What is the difference between vegan beauty and cruelty free beauty

Hi everyone

Buying beauty products is not easy when you have to fight through layers of packaging and find one you think will suit your skin and not break the bank. If you then add into that the fact that you want to buy ethical, vegan or cruelty free products it really does become a mine field. Cruelty free and vegan are not the same thing, so here is my guide to what they mean.

Vegan products

When products are stated as vegan it means that they do not contain any animal products or products derived from animals. The type of things you tend to find in beauty products are honey, beeswax, collagen and lanolin but that is by no way a exhaustive list. To be vegan the products have to be free from these and other types of animal products. You would like to think that products that are ethical enough to be vegan would also not test those same products on animal but this isn’t always the case, sometimes products that are ‘accidentally’ vegan still have animal testing as part of there process.

Cruelty free

Cruelty free products means that the final products has not been tested on animals but also the ingredients have not been tested on animals along the way, to be 100% you need to look for the leaping bunny logo. So at no time on the process of making that products have animals been tested on. However these products can still contain animal ingredients. A good example of this is Superdrug shampoo with manuka honey, it is cruelty free and therefore never tested on animals but contains honey so it is not vegan.

So it can be a little bit of a mine field, my vegan life started by changing my make up and beauty products from anything that I liked to cruelty free products and then I went vegetarian mainly just not eating meat itself (e.g. a chicken portion), then I was vegetarian but looking much more closely at products with animal products in and then eventually vegan which I have now been for about 2 years. I have made a lot of assumptions over the years though that cruelty free meant vegan and vegan meant cruelty free.

So hopefully this blog post helps you to differentiate correctly. I will be also doing a post on the different symbols to look out for. Thank you for reading.


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  1. […] If you are unsure about the difference between cruelty free and vegan then check out my post on this. The difference between vegan and cruelty free […]

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