Our clients are always interested to learn how we conduct our tests without the use of any animals, so we asked XCellR8 scientist Chris Longmore to show us the process of a regulatory eye irritation test and give us a sneaky peek inside the lab.

In the short video (filmed as the Beast from the East was doing its worst outside!), Chris explains how we take a sample of a cosmetic ingredient or formulation and apply it to a human cell tissue which has been grown in the lab and which mimics how tissues behave in real life.

After a short incubation period, the tissue is washed before a special dye (MTT solution) is applied. The dye stains any viable cells. We then measure any damage that has been done to the cells. The results allow us to class the ingredient as either Irritant or Non-Irritant.

Of course, this is just the edited version of what is a carefully regulated process. If you’d like to understand the technical details further, please check out our information sheet on the eye irritation test.

This video was first shown at an event hosted by Cruelty Free International in Brussels to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the EU ban on testing cosmetics on animals. XCellR8 were invited to address an audience of MEPs, journalists, activists and bloggers and share how animal-free alternatives have flourished since March 2013. We explained how human cell cultures have replaced animals in tests for eye irritation, skin irritation and skin sensitisation amongst others, providing more scientifically robust predictions about the effect an ingredient will have on the skin or eyes and gaining regulatory approval along the way.

You can read more about the event and the future ambition to ban animal testing globally here.

Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to see more from inside the lab, and what you thought about Jan’s awesome pink shoes!