Vegan and cruelty free cosmetics – what’s the difference?

Vegan and cruelty free cosmetics
Sweet baby yorkie

I’m always reading labels and sometimes ingredients. Maybe you do too! So a while back, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, joking not that long ago, but a couple years ago when I used to come across cosmetics or in that case any products that had vegan and cruelty-free labels stamped on it, whilst on the other hand some products only had one of them labels, I used to get confused. But that confusion led me to question what’s the difference between vegan and cruelty-free? Are vegan and cruelty free cosmetics the same?

I used to think and I’m sure some of you peeps did or do too ,that whenever a product says it’s vegan it automatically means cruelty-free or vice versa but the real answer is…

NO! It doesn’t mean that.

So below I’m going to explain what the differences are and what they really mean individually. (My sweet baby in the picture)

What does it mean when a product reads vegan?

Right let’s get this straight. So when you see a produce stating happily that it’s vegan it basically means that no animal ingredients or animal derived ingredients are used.

Examples of these common ingredients include beeswax which is produced by bees, Collagen from animal tissues of cows or other mammals, carmine from crushed beetles and many more.Vegan and cruelty free cosmetics

So what does cruelty-free mean?

A Cruetly free label means no animal has been used to test or gone through horrific pain and torture just to make that product.

Animals that are used for testing usually go through various degrees of pain such as being force fed, injected with burning chemicals and much more.

Cruelty free products are a little confusing sometimes unless you clearly see the 100% cruelty-free certifications like the peta or leaping bunny.

The reason why you may need to look out for these certifications (that’s if you are after cruetly free items) is because without them, any of the ingredients in the produce maybe individually tested on animals even if the final product isn’t.

And so by keeping an eye out for these labels you’ll definitely know that with the product in your hand, no cruelty has taken place throughout the whole process of making and testing.

Cruelty free but not vegan

Yes that does exist!

Products that state they are cruelty-free and don’t mention anything to do with vegan means that it weren’t tested on animals however it does include ingredients which are animal derived which also kinda means animals sometimes could have gone through torture and pain.

There are many items that state they’re cruelty-free but aren’t vegan. So watch out!

Vegan but not cruelty-free

Products that are vegan may not always be animal cruelty-free even though it sounds like.

They may not have animal derived ingredients but have been sadly experimented on animals whether that be the individual ingredients or the final produce.

In some countries the law requires products to be tested on animals either themselves or by third parties which therefore makes the product not cruelty-free.Vegan and cruelty free cosmetics

China is an example of a country which requires all products to be tested by law.

That’s it you lovely lot, thanks for reading everyone and as usual if you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to comment them.

And if you don’t want to leave then tap here to view some awesome affordable vegan makeup brands! 

Have a great day! ?

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  • Christine


    I have always assumed that a vegan label on a product meant that it was cruelty-free, because veganism implies the exclusion of cruelty. How else could it be vegan, right? Which vegan companies test on animals? I would like to know, because I’m vegan.

    I think that companies that allow their products to be tested on animals, as the law in China requires, should lose their vegan status. Animal testing for cosmetics is prohibited in Europe, so maybe it would be good to have a database with info about vegan and non-vegan companies.

    • Sariyah

      Hi Christine, I’d like to say that what you have stated about companies that allow testing should lose their vegan label is what I agree with and to name a few companies that state they are vegan but test on animals is loreal for example their shampoos are said to be vegan however they test on animals and another example is Garnier which also seem to label one of their hair products as vegan but actually sadly test on animals. I think the best way to find out is by contacting the company to be on the safe side. Thanks for reading!

  • Catherine

    Wow! I had no idea the difference between vegan but not cruelty-free and vice versa. I’m actually shocked that something that is vegan would not be cruelty-free as well. The whole point of veganism is the danger to animals. Thank you for putting this out here. More people need to know and understand what they are buying. 

    • Sariyah

      Hi Catherine thanks for reading and I too was shocked at first when I found out what each term meant as I always assumed vegan ment cruelty free but sadly not.

  • Bill Cooper

    Thank you for a great article on this troubling subject. Cruelty to all animals must stop. One of the most terrible things we as humans do is to mistreat animals to further our economic society. Frankly, I’m still amazed that this is still being practiced in this day and age. For us to become a better society we must stop all pain and suffering wherever we find it. Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention!

    • Sariyah

      Hey Bill thanks a lot for reading and true cruelty must end it’s just too upsetting to know that it still goes on especially in this era when we have technology to replace many things.

  • billonreview

    To be responsible when selling any product including cosmetics should be something that everyone strives for. To do it right the first time is always the best way to succeed without doing harm to anything. To strive for natural remedies and vegan solutions is one of the ways we become a more responsible and honest society. I myself personally believe that once we look deeply into ourselves and the consequences of our actions to everything, including nature, we can create a better world with less unneeded suffering towards ourselves and other creatures. Thanks for being very thoughtful and resposible on this matter!!

  • Andre

    Hi Saiyah, WOW. I did not even know about this distinction. Yes, I’ve heard about vegan, but in our country I don’t even think we have something like cruelty-free products (What a pity!)

    It is a real pity that animals should for the purpose of human greed. The more we become evolved as global humainyt, the less empathy we have with nature, just for the sake of money.

    Very insightful article. Thank you!

    • Sariyah

      Hi Andre, yep it’s a shame us humans will use these poor animals for our purpose even when there are many alternatives right in front of us.

  • Jacquelyn Alford

    This topic of discussion presented itself recently at our family roundtable. With several family members being vegan, we entered into debate on vegan products and what is their personal criteria for product selection?  Cruelty-free vs vegan, and any combination thereof, adds an entirely new dimension to our chat now. I am always reading labels too, and you are right to read the ingredients list as well. This can be just the influence necessary to make or not make a purchase. 

  • edahnewton1

    Wow,such an awesome and educative article. Over the years I thought that vegan is the same thing with cruelty free or used interchangeably .with this article I have known the difference between both and how they are derived. This article is indeed an eye opener. What are does item that states that they are cruelty free but are not vegan?.

    • Sariyah

      Hey edah, thanks for the comment. I also used to think the same until i did some research and questioning. An example of a cruelty free but not vegan brand is milani with their lipstick that has animal derived ingredient.

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