A VEGAN testing lab in Daresbury has unveiled a ground-breaking new way of allowing beauty companies to avoid animal testing.

XCellR8, based in Techspace One, uses human skin cells grown in a lab to test the mildness of cosmetic products or ingredients.

In a two-year project, the the Xtra Mild Test was validated against human volunteer trials.

It uncovered that some soaps proved more mild than market-leading facial washes.

One media favourite claims the low pH level of its facial bar contributes to its mildness but six out of the 10 soaps tested by XCELLR8 were milder.

Dr Carol Treasure, CEO and Founder of XCellR8, said: "Our company ethos to provide world-leading science with world-leading ethics really shone through with this project.

"Existing tests for mildness aren’t accurate as they were designed for irritant chemicals rather than today’s gentle cosmetic ingredients, and were benchmarked against unreliable animal data.

"In developing a new, more sensitive test, we have been able to prove that in vitro test results are as predictive as human volunteer trials as part of the project design.

"We no longer need to be dependent on out of date animal data as new in vitro techniques provide such a good model of real-life exposure."

XCellR8 is an exclusively vegan lab and does not use serum, tissues or antibodies extracted from animals.