Beauty Without the Cost of Cruelty

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Horrified by the wide prevalence of animal abuse in fur farms, 13rushes’ Founder Yu Hui Tay started a naive pet project to prove that animal-friendly products can outperform their rivals. Little did she know that it would become a hit in the beauty industry.

By Michelle Tay

13rushes, pronounced “thirteen-rushes”, was founded in 2013 with a mission to create exceptional synthetic brushes that are kind to animals.

A PETA video about skinning animals alive spurred Yu Hui to advocate for an animal-free lifestyle when she was still a junior college student.

“Back then, animal-friendly brushes were unavailable. Most people were lobbying against fur coats and leather bags, but none highlighted the presence of animal cruelty in the beauty world. In fact, there were no alternative tools for those who cared for our furry friends,” she explains.

Intrigued by so many beauty professionals’ reluctance to use cruelty-free brushes, Yu Hui courageously took up 13rushes as a full-time job.

Heartened by the strong support and positive reviews for her naive pet project, she became a solo female boss with the help of her parents, friends, and professors after university.

“As a solo founder, another challenge is keeping up with momentum. Without input from others, it is easy to lose faith and second guess yourself.”

Now 25 years old, Yu Hui is no stranger to running an online business as a one-woman show. She handles everything by herself, from design, procurement, photography, to sales and partnerships.  

“When you manage everything yourself, even white background product photography can be a real challenge. As a solo founder, another challenge is keeping up with momentum. Without input from others, it is easy to lose faith and second guess yourself,” says the cheery solo boss.  

Despite many challenges, Yu Hui has built 13rushes into an affordable, high performance makeup tool. Working closely with manufacturers, these brushes are designed with the optimal shape and density for effective application of creams, liquids, and powders.

Outside of Singapore, it is currently represented by a few resellers in Dubai and Brunei.

“Most people were lobbying against fur coats and leather bags, but none highlighted the presence of animal cruelty in the beauty world. In fact, there were no alternative tools for those who cared for our furry friends.”

Still, makeup artists need more convincing. They have yet to abandon deep-seated beliefs that animal hair brushes are superior to cruelty-free alternatives.

Yu Hui says, “It is my dream to bridge the performance gap between natural and synthetic makeup tools. I hope to change this through education and awareness.”

Fortunately, there has been more focus on cruelty-free products in recent times. Just as cosmetic safety has turned into an industry requirement, Yu Hui urges that every brand in the beauty world should also be cruelty-free.

“Many companies are doing it now because of competitive edge, not so much for ethical reasons. We believe that good products will bring in sales, that’s why there is great emphasis on quality at 13rushes,” she says.


Convinced by cruelty-free alternatives? 13rushes is an animal-free makeup brush company committed to providing the best tools for every possible makeup purpose, so that women can look their best.

Photo credits: 13rushes

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