The Beginner's Guide to Cruelty-Free Beauty
More people than ever are in pursuit of clean and cruelty-free beauty products. I mean, samesies. I love me some clean, cruelty-free products. Who doesn't strive to be a #holisticbae?
You may be asking yourself: what does cruelty-free actually mean? Is vegan the same as cruelty-free? How do I actually know a brand doesn't test on animals?
"Cruelty-free" is a little tricky to clearly define since there are no formal legal definitions for the term and no FDA regulations on the use of "cruelty-free" in labeling or advertising (same with the term "100% natural" as we discussed in our latest article "What the He** Does '100% Natural" Mean?)
Not to worry, I'm about to get all Elle Woods on ya *I feel comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life* and I will answer all your burning questions behind that cruelty-free label. My goal is to address all of the common myths and misconceptions around the term and for you to leave here happier than a precious baby bunny.
Here's your Beginners Guide to Cruelty-Free beauty:
THE INVESTIGATION (CALL ME "INSPECTOR GADGET")
If you stumble upon a product that claims to be "Cruelty Free" or "Not Tested on Animals," you can always double check this claim by investigating it on the company's website; this is a super easy and quick way to gather the deets about the brand's true meaning behind their claims. This info can typically be found in a couple different places like the FAQ page (here's Higher Ed's FAQ page), or interchangeably on the "About Us" page. Look out for companies who make it painstakingly obvious and practice transparency communicating their stance regarding animal testing.
If a company does not have a Leaping Bunny logo or a PETA icon, it doesn't necessarily mean that they test on animals. For example, at Higher Education Skincare, we are in the process of attaining an official Leaping Bunny certification, but we do not and will never test our products or ingredients on animals. The Leaping Bunny certification is an extensive process but worth the investment to our brand and we give serious kudos to brands that have already or are currently in the process of attaining the certification, as well.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there regarding the "cruelty-free" claim, so let me break it down, y'all! *feels paradigm shift*
THE MYTHS VS. THE FACTS
Myth: It is not safe to use products or ingredients that have not been tested on animals.
Fact: No way! There are many ways to avoid testing products and ingredients on animals like: tissue and cell cultures, vitro testing, computer mathematic models and clinical studies. Brands can also formulate their products by using ingredients that are already known to be safe for the skin.
Myth: The law requires animal testing to be regulated on cosmetic products.
Fact: Unfortunately, this is one hundo percent inaccurate. The Food and drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission do not regulate the use of animal testing in the cosmetics industry. However, the European Union, Israel and India have banned cosmetics testing, and even China is reviewing their policy of cosmetic testing on animals. Can we get an "Amen" for our little animal friends?!
There is extensive safety data and many scientific alternatives to testing on animals, making the need for animal testing a bit of an antiquated practice. It is important to note, though, that most ingredients, even water, has been tested on animals the past, but we support leaving this practice in the past and moving forward with alternative testing methods.
Myth: If a product specifies that it is Cruelty-Free or has some version of a bunny on it, then it has not been tested on animals.
Fact: Definitely false. There are some blurred lines when it comes to labeling and packaging. As I mentioned earlier, there are no FDA regulations on the use of the term "cruelty-free" on labeling and advertising. Brands can claim their products are "cruelty-free" and "not tested on animals," and they can even go so far as to use an image of a bunny on their packaging and still test on animals. It's important to stay woke and do your research on the brands you consume.
Myth: It is harder to find products that are completely cruelty free.
Fact: It's quite the opposite, actually. It is a relief to know that more and more brands are committing to cruelty-free practices every year. Special interest groups in the US are fighting for regulations around animal testing and corporate responsibility in the cosmetics industry and we encourage you to join the movement if you have a passion for this topic.
Myth: Vegan and cruelty-free are the same thing.
Fact: When a product is vegan it means that the ingredients are not derived from animals. A few animal-derived ingredients include: honey, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin and more. Vegan products can imply that they are also cruelty-free, but again, this is not a regulated term. In essence, cruelty-free implies that the products were not tested in animas and vegan simply means the products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.
By now you must be feeling calm, cool and clean! At Higher Education Skincare, we believe that being cruelty-free should be a standard in the beauty industry. Do your research and go with your gut on a brand's background. It is amazing to be a part of the changing world and doing our part for all who inhabit it... Let's stand for a clean & cruelty-free world.