Vegan VS. Cruelty-Free

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The trend that’s taking over the beauty world and health world right now is going vegan or cruelty-free. We, as humans, have grown for the better by consciously living an ethical life that is free from animal cruelty. Being cruelty-free and vegan is a whole different experience, and that is why people are transitioning to that lifestyle slowly.

The beauty industry is huge, and they are directly involved with chemicals and ingredients that need to be tested before they are put on the shelves. People now realize that there are better alternatives to harmful ingredients and are changing their formulas and packaging.

These two words, vegan and cruelty-free, are commonly associated together. It can be confusing at times, and you might interchange them accidentally. Although they both have something to do with being ethical, they are very different things.

It would help if you learned how to differentiate them, so you know exactly what goes on with your purchase products.

In this article, we will walk you through the differences between the two and hopefully clear up any confusion between them. The distinctions are very minute, and we understand why they are interchanged so often.

Let us differentiate between being vegan and cruelty-free!


Let’s start with ‘vegan.’ What does it mean to be vegan? It means that you do not consume or use anything that contains animal and animal-derived ingredients and byproducts.

Vegan beauty products do not use any animal-derived ingredients in their formulas. Animal-derived ingredients include many things commonly found in most beauty products, such as honey, beeswax, alpha-hydroxy acids, collagen, glycerin, and keratin. When you see any of these ingredients in the ingredients list of your products, stay clear away from them if you are living a vegan life.

So many ingredients actually come from animals, so it is important to research what goes into your products. Being vegan is a conscious choice to avoid all animal products and ingredients, so a little research definitely won’t hurt, and it will widen your knowledge about the reality of being vegan.

Since going vegan is a huge trend, vegan beauty products were created almost purely because of this. If the demand for vegan products is immense, you should take this as a sign to also go vegan. Vegan products will sell really well in these current times because people are more ethical when buying beauty products.

Also, there is no evidence or researches that say that vegan products work better than non-vegan products. Animal-based ingredients are not guaranteed to be better than plant-based ingredients, so it is up to you to decide whether it’s really worth it to use animal products. Obviously, the more ethical choice is to go for plant-based products, but you also need to make sure they will work for your skin.

Being vegan is more focused on the ingredients used rather than the process. When a product does not include animal products but is tested on animals, it can still be labeled as vegan.

It is also important to remember that there is no law against falsely labeling your products as vegan. Beauty companies can slap a ‘vegan’ sticker on their products even if they are not. Keep this in mind and look for legitimate accreditation for vegan products, like and The Vegan Society.

Stay informed if you are thinking of switching to vegan products. Always check before you buy, so you don’t get tricked or deceived!


When a product is cruelty-free, it means that it has not been tested on animals. The entire process of producing the brand’s products should not involve testing ingredients on living beings.

Testing on animals has been the norm until now, people are starting to realize that animals should not be trapped in a laboratory and used for testing.

When you are looking for a cruelty-free product, make sure to look for accreditation, like Leaping Bunny and PETA on the product’s packaging. This ensures that the organizations have approved the brand or product as cruelty-free and safe to use.

However, because there are laws against putting false logos on products, some companies take advantage of people who live a cruelty-free lifestyle by putting bunny logos on their products despite having tested them on animals.

As consumers who practice an ethical approach to buying, we must be careful when choosing which products to use and not be fooled by fake cruelty-free products. These companies are only concerned with marketing, not the animals.

It is difficult to make sure that a product is completely cruelty-free because the process can be misleading. A company may not test their final product on animals but have a third party do the testing. When they use this way of producing, they get to keep the cruelty-free approval on their brand. It is unethical, and it causes harm to living beings.

It has been common knowledge in the beauty industry that China is a country where animal testing is required to sell the products in the country. This has been true for the past few years, so people avoid brands that sell their products in China.

However, China has lifted its laws against animal testing and is now allowing brands to sell their products without animal testing. This is great news and is a huge step towards ethical living!

Another thing to remember when living a cruelty-free lifestyle is that some brands may brand themselves as cruelty-free, but they are own by parent companies who are not tagged as cruelty-free. This applies to the company L’Oréal, where they are not accredited as cruelty-free. There are tons of brands under this company, and most of them test on animals. A few brands, such as NYX Cosmetics, do not follow the parent company’s testing process, so you might want to check on specific brands.

Going cruelty-free is a gray area because even if you choose a brand that doesn’t test on animals but belongs to a parent company, tests on animals go against your beliefs. Are you certain that you are alright with supporting a parent company that tests on animals? Also, when a product is cruelty-free, it does not mean that it is also vegan. It is your decision to make.

Things To Remember

Living an ethical life is not as easy as it sounds. There are so many things you need to consider. For example, you can be vegan, but the products you use could have been tested on animals. I know that being vegan means that you cherish and protect all living beings, but if you are not careful, you might accidentally support testing on animals. This is not usually the case with every vegan product, but it is best to do some research before purchasing something.

Products that are listed as vegan can be tested on animals and not lose their vegan status. It’s kind of twisted, but that’s the reality of it.

Also, just because a product is vegan or cruelty-free does not mean that the ingredients used are safe for your skin. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, there is no guarantee that vegan products will work as well as non-vegan products. It only means that there are no animal byproducts in the formula.

If you want to use safe and natural products, you may have to settle on a non-vegan product. After all, you will want to avoid harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin.

This also applies to how the product is packaged. Plastic is extremely harmful to the environment, and being vegan and cruelty-free does not mean that the packaging is completely safe for nature. You may be saving animals, but you are not saving the planet. It’s something you will have to think about.


There you have it! These are all you need to know if you are thinking about changing your lifestyle. It is a hard decision, but it is definitely worth it! You may encounter some difficult decisions, but rest be assured, you will be helping both animals and yourself.

Cruelty-free and vegan products are slowly taking over the beauty industry, and it is absolutely wonderful. Let us all make the conscious decision to be more ethical and respectful to other living beings.

Once you have decided to make a lifestyle change, then you are headed in the right direction.

Thanks for reading this article, and have a great skin day!

Photo of author

Shelia Swartz

Combination Skin Type | Shelia is part of the editorial team over at Beautypickup. She got into skincare because of acne, like most of us. She is super outgoing, she enjoys backpacking and adventuring in the wilds and loves surfing during the summer!

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