contributing to an industry that thrives on suffering.
And now, for the downright nasty.
It is said that mink farms are places were animals endure “immense fear, stress, disease, parasites and other physical and psychological hardship”.
Real cruelty-free alternatives
While it’s hard to know exactly what goes on at each individual mink fur farm across the world, there are still issues as to whether the process of fur-retrieval is humane. While mink may not be killed for their fur, they’re still kept captive on fur farms until ultimately they’re killed or they die of natural causes.
Now, we cannot definitively say that all mink farms treat their animals poorly or the whole process is cruel from start to finish (because that would be wildly unfair) – we can safely say that the process of obtaining mink fur is probably not all that fun for mink. They’re *probably* best left to live their random, aggressive lil lives out in the wild.
So, if you want lashes that are wispy as hell, fluttery, buttery and just all round amazing – but you don’t want to support the mink industry, what can you do?
Well the answer is easy-peasy. Buy cruelty free, vegan lashes, like ours! There are heaps of lashes on the market that are GREAT mink alternatives.
Take our Minx and Minx 2.0 lashes for example. We released our Minx lashes with the intent of causing anyone wearing them to stand out in a crowd. When they became one of our most popular lashes, we stood back and thought to ourselves, “how can we make these lashes even better?” The answer was simple: give them double the volume and make them twice as sexy! Minx 2.0 was born.
These daring crisscrossed lashes are hella voluminous and with it, the wearer becomes twice as spicy. Watch yourself – wearing Minx 2.0 is known to cause mischief, banter and the occasional free drink.
And the best part? They’re as vegan and cruelty-free as can be. Ain’t no animals getting harmed or couped up in no cages around here!
We hope you enjoyed this hopefully *somewhat informative* blog about mink products! If you ever have a suggestion about what you’d like to see over here on our blog, feel free to drop us a line over on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Until next time!
The SocialEyes team