There are certain terms you hear all the time in skincare, like “organic,” “certified vegan,” and of course, “cruelty-free.” You see terms like this and think, “that means this is a good product,” but what do they actually mean?
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of one of those terms today: cruelty-free. What does it actually signify and why should you care?
What “Cruelty-Free” Really Means
In the world of skincare and cosmetics, if a product is cruelty-free, it means that it wasn’t tested on animals. This applies to both the finished product and the ingredients in the product. A truly cruelty-free product also can’t be tested on animals through a third party that the manufacturer signs.
How do you know if a product or brand is cruelty-free? In many cases, you’ll see the logos for specific certifications on the label.
The three most common cruelty-free certification organizations are Leaping Bunny, Choose Cruelty Free (or CCF), and PETA. If you see any of these icons on the product label, you know that it’s been evaluated and certified as cruelty-free by an independent organization.
Of course, there are plenty of cruelty-free products that don’t have these icons. It takes time and resources to go through the certification process, and some brands choose not to take that step. That’s why it’s always helpful to head to a brand’s website to see if they test on animals.
Vegan vs. Cruelty-Free
It’s easy to mix up categorizations of “vegan” and “cruelty-free” because they both relate to animals, but they’re actually different. A vegan skincare product doesn’t contain any animal-based ingredients. A cruelty-free product doesn’t isn’t tested on animals.
Don’t assume that if a product is vegan, it means that it’s also cruelty-free because the brand must care about animals. A product can be both vegan and cruelty-free or it can be either one of the two.
The Effect of Cruelty-Free Practices on Product Quality
This is the capital question many skeptics ask: there must be a reason to test on animals, right? If a product isn’t tested on animals, does that mean it has higher safety risks for me?
That may have been the case decades ago, but it isn’t today. Researchers have found reliable and efficient ways to create model human skin. I know, a lab full of skin sounds like something from a creepy sci-fi movie, but it’s happening all over the world and it’s a cruelty-free and effective way to test products without victimizing animals.
In fact, researchers can even produce skin that has or mirrors specific skin conditions like psoriasis. With that advanced technology, we can have incredibly thorough test results while leaving animals alone.
Why Some Brands Test on Animals
I know what you’re thinking – it’s 2021, we have literal lab-grown skin to test on, so why is any brand still testing on animals? It ultimately boils down to one factor: a single law in China. China currently requires animal testing on all skincare products, cosmetics, and so on that are sold in the country.
This is because the country’s government bears some of the liability if a product turns out to be unsafe. Unfortunately, this means they still have an outdated law that requires animal testing. China is also a highly profitable market, though, so some brands (especially large drug store brands) aren’t willing to give that up in order to go cruelty-free.
The good news, though, is that China has started taking steps to change its animal testing requirements and eventually, hopefully, end them altogether.
The Purpose of Buying Cruelty-Free
At the end of the day, what’s the purpose of buying cruelty-free products? It has more of an impact than you might think.
Sure, you get the benefit of knowing when you dab on your favorite cream that no animals were harmed in order to make it. In the big picture, though, the less demand there is for animal-tested products, the less profitable those products will be. You’re voting with your wallet and sending the message to brands to stop animal testing.
Top Cruelty-Free Products to Try
Want to add some more animal-friendly products to your skincare routine? You may be surprised by how many products there are that avoid animal testing. Start with these popular favorites.
Dermalogica Neck Contour Serum
Dermalogica is a large brand but there’s one that maintains a cruelty-free process. Their Neck Contour Serum is perfect for firming and rejuvenating that troublesome neck area that seems to sneak up on all of us as we age.
iS Clinical Youth Intensive Crème
Age might be just a number but wrinkles don’t know that, and who among the young at heart doesn’t want to look as youthful as they feel? iS Clinical’s Youth Intensive Crème is an effective way to stimulate collagen production and add hydration to your skin for an overall younger and brighter complexion.
Opting for Ethical Skincare
Shopping for skincare can truly make your head spin because there are so many options, all with their own pros and cons and purposes and categories. Fortunately, there are plenty of cruelty-free choices for any skincare goal you might have. Stunning skin and a clear conscience? Yes, please!