What does “Cruelty Free” mean?

Sep 19, 2018 | Products

Little by little, I find myself looking more and more for cruelty free makeup brands, body washes, hair, skin and cleaning products but it can be so confusing at times as to who is actually real and true in their opinion of what “cruelty free” means.  I thought I’d do some research and share what I’ve found with you.


“Jake falling asleep in daddy’s chair and Maggie chewing on a blanket that she isn’t allowed to chew on”. 


What does it mean when they say “Cruelty Free”?  
Cruelty-free, meaning (1) they don’t test finished products on animals at any point during production, (2) their suppliers don’t test raw materials or ingredients on animals, (3) no third-party tests on animals on their behalf, and (4) they don’t test on animals where the law requires it, i.e. mainland China.

Who are the 3 major cruelty free organizations? 
 Some companies are certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free — the 3 major cruelty-free organizations. Leaping Bunny is the only internationally recognized one, while PETA focuses on North America and Choose Cruelty-Free focuses on Australia. Not all organizations have the same standards.  

Who is Leaping Bunny? 
 Leaping Bunny is the globally recognised guarantee that a brand has made a genuine commitment to ending animal testing for its products. Certified companies must meet their rigorous criteria, including independent audits of their entire supply-chain monitoring system, before they let them display the Leaping Bunny logo. 

At PETA, they take things a step further to ensure that they are giving you the most accurate information by using the “cruelty-free” term for companies that have signed their statement of assurance. These businesses have verified that neither they nor their ingredient suppliers conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for their ingredients, formulations, or finished products anywhere in the world and won’t do so in the future. 

According to PETA, Some companies will say that they don’t conduct animal tests unless required by law—this means that they’re choosing to pay for tests on animals so that they can sell more products in China. Don’t buy it! The best way to ensure that you’re not supporting cruel and deadly tests is by purchasing only from companies listed as “cruelty-free” in their database.

If you are unsure or have made the same mistake as I have in thinking you are using a product that is cruelty free and it is not, check out this database listing all cruelty free companies:  http://features.peta2.com/shopcrueltyfree/

Who is Choose Cruelty Free or (CCF)?  
Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Australia, which since 1993 has produced the Choose Cruelty Free List (CCF List) for Australian consumers.  They actively campaign for an end to animal testing of cosmetics, toiletries and other household products.

CCF surveys and accredits cruelty-free companies selling cosmetics, toiletries and household cleaning products to Australian consumers, online and/or retail. Accredited companies join the CCF List online, in the free CCF App and in the printed booklet which is produced twice per year.  All CCF work is performed largely by volunteers who believe in a cruelty-free lifestyle. 

Vegan does not necessarily mean Cruetly Free.  
Many consumers confuse the terms vegan and cruelty-free, which leads them to believe products are free of all animal by-products (i.e. vegan) they must be cruelty-free. This isn’t the case.  The term ‘cruelty-free’ originates from the 1950’s and it is defined as ‘not tested on animals’. Cruelty-free relates to animal experimentation and whether or not a product and its ingredients have been animal-tested.

Vegan status relates to whether or not animal ingredients or derivatives are used.  While a finished product may be vegan, it and/or its ingredients may have been tested on animals and is therefore not cruelty-free.  To be sure the brands you buy are vegan and cruelty-free check the Vegan Choose Cruelty Free List.

Listed below are some makeup brands that you might be interested in knowing are cruelty and vegan free!  You can find them on-line, as well as Ulta and Sephora.  I hope this blog post has helped you.  I know it really helped me to take a closer look at what I’m using around the house for cleaning products as well.  Keep in mind that you may know of a brand who doesn’t test on animals but has a parent company who does.  This post was a difficult one to research because some images were pretty graphic but I wanted to provide as much information as I could.  There are over 80,000 animals in this world who are suffering right now due to animal testing.  I can’t image my sweet Jake and Maggie in pain like that.  As you can see above, they are pretty relaxed just waiting for dad to come home.  We all play “frisbee” every day out in the yard and they love it.  Maggie is standing on one of our walls waiting for her frisbee to be thrown.  

Pür Cosmetics – A mineral based product both vegan and cruelty free. 
Bliss Pore Patrol Mask – Totally cruelty free and affordable.  
RMS Beauty – This indie beauty brand has a massive cult following, thanks to skin-friendly formulations that use organic, virgin coconut oil and other naturals as their base. Makeup artist and founder Rose-Marie Swift has said her ultimate goal is to run a brand that is cruelty-, GMO-, nano-, soy-, and gluten-free.
Wet N Wild – This super-affordable line and its parent company, Markwins International, are even endorsed by PETA as being cruelty-free.
Ellis Faas – Since its inception, the independently owned, Amsterdam-based company has been cruelty-free; it tests on “supermodels only.”
Antonym Cosmetics – from vegan brushes, everything made by the company is eco-minded and cruelty-free.
Essence Cosmetics – This German-based drugstore brand doesn’t only say no to animal testing, it also practices transparency in explaining how and why: Like other brands on this list, it does not sell in China (where animal testing on cosmetics is required) and does not use any raw materials tested on animals.
Cover FX  – Free of parabens, mineral oil, fragrance, talc, and gluten — as well as cruelty-free and PETA-approved.
Chantecaille – Woman-owned, vegan, cruelty-free, and free of any animal byproducts. What’s more, it develops products that support animal conservation, like this year’s cause, Conservation Northwest.  (see my last blog Lip Veil Saves Elephants)
Urban Decay – This major brand is entirely cruelty-free and committed to ending animal testing in the beauty market.  I use Urban Decay as well as BITE Beauty who deserves a post all on it’s own, it’s that amazing!  
Fluide – On top of being cruelty-free, Fluide is a brand with unisex messaging: makeup for him, her, them, everyone. 
PYT Beauty – This new beauty brand is looking to cut out all the B.S. (the “bad stuff” by ignoring lackluster FDA standards for beauty products. Instead, PYT is EU compliant and free of parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum while encouraging its customers to never settle for unsafe ingredients for high-quality formulas. For now, the only product you can shop is a super-pigmented eyeshadow palette, but the brand plans to launch products in the face and lipstick categories soon.

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