Cruelty-Free & Vegan 101

The Easter Bunny coming soon makes us think more about that bunny on our packaging. We wanted to chat about 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 now is truth in advertising: how to know if a product is truly cruelty-free. 

Vegan, on the other hand, is not as common. It's 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:


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


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 vegan brand can still test their products on animals? Or that a cruelty-free product can 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.


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.


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 Other symbols (see non-verified examples) are not regulated and can be printed on any product without verification.

Verified Symbols


  Example Non-Verified 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 vegan or cruelty-free companies 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!



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

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.


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. Be wary of these claims. All products solid in Mainland China are required to undergo pre/post-market animal testing. 

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's heartbreaking that animals are still being harmed for 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 brands and products ever exploited animals for cosmetics. 


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


1 comment

So happy to find this article! Is there any update on the timeline for the serum to be fully vegan this year? I am excited to be a first time customer!

Ash Salazar May 11, 2020

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