The History of BWC

BWC Logo

A vegetarian, an anti-vivisectionist, and a spiritualist, Lady Muriel Dowding lived an unusual and fascinating life. Upon learning that animal testing and animal ingredients were being used in the cosmetics industry, Lady Dowding became dedicated to persuading women to renounce cosmetics produced from mistreated animals and to stop wearing animal furs. Lady Dowding campaigned to change industry policies, however when her efforts went unnoticed, she took action and started the Beauty without Cruelty cosmetics company.

Every once in a while, the human spirit is gripped by such intense passion and commitment that it changes the course of history. Such was the case with Kathleen Long and Lady Dowding, whose love and concern for animals altered the course of cosmetic history forever. What began as the philosophy of one small company eventually effected every major cosmetic house worldwide and set a new standard for consumers and manufacturers alike.

In 1963, Beauty Without Cruelty was founded in England by the trustees of BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization. Its goal was to manufacture and distribute natural, color cosmetics that were NOT tested on animals (as was the norm) and did NOT contain any animal ingredients. The driving force behind the project was Katherine Long, a dedicated, life-long animal welfare activist, a cosmetician, and a vegetarian. Together with Noel Gabriel, Katherine developed the first, full line of cruelty-free color cosmetics.

After Katherine’s death in 1969, Beauty Without Cruelty almost closed its doors but Lady Dowding, a founding trustee, was determined to keep the company and its purpose alive. Lady Dowding, a warm, open-hearted person, was a charismatic leader and BWC continued to grow and influence others.

In 1978, after tireless efforts, Lady Dowding appointed Joseph Piccioni as managing director of BWC. Joseph had considerable business experience and was dedicated to animal rights. He contributed his expertise, vision, and personal assets to develop BWC into one of the most sought-after cosmetic brands in Great Britain.

In 1989, Beauty Without Cruelty was introduced in the United States. Based on the principles of high quality, fair pricing, and environmental sensitivity, BWC cosmetics quickly became one of the industry’s leading brands. Later that year, a natural skin care line was developed to compliment the color line from England. Its cruelty-free, vegetarian ethic was embraced by American consumers making it one of the most respected and recognized lines in the marketplace.

Today, Beauty Without Cruelty has a full line of cruelty-free, vegetarian skin, body, and hair care products made with the finest natural ingredients and organic aroma-therapeutic essential oils, and a full line of colour cosmetics to meet the needs of every woman.

Article printed by permission

Further Reading:

International Vegetarian Union

Purchase from



VWOM History Series:

Annie Besant

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


  forum + auction + about us + recipes + contact us + links + link to us + Archive  
© 2005