What Does Cruelty-Free Mean in the World of Skincare?

What Does Cruelty-Free Mean in the World of Skincare?

février 24, 2020

70% of people worldwide want animal testing banned. Many of the products we use, such as pharmaceuticals, test their products on animals for safety and effectiveness. This practice also spread to the beauty industry.

Is animal testing effective? More research is proving animal testing is not reliable for human health data. The modern consumer is better informed and is supporting the beauty and skincare brands that vow to never test on animals.

How do you know which brands test on animals and which don’t? You look for a cruelty-free label. But what does cruelty-free mean? Continue reading to understand how the cruelty-free movement impacts your skincare.

What Does Cruelty-Free Mean?

Cruelty-free means no animal testing was done on your product. Animal testing can include testing the individual ingredients as well as testing the final product.

Most consumers know a brand is cruelty-free by looking for specific labels, which we will go over later in the article.

What isn’t included in the cruelty-free label?

If you live a vegan lifestyle, the cruelty-free label doesn’t guarantee the product is vegan (though there are vegan and cruelty-free skincare brands). Cruelty-free also doesn’t mean the brand is natural/organic or if the brand is fair trade.

What Does the Law State?

Is animal testing required by law? Most countries don’t require animal testing. Some local governments also banned animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

Let’s take the United States as an example. The FDA doesn’t require brands to conduct animal testing. In fact, they work with animal organizations to reduce animal testing and replace traditional animal testing with alternative methods.

But they do support brands who believe animal testing is the method that provides the best safety results.

In addition, many states passed laws that ban animal testing. These states include California, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

The same applies on a global scale. For example, China used to require animal testing on cosmetics. In 2020, they’re lifting these animal testing requirements.

The History of Cruelty-Free

Animal cruelty for the sake of consumerism is not a new practice. From wearing fur to eating meat, many lifestyles and trends haven’t been kind to our furry friends. Which is why cruelty-free isn’t a new movement.

The first cruelty-free action occurred in 1959 with the invention of fake fur. The term became more common; brands used the cruelty-free label to express they don’t support animal suffering during the production of their products.

The first major movement to prevent animal testing occurred in 1980.

Animal activist Henry Spira inspired major cosmetics companies to stop performing the Draize Test, where substances are administered in rabbit’s eyes to test both the irritation and toxicity of the ingredients.

This action inspired the creation of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternation Methods, which creates alternative ingredients and product testing methods to replace animal testing.

This trend spread to the United States with the creation of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. This is the organization that manages the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certificate program.

Common Myths About Animal Testing

Is animal testing necessary? We have been told many misconceptions about animal testing. Here are the two most common ones.

Animal Testing Is Necessary for Our Health and Safety

Technology is constantly advancing in the world of product and ingredient testing.

One of these examples is the reconstructed human epidermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of the human skin. The reconstructed human epidermis is an artificial human epidermis containing the same human keratinocytes.

The reconstructed human epidermis method replaces the animal Draize Test and is constantly undergoing new advancements.

“No Animal Testing” Is the Same as “Cruelty-Free”

When you shop for skincare products, you’ll see brands claim both “no animal testing” and “cruelty-free.” Is there a difference? The difference is the third-party adherence that requires the cruelty-free label.

For example, most animal testing is done at the ingredient level as opposed to the final product. While the product you’re using may not conduct animal testing, the individual ingredients used may have undergone animal testing.

In order for a brand to receive the cruelty-free, they have to use alternative testing at both the ingredient level and toward the final product.

The Cruelty-Free Labels to Look For

Are you ready to purchase your cruelty-free skincare products? There are different labels that ensure the brand doesn’t test their products or their ingredients on animals. Here are the labels to look for.

Leaping Bunny

Leaping Bunny is the most common label and the most recognizable. The logo is a hopping bunny surrounded by stars. The Leaping Bunny Program was founded in 1996.

Their goal is to help consumers make smart decisions when buying beauty and skincare products.

To know if a product is Leaping Bunny-approved, simply look for the Leaping Bunny logo on the packaging. Leaping Bunny also offers many brand recommendations and guides on their website.

Choose Cruelty Free

If you’re based in Australia, Choose Cruelty Free is the organization you’ll turn to.

Their stamp is similar to Leaping Bunny — their logo is the outline of a rabbit. Australian consumers can look for the logo on products or search Choose Cruelty Free’s database.

The Vegan Society

The Vegan Society supports consumers who want both vegan and cruelty-free products. The Vegan Society works with vegan beauty products to help vegan consumers easily find vegan and cruelty-free cosmetic products.

The easiest way to identify these brands is by looking for the Vegan Society Stamp. The logo has the organization’s name with a flower.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world. The group investigates and exposes many cases of animal cruelty and is a leading influence in the cruelty-free movement.

PETA promotes cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare brands on its website. They also have their own seal of approval — the face of a bunny with “cruelty-free” printed underneath.

Use Cruelty-Free Skincare Today

What does cruelty-free mean? Cruelty-free skincare brands don’t test their ingredients and final product on animals. They engage in alternative testing methods that ensure consumer safety while not harming animals in the process.

Are you looking for a cruelty-free skincare brand? We love animals and always choose cruelty-free testing methods. Shop our skincare products today.

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