How to identify cruelty-free products: your guide to ethical beauty choices

How to identify cruelty-free products: your guide to ethical beauty choices

"Cruelty-free" means that a product was not tested on animals and that the animals involved were not subjected to harm or suffering. Testing products on animals is not necessary. Choosing cruelty-free products is a way to advocate for the ethical treatment of animals. If you are looking for cruelty-free products, here are a few ways to determine if it is cruelty-free: 

The first step is to examine the packaging of the products to identify one of the three official logos guaranteeing cruelty-free status issued by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals): Leaping Bunny, Beauty Without Bunnies, and Choose Cruelty-Free. These organizations have strict criteria for cruelty-free products and regularly audit companies to ensure they meet the standards.

To be labeled, a brand must conduct no animal testing, both in Europe and in foreign markets. The most well-known logo is the "Leaping Bunny", as it is recognized internationally. To be certified by Leaping Bunny, a company must not test on animals at any stage of production, including ingredients and finished products. They must also agree to independent audits. There is also the "Beauty Without Bunnies" certification in the United States and Choose Cruelty-Free (CFF) in Australia, which also have strict requirements for parent companies.

The second step is to research the company online to see if they have a history of animal testing or if they have faced any controversies related to animal cruelty. You can also contact the company's customer service to ask if they test on animals.

The third step is to check the ingredients list to make sure there are no animal-derived ingredients. Some common ones that may go unrecognized at a first glance include carmine (red pigment made from crushed beetles), beeswax, and lanolin (oil from sheep’s wool). It is important to read the ingredient list carefully and to choose products that do not contain animal-derived ingredients.

The fourth step is to avoid products from countries that require animal testing: some countries, such as China, require products to be tested on animals before they can be sold. If the company sells its products in countries where animal testing is a legal requirement, they are effectively supporting animal testing on some level.

Finally, look for third-party verification. This means that an independent organization has verified the company’s claims.

The term "cruelty-free" is not regulated by law, so do your own research and look for credible certifications. However, don’t rely solely on the certification logo. Some companies may use misleading language or claim to be cruelty-free but still test on animals, which can be a marketing manipulation technique since cosmetic testing on animals has been banned in Europe since 2013; it is supposed to be a prerequisite.