H&M BEAUTY: CRUELTY-FREE
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The updated H&M Beauty range has been around for a couple of years now and I really rate it, however I'd been struggling to find any truly reliable information on its cruelty free stance. I knew that they weren't selling the range in China at present, however I'd read conflicting accounts on their position and future plans. I decided to email the company myself (also asking for a vegan product list while I was at it), and was pleasantly surprised by the response I received: 

We have a strict no testing on animals policy however we can’t guarantee all our cosmetic products are total vegan friendly. We have no restrictions regarding animal substances, so we might use it in some products.
Some of our products do contain bees wax and some might also contain chemicals that have been produced with animal deriving raw material. This is difficult to verify today since there is a lack of traceability in the chemical industry and it is difficult to know the chemical origin. Our long-term ambition is however to get full traceability so that we can move away from animal deriving substances that we do not want in our products and also be able to communicate which products are vegan.
Currently, we do not have a list of products which are suitable for vegans. If you're interested in knowing what's in a specific product you can read the ingredients on the product label, you can also get back to us and we'll be able to check the specific ingredients on a item for you.
We have chosen not to sell our products in China. We are also collaborating with the animal welfare organization Humane Society International in China to push for a legislative change so that they move away from animal testing for cosmetic products.
Hope this helped and please get back to us again if you have any more questions.

So, there we have it; the H&M Beauty range is cruelty free. Brilliant news. I'm also really impressed by the honesty and intentions when it comes to the ingredients they use; most companies would stop at the mention of beeswax and definitely wouldn't bother bother bringing up traceability in the chemical industry. As for vegan products, there are several within the range but it's up to us as consumers to read the ingredients on individual items. Unfortunately the only way to do this is in person, as the ingredients don't appear to be available online, but if you're vegan you'll already be used to reading the back of food packets so it won't be much of a shock. I just went through all of my nail polishes from the range and found all of them to be suitable for vegans. I can't speak for the rest of the range (I'm afraid you'd need to check each item for yourself) but it's certainly promising. 

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As for the quality of the nail polishes, I love them. I always used to swear by Rimmel for my high street nail fix, and I'd say the H&M range is comparable in terms of formula and longevity. The brush is wide and flat brush, the colour is opaque after two coats, it dries quickly, and the shade range is brilliant.