Okay fam. Cruelty-free vs. Vegan. Whew. Let’s unpack this 😩
In the beauty world, cruelty-free and vegan have different meanings. A product can even be one and not the other. We want you to be savvy shoppers and know what you’re buying, so here’s the breakdown.
The Basics: Cruelty-Free and Vegan Defined
✨ Cruelty-free means the product + ingredients weren’t tested on animals.
✨ Vegan means the product has no animal-derived ingredients.
Can Something be Cruelty-Free but Not Vegan?
Did you know products can be labeled as cruelty-free even if they aren't vegan? The term cruelty-free can be misleading because even though animals weren't tested on, it doesn't mean their body parts weren't used in the product.
#UnpopularOpinion: If it were up to us, cruelty-free would have never been the term that became the recognizable industry standard. Why? It’s vague. At Hot Jupiter we don’t like to be vague. We like to be transparent and tell it like it is.
A better label would have been “animal test-free” because it’s clear and to the point. It leaves nothing up for debate. If a product is animal test-free, it wasn’t tested on animals. Period.
If a product is labeled “cruelty-free” though, we can definitely debate what someone’s meaning of cruel is. If a product is labeled cruelty-free, but isn’t also vegan, then to us the product isn’t truly free of cruelty, as animals were still exploited for the product.
Example: Let’s say your favorite lipstick is rocking the cruelty-free logo, but it isn’t vegan. Sure, it’s cruelty-free in the sense that animals weren’t tested on. But if it also has common lipstick animal ingredients like carmine (crushed beetles), lanolin (sheep sweat), or squalane (shark liver), then animal cruelty was definitely involved.
How to Know if Something is Cruelty-Free AND Vegan
While we are champions of always reading the ingredients and doing the research, we also know not everyone got time for that! If you fall into that bucket, we got you.
One of the quickest ways to tell if a product meets ethical animal standards is to look out for a trusted logo from one of the following organizations that certifies companies and products that are both vegan and cruelty-free:
When you peep one of these logos on product packaging, it means the issuing organization has verified that this product or company does not test on animals and does not use animal parts or animal-derived ingredients in their products.
When in doubt just remember:
Vegan-certified = No animal ingredients + also cruelty-free (animal test-free)
Cruelty-free certified = Simply not tested on animals
Always Choose Cruelty-Free AND Vegan
So read the labels when shopping for beauty and skincare products, and always remember to make sure they're both cruelty-free AND vegan. The two are not the same thing, but together they make us smile.