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what's the difference between cruelty-free and vegan when it comes to skincare?

Let us tell you

what's the difference between cruelty-free and vegan when it comes to skincare?

It's 2021 yet somehow there's still a large number of beauty and cosmetics companies using animals to test their products. In fact, Cruelty Free International has stated that there's up to 115 million (yes, you read that right) animals being used around the world. That blows our animal-loving brains. 

If that wasn't astounding enough, there are still countries on this Earth that don't allow beauty products to go to market without being tested on animals first. Like, excuse me? What kind of world are we living in!?!

We think it's more than time (it's actually quite overdue) for those countries and the various companies still testing products on animals to get with the cruelty-free program. 

Like, Pete Rabbit would much rather be frolicking with all of his animal friends and rabbit family in Beatrix Potter's garden than in a cosmetics lab with a skin firming lotion on his body. 

And then there's the vegan side of things. 

Thankfully, companies are getting more on board with producing their products the vegan way with the market estimated to grow $10 billion within the next 8 years. 

This is attributed to rising awareness among consumers and the demand they have for vegan products. 

As a skincare brand that's both vegan and cruelty-free certified by Choose Cruelty Free, you might be wondering what exactly the difference is between those two terms. You'd be forgiven for thinking these terms are the same thing, after all, they can be quite synonymous.

In reality, the difference between what is classified vegan and what is classified cruelty-free can depend. It turns out, they don't always mean the same thing. Don't worry, we'll elaborate.

what does being cruelty-free mean?

Unfortunately, what defines being 100% 'cruelty-free' can differ depending on different terms used and various certifications. Basically the term can mean one thing to one company and then an entirely different thing to the next. 

Our definition of being cruelty-free is that essentially, the products a company is developing, and the ingredients that they're using to make it, were not tested on animals during any part of the process. 

However, like we mentioned before, the line can be a bit blurry. 

Companies can 'qualify' to be cruelty-free (and even get accredited as cruelty-free) by adhering to at least one of these three points: 

  • the brand doesn't test their products on animals during the development and production process. 
  • the brand doesn't work with or allow third party companies to test their products on animals. 
  • the brand doesn't allow various suppliers to test their products on animals.

Of course some companies choose to implement all three (like yours truly), but it comes down to the individual brand values and the cruelty-free standard they want to work to. 

what does being vegan mean? 

This term refers to products that don't have any animal ingredients or by-products  in them. This means no beeswax or honey, and none of the more obscure but definitely no less used animal by-products such as lanolin and carmine.

If you want more info, read up on a more comprehensive list of non-vegan ingredients you should look out for in your skincare.

so what's the difference between cruelty-free and vegan? 

Unfortunately, because a product states that it's vegan, it doesn't always mean that it's cruelty-free which is kind of a hard concept to get your head around, we know. 

Some brands may not use any animal products within their formulas but still test their products on animals, making them technically vegan but not cruelty-free. It sounds super hypercritical to us (like why would you bother then?!) but unfortunately it's something that happens within the beauty industry. 

This can be turned around and applied the opposite way too. Just because a brand is cruelty-free, it doesn't always mean it's vegan. Meaning, the brand is using ingredients derived from animals to make up their products but isn't testing those products on animals.

how can I tell if the brand is cruelty-free or vegan? 

One of the tricks to ensure you're always shopping brands that are strictly cruelty-free and vegan, is to look out for logos that represent the brand has been certified. 

Some of the major cruelty-free certifications are: 

  • Choose Cruelty-Free 
  • PETA
  • Leaping Bunny 

While looking for these symbols on the products you buy can be a good start, brands can still trick you and label their products as 'cruelty-free' with fake logos. Sneaky, we know. 

On the other hand, vegan accreditations aren't as common. The best way to determine whether a product is in fact vegan, is to look over the ingredient list. 

One way or another, you know you'll always be able to trust with your vegan and cruelty-free skincare needs. 

Shop our vegan and cruelty-free skincare.