How to Know If Your Beauty Product Is Cruelty-free or Vegan

Cruelty-free vs. vegan - what's the difference?

Taking part in Veganuary this year or just looking to be more conscious with your beauty product buys? We know it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to figuring out if a product is vegan or cruelty-free, which is why we’ve created an easy guide.

Many assume that cruelty-free and vegan are the same thing, but there is a difference.

Cruelty-free means that the product and ingredients have not been tested on animals, while vegan means that the product and ingredients have not been tested on animals and are free from animal ingredients.

Most brands and products will advertise that it is cruelty-free or vegan on its packaging. But it’s always a good idea to double-check websites and social media. You can check using the list below.

1. Check For a Cruelty-Free Logo

If a product or company is cruelty-free it will feature a cruelty-free logo, below are the most common ones to look out for.

Leaping Bunny

The Leaping Bunny logo is one of the most common logos on cruelty-free products and is the only internationally recognised symbol that guarantees consumers that no new animal tests were in the development of the product.


PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment) is one of the largest animal rights organisations in the world. To be certified by PETA companies are “must complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance verifying that they do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future.”

Choose Cruelty-free

Choose Cruelty-free is an independent, non-profit organisation that’s based in Australia. This indie organisation requires the brand’s parent company to be cruelty-free (Leaping Bunny or PETA do not have this requirement).

Blonde woman wearing a vegan cap
Credit: Allie Smith on Unsplash

2. Check For a Certified Vegan Logo

Vegan products will have a certified vegan logo, which means that it has not tested its ingredients on animals and doesn’t have any animal-based ingredients.

However, it’s worth noting that there are a lot of vegan and cruelty-free brands that do not use the official logos.

3. Check For Animal-derived Ingredients

Below are some of the most common animal-derived ingredients to look out for.

Beeswax: It’s normally used in balms and is also known as cera alba its Latin name.

Carmine: This a red-coloured dye created by crushing/boiling beetles to obtain the chemical that makes the beetle red.

Lanolin: This ingredient is derived from the sebum of sheep.

Shellac: Similarly to carmine it is derived from bugs.

Honey: Bees produce this sweet liquid using nectar from flowers.

4. Ask Lots of Questions

Still unsure? As we mentioned earlier, you can just check out the website/social media of the brand in question and ask them. Use this list of frequently asked questions as a guide.

Are your products tested on animals?

Are any of your materials or ingredients tested on animals?

Do your suppliers test on animals?

Does your parent company test on animals?

Are any of your products including raw materials or ingredients derived from animals?

Do your suppliers use animal-derived materials?

Does your parent company sell or use animal-derived materials?

Next Read