Your frequently asked questions about beauty, cosmetics, and makeup answered...
How do you know if a beauty product is Cruelty free?
Of course you’ll want a product that is cruelty free and doesn’t test on animals.
But how can you be sure that a product is 100% cruelty free without having to do extensive research on the brand you’ve chosen? It’s easier than you think!
There are three different labels which easily show you as the consumer whether a product is cruelty free. Typically this is denoted by a bunny image on the label.
There are three different ones to look for: the PETA bunny, the Leaping Bunny, and the Choose Cruelty Free bunny. These show that a third party company has certified your chosen brand doesn’t test on animals.
If you’re looking for vegan cosmetics, the brand may also show this via a separate label.
What makes a beauty product cruelty-free?
For something to be considered cruelty-free, no part of the product can be tested on animals at any point during production.
There are three organizations that currently certify whether a product is cruelty-free: PETA, Choose Cruelty Free and Leaping Bunny.
To find out whether a brand is cruelty-free, look for the bunny logo, as each of these organizations have this logo which you can look for on the side of their packaging.
As the term “cruelty-free” is unregulated, some companies claim to be cruelty-free without actually adhering to the cruelty-free standards.
As a result, it’s good to always do your own research and make sure that a brand aligns with your beliefs. If in doubt, you can always contact the brand directly to ask if they’re certified cruelty-free.
What does cruelty-free mean?
Cruelty-free is generally interpreted as ‘not tested on animals’, however, sadly, there is no regulation in the United States or Canada for the term 'cruelty-free', meaning some companies can claim to be ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals,’ but this may only refer to the finished product.
For a product to be 100% cruelty free, the item would have to have no ingredients that are tested on animals, no components that are tested on animals, and the product itself has not been tested on animals.
In reality, nearly all animal testing occurs at the ingredient level.
Plus, when a company claims to not test on animals, it may still contract other companies to do the testing.
The best way to be sure you’re buying genuine, cruelty-free products is to buy from companies that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program or Peta’s Bunny Free logo.
Does cruelty-free mean vegan?
No, cruelty-free does not automatically mean vegan, so if you’re vegan, you should ensure that the products you purchase are vegan and cruelty-free.
Vegan involves not using or eating any animal or animal byproducts, whereas cruelty-free refers to the product not being tested on animals.
Some cruelty-free products still use ingredients derived from animal products, for example, beeswax.
The good news is that an increasing number of products on the market tick both the cruelty-free and vegan boxes.
What is the difference between cruelty free and vegan cosmetics?
Many people are confused by the difference between cruelty free and vegan, as the two sort of coincide together.
For a product to be vegan, there has to be no animal ingredients or animal derivatives in the makeup of the product or in its packaging.
The difference with cruelty free is that the product cannot be used for testing on animals, nor can any of its ingredients.
This means that a product can be vegan- and have no animal derived ingredients, but it could have been tested on animals for it to be sold in some countries which would make it not cruelty free.
What exactly is vegan beauty?
There can be a lot of confusion around whether a brand is vegan or not, and whether it is cruelty free.
Although very similar in nature, the two are not exactly the same.
For instance, a brand can be vegan, but may not be cruelty free, and vice versa, so it is important that you check labels and certifications to see whether your makeup is 100% vegan or not.
For a beauty product to be vegan, then it will have to contain no animal products or byproducts at all.
This includes ingredients that are made with animal derivatives too.
Any ingredients that have come from an animal would render the item non vegan.
For instance, if there is beeswax in your makeup, then it is not 100% vegan.
For a product to be vegan, it does not necessarily mean that it is cruelty free too, although many vegans would be against animal cruelty, by law a comapny can state their product is vegan and still test on animals.
This is because vegan and cruelty free products are different.
Cruelty free means that the product has been made without any animal testing throughout the creation, production and manufacturing process.
This means that the product is also not tested on animals in countries where this is required by law, post production either.
This is where the blurring of lines comes in, because your product can have no animal ingredients, making it vegan, but it could have been tested on animals around the world, which would make it non cruelty free, and against vegan beliefs.
So, you will have to do your research, and it is best to keep to both vegan and cruelty free beauty products!
How do you know if a makeup brand is vegan?
You will be able to check if a beauty product is vegan by looking at its packaging or labels.
Usually if a product is vegan, it will say so in the description, or you can check online to see whether a beauty brand follows vegan processes and guidelines during production.
Alternatively, you can check yourself to see whether any ingredients are taken from an animal, or if they are derived from animals.
Here is a list of the main ones that you should look out for, and why they are not vegan.
Beeswax: This can also be called cera alba or cera lava on the ingredients list, and is taken directly from a beehive to be used in various beauty products such as lipsticks or foundations.
As this product is taken from the exploitation of bees, it is not vegan.
Collagen: Collagen is often used in anti-ageing products for its plumping effects, however it is naturally produced by animals.
Collagen can often be taken from dead animal’s bones, tissues and skin, so is therefore not vegan friendly at all.
Carmine: Carmine is often referred to as cochineal, crimson lake, natural red 4, E120 or carminic acid.
It is a red coloring that is taken from crushing insects, and so it is not vegan.
Keratin: Keratin is found in hair, nails and horns, so it will always be derived from animals.
Lanolin: Lanolin is often used in lotions, makeup and lip balms, but it is a fat that is produced from sheep hair, and is therefore not vegan.
Squalene: Squalene is an ingredient that is derived from the liver of sharks, and is used in many moisturisers and cosmetics for its oily texture.
However, try not to confuse this with Squalane, which is a vegan and cruelty free alternative to Squalene.
If you are ever unsure whether a company is vegan, then you can look for a vegan certified logo, or reach out and email the company yourself to see their policies when it comes to vegan products and cruelty free processes.
Which makeup brands are vegan?
There is a whole host of vegan beauty brands now available, with many products to choose from that are completely 100% vegan and cruelty free.
Some of my favorites are:
- KVD Vegan Beauty
- Fenty Beauty
- Skinny Tan
- Cover FX
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Jeffree Star Cosmetics
- Wet N Wild Beauty
What are the best cruelty free makeup brands?
Luckily, the world is changing with the times, and many cosmetic companies are now employing cruelty free ingredients and methods in their products.
There are now many different cruelty free makeup brands to choose from, with a wide variety of products suitable for those who are vegan, and lead a cruelty free lifestyle.
Some of the best cruelty free makeup brands are:
- Fenty Beauty
- KVD Vegan Beauty
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- CoverGirl Cosmetics
- Too Faced
- Herbivore Cosmetics
- E.L.F. Cosmetics
- Tower 28 Beauty
- Urban Decay
- Hourglass Cosmetics
These are just to name a few, and are some of the most popular currently available.
There are so many different brands to choose from, with products suitable for all skin types and styles.
How Does A Brand Get A Cruelty Free Certification?
Anybody can claim that every ingredient they use is naturally sourced and not tested on animals.
Buuuuut… that doesn’t mean that it is.
Unless they’re rocking the official Cruelty Free logo, then you can’t in good faith make that purchase.
The logo is adorable and hard to miss - it’s a little white leaping bunny, free from chemicals and happily hopping around.
When you see those long and lolloping legs, you know you’re good to hit Add To Cart.
If you’d like to learn more about the difference between a product saying it is “cruelty free” or “not tested on other animals” and other phrases, check out this article from the FDA themselves.
It might be from 2000, but it’s the most recent one they have!
You can also use PETA’s list of cruelty free beauty products as a guideline for which brands and manufacturers are trustworthy.
When a company has been certified by PETA, you know you - and the animals - are in safe hands!
How do I tell if a product is vegan or not?
You may be wondering how you can verify if a product is vegan or not.
The quickest way to do this is to check the packaging for certification.
Due to the recent rise in people becoming vegan, more and more products and companies are catering to their needs.
This means that a lot of products will now be labeled if they are vegan.
Look for phrases like suitable for vegans, or a certified Vegan logo.
In addition, you can also do a quick online search to check if a company creates vegan products, or if the one you are interested in is made with vegan ingredients and vegan processes.
This way, there never has to be any confusion as to whether you can use it or not.