Cruelty-Free & Vegan 101

Posted by Courtney Macdougall on

The Easter Bunny coming soon makes us think more about that bunny on our packaging. We wanted to shed a little light on what that bunny means for animals, for you, and for the beauty industry. Read on for everything you need to know about choosing cruelty-free & vegan beauty. 

The Current Situation

The good news is that cruelty-free is slowly becoming the new normal (it is about time!). Consumers are demanding this as a non-negotiable so more brands are paying attention. The main concern is truth in advertising: how to know if a product is truly cruelty-free. 

Vegan, on the other hand, is not as common. It is gaining traction, but there are still countless brands using animal products in their formulas.
At Plume, our commitment is always cruelty-free and our goal is 100% vegan very soon. In our product line:

WHAT DO CRUELTY-FREE & VEGAN MEAN? 

Unfortunately, there is no regulation on the use of these terms. However, the commonly-accepted definitions (from PETA and Vegan.org) are:

Cruelty-Free: The company and their ingredient suppliers do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and do not contain any animal ingredients.

Vegan: The product is vegan, defined as containing no animal ingredients or by-products, using no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process, and not tested on animals by any company or independent contractor.

DOES ANIMAL TESTING EVEN WORK?

No. In fact, according to the British Medical Journal, more than 90% of animal experiments fail to lead to treatment for humans. And more than 95% of pharmaceutical drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.

Vegan vs Cruelty-free

Did you know a brand can be vegan but still test their products on animals? Or, that a product can be cruelty-free but still use animal by-products in their formula? And, since these terms are not regulated in the industry, any brand can make these claims even if they're not true. Your best bet: look for certifications that can attest to the truth of these claims.

vegan-or-cruelty-free-ethical-elephant

Does Cruelty-free + Vegan = Natural + non-toxic

No. These terms are all completely exclusive. While it is possible to have it all, vegan/cruelty-free products can still contain harmful chemicals and toxic ingredients. The reverse is also true - some natural brands still use animal products or animal testing in their products.

3 WAYS TO KNOW IT'S CRUELTY-FREE + VEGAN

1. Verified Certifications

This is the most reliable method. Look for the symbols below - these products have been verified by trusted organizations like Leaping Bunny, Peta, and Vegan.org. Other symbols (see non-verified examples) are not regulated and can be printed on any product without verification.

Verified Symbols

cruelty-free-vegan-symbols

  Example Non-Verified Symbols

unverified-vegan-crueltyfree-symbols

Want to learn more about deciphering claims and labels? Read Part 2 of our Ultimate Guide to Going Green: Claims & Labels Decoded.

 2. Vegan & Cruelty-free Apps

Some companies may be vegan or cruelty-free but haven’t gone to the expense/time of receiving the certifications above. Or perhaps you’re purchasing online and can’t check the packaging for these symbols. Your best in these cases: the apps below!

BUNNY FREE BY PETA

bunny-free-beauty-app-screenshots

This app is very easy to use and has a massive selection of brands and products in the database.

There’s also a feature to find which brands are vegan.  

Ways to Search:

  1. Scan the company name
  2. Browse the list of brands 
  3. Scan the product barcode 

CRUELTY FREE CUTTER by Freedom and Rescue Project

 cruelty-cutter app

 Ways to Search:

  1. Scan the product’s barcode
  2. Search by brand name
  3. Browse their directory by company name or product category

This app is very useful for conventional brands that may be questionable. The downside is their limited selection of green beauty brands, but this number is increasing.

3. CRUELTY-FREE SHOPPING GUIDES 

Another option: printable, saveable lists and shopping guides from cruelty-free gurus and organizations. Some of our favourites:

The China Loophole  

Many conventional brands claim to be cruelty-free but still sell their products in China. Many areas of China requires pre/post-market animal-testing of all products entering their marketplace. 

There has been lots of buzz on social media in the last few months about China ending animal testing. Is this true? The short answer is no. There have been some positive changes made but animal testing is still happening in China. If you want to read more about the specific changes in China regulation, check out Logical Harmony’s in-depth post here

Plume's Perspective

It seems crazy that there are certifications to prove that innocent animals aren't harmed in the testing/production of cosmetics. This should not even be a question in this world. Innocent animals should not have to suffer for us to feel beautiful. 
Our hope is that very soon, people will look back in astonishment that at one time, brands and products weren’t cruelty-free.

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If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment down below or send us a message <3

 

cruelty-free vegan

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