Animal cruelty has haunted the beauty industry and its choices. As the world continues to become more aware of sustainable practices for the environment, making products vegan and cruelty-free has become the forefront of importance for the longevity and trustworthiness of the beauty market.

The increase for beauty products that are vegan is becoming more of a demand because of many customers wanting only “clean,” “sustainable,” or “healthy” products to go on their body and skin. Many customers search for brands that have cruelty-free makeup and other beauty products.

While going cruelty-free and foregoing other options is a choice that many beauty brands are choosing to make, vegan labels and cruelty-free labels are actually not the same thing. 

You may be asking yourself, what exactly is veganism then? Aren’t vegan consumers concerned with the wellbeing of animals?

To answer your question, yes, vegan consumers are most definitely concerned in this case. But it’s not the same definition to what cruelty-free means.

Products that are vegan are not necessarily cruelty-free and vice versa.

This is similar to how “Natural Products” are sometimes interchangeable with “Organic” or “Clean Ingredients,” but that’s not always the case.

To put it simply, veganism is a way of life that abstains from the use of using or eating animal products and animal byproducts (think meat, eggs, and honey). Cruelty-free, on the other hand, means no harm with experimentation or testing on animals.

If you choose cruelty-free, remember that it’s not the same thing as vegan, though vegan products could be cruelty-free if it falls under the strict cruelty-free standards stamp of approval.

what officially makes a product vegan

What Officially Makes a Product Vegan?

When using vegan products in the beauty industry, vegan involves ensuring that animal byproducts and animal-derived ingredients are not entangled within the beauty products itself or in the ingredients list.

However, since veganism philosophy surrounds seeing animals as basically having the same autonomous rights as human beings, it would be safe to assume that beauty brands that use the vegan labels detest the idea of harming animals and being anything other than cruelty-free.

Surprisingly, that is not always the case, even with beauty brand companies that claim they are vegan.

Vegan beauty brands may still test on animals at any point of the production process. Even though it goes against the philosophy of people that practice a vegan lifestyle, the loophole for beauty businesses is that regulations for the vegan label do not demand that vegan beauty brands use a vegan philosophy in the production process. It only requires vegan beauty brands to be vegan in the ingredients, regardless of the actual testing.

Vegan cosmetics and other products can have loads of chemicals that could have been tested on animals. Therefore any brand that has done this cannot claim to have cruelty-free products.

cruelty free bunny

What Qualifies as Cruelty-Free? The Importance of Labels

It would be nice to consider in good faith that vegan beauty brands do not perform animal testing. But now you know that technically the criteria to be a vegan beauty brand is simply to not have animal byproducts or animal-derived ingredients used in the products.

Since vegan beauty products are highly sought after by people, they will look specifically for a certified vegan label to ensure that the products are absolutely vegan.

For some consumers, simply seeing the vegan label is enough for them; but this usually means it is because they do not know that vegan and cruelty-free are not the same thing. Knowing the difference will more than likely enrage most animal lovers and vegans that are trying to be conscious of their product choices.

Once people become aware of the difference, they start to look for products that have the labeling for vegan AND cruelty-free.

Again, cruelty-free labels means that the ingredients, components, and products have not been tested on animals.This can oftentimes be confusing for consumers because in some cases, beauty businesses may use a cruelty-free label without being cruelty-free. While their final product was not tested on animals, companies might still test some ingredients on animals before labeling the final product as cruelty-free.

So, if you are absolutely concerned with not testing on animals as a beauty business, look for cruelty-free labels that are trusted and known such as PETA or cruelty-free internationals leaping bunny

How Labelling Pertains to Your Beauty Business

As you know, having a cruelty-free brand does not mean that the company does not have animal byproduct ingredients or derivatives. Therefore, it is not vegan. Only having a cruelty-free label can mean that the product has animal byproducts such as honey or beeswax.

It can be truly complex in figuring out what all these labels mean and how it pertains to your beauty business choices. But now that you have a grasp of the differences, you as a beauty brand business owner can make the choices that fit your business ideals and structure.

If you are trying to target a specific consumer that is eco-conscious, then your best bet for your skincare line and/or beauty brand is to have both a vegan and cruelty-free labeling on your products. This assurance to a specific consumer is pertinent as growing awareness continues to be vital for many purchasing choices.

woman looking out over the ocean

The Best Choice for Your Beauty Brand

Ultimately, it is a personal choice how you want to set up your ingredients list and the testing process in your beauty brand. There are a good amount of toxic ingredients out there that consumers are highly aware of, but there are also a decent amount of clean, natural ingredients that may be all you need for your brand.

So, if you want to create for some vegan makeup, make sure understand what the consumer wants and not mislead them by saying you’re one thing when you are not.

Remember, you could play it safe and go cruelty-free AND vegan, but know that anything from brushes to any body care product must follow all the appropriate guidelines. If anything is of animal origin or if there is any animal testing, then you cannot claim that your product is such.

Just note that many people are searching what is best for their body’s health as well as the health and sustainability of the planet. Be forthcoming with your ingredient list because the more transparent you are in what you are selling and how products are tested, the more trustworthy of a brand you will become.

And for beauty lovers out there, the proper certifications for your brand can be the sustainable game changer that you need.

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