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...

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Labels & Logos Explained

This post may contain affiliate links.

Cruelty Free and Vegan Logos Explained

Lately we’ve been ambushed with lots of new beauty products claiming they don’t contain animal ingredients, that they’re vegetarian, vegan, or cruelty-free, but what do these labels mean and should we trust certain logos/labels over others to help us make informed choices? There are companies out there who use something similar to these bespoke woven labels to try to inform us of our choices.

If you’re looking to avoid animal testing, ingredients, by-products, and other sort of animal cruelty in your consumer purchases, then it’s important to familiarize yourself with all of the different labels and logos, what they essentially mean, and who is verifying them. Logos and labels are extremely important when creating a recognizable brand. This is why private label printing can be so useful to businesses selling a product.

Degree of Legitimacy

The degree of legitimacy of each logo/label varies and depends whether there are label standards or an organization who verifies such claims. If no one is policing a claim then manufacturers can use and sometimes even abuse these unregulated labels with the hopes it’ll convince consumers to buy their products.

Cruelty-Free And Vegan Logos/Labels

Using GreenerChoices.org as my primary source and then researching each certification program independently, I’ve created this guide to help you understand common cruelty-free and vegan logos/labels found on beauty products sold in North America. I’ve also included areas of concerns so that you are aware of certain limitations with each logo/label.

“No Animal Ingredients”

no animal-derived ingredients
no ingredients obtained from animals

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: this product does not contain any animal ingredients or derivatives
  • no label standards and no organization verifies the use of this label
  • may have been tested on animals

CONCERNS

  • virtually anyone can label their products “no animal ingredients”
  • it’s up to companies what they consider “animal ingredients”, ingredients that do not involve the actual slaughter of animals like honey, beeswax, lanolin, and whey are sometimes not considered to be animal ingredients

“Cruelty-Free”

no animal testing
not tested on animals
we don’t test on animals
against animal testing

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: this product and its ingredients were not tested on animals
  • no label standards and no organization verifies the use of this label
  • does not imply the product is vegan

CONCERNS

  • virtually anyone can label their products “cruelty-free”
  • company may commission animal testing of their products to a third party
  • ingredient supplier’s may conduct animal testing of their raw ingredients

“100% Vegetarian”

vegetarian
vegetarian-friendly
vegetarian ingredients
suitable for vegetarians

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: this product does not contain animal ingredients or other ingredients resulting from animal slaughter and may contain animal by-products (milk, honey, beeswax, whey, shellac)
  • no label standards and no organization verifies the use of this label
  • may or may not have been tested on animals

CONCERNS

  • virtually anyone can label their products “vegetarian”
  • may use animal ingredients in the manufacturing process (even if they don’t appear in the final product)


“100% Vegan”

vegan
vegan-friendly
vegan ingredient
suitable for vegans

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: this product does not contain animal ingredients or animal by-products
  • no label standards and no organization verifies the use of this claim
  • may or may not have been tested on animals

CONCERNS

  • virtually anyone can label their products “vegan”
  • may or may not use animal-derived substances in processing the product (even if they don’t appear in the final product)


petalogo

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: the company and their ingredient suppliers do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products.
  • verified by PETA
  • requires companies to complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance
  • companies pay to use and license the cruelty-free bunny logo

CONCERNS

  • no testing/monitoring is performed, therefore the meaning of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of written statements
  • does not mean the product is vegan


DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: none of its products and ingredients have ever been tested on animals by it, by anyone on its behalf, by its suppliers or anyone on their behalf and must not contain any ingredients derived specifically from killing an animal or provided as a by-product from killed animals
  • verified by Choose Cruelty Free (CCF)
  • CCF also will not accredit companies unless all parent and subsidiaries are also accredited
  • requires companies to fill in the Questionnaire & Application for Accreditation (Q&A), including a legally binding contract
  • companies pay to use and license the CCF rabbit logo

CONCERNS

  • no audit system is performed but companies on the CCF List are required to undergo regular re-accreditation to ensure that they continue to meet the CCF Accreditation Criteria.
  • some limitations to types of animal ingredients used but some vegetarian products can still be certified


DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: the company and their ingredient suppliers do not conduct or commission animal testing of their products
  • verified by Leaping Bunny
  • requires companies and their ingredient suppliers to commit and pledge to the Leaping Bunny standards
  • companies agree to be audited once every three years by an independent assessor, or, in the case of smaller companies, a “spot-check,” commissioned by the CCIC and performed by an accredited auditor
  • companies pay to use and license the Leaping Bunny logo

CONCERNS

  • does not mean the product is vegan


CF&V_logo_trans

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: the company and their ingredient suppliers do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and do not contain any animal ingredients
  • verified by PETA
  • requires companies to complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance
  • companies pay to use and license the cruelty-free and vegan bunny logo

CONCERNS

  • no testing/monitoring is performed, therefore the meaning of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of written statements


Certified Vegan

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: the product is vegan, defined as containing no animal ingredients or by-products, using no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process, and not tested on animals by any company or independent contractor.
  • verified by Vegan Action
  • companies provide signed written statements by the manufacturer with documents proving they meet the criteria
  • companies pay to use and license the certified vegan logo on a given product

CONCERN

  • no testing/monitoring is performed, therefore the meaning of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of written statements

trademark-logo

DEGREE OF LEGITIMACY:

EXPLANATION

  • meaning: this product and ingredients do not contain any animal product, by-product or derivative and must not involve testing of any sort on animals by the manufacturers or on its behalf, or by any third parties
  • verified by Vegan Society
  • companies provide signed written statements by the manufacturer with documents proving they meet the criteria

CONCERNS

  • no testing/monitoring is performed, therefore the meaning of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of written statements


Use of unverified labels

Just because a product uses one of the unverified labels like ‘no animal ingredients’ or ‘cruelty-free’ doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re misleading or lying to you. As conscious consumers, we need to be mindful of the legitimacy behind these labels. We can usually get more specific answers just by emailing or contacting the company directly. If you feel like they’re dodging your questions or giving you generic answers, you might want to consider purchasing from another company that is more transparent about their manufacturing process and ingredients.

What do you think?

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5 Comments
  • Shardae L.
    May 9, 2019

    As a brand that is just getting started and strongly focuses on being vegan and cruelty-free, your blog was extremely informative!!!!

    Thanks so much!!!

  • Dominique
    April 17, 2018

    Thanks for making this guide, it’s very informative and useful!

  • AlinaCosmetics
    January 26, 2018

    I want to point out to everyone that from 2013 The European Union banned animal testing. Therefore, all cosmetics made in the European Union are cruelty-free. They don’t even have to have any symbols or acknowledgment of that fact. It is the Law of the Land.

  • liz Williams
    July 7, 2016

    Thanks for the info- very interesting! It has ooened my eyes even wider! Will share on facebook

  • Rika @ VM
    August 7, 2015

    Love this guide, thank you for putting this together and making a difference for animals!

“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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