Still, Capaldo points out that 80 percent of the world continues to conduct animal testing for cosmetics and "in some countries, notably China, [they] require imported products to be tested on animals before they reach the market."
In fact, cruel policies overseas can have wide-reaching influence. Nordstrom points to a 2012 exposé by PETA that accused companies like Avon, Mary Kay, Estée Lauder and Revlon of lying to consumers. The international companies - which had all banned animal tests years before - were "secretly paying for animal tests in order to sell their products in China," Nordstrom notes.
"We've made huge progress on ending cosmetics tests on animals in the U.S., and it is now illegal [in other nations], but hundreds of thousands of animals every year in other countries are still being poisoned and killed in outdated tests," she adds. "These animals spend their lives in small cages, live in constant fear and suffer through painful experiments without anesthesia."
In the end, if going cruelty-free is a consumer's goal before purchasing that eyeliner or hand cream, the best thing to do is some homework - and to shop for the products that correlate with your values. Here are links to Leaping Bunny logo-certified companies and and PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies-logo database as a starting point.