1. An Introduction
To choose vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics, you do not have to be vegan in other areas of your life. It is a choice you make to treat both yourself and the planet better. In a world becoming more conscious of what we consume and the effects our decisions have, it is important to have clear knowledge on what we are purchasing, how they are made and the impact they have.
Despite there being better and more humane ways to test ingredients, that are actually cheaper and quicker, more than 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in testing. According to the Cruelty Free International countless rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice and rats suffer die due to routine animal testing. This is despite there being reliable non-animal methods of testing while there are also known safe ingredients that can be used.
If you want to know all you can about cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, what the differences are and why both are smart choices for you, then read on and delve into the world of clean cosmetics and beauty products and all the benefits.
2. What are cruelty-free makeup and cosmetics?
Cruelty-free makeup and cosmetics are those products that are not tested on animals in any form be it throughout the creation or production process. The EU has banned animal testing since 2013, which should mean that any beauty products bought in Britain would be cruelty-free. However, most major makeup brands sell their products worldwide and as a result have to comply with the various laws on animal testing found in different countries. In American and Australia animal testing remains legal while in China it is required. So, it is most likely that major brands may be testing on animals to sell their products globally.
The best way to find out if the product you are planning on purchasing is cruelty-free, then read the label properly to find out if animal testing has been done at any point during the production process. Sadly, though brands claim to be cruelty-free, they may still use raw materials that have been tested on animals.
3. What are vegan makeup and cosmetics?
Vegan products are those that do not contain any ingredients derived from animals or any animal products. Here the focus is on the ingredients rather than the production process, as opposed to cruelty-free products which focusses more on the production. As such products that are tested on animals can claim to be vegan if their ingredients do not contain any animal derivatives. So, for instance a vegan lipstick would not have beeswax as an ingredient but may have been tested on an animal.
4. Are cruelty-free and vegan the same thing?
As you can see the two are not interchangeable, meaning that cruelty-free and vegan are not the same thing. Unfortunately, most people assume that the term vegan also implies that the product is cruelty-free, but there are no regulations to ensure as such. Put plainly, vegan beauty means that absolutely no animal ingredients are used and cruelty-free means that no tests were done on animals during the production process or on the ingredients used. Unfortunately, it is possible for a product to be vegan and have an item that has bee tested on an animal and for a cruelty-free product to contain animal ingredients.
However, these days more conscious companies are stiving to be both cruelty-free and vegan with more and more cruelty-free beauty and vegan products entering the market giving responsible consumers greater options to choose from.
5. Why is cruelty-free important?
Opting for cruelty-free beauty products gives you the power to make meaningful change, one small step at a time. When more and more people take a stand against animal cruelty it compels companies to change their normal practices to suit the growing demand. Even today, there are already some amazing and affordable brands that do not test on animals that provide the same quality if not better to those tested on animals.
Choosing cruelty-free is better for you as it helps you make smarter choices when faced with the massive range of beauty products that can be found on cosmetic isles. As you make more mindful decisions regarding the products you buy you will make fewer impulse buys and instead curate a collection of makeup that is genuinely of good quality and cruelty-free. Interestingly, most cruelty-free cosmetics are also budget friendly.
6. What are the benefits of vegan cosmetics?
Even if you do not follow a vegan diet, choosing vegan cosmetics will help you with leading a healthier lifestyle, as vegan options help you avoid questionable ingredients. Our bodies process natural ingredients better which is why vegan cosmetics with their natural components are a safer option. This is also why vegan cosmetics are a better choice for people with sensitive skin, as when produced correctly they contain less harmful chemicals. And, if all of the above was not enough, vegan products generally come in more environmentally friendly packaging.
7. How do you check if a product is cruelty free?
Become a thorough label reader. You will learn to recognise the ingredients and the processes used and be able to determine if a product is genuinely cruelty-free. Start researching brands, such as details on their production processes, where ingredients are sourced and read through reliable reviews. This is a great resource to finding genuine cruelty-free brands.
Besides this, a good way to determine that a product is cruelty-free is look for the Leaping Bunny logo which provides one of the most reliable assurances that a company has made a genuine commitment to help end animal testing. In order to qualify for the globally recognised logo, brands must meet ‘rigorous criteria which apply globally and extend over and above laws governing animal testing and include ongoing independent audits’. It is only once all these stringent requirements are met, that a brand is allowed to display the logo on their products.
8. How can you choose genuine vegan cosmetics?
For a brand to be authentically vegan then it must guarantee that there is a complete absence of animal ingredients. In order for it to be a quality vegan product, it should not only be free of any animal ingredients but should also not be chock-full of unhealthy chemicals and fillers. Again, you should read labels thoroughly to determine that a product complies with the necessary requirements to be considered vegan and clean.
A good resource is PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program which lists every registered company that is either cruelty-free or both vegan and cruelty-free, with corresponding logos to match. In Britain a clear indicator of a quality vegan product is the certification given by the Vegan Society charity, the oldest vegan society in the world. Brands are put through a stringent vetting process to determine that products are not tested on animals and that there are no ingredients derived from animals, before being registered as vegan and cruelty-free. A certification by the UK Vegan Society is one of the best ways to ensure you are buying a quality and genuine product.
9. Common ingredients to avoid
There are some common animal by-products you can learn to avoid when looking for vegan cosmetics. These are common ingredients that you may not even realise contain animal by-products. Knowing what to look for will help you make an informed and mindful decision before each purchase, by avoiding these common ingredients.
Beeswax – Found in foundations, lipsticks and eyeshadows. This is taken directly from the bee hive, from worker bees. It can take up to six or more pounds of honey to create just one pound of wax.
Collagen – We have all heard of collagen in cosmetics, especially in anti-ageing products, as it is known for its plumping and firming effect. Collagen is produced in animals naturally and is usually harvested from the bones of dead animals, connective tissue and skin.
Keratin – This is a common ingredient in shampoos said to provide luscious hair. It is a natural protein found in mammals and sourced form hair, nails and horns.
Guanine – This is created by scraping fish scales off dead fish and soaking them in alcohol which turns into an iridescent solution, used in cosmetics such as blusher, eyeshadow and nail polish to give that extra shine and sparkle.
Carmine – This has a deep red hue and is sourced from crushed insect body and legs! It is known by many names some of which are crimson lake, natural red4, cochineal and carminic acid.
Squalene – This is a common ingredient in moisturisers as it is made from oils found in shark livers. This is different to squalane which is a cruelty-free alternative now usually made from either olive oil or sugar cane.
Lanolin – This can be found in some lip balms and lotions. It is basically fat created from the grease found in sheep’s hair.
10. Are cruelty free products safe?
To be considered as authentically cruelty-free, a brand must ensure that neither the finished product nor the ingredients used, have been tested on animals. This is actually not difficult to do. There are ingredients available today that have already been tested for their safety and modern science has paved the way for manufacturing and acceptable determining of ingredients safe for humans. The ingredients used in cruelty-free products today have been sourced ethically and are chosen as they are not harmful to humans.
By making a conscious switch to cruelty-free cosmetics you will also be entering a world of healthier cosmetic options. You will be more aware of the ingredients used and appreciate the ones that use next to no harmful chemicals and other toxic substances in their products.
11. How do cruelty free brands test?
There is unfortunately a long standing belief, which only recently started to be debunked, that if cosmetics are not tested on animals then it might not be safe for humans. As we now know this is not so as there are many reliable alternatives to testing on animals. These include cell and tissue cultures using sophisticated software and other such methods that do not harm animals. Another smart way is for brands to start using ingredients that have already been determined as safe. Companies truly focused on being cruelty-free can use a number of methods to ensure the safety of their products such as vitro tests, as well as conducting clinical studies on human volunteers.
Interestingly, there is no law requiring animal testing, with a number of countries in fact now banning the use of animal testing altogether. Many cruelty-free companies can now choose from over 7000 ingredients that have already been proven as safe which makes it truly unnecessary for further ingredients to be tested on animals.
12. Are cruelty free products more expensive?
Generally, cruelty-free options are not more expensive than non-cruelty-free brands, unless in some rare cases. The cost factor comes into play as cruelty-free brands are ethical brands that care about the manufacturing process, clean ingredients and about the welfare of their employees. However, despite all of this many cruelty-free brands are budget friendly.
Such a brand is Seren Scents which is both vegan and cruelty-free and takes pride in bridging the gap between demand and the market, providing ethical cosmetics made in the EU at competitive prices. Certified by the UK Vegan Society, the cosmetic products are packaged in 100% recyclable material. The brand was created with the mindset that vegan, cruelty-free and ethical cosmetics should be affordable to all consumers who care deeply about their impact on the environment and would like to make the swich to ethical cosmetics.
The driving behind Seren Scents is to make a difference to the environment and make quality cruelty-free products affordable and easily accessible so that a movement can be created towards a much healthier and greener lifestyle for everyone who would like to make the change.
There are many reliable resources available for you to find brands that are vegan, ethical and cruelty-free if you are looking to start your journey on using clean cosmetics. It will be a good way to enter a more conscious and healthier lifestyle.