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Are Vegan And Cruelty-Free The same?

by Toni Olukiran

2min read

Looking to buy more vegan or cruelty-free products but don’t actually know the difference? We’ve got the lowdown on why they aren’t always the same thing. 

What makes a product vegan?

A product can only be considered vegan if it is free of animal products and byproducts. While many people acknowledge vegan products will be free of meat, it is also important to remember that no byproducts also means things like beeswax and wool can’t be present. These are also non-vegan products which are used a lot in the fashion and beauty world. Vegan products are completely plant-based.

What makes a product cruelty-free?

A product is cruelty-free if it has not been tested on animals. This is typically used to describe fashion and beauty products. 

So are they the same thing?

No — though it is entirely possible for a product to be both vegan and cruelty-free, these two terms don’t mean the same thing. Cruelty-free products can still have animal products and by-products in the ingredient list, and likewise, vegan products can be tested on animals (although the circumstances of this happening are mainly if the product is accidentally vegan). In fact, some cruelty-free products may be owned by a parent company that sells other non-cruelty-free products, which would deem the brand as a whole not cruelty-free. v

In the skincare and makeup world, brands that are sold in mainland China are not cruelty-free. This is because laws in China make testing on animals mandatory in order for a company to sell its products there. This means there can be some confusion whether a brand is actually cruelty-free; they may advertise they are on websites, but as they do sell their products in Mainland China it isn’t considered truly cruelty-free. 

Looking for vegan beauty products? Check out our guides for makeup and skincare. Or if you’re trying to score some cruelty-free products from skincare to hair dye, we’ve got you covered here.

Want us to break down any more lingo? Let us know in the comments. 

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Toni Olukiran
by Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Interns, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at a last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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