Whether you’re an animal lover, activist, or just want to be a more conscious consumer, you’ll want to know the education behind the cruelty-free vs. vegan debate.
Even if you’re not beauty obsessed like we are, there’s a good chance you’ve seen more cruelty-free and vegan labels slapped on different products. Just like with any trend or wave of popularity, it’s important to know the facts behind it.
While the terms cruelty-free and vegan are often used interchangably, they mean entirely different things. To add to that, some products can be both cruelty-free and vegan, while some are just one or the other.
Confused? Let’s break it down.
adjective: (of cosmetics or other commercial products) manufactured or developed by methods that do not involve experimentation on animals.
According to Peta, each year 100 million animals are killed in the United States due to testing and experimentation from a variety of industries. While this doesn’t speak to just the beauty and cosmetic industry alone, it does call out some staggering truths. So, when it comes to our choices within the cosmetic industry, we might as well try to support cruelty-free brands as often as we can, right?
adjective: (of cosmetics or other commercial products) using or containing no animal products.
When it comes to animal products in cosmetics, it can get a little wishy washy on how vegan you want to be. For example, if a product uses gelatin, that is derived from an animal (most likely that animal’s dealth), but a product could also use, for example, beeswax and it would be considered not vegan. You just have to decide what’s important to you when it comes to the vegan choice.
Now that we know the definitions in the cruelty-free vs. vegan debate, it’s time to get into the specifics…
Can a product be cruelty-free, but not vegan?
Absolutely! In this instance, the product would be made with an animal-derived product or byproduct but that product, and its ingredients, would not have been tested on animals.
For example, Cocokind (one of our fav brands!) is a cruelty-free brand, but a few of their products have beeswax, making those products not vegan.
Can a product be vegan, but not cruelty-free?
Yes, it can! Just because a product doesn’t use animal-derived ingredients, doesn’t mean the product can’t be tested on animals. In fact, in certain jurisdictions, testing on animals is required by law in order to sell product.
That’s the case for one of our all-time favorite shampoo and conditioner brands: Maui Moisture. While this company feels strongly about working against testing on animals, there are certain places where they have to test in order to sell.
Can a product be cruelty-free and vegan?
Yes, yes, yes! These are some of our favorite products! If a product is cruelty-free and vegan there are no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts and no animal testing.
You’d probably be surprised to learn there are a lot of vegan and cruelty-free brands out there. Some of our favorites are:
Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan: What to Look For
The reason why it all gets a tad confusing when it comes to cruelty-free and vegan is because there are currently no legal definitions for these two terms. That said, there are ceritifying organizations that perform audits and certifiations for cruelty-free and vegan standards. If you see these logos, you can trust they’re verified!
At the end of the day, it’s important to be a conscious consumer! But it’s also important to remember we can’t all be perfect. There are some wonderful products that aren’t fully cruelty-free and there are some amazing products that aren’t vegan. It doesn’t mean those companies are bad and it doesn’t mean you’re bad for using them.
It’s all about balance! Just remember to do your research and support the companies that you feel comfortable supporting.