Finding cruelty-free products can be difficult and some ‘cruelty-free’ labels can even be misleading. With so many different cruelty-free logos it’s hard to know what to look for and what to avoid. Here, we aim to show you the differences between different cruelty-free certifications.
Finished products are not tested on animals
- this means the final product has not been tested on animals by the company or a third party. All seven certifications ensure the finished product is not tested on animals.
Ingredients are not tested on animals
- none of the ingredients used in the making of the final product have been tested on animals by the company or a third party. All five certifications ensure the ingredients are not tested on animals.
Brand is not owned by a parent company that tests on animals
- the brand cannot be owned by a company that tests on animals. For example, NYX is owned by L’Oreal who test on animals. Choose Cruelty Free and Naturewatch Foundation do not endorse brands that are owned by a parent company that tests on animals.
Products are not sold in China
- any cosmetics that are manufactured outside of China but are sold in physical stores within China are required to be tested on animals. This does not include Hong Kong. For example, NARS claims not to test on animals yet their products are available in China. Choose Cruelty Free, Leaping Bunny/Cruelty Free International, Naturewatch Foundation, Vegan Society and Vegan Action do not endorse brands that sell their products in China.
Brand must have a fixed cut-off date after which no products or ingredients are tested on animals
- A company's fixed cut-off date is a date after which none of the substances in the products have been tested on animals. A fixed cut-off date enables a company to enforce their animal testing policy, and gives suppliers a practical way to move away from animal testing. Leaping Bunny/Cruelty Free International and Naturewatch Foundation only endorse brands that implement a fixed cut-off date.
No animal-derived ingredients
- The finished product must not contain any animal-derived ingredients, making it suitable for vegans. The Vegan Society, Vegan Action and PETA endorse individual products as vegan. Not all PETA-approved products are vegan, look out for their ‘cruelty-free and vegan’ logo.
To summarise, Naturewatch Foundation has the most requirements for brands to meet out of all seven cruelty-free certifications so you know you can trust any brands in their compassionate shopping guide. Leaping Bunny/Cruelty Free International is recognised worldwide and has similar standards to Naturewatch Foundation although they may endorse brands that are owned by a parent company that tests on animals so this is something to look out for. Australian NGO Choose Cruelty Free is also a very trustworthy certification and employs the same standards as Naturewatch Foundation minus the requirement of a fixed cut-off date.
PETA is the least thorough as they only require products and ingredients to be cruelty-free but do not assess whether brands are owned by a parent company that tests on animals, sell in China or have a fixed cut-off date.
For vegan products, look out for the Vegan Society, Vegan Action or PETA Cruelty-Free and Vegan logos. If a product does not display a vegan logo it does not necessarily mean it is not suitable for vegans. Click here for a list of non-vegan ingredients to avoid.
11th June 2018
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