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The Difference Between Cruelty-free & Vegan In Cosmetics

You may have read my post the other day about how a product can be vegan but not cruelty-free, or vice versa. Admittedly, these were terms I once used interchangeably. After learning more about the two, it’s been an eye opener when buying cosmetics over the last couple of years.


This means that the ingredients and final manufactured product have not been tested on animals.


This means that a product does not contain any animal products or animal-derived ingredients.

Why can a product be labeled cruelty-free but not vegan?

A product that is cruelty-free but not vegan, has not been tested on animals but contain animal derived ingredients such as honey, beeswax, lanolin, carmine etc.

On the other hand, some products may not contain animal ingredients, however the ingredients individually or the finished product may have been tested on animals. This makes the final product cruelty-free, but not vegan.

Referring to the full ingredients list of any cosmetic product should be the first thing you do. Online stores in particular should be disclosing their full ingredients list for each product. If this information is unavailable, it’s something to question.

What to consider

Even if a product is labeled as vegan and cruelty-free, it doesn’t mean it is also natural or safe. You should still read the ingredients list to ensure you aren’t applying any harsh chemicals onto your body.

If supporting vegan and cruelty-free products is important to you, then also consider the packaging. Is it recyclable? Compostable? Reusable? Or will it end up in landfill waste or harming our animals in the oceans?

I hope I’ve left you with a few things to think about 🙂