Cruelty Free and Vegan: Are They The Same Thing?

Wednesday, 1 September 2021  |  Admin

People are always asking whether cruelty-free means are vegan, or if they are one and the same. Let's take a detailed look at this question and others like it so that you can make an informed decision about what to buy!

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Vegan and Cruelty-Free Products

Many people think that the term "cruelty-free" and "vegan" are interchangeable when it comes to the cosmetic, toiletries and beauty care sector. However, something marketed as vegan does not always imply that the product or its components are cruelty-free. However, something equally can be both vegan and cruelty-free! Most of the beauty products on our site are both vegan and cruelty-free!

The distinction between cruelty-free and vegan is sometimes vague. Both phrases are not regulated, so the difference between them can vary from person to person. Whilst there is some certification that will help you spot them, not all smaller brands can afford to carry them but they do meet the criteria, so let's delve deeper into this ethical minefield!

What is veganism?

The term veganism was coined by a British group called the Vegan Society and their aim was to create a way of living that did not cause animals harm or exploitation, so they could live without fear no matter what country they were in.

Being vegan is a lifestyle choice that means one eats plant-based foods such as vegetables instead of meats and dairy foods which include cheese or milk. Some things excluded in vegans diets would also have to exclude items with eggs, those who choose not to use animals may even avoid certain clothing choices because they contain animal-derived ingredients.

Many people are vegan for ethical reasons and refuse to eat any animal products, including meat or dairy as well as honey, eggs, gelatin or leather shoes. These individuals may also choose not to use cosmetics that have been tested on animals in order to avoid harming living creatures. And then some people will use animal-derived products but still want cruelty free products that have no animal testing. There are many cruelty-free vegan products but it's not automatic that something is vegan and cruelty-free.

Vegan Certifications

The Vegan Society is the primary supplier of vegan certification for products in the United Kingdom. Products that qualify for the Vegan Trademark must “never been tested on animals on behalf of the manufacturer”. Other organisations like vegan.org the Vegetarian Society the Vegan Organic Network and others provide certification of vegan-friendly goods. Vegan certifications include Vegan Action, American Vegetarian Association (AVA), Food Empowerment Project, Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) Certified Program for Broilers & Breeders, PETA's Caring Consumer Standard Certification Label Program for Cosmetics Companies and Retailers selling Cruelty-Free products.

What does cruelty-free mean?

Basically, it means no animal testing has been done at all on the product.

Many brands who can afford it have become certified by a certain standard which will help you spot them, but not all smaller brands may carry the certification so they do meet the criteria.

Cruelty-free means that no animals were harmed in any stage of development or production. Cruelty-free products are NOT tested on animals at any point but may contain animal ingredients.

The term cruelty-free refers to products that have not been tested on animals. When you buy beauty products, it is important to think about what they are made from. Cruelty-free means that a product does not contain any ingredients which have been tested on animals and the company has taken steps to ensure this will never be an issue in its supply chain.

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When buying new makeup or other personal care items such as shampoo or facial lotion, we want them safe for ourselves but also ethically sound too so when given options between brands where some of their lines test on animals. Some companies test on their own furry friends, but this is not necessary to create a high-quality product that works well for humans.

The most well-known cruelty-free certification bodies in this sector are:

Leaping Bunny (an internationally recognised symbol). The leaping bunny is probably the most widely recognised symbol. Sadly many brands choose to confuse beauty buyers with their own version of it, which does not necessarily mean cruelty-free. When looking at products with cute bunny logos on them, it's worth doing a search to ensure it's a legitimate Leaping bunny!

The Leaping Bunny certification is an internationally recognised symbol of the cruelty-free beauty industry, which means you can shop from over 3700 brands in total who are certified by them!

PETA (US-based but recognised internationally) Peta is a well-known international organisation that works towards animal rights and welfare.

Choose Cruelty Free Choose Cruelty Free Australia has a list of companies they certify with their logo on those websites too.

If you search for the above labels on products you are guaranteed to have a cruelty free product.

Look at the Whole Supply Chain

Whilst some companies may say their product is cruelty-free because they have not tested the product on animals, it is vital to look at the entire supply chain and address all the ingredients involved. At Baba Me, we like to ensure that all ingredients used are also sustainable and do no harm to our planet. Sustainability is at the core of what we do, so when shopping with us, you can rest assured everything on our website is sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free. We demand the very best from our suppliers so you can relax when choosing our products in whatever form they take!

Thus, it is very important when you are looking at how ethical certain beauty brands or products are that each part of the supply chain has taken responsibility for ensuring no cruelty will take place within its processes to create the product.

In conclusion, it is important to check the label and look for symbols such as the Leaping Bunny logo. If this symbol is not present on a product then you should contact that company directly since they are likely still testing their products on animals or using ingredients that have been tested in animal experiments.

Look at the hidden ingredients

Some things are obvious that they are not vegan, eg products with lanolin or beeswax. However, you might not know all the ingredients which are not vegan. Like carmine in lipstick, Shellac, Glycerine, Casein, Squalene, Guanine, Oleic acid.. the list goes on. Even many brushes contain animal hairs like boar hair (particularly used in beard brushes).

The China Issue

Another concern for many beauty brands is that China demand that all beauty cosmetic brands and products are tested on animals. Big brands outsource this testing work for the China market, but it still casts down on their cruelty-free claims. You can argue that you are not using the product, but you in terms of true cruelty free brands, it is worth considering.

Does Being Vegan Guarantee Being Cruelty-Free,

No! Vegan products, while they don’t contain any animal ingredients, may still be tested on animals.

Also, vegan products may be produced in facilities that also produce items containing animal ingredients or tested on animals.

Does being Cruelty Free Guarantee Being Vegan?

No! A product that is cruelty-free does not necessarily mean it contains no animal ingredients.

If you are looking for vegan products, always check the label and ensure there aren’t any hidden or unclear ingredients (i.e.: materials from animals) listed on them before buying.

Non Certified Goods

Understand that some manufacturers and items may be cruelty-free and vegan, but not all of them have these ethical symbols or logos on their products (due to licensing costs - they may be a small brand). We have a wide range of small artisan brands in our portfolio that carry cruelty-free products, many of which are vegan but do not have the certifications. Don't worry, we have done our research and ensured that those who claim to be cruelty-free on our site, really are.

Cruelty free and vegan products may not have the label, but this does not mean they have been involved in animal testing. Vegan products on our site are vegan cruelty free products, which contain no animal products. Most of our cosmetics fall into this but we do have some products which contain beeswax or goats milk, so look out for our labels which clearly detail what each product is.

Can vegan products be tested on animals?

Yes! Though many are not, some companies which have vegan products do test on animals. I think this is something for the vegan certifications to address and look into. Personally, I do not think any product certified as a vegan with the vegan logos should be involved in animal testing and I'm sure many vegans support this. It can be so confusing for consumers to battle to understand labels and logos on products.

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free and vegan makeup brand, we have the perfect solutions. Our website is committed to having high-quality products that are safe, sustainable, plastic-free and without animal testing or exploitation of any kind. There are plenty of safe, organic, alternatives which you can now happily use in all aspects of your skin and beauty regime.

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Read more about sustainable beauty and what it is!