You might have heard the term ‘cruelty-free’ before and perhaps you already use some cruelty-free beauty cosmetic products. But what does it truly mean when products are cruelty-free? Besides, aren’t all cosmetics cruelty-free by law? We’ll dive into this topic and give you some great tips on how to find cruelty-free cosmetics.
The meaning behind Cruelty-Free
When brands offer cruelty-free products, they indicate that the products were not tested on animals. This should also include the ingredients in the products, not just the finished product. It’s true that in the past pretty much all ingredients have been tested on animals at some point. So to say that cosmetic ingredients have never been tested on animals wouldn’t be correct. However, when companies refer to cruelty-free ingredients it means that these ingredients have not recently been tested on animals. For example, cruelty-free certifications may require that all ingredients used by a company have not been tested on animals for a minimum of 5 years. When a company uses cruelty-free ingredients and does not test the finished product on animals, they can claim to be cruelty-free.
Cruelty-Free laws in The EU & China
Going cruelty-free has never been easier, since there are quite a few regulations and laws in place that prevent animal testing on cosmetics and its ingredients. After the 2009 law that prevented animal testing on cosmetic products in The EU, in 2013 a second law also made sure no ingredients may be tested on animals for the purpose of creating a new cosmetic product. So therefore, a lot of European companies are automatically cruelty-free as they have to abide the law.
There is one catch however: cosmetic companies may still test on animals outside of The EU and sell these products and ingredients in The EU. As long as a company can show proof that the ingredients are safe for use using non-animal testing methods, they’re allowed to do animal testing for other markets on the same ingredients and products. This is the case with China, where animal testing unfortunately is still required on all imported products. Therefore no cosmetics company can claim to be truly cruelty-free and sell its products in China, it wouldn’t be possible by law. Luckily the cruelty-free movement has been gaining popularity worldwide. Organizations such as PETA and the Humane Society International are putting pressure on Chinese officials to make a change towards a cruelty-free legislation.
Cruelty-Free does not always equal animal-friendly products
Here’s where the subject of cruelty-free products gets a bit tricky: cruelty-free products are not always free from animal-derived ingredients. A product can be cruelty-free, but still contain ingredients from animals and insects such as carmine, lanolin, beeswax and silk. These ingredients are unfortunately not always obtained in a cruelty-free way. For vegans and ethical consumers, this may be an issue. If you want to only use cruelty-free products that have not harmed animals in any way, then it’s best to start looking out for cruelty-free and vegan products. Luckily vegan cosmetics are widely available these days and most cruelty-free brands offer a selection of great vegan products too.
How to find Cruelty Free products
These days, finding cruelty-free products is easy. As long as a European brand does not sell its products in mainland China, most products are cruelty-free because of the current law. Another great option is to choose natural and organic products. While some of these brands do sell in China, most sustainable brands do not as it is against their ethical values. There are also a couple of internationally recognized cruelty-free certifications. If you’re unsure about whether a brand is cruelty-free or not, you can look for their logo on the packaging or check the cruelty-free lists on their website. The three most used certifications are:
- Cruelty Free International, based in The UK and uses the ‘leaping bunny’ as their logo on cruelty-free products.
- PETA, based in The US and uses a bunny with pink ears as their logo for both cruelty-free and cruelty-free & vegan products.
- Choose Cruelty Free, based in Australia and uses a bunny with the words ‘not tested on animals’ underneath their logo.
In case you’re wondering: of course, all brands that Corpo Natura carries are completely cruelty-free, with the majority being certified by a third party. The vast majority of our products are also vegan. Brands we love with both cruelty-free and vegan options are Kahina Giving Beauty, Prtty Peaushun and Alima Pure.
We hope that this article has been useful to you! If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.