So accurate 👌🏻😂✨ (via @vegan.meme)

So accurate 👌🏻😂✨ (via @vegan.meme)

So-called “Cruelty-free” products have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, but let’s take a step back and ask, what exactly does it mean when cosmetics, personal care, and household cleaning products are labeled as “cruelty-free”?
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Products that are labeled as “Cruelty-Free” generally means they weren’t tested on animals, however, there is no standard or legal definition as to what is and isn’t allowed to be labeled as “cruelty-free”. So companies can call themselves and their products “cruelty-free” and it can mean whatever THEY want.
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Misleading? — Yes.
Illegal? — No.
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The FDA, responsible for regulating cosmetics labeling in the US, states on its website, “Consumers sometimes ask about use of claims such as “Cruelty-Free” or “Not Tested on Animals” on cosmetic labeling. Some cosmetic companies promote their products with claims of this kind in their labeling or advertising. The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms.”
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Unrestricted Use. No Legal Definition. — “Cruelty-Free” is now being used as a buzzword by marketers wanting to cash in on the trend.
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But not ALL cruelty-free companies are liars and imposters. Some brands are genuinely committed to not testing their finished products and ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world.
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But HOW do we know which cosmetic brands are telling the truth and are truly cruelty-free in 2020?
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❶ Ask brands if their products or ingredients are tested on animals either by the company, their ingredient suppliers or commissioned to a third party and if they allow animal testing when required by law.
❷ Look for @leapingbunnyprogram brands --the most trusted cruelty-free certification program available!
❸ Check @ethicalelephant’s Cruelty-Free Brand Directory List where we have verified each and every brand's cruelty-free status before we list them (link in bio!)
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 Together, we can end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all!
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Thank you for choosing cruelty-free! 🐘 💕

So-called “Cruelty-free” products have become...

Lazy Sundays 💖 Laying in bed and wondering why you haven’t gone cruelty-free in 2020 yet 🤔✨
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(📸 via @niu.body)

Lazy Sundays 💖 Laying in...

I love you all for going vegan! ✨ Happy Valentine’s Day! 💕 (via @sassyspudshop)

I love you all for...

What can I say..? I’m just a hopeless ramen-tic! 🍜
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(📸 via @vegan.meme)

What can I say..? I’m...

THIS. 🙌🏻
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“It’s not about being perfect! And we don’t know any vegans who walk around saying that they are, or that they cause zero harm. Veganism doesn’t mean causing ZERO harm (that would be delusional)... but it definitely means causing a lot less of it!! And causing LESS harm than before (before being vegan) is definitely worth celebrating and continuing to advocate for.

Don’t let the vegan haters get you down. Usually the people pointing their fingers and trying to find a flaw in veganism are the ones who simply don’t understand it or don’t know what it takes to stand for something.” (Words by @vegan_boss, 📸 via @unmeatfuture)

THIS. 🙌🏻 . “It’s not...

Show your love & support for vegan businesses in the comments by @ tagging some of your fave brands so we can follow and discover them too! 💚 (📸 via @brightzine)

Show your love & support...

Cruelty-free is the only way to be!🐇✨

Cruelty-free is the only way...

A quick and easy way to find out if your shoes are VEGAN and whether they were made from animal OR non-animal materials! 👠🌿
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Once you know, you'll never forget! ✨ I've been using this guide for YEARS now and it has saved me so much time and hassle! 💗
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Swipe 👈🏻 to see what each symbol means and which ones are considered vegan materials! 🌱
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NOTE: This pictogram does NOT guarantee whether the glue used contain animal products, please contact the shoe manufacturer/companies to inquire about the source of their glue.
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Shoes: old from @callitspring

A quick and easy way...

Never too late for a fresh start ✨ doing something is better than doing nothing 🌱
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I had failed to meet my personal goals to living minimally and more sustainably this month, but I will keep trying to do better — even if it means making some mistakes along the way! 🌎 (via @createcultivate)

Never too late for a...

Tech Tuesdays: Review of Animal-Free Mobile App

This post may contain affiliate links.

Animal-Free mobile app has been around since 2011 and is “an online product checker and pocket reference guide for identifying common and hidden animal ingredients.” I’ve used the app for both food and beauty products although the app description doesn’t specify if its more suitable for one over the other.

The app is available to download for free for both iPhone and Android users.

Tech Tuesdays is a weekly feature review of the latest tech gadgets and apps specifically designed for the conscientious consumer in mind!

Barcode Scanner

The app description says you can “scan a barcode to lookup products in an online database and find out what users think.” I tried scanning a few products at the store but it wouldn’t read any of the barcodes. I tried it again at home and it worked but the app froze every time while loading the database and I had to close and restart the app.

The Animal-Free mobile app allows you to instantly and quickly scan a product's barcode to see if it's vegan

Several other users also experienced similar problems with Animal-Free’s scan feature as noted in the app’s reviews. Perhaps it’s just a bug issue. Your best bet is to use their product search functionality which I’ll get into in a bit.

Ingredient Database

Complete breakdown of all the features available on the FREE Animal-Free mobile app

The list of ingredients is ordered alphabetically and you can easily scroll through the list or tap and drag on a letter displayed on the side to jump to the section of the list you want to view. They do have an impressive database with over 400 ingredients.

There’s four different ways users can browse the list of ingredients, by:

  1.  ALL: All ingredients that may have animal sources
  2. ALWAYS: Ingredients that are always animal derived
  3. SOMETIMES: Animal Ingredients that may also have possible vegan-friendly sources
  4. (V)EGAN: All vegan-friendly ingredients

How I used it: I first look to see if the ingredient is listed as vegan in the “V” tab . If it’s not listed there, then I would move onto the ALL animal ingredients and see if it’s listed there.

I didn’t think it was necessary to have the two list of animal ingredients that are always animal derived and a list for sometimes animal derived. It’s important to note the difference between the two but probably not required to have separate lists.

Ingredient Descriptions

The ingredient descriptions are accurate and concise, perfect for someone on the go! I also like how the app gives you examples of products that commonly contain the ingredient.

Screenshot of the vegan ingredient: Carrageenan from the Animal-Free mobile app

I liked how the vegan ingredients were easily distinguishable from the animal ingredients with a bright, vibrant green and vegetable background along with the V symbol. This is helpful because sometimes I don’t want to read the full ingredient description and just want to know if its vegan or not.

However there’s no way to distinguish between an ingredient that is always animal derived versus sometimes. The only way you can tell is if you scroll to the bottom of the ingredient description and see that it says “may also have vegan sources” or by the small asterisk on the animal derived symbol.

Screenshot of an animal ingredient: Arachidonic Acid from the Animal-Free mobile app Screenshot of an ingredient: Taurine from the Animal-Free mobile app

For example, for the ingredient “Taurine”.. at first glance, it looks like its an animal ingredient but if you read the description, you’ll see at the bottom that it’s “often made synthetically”

Search Functionality

Users also have the option to type into the search bar to quickly find ingredients or products and determine if they are vegan-friendly or not.

Ingredient Search

I prefer to just enter the ingredients than going through the alphabetic list of ingredients because it’s a lot faster. I found that you have to be very specific and there’s no room for spelling mistakes or typos when using the search function. Nothing comes up when I type “insect” although it’s in the ingredient description for “carmine”

Product Search

There is a bit of redundancy in the product database; 6 different results showed up for my product search for ‘Redbull’. Each Redbull also had different ‘status’ and ‘ratings’ so there was a lack in consistency.

Screenshot of product search in the Animal-Free mobile app  Screenshot of product search result in the Animal-Free mobile app

I think the biggest flaw in the database is that it is user-generated and depends on app users to add new products to the database and vote whether they consider the product to be vegan or not. This makes me doubt the credibility of the app and I find that I get more accurate and up-to-date information from opening my browser and Googling “is Redbull vegan?” than using this app.

Final Thoughts

The app definitely has some bugs and room for improvements here and there. The scan feature needs to be fixed and they need to simplify the whole user experience if they expect people to use this as a “full-featured pocket reference guide.” The app’s intentions are clear and the ingredient database is accurate and reliable. The major drawback is their product database needs to be closely monitored and updated.

Who should use this: This is a free app, so I encourage everyone to download it and try it out for themselves! How often you will rely on this will depend on your individual lifestyle and goals. This is a great vegan starter tool to get you familiar with the different animal vs. vegan ingredients but some follow-up research is required.

Have you tried the Animal-Free app yet? What were your thoughts on the app? Comment below with your experience =) 

What do you think?

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“Make ethical choices in what we buy, do, and watch. In a consumer-driven society our individual choices, used collectively for the good of animals and nature, can change the world faster than laws.”― Marc Bekoff

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