“How Do I Find Out if a Brand is Cruelty Free?”. With so much confusion over finding truly cruelty free cosmetics and health brands, and so many brands spinning falsehoods that SOUND good on paper, but don’t mean much, what’s a consumer to do? I want to give you a guide to put the power back into your hands. You can do a little bit of searching to find out if your favorite brands are truly cruelty free.
How To Find Cruelty Free Products
First – is it listed on the My Beauty Bunny cruelty free brand list? My team and I update this list regularly. I include Leaping Bunny certified brands and brands that are not certified (more on this below), vegan-exclusive and non-vegan-exclusive brands, independently owned and non-independently owned brands. Each has a reason for being listed, and each is carefully marked with a notation so you can determine which are which. For example, if you wanted only 100% vegan AND Leaping Bunny certified brands, simply look for the brands marked with an asterisk (vegan) and heart (Leaping Bunny). The most recent “updated by” date can be found at the bottom of the page.
The gold standard in cruelty free beauty in the US and Europe is the Leaping Bunny certification. Brands may choose to be certified only, OR they may choose to license the Leaping Bunny logo for inclusion on their packaging. This means, that a brand COULD be certified by Leaping Bunny, but you may not see the logo on their packaging or website. Leaping Bunny is the best because it was created by several not for profit animal organizations (including The Humane Society of the US, The Humane Society of Canada, NAVS and AAVS, among others). This Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) requires paperwork from the brand AND its ingredient suppliers, plus it actually audits brands to make sure they are maintaining their cruelty free status. You can easily search their online shopping guide as well as their iPhone and Android compatible app to find out if products are certified cruelty free.
If you’re in Australia, you can find out if a brand is cruelty free by checking the Choose Cruelty Free website and looking for the “not tested on animals” bunny logo. Choose Cruelty Free is more strict in the sense that they will not accredit a brand if they are owned by a parent company that tests on animals, or if the brand sells products that have any animal ingredients. You can read more about their accreditation rules here.
PETA has a cruelty free list (and a bunny logo), but they are not as strict, and from what I understand, the brands are not audited after being put on the list, and they may be lax about asking for documentation from ingredient suppliers and labs. For that reason, I personally choose not to follow their list.
Fellow cruelty free bloggers that I trust are Courtney of Phyrra.net, Tashina of LogicalHarmony.net and Emily of HausofHounds.com. Courtney, Tashina, Emily and I regularly let each other know if there have been changes in laws or changes in cruelty free status for particular brands. This happens often – particularly if a non-Chinese brand decides to start selling in China. Currently animal testing is required for all products imported into China. This includes random “off the shelf” (or post-market) testing. Government officials in China can pull products off shelves for animal testing. This also includes big name companies like Sephora. We regularly check the Sephora China site to see if any new brands have been added. Note: there is nothing wrong with shopping at Sephora (in my opinion) because you can skip buying from brands that are known animal testers. As an example, if someone is vegan, they probably shop at stores that sell meat and other animal products, but they avoid the meat, dairy and eggs. It’s a similar situation here.
Finally, if you are not sure if a brand is cruelty free (perhaps you can’t find it on any list, or there is new or conflicting information being distributed around the web), I recommend using the following questions to directly email the company. Unfortunately you can’t just email and ask “Is your brand cruelty free?” It’s a lot more complex than that. Depending on which customer service rep you get, the answers may be inconsistent. This is when it’s best to ask them to submit your request to the owner, president or marketing department. If they can’t answer the questions, or they give you a questionable answer, let me know and I’ll do my best to follow up with the brand and my contacts at various agencies.
Animal Testing Questions:
1. Are the finished products tested on animals by the company, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
2. Are the products tested on animals during the production process by the company, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
3. Do you have documents from your ingredient suppliers to show that they are not testing on animals for your brand or any other brand?
4. Does your manufacturer purchase any ingredients from laboratories that conduct tests on animals? Do you have documents to support this?
5. Are the products sold in any markets where animal testing is required by local law and regulations (China, etc)?
6. Are the products vegetarian? (no animals killed for the products – i.e. some forms of collagen, squalane, etc.)
7. Are the products vegan? (i.e. product ingredients that come from animals like lanolin, honey, milk, etc.)
8. Is your company certified by Leaping Bunny? (It’s easy to get certified by Leaping Bunny and it’s free to join without licensing the logo – www.leapingbunny.org)
If you find a product you love has changed their animal testing status, or you can’t get a straight answer from a company, please email me at jen at mybeautybunny dot com. Thanks! And happy shopping! – Jen