What Do the Labels “Vegan” & “Cruelty-Free” Really Mean?

woman reading the labels on a cosmetic product
Written by Nancy

Fashion trends and practices are constantly evolving. As the shift towards sustainable and ethical fashion and beauty products increases, labels like “cruelty-free” and “vegan” are thrown around a lot by manufacturers.

Walk to the cosmetics section at your local drugstore and you’re likely to see customers scrutinizing the makeup, bathroom products, or oral care products for these very labels.

What do these labels mean? Let’s take a closer look.

What’s Meant By Cruelty-Free?

A cruelty-free label indicates that the product’s components and ingredients haven’t been tested on animals. It also indicates that the final product has not been subject to animal testing.

It’s important to note that often, cruelty-free products do, in fact, contain components from an animal source. For example, cruelty-free products may still contain ingredients such as beeswax, albumen, collagen, gelatine, or carmine. The label doesn’t refer to the components within the product, but instead the testing process.

Is Vegan = Cruelty-Free?

Not exactly, but the two are linked closely. Products with the label of “vegan” attached to them are those that don’t contain animal-derived ingredients.

They’re made using plant-derived components and other organic ingredients. This means that a makeup product labeled as vegan won’t have items such as beeswax or carmine in them.

However, vegan doesn’t automatically equate to cruelty-free. While cruelty-free refers to the testing process, vegan refers to the components within the product.

Choosing the Right Product

So, what should you look for when purchasing beauty or oral care products? Ideally, you should look for both vegan and cruelty-free labels. These may be a little harder to find, but hey, it’s not impossible!

When you purchase a product that’s both vegan and cruelty-free, you’re essentially playing your part against animal testing and ingredient sourcing. This means that no animals were harmed in the creation of the product, from the first stage to the last one.

Don’t worry; just because a product hasn’t been tested on animals doesn’t mean it’s unsafe for use. Reliable companies ensure that the formulations they use for their product range are already determined to be safe.

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Bathroom Products

Naked Company is a 100% cruelty-free and vegan brand that aims to eliminate animal testing in the cosmetic industry. Their products are manufactured using ethically sourced organic ingredients, and aren’t tested on animals at any point.

Browse through their range of oral care and bathroom accessories today to buy gluten-free and animal cruelty-free toothpaste tablets, reusable swabs, bamboo toothbrushes, and organic bubble bars.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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