How To Be Sure A Brand Is Cruelty-Free

by Fiona Wood

In recent years, there have been many concerns regarding the use of cruelty in cosmetics, clothes and various other products. One of the issues is that many people aren’t familiar with the concept of cruelty-free products, which can create confusion. Cruelty-free means that no animals were killed nor harmed during the research and production process of the product, and that the products don’t contain any animal-based ingredients. The movement started among vegan communities, but lately, it has been starting to spread among non-vegans, too.

If you’re just starting your cruelty-free journey, you might find yourself puzzled by a lot of rules, but once you get the hang of it, it gets much easier to understand.

That’s why we gathered some useful pointers that you can use if you want to make sure that a brand is indeed cruelty-free.

1. Read the ingredients

A handful of people read the ingredients. Unless you’re a pharmacist, you probably don’t understand what all those complicated words mean. A lot of ingredients are animal-based and also harmful. Some of the most common are beeswax, keratin, honey, retinol and collagen. PETA has compiled a master list of all animal ingredients, but you don’t need to go overboard with avoiding all cosmetic products, especially if there are no other alternatives around or they’re too pricey for you. The key is to be balanced, and not too zealous about it.

2. Look for a bunny logo

Probably the easiest sign that no animals were harmed during the making of the product, is a bunny logo, usually on the back of the packaging. Leaping bunny means that no animals were used during ANY stages of product development, which also makes it the safest way of knowing. Some online programs, like Leaping Bunny, offer an extensive list of all vegan and cruelty-free brands. Unfortunately, some companies have tried to use a fake bunny logo in order to mislead others, so being extra careful couldn’t hurt.

3. Check the country of origin

Recently, there are more and more countries that are trying to take the necessary steps to end cruelty in manufacturing. The EU, Israel, India and Norway have already passed the legislation which prohibits the production, import, sale and advertising of any product containing animal ingredients or using animal testing. The US, New Zealand and Australia are expected to follow suit. On the other hand, many developing and fast-rising economies, like China, can’t afford or don’t want to ban animal testing. Therefore it’s best to avoid products that come from these places. But that doesn’t mean a total blacklist for the company. Some companies just use China as a manufacturing base and use quality control services like to ensure the standards they set are maintained in production. Again, look for the bunny label or check the Leaping Bunny website before checking the country of origin. In case you already have some products that aren’t cruelty-free, use them up and don’t re-buy, give them to someone else or simply, throw it away.

4. Talk to other people

Being new to using cruelty-free products can be a puzzling experience if you are just starting to figure things out. It’s always recommended to talk to someone who knows more. You can also email or tweet the company and get all the information you need! A lot of bloggers, YouTubers and even celebrities often share their favourite cruelty-free products, which is a great place to start.

Many brands nowadays are striving for a more eco-friendly image, so it’s important to be careful and double-check everything. If you have your own brand or know someone who does or is planning to launch one, there are certain steps to take in order to be cruelty-free.

1. Don’t focus on profit

It’s easy to get carried away once the money starts coming in, but if you truly care about the planet, your focus should lie on other things aside from earning money. Instead of using harsh, harmful chemicals because they’re cheap, focus on the natural, plant-based ingredients, even if they cost more. Same goes for your employees – make sure that all the people who work for you are fairly paid and work in safe conditions.

2. Donate

Giving a portion of your earnings to less fortunate or a cause you care about is a perfect way to show that you’re not all about the money, but also about helping end animal suffering and reducing the effects of global warming. Also, using charity to help people in impoverished countries is something brands should do more often.

3. Try raising awareness

Using different platforms to raise awareness about the importance of cruelty-free manufacturing is something brands should definitely consider, if they’re not doing it already. Social media is a perfect tool to share your opinions and interact with like-minded individuals who can also become customers in the future.

To sum it up: it’s easy to be deceived if you’re not informed, so it’s necessary to carefully research every product before you make a purchase. In case you don’t have time to check every ingredient and label separately, this is where you can check whether your product is cruelty-free.

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