Cruelty Free vs Vegan Beauty Products

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I made the decision to be vegan mid January of this year (2019). My first priority was to understand how to eat a balanced plant-based diet. However, I knew being vegan wasn’t just about food. Another regular purchase I make is beauty products. I started off doing a simple google search for cruelty free makeup and that’s when I learned about the Leaping Bunny logo. This was designed as a quick way for consumers to see if a brand was cruelty free. If you see the logo on a product then you know you’re good to go. This seemed easy enough to me, but I quickly found that there were other variables that didn’t make it so clear cut.

“In order to become Leaping Bunny certified, brands are required to adopt a fixed cut-off date, open their entire supply chain to ongoing monitoring, and agree to regular independent audits to ensure compliance.” 

From <https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-we-do/corporate-partnerships/leaping-bunny-certification-programme>

To state the obvious, not every company is going to want to comply with these requirements, even if they are cruelty free.

You may also be familiar with the V logo which stands for Vegan. This is similar to the Leaping Bunny logo in that it denotes that the product was not tested on animals, but it also designates that it contains no animals products or byproducts. PETA also has a logo which designates if the product is cruelty free and vegan or just cruelty free. However, once again a company may have a vegan product, but not want to comply with the necessary steps to be certified. So if you only buy products with these logos you’re possibly being unnecessarily restrictive with your purchases.

The Leaping Bunny Logo
The PETA Logo
The Certified Vegan Logo

To be clear:

Cruelty free means it was not tested on animals, but may still contain animal products.

Vegan means it doesn’t contain animals products, but may have still been tested on animals. (This applies to products labeled as vegan, not the V logo. The logo means cruelty free and vegan.)

It’s important to note that just because a brand has some vegan products does not mean all their products are vegan. Take Wet n’ Wild for example. When I first looked up cruelty free make up they were one of the first ones I came across that I recognized. None of their products are tested on animals, but not all of them are vegan (a distinction I didn’t understand in the beginning). There’s also been recent news that has confused some people as to whether or not WNW truly never tests on animals. I will link to that story below.

So for me, as I started running out of certain products I would replace them with Wet n’ Wild, eventually adding some from other brands when I’d see one of the signature logos. Only recently did I realize that some of them weren’t vegan. Now, I was surprised, but I wasn’t angry about this. You need to expect some learning curve when making a life altering shift like veganism. It can be confusing. There are different logos that mean different things. Some products have no logos, but say “not tested on animals” which could mean they simply lack certification or it could mean that while the final product was indeed not tested on animals, the individual ingredients were. More confusion.

I think this is one of those areas that gets easier as you go. If you’re new to veganism, or just wanting to be a more responsible consumer, I would encourage you to not stress yourself out trying to be perfect. We are so lucky to live in a day and age where infinite resources are at our finger tips. If you want to research different products and find out where their business ethics lie, go for it! If that sounds exhausting and you just want to feel safe by purchasing things with both a cruelty free and vegan label that’s fine too. You can still make a difference while you’re learning the ropes. If you purchased something that was cruelty free, but not vegan, that’s still better than if it were neither! Don’t drive yourself crazy. Just as anything else in your life, do the best you can in the moment. Otherwise you run the risk of making veganism out to be a chore and that ultimately won’t benefit you, others, or the animals.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from the reason you’re doing this in the first place.

Sources:

https://www.leapingbunny.org/about/us

https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-we-do/corporate-partnerships/leaping-bunny-certification-programme

https://www.wetnwildbeauty.com/cruelty-free

Wet N’ Wild Controversy- https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/is-wet-n-wild-cruelty-free/

Search engine for vegan products- https://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx

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