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...

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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)

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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...

bunnies are for cuddling, not for testing 💉🚫🐇 #endanimaltesting (via @veryfatrabbit)

bunnies are for cuddling, not...

My FAVE natural + cruelty-free skincare product of the month is hands-down this @juicebeauty #StemCellular Vinifera Replenishing Oil 🌿 It's an ahhhmazing multi-tasker -- I use it as BOTH a daytime primer and also at night for extra hydration, which is much-needed during the cold winter season 🍇
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'Juice Beauty's STEM CELLULAR™ Vinifera Replenishing Oil is ideal for normal to dry complexions and especially beneficial for skin showing the signs of aging including fine lines and wrinkles.'
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This product is cruelty-free, vegan, and formulated without parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances.
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#juicebeauty #farmtobeauty #gifted

My FAVE natural + cruelty-free...

Cruelty-free vs. Vegan – What’s the Difference?

This post may contain affiliate links.

The terms “cruelty-free” and “vegan” have grown increasingly popular in just the last couple of years as consumer demand for animal cruelty-free cosmetics rises and the influx of new cosmetic products touting the “cruelty-free” and “vegan” labels from both indie and mainstream brands. But did you know there’s a difference between cruelty-free and vegan?

The two labels are often used interchangeably, by both companies and consumers, but they actually don’t mean the same thing.

It can be confusing trying to navigate through the cruelty-free and vegan beauty space but let me help break it down for you.

What’s the difference between cruelty-free vs vegan? Short Answer: “Cruelty-Free” generally implies no animal testing occurred whereas “Vegan” generally implies the products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

A product can be both, or one but not the other. This is a concept I’m going to dive in deeper with real-life examples down below.

Quick note, I’m using the term ‘generally’ here because this is generally how the beauty industry uses these two labels. If it was up to me and I got to make up the rules, I wouldn’t classify something as being vegan if it was tested on animals (cruelty-free). But unfortunately, I don’t make the rules so it’s important we learn and stay informed on how the industry and companies are using these labels today.

What’s the Difference: Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Let’s start with some fun venn diagrams (remember those?)

Remember, the label “cruelty-free” means = this product and its ingredients were not tested on animals. And the label “vegan” means = this product does not contain animal products or ingredients.

We’ll start with the basics, when a product is labelled as both “cruelty-free and vegan”

Cosmetics claiming to be cruelty-free and vegan explained
Cosmetics claiming to be cruelty-free and vegan

Can something be called cruelty-free AND vegan

When a product claims to be both ‘cruelty-free and vegan’, it means it was not tested on animals and it does not contain animal products or ingredients.

Real life example: Pacifica Beauty has a cruelty-free and vegan lipstick. This means the lipstick from Pacifica was not tested on animals and does not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.


Cosmetics claiming to be cruelty-free, but not vegan explained
Cosmetics claiming to be cruelty-free, but not vegan

Can something be cruelty-free but NOT vegan?

If a product claims to be ‘cruelty-free but not vegan’, it means the product was not tested on animals but it does contain some animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Real life example: Milani Cosmetics has a cruelty-free lipstick but it is not vegan. This means the lipstick from Milani was not tested on animals, but it does contain some animal-derived ingredients or by-products like beeswax, carmine, or lanolin.


Now this leaves us with the last option,

Cosmetics that are vegan, but not cruelty-free explained
Cosmetics that are vegan, but not cruelty-free

Can something be vegan but NOT cruelty-free?

Here’s where it gets a little confusing and counter-intuitive. But bear with me.

Products that claim to be ‘vegan’ but may not be ‘cruelty-free’ means the product does not contain animal products or animal-derived ingredients but sadly, the products or its ingredients may have been tested on animals.

Real life example: Garnier claims their Ultimate Blends and new Fructis hair products are ‘vegan’, explaining how these products do not contain animal-derived ingredients or by-products. But Garnier is actually not a cruelty-free brand, as Garnier does test on animals when required by law¹.

Garnier claims their Ultimate Blends products are vegan, but Garnier is not cruelty-free
Garnier claims their Ultimate Blends products are vegan, but Garnier is not cruelty-free

Another real-life example: In 2017, L’Oreal’s EverPure Shampoo and Conditioners were spotted with a ‘100% Vegan’ stamp on the packaging. L’Oreal claims these products are ‘vegan’ in which they don’t contain animal-derived ingredients or by-products, but L’Oreal is definitely not a cruelty-free brand. L’Oreal does test on animals when required by law.²

L'Oreal claims their Ever hair products are 100% vegan, but L'Oreal is not cruelty-free.
L’Oreal claims their Ever hair products are 100% vegan, but L’Oreal is not cruelty-free.

Isn’t it Illegal for Brands to Lie About Being Cruelty-Free/Vegan?

How is it possible for L’Oreal and Garnier to tout claims of being “vegan” and “cruelty-free” when they’re not? and can’t they be sued for lying to us? I hear ya.

Sadly, there is no standard or legal definitions for the labels “cruelty-free” and “vegan”. This means companies can use these labels in whichever way they like without any consequences or liability. This is why it’s important we stay informed on what these labels mean and who may be misleading or deceiving us.

If you’re thinking, ain’t nobody got time for dat! then you’ll be happy to hear that there are currently 4 certifying organizations who all audits and accredits companies/products that are both cruelty-free and vegan. When you spot their logos on a product packaging, it means the issuing organization has verified that this product/company does not test on animals and do not use animal products or animal-derived in their products.

List of Cruelty-free and Vegan Certifications for Cosmetics
List of Cruelty-free and Vegan Certifications for Cosmetics

For further reading on what each of these logos and other “cruelty-free” and “vegan” logos and claims mean, check out this post here that explains it all!


¹ Garnier products are sold in mainland China where all imported cosmetics are required by law to be tested on animals. Garnier claims, “Garnier is in China with a few Ultimate Blends products only. And these products are part of the nonfunctional products category, which is no longer subject to animal testing since 2014.” Although China may not require pre-market animal testing on ordinary, domestically-produced cosmetics anymore, China may still conduct post-market animal testing on products that are sold in their country. Post-market testing is where Chinese officials will pull products off of store shelves and test them on animals, this is often times done without the company’s knowledge or consent. At this time, any cosmetic brand that is selling its products in-stores in mainland China cannot be considered cruelty-free because of the risks and possibility of post-market animal testing.

² Similar to Garnier, L’Oreal products are sold throughout mainland China where animal testing is required by law for all imported cosmetics. Although L’Oreal can make claims that they are not conducting these animal tests themselves, but they are consenting and paying the Chinese authorities to test on their behalf in order to sell within their country. L’Oreal is not considered cruelty-free by our standards.

What do you think?

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29 Comments
  • Kamilla
    January 20, 2020

    Can you be vegan but use cruelty-free ingredients?

  • Jamie
    July 26, 2019

    Hello,

    I am writing in hopes that you please revise this website.

    Any product which is certified vegan, must not have been tested on animals, pre- OR post-market. In other words, neither the producer, nor various 3rd-party suppliers, are permitted to test vegan products on animals. Juice Beauty, for instance, is 100% certified vegan. That means that they would not sell to any supplier, a country such as China, for instance, because its government would require animal testing.

    So, to sum it up, you can have a cruelty free company whose products contain animal byproducts. But vegan products are always cruelty free.

    • Vicky Ly
      July 26, 2019

      Hi Jamie,

      Yes, *certified* vegan products are both not tested on animals and do not contain any animal ingredients.

      But not all vegan products are *certified*. To become certified is a voluntary process that companies are not mandatory to undergo in order to label their products as “vegan”. If cosmetic companies wish to become *certified* vegan, then they must go through the process and register their products with an accompanying organization like Vegan Society, Vegan Action, or PETA. And once approved, these *certified* vegan products are deemed as not tested on animals AND do not contain animal products.

      This is a guide on how the cosmetics industry generally uses the term “cruelty-free” and “vegan”. And I’ve provided two solid real-life examples of L’Oreal and Garnier claiming their products are “vegan” when in fact, these two beauty brands DO test on animals.

      I get what you’re saying and agree with you but unfortunately, this isn’t how the cosmetics industry are using the labels “cruelty-free” and “vegan” and so the point of this post is to educate ethical shoppers so that they don’t get duped by brands like L’Oreal and Garnier who are trying to pass their products off as being “vegan” when they’re not since they DO currently test on animals.

    • Vicky Ly
      July 26, 2019

      And also, Juice Beauty isn’t a certified vegan brand. Two of their products contains organic honey and/or beeswax and are not suitable for vegans.

      Juice Beauty is certfied cruelty-free but not certified vegan, as you claimed.

      • Ana Tascon
        August 16, 2019

        Hi Vicky,

        Our company is interested in getting Cruelty free certification through PETA, but it have been very difficult the communication with them, it takes too long to get replay. Do you know somebody that have go through this process?

  • Inez
    October 23, 2018

    “Some products do not contain any animal ingredients (like beeswax or carmine)”

    Carmine ís an animal, it are squished lice.

  • Sylvie Ficco
    April 22, 2018

    I want to go vegan
    I want to use vegan and cruelty free products but I might not be able to do that because of a money issue as I am still in High school and live with my mom. My family is low income and for hygiene products my mom buys whatever is on sale. What should I do?

    • Melanie
      April 3, 2019

      Elf, Love Beauty And Planet, Wet N Wild and Palmer’s are some good and cheap cruelty-free options you can suggest to your mom. CVS brand products are cruelty-free, too. Hang in there!

  • Jas Chahal
    February 28, 2018

    Thank you Vicky, people like you make me believe in a future where animals will have rights, every woman and man should live a cruelty-free lifestyle and help end horrific slaughter houses, thanks for your vegan information for product searching, keep sharing and educating people xx

  • arth
    January 26, 2018

    good post

  • Raquel
    January 22, 2018

    Hi Vicky my concern leans more on toxicity – there are vegan products that rate poorly by the Environmental Working Group because of toxic ingredients. Would you post on that topic please?

“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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