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A woman using a cosmetics brush to brush a small grey and white rabbit.

Why You Should Care About Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

You wouldn’t intentionally harm an animal, but when you use traditional beauty products, you could be supporting a brand that uses animals in their product testing. 

It’s a hard reality that many of the brands we trust use animals as their literal guinea pigs to perform cosmetics tests that simply aren’t necessary. 

Choosing cruelty-free brands helps keep our furry friends safe and is better for your skin, too.

What does it mean to be cruelty-free?

Cruelty-free makeup doesn’t involve animals during the development, testing, or manufacturing of the product. On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward: If you want a product with zero animal involvement, look for “cruelty-free” on the label. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t that simple.

For example, just because a label says “We do not test on animals,” it doesn’t mean that some of the ingredients weren’t tested on animals at some point. A company can also obtain ingredients from suppliers who test on animals.

Some companies may also decide that using certain animal byproducts, like beeswax or honey, isn’t cruel—therefore, cruelty-free doesn’t mean vegan (read on for more on that). According to PETA, there is never a safe and humane way to collect animal byproducts.  


Makeup and brushes


Is cruelty-free the same as vegan?

It’s confusing to differentiate between cruelty-free and vegan. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you understand the difference:

  • Cruelty-free. Cruelty-free means no animal testing or involvement in the research, development, and manufacturing of a product. 
  • Vegan. Vegan products do not contain any animal parts or byproducts. 

If you want to make sure your favorite lipstick or mascara doesn’t involve rabbits or lab rats, it’s safest to shop with a brand you trust, like the ones we feature in the monthly Kinder Beauty Box.

What happens during animal testing?

Animal testing involves more than just dusting some blush on bunnies. Most of us don’t understand the depth and severity of animal testing.

Here’s a deeper look at what it means to test a product on an animal.  

Basic research

Basic research on animals involves attempting to understand how their bodies work in an effort to better understand how the human body works. Animals involved in this type of testing may be exposed to diagnostic exams, biological experiments, and dissection. 

Genetic modification

Genetic modification testing involves the forced breeding of animals to identify any reproductive issues that may result from exposure to a particular ingredient. This type of testing requires animals to be forcibly subjected to ingredient exposure via injections, forced feedings, or inhalation. 

Regulatory testing

Regulatory testing involves subjecting animals to ingredients and chemicals to ensure they are safe for human consumption and use. This can involve injections, forced inhalations, chemical drops in the eyes, or application on the skin of the animal. 

Animal testing is never cruelty-free, and animals involved in this type of testing are often kept in deplorable conditions, eventually losing their lives during these tests. 

Why does it matter if my cosmetics are cruelty-free?

Choosing cruelty-free cosmetics means more than just leaving animals to live their lives free of harm. Cruelty-free beauty is better for your skin and safer for the environment.  

Animal-derived ingredients are not more effective

Ingredients frequently added to personal care products, like lanolin, collagen, and carmine, aren’t more effective than plant-based alternatives that can work synergistically with your skin and body. 

Animal-derived ingredients tend to be less expensive to manufacture, but the ultimate cost to the environment is high. Raising animals for their byproducts is taxing on the environment. 

Animal reactions to cosmetics can be completely different from human reactions

Testing human formulas on animals doesn’t guarantee results that are consistent with how that formula would affect a human. 

While the results may be similar, it’s impossible to determine how a product ingredient would affect a human. An animal’s DNA is different from ours, so while some reactions to ingredients may be similar, testing on an animal is never a sure way to tell if a human reaction will be the same. 

Animal testing is cruel

Animal testing involves breeding and raising animals in captivity for the specific purpose of using them as test subjects for human products. These animals are normally forcibly bred and raised in conditions that are not good for them. 

Cages may be too small to accommodate their size, not to mention that rabbits, rats, and mice were never meant to be caged in the first place. 

Animal testing methods involve forcing animals to ingest, inhale, or otherwise be exposed to the chemical. Animals are then monitored and subjected to tests to determine how the chemical or ingredient has affected them—if they are in pain, they are left in pain so testers can understand how much exposure is dangerous.

Cruelty-free products often have safer ingredients

Not only are animals in danger when we include their parts and byproducts in our makeup, but our skin is also at risk. When a makeup brand makes an effort to reformulate products without animal ingredients, they usually hold themselves to a higher standard that involves weeding out other unsafe ingredients, too.


Makeup palettes on table


How can I tell if my cosmetics are cruelty-free?

So, we’ve convinced you to make the switch to cruelty-free cosmetics. Good.

Get ready to scrutinize labels, read up on hidden animal product ingredients, look for cruelty-free certifications … or you can just shop from companies you trust to do the homework for you, like Kinder Beauty.

Regardless, an educated shopper is a happy shopper, so here’s the cruelty-free 411.

Leaping Bunny Program

The leaping bunny certification is given by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC is a group of eight animal protection agencies that review products and brands to ensure they are 100-percent cruelty-free. If the brand makes the cut, the CCIC will allow the product to be branded with the always-recognizable leaping bunny logo.

Beauty Without Bunnies Program

The Beauty Without Bunnies program is a PETA database of cruelty-free products, and it’s frequently updated. Using this database, you can find brands that have strict regulations when it comes to animal welfare, such as banning animal ingredients in their products. 

Vegan Society

The Vegan Society label ensures products do not include any animal ingredients and bans animal testing during any phase of product development and manufacturing. This label differs from other vegan certifications, which do not regulate whether or not animal testing is involved with a product. 


Shop vegan cruelty-free beauty


It’s cool to be kind

The cruelty-free movement is spreading across the globe, with brands changing their product formulations and turning away from animal-based raw materials. Using cruelty-free products is the best way to protect animals and ensure they get to live the lives they were born to live. 

You can trust The Kinder Beauty blog to bring you the best products from the most responsible brands. If you’re not getting the Kinder Beauty Box, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and get kinder products delivered right to your door. 

With Kinder Beauty, it’s easy to be kind and keep your cool with the best cruelty-free products on the market. 

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What's wrong with beeswax? | PETA 

Animal Testing: Animals Used in Experiments | PETA 

The Corporate Standard of Compassion For Animals ("The Standard") | Leaping 

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