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Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan vs. Not tested on Animals?

If you are someone who’s just venturing on their cruelty-free journey or if you are just lost and don’t know where to start or what these labels mean, you are at the right place. :). You must have heard “Cruelty-free”, “Vegan” etc. thrown around a lot lately. If you are confused, dont worry, we have all been there at some point. But, do they know what these terms really mean?

MUAs at Sephora once mentioned that people come in asking for cruelty-free products. But when asked if they know what it means or why they want to shop cruelty-free, they would get answers like “Cruelty-free” ~ “good for skin or it’s plant-based”. These are true to some extent, but knowing what these terms really mean will help you pick out what you really want.

Understanding these terms took me a while as well. So, I took a stab at trying to make this as simple as possible for you. 🙂

Cruelty-Free

Term “cruelty-free” means that beauty/cosmetic products are manufactured or developed by methods that do not involve experimentation or testing on animals.

Simply put, “cruelty-free” ~ “not tested on animals”.

This does NOT mean, that it doesn’t contain animal ingredients.

Vegan

Term “Vegan” simply means the product doesn’t have any animal ingredients.

Many traditional ingredients within skincare products are derived from animals. This list includes but not limited to Beeswax, collagen, lanolin, keratin, honey, hyaluronic acid, elastin, squalene, stearic acid, and silk.

Some ingredients have multiple sources ie, for example, Hyaluronic acid can be obtained from rooster’s combs and through bacterial fermentation. So, this ingredient can also be vegan if it’s from the latter source.

Not tested on Animals

Now, comes the tricky part. You must have seen this phrase written behind some products and thought, “score! another cruelty-free product”. Haha 😂, I am sure you didn’t exactly think that. But, these were the exact words that went through my mind couple years ago, when I didn’t know what this phrase exactly meant.

This Phrase, “Not tested on Animals”, can mean a lot of things:

  • Only the final product may not have been tested on animals i.e, The individual ingredients could have still been tested on animals.
  • A lot of brands use suppliers to source individual ingredients. These ingredients could have been tested by the third party supplier.
  • Brand could sell in countries like Mainland China where animal testing is required by law. If this is the case, brand is funding animal testing to be done by a Third party.

So in most cases, if you see the phrase “Not tested on animals” on a product, it is simply for marketing purposes.

8 thoughts on “Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan vs. Not tested on Animals?

  1. This is an amazing breakdown to all these terms. The way you broke down each term and including what stereotype definitions float around. It’s sad what sometimes brands do for marketing purposes. I feel like I know what to look for in products from now on because I am trying to go towards all cruelty-free products. Thank you for this amazing reminder!!

  2. This is an amazing breakdown to all these terms. The way you broke down each term and including what stereotype definitions float around. It’s sad what sometimes brands do for marketing purposes. I feel like I know what to look for in products from now on because I am trying to go towards all cruelty-free products. Thank you for this amazing reminder!!

  3. I’ve learnt so much from your post. It’s very informative and well written. I’ve already been cautious with brands, but now I know to do thorough research. Great post! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much!!!! I am really happy this post was useful! 🙂 Let me know if there are other cruelty-free related topics you want to know. I am happy to blog about them. 🙂

  4. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what
    theme you’re using? (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme
    slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

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