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Cruelty-Free Cruelty-Free for Beginners

What Does Cruelty-Free Mean? Here’s What You Should Know

Now more than ever are people leaving animal testing behind. So to help you make the switch, I’ll go over what cruelty-free actually means, what to watch out for, and why it matters.


What Does Cruelty-Free Mean?

For a product to be considered cruelty-free it must not be tested on animals in any way. Meaning that there must be zero testing done on both the ingredients and the finished product.

Additionally, there must also be no animal testing done by company itself, suppliers, or any other third-parties.

Cruelty-free products also cannot be sold in Mainland China. This is because China has mandatory animal testing laws on all the products sold in the country.

This may be a bit confusing, so stay with me for a minute. Although, cruelty-free products cannot be sold in Mainland China, they can still be made in China.

So, as long as the product isn’t sold in Mainland China, it can still be free of animal testing.

Another thing to note are parent companies.

Essentially, what parent companies are, are big companies that own smaller companies. It’s common for cruelty-free brands to be bought by these big companies. And these big companies (aka parent companies) are not always cruelty-free.

This doesn’t always mean these small companies now test on animals. Oftentimes, a brand will continue to be cruelty-free despite being owned by a company that is not.

So to summarize, cruelty-free means:

  • Ingredients and products not tested on animals.
  • No animal testing done by company itself, suppliers, or any other third-parties.
  • Not sold in Mainland China (but can be made in China).
  • Can be owned by a parent company.

Logos and Certifications

How can you tell if a product doesn’t test on animals? Just check the back of your products! Many products have cruelty-free logos on their packaging. If not, you should also be able to find this displayed on the brand’s website.

Here are some certification programs you should look for:


Related: 5 Ways to Tell if a Product Is Cruelty-Free


3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Going Cruelty-Free

1. The testing is cruel

Animals are subjected to painful testing; from chemicals being rubbed into their skin or eyes to test for irritation, being forced to consume lethal amounts of chemicals to determine what dose caused their death, and much more.

After testing, animals are normally killed by asphyxiation, neck-breaking, or decapitation. All for a tube of lipstick.


2. There are better alternatives

Did you know that several countries like, India, Norway, Israel, and the entire European Union have already banned animal testing? Because luckily, there are great alternatives that are more humane and effective. These include:

  • Human volunteers
  • Donated human tissue
  • Lab grown cell cultures
  • Computer models

3. Dogs and cats are tested on too

You may think pets are off limits regarding animal testing. But unfortunately, pets like dogs, specifically beagles, are subjected to cruel animal testing practices. The same goes for cats and rabbits too.


Read More: 10 Reasons to Go Cruelty-Free


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1 Comment

  1. Nice concise and to the point post!

    It take a bit more work than looking at the back of a label and seeing the words ‘cruelty-free.’
    It’s hard to explain to people the different things to look for, like parent companies, and disclaimers
    about testing ‘when required by law.’

    I will definitely be pointing others to this post, as it is laid out easily in laymen’s terms without being overwhelming.
    Perfect for those just starting out on a cruelty-free journey.

    Thank you!

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