Tag Archives: Cruelty Free Products

The Controversial And Confusing Vegan Beauty Industry


Hello Vegalicious friends!

The following post is by Jess Walter who so generously wrote another wonderful piece. Thank you again, Jess! {Photo by Raphael Lovaski}


Going vegan is about more than just food, but the struggle to find great vegan cosmetics can be a mission that puts many people off making the change in this part of their life. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act does not require cosmetics to be tested on animals in the US, so why isn’t the industry cruelty free? It is getting easier for shoppers to source ethical beauty products, and reading books like ‘Skinny Bitch – Home, Beauty and Style’ are a great place to start.

Vegan Versus Cruelty Free Labeling

‘Vegan’ and ‘cruelty free’ mean different things when it comes to labeling beauty products, which can be very misleading, especially for new vegans. ‘Cruelty free’ means that the ingredients and the final product have not been tested on animals, but be on the lookout for animal ingredients, like beeswax or carmine. ‘Vegan’ means there are no animal ingredients. It’s likely vegan products are also cruelty free, but it is possible for the final product to have been tested on animals, so it’s not a guarantee. You need your cosmetics to be labeled both cruelty free and vegan to be certain.

The Ugly Parent Companies In The Beauty Industry

The vegan beauty market was estimated to be worth $12.9 billion in 2017, according to Grand View Research, and is expected to keep growing. It’s no surprise that non-vegan companies are jumping on the bandwagon and bringing out their own vegan products. Garnier has recently done this causing outrage in the vegan community who claim that their products are not vegan. Well, technically, they’re not lying, the products are vegan. This comes back to the vegan vs. cruelty free debate. Garnier are owned by L’Oréal who sell their products in China, where the law is that cosmetics have to be tested on animals, so they are not a cruelty free company. Many vegans boycotted The Body Shop, who pride themselves on being against animal testing, but were owned by L’Oréal. L’Oréal sold The Body Shop in 2017 to an ethical parent company.

The Safety Of Vegan Cosmetics

Vegan products often contain less chemicals and use more natural ingredients, making them great for a clearer complexion. However, there are some common, vegan-friendly ingredients that have been flagged as potentially dangerous and there is still chemicals present in vegan products that you should be aware of. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient in beauty products, like soaps, mascara and acne treatments. Many vegans opt for more natural ingredients and avoid SLS as it has received a lot of bad press for being a skin irritant and has also been linked to cancer. Many ethical cosmetic companies, including LUSH who are over 80% vegan and 100% cruelty-free, use SLS as they believe it’s suitable for sensitive skin and no research can prove the link to cancer claims. It’s up to you to decide whether you ditch the SLS.

If you’re making the switch to vegan and cruelty free beauty products it can be overwhelming to begin with, but don’t let it deter you. If you buy something and realize later that it’s not vegan, learn from the mistake, and either use the product so it doesn’t go to waste or pass it onto a friend and replace it. Make sure to research company’s stance on animal testing and ingredients and ask them questions if you’re still not sure. It will become easier as you find products you like and as the industry grows to make the world a more vegan friendly place.