If you’ve been striving for more sustainable, cruelty free makeup and lifestyle in general, for quite some time, you likely know that sadly animal testing is still routinely performed in many industries, including the makeup industry.

The most disturbing thing is that due to scientific advancements, in the vast majority of cases animal testing is absolutely unnecessary, and is often performed incorrectly, undermining the results and causing suffering to live organisms.

A prime example of unnecessary animal testing occurs to determine safety profiles of cosmetics, or, as defined by the US FDA, “articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions”.

In other words, these items, which include creams, makeup, and other lotions and potions, are not in any way necessary – and yet, many innocent creatures suffer in horrendous, outdated tests, as in many places it’s still required by law.

Specifically, it’s worth mentioning that animal testing for beauty brands was banned in the UK in 1997.

However, many big brands, (which are available in the UK), also sell in China, where animal testing is still required by law. Therefore, these brands can’t claim to be cruelty free.

  • Note 1: This doesn’t apply to Hong Kong.
  • Note 2: Products can be manufactured in China and can still retain their Cruelty Free status… as long as they are not actually sold in China.

So, if you don’t see any recognized certification on a brand – then it’s NOT cruelty free. 

Here are the three recognized certification bodies…

Leaping Bunny

cruelty free makeup
Leaping Bunny logo


peta beauty-without-bunnies-logo


naturewatch logo
cruelty free makeup brand

Despite enormous efforts to help China develop better practices, an animal testing ban is yet to happen in this country, (although some progress is being made), and as such, consumers wishing to live a cruelty free lifestyle must be very careful when choosing which brands to support.

If you are committed to only purchasing cruelty free makeup products, the following tips will help:

Do your research. Generally, the easiest approach to finding cruelty free products that work for you is to search for information on resources such as:

Leaping Bunny,

Cruelty Free Kitty and

Ethical Elephant.

Not only these sites have giant glossaries of cruelty free products with convenient search features, they also post articles about the latest and greatest cruelty free beauty items and general reads related to sustainable lifestyle.

it’s good to be aware

Read the labels and claims with caution!!

This is especially relevant if you’re vegan, since “cruelty free” can often mean “not tested on animals” but still contain products from animals.

In other words, products labelled with reputable logos such as the Leaping Bunny may still not be vegan, so if you are, always look for a special logo and read the ingredients.

A quick heads up!! Some companies that are certified cruelty free might not be! The reason is that some of their products might fall into the “Drugs” or “Dietary Supplements” category. If in doubt – ask them!

So, the ideal scenario for Cruelty free Makeup is

             Certified Cruelty Free AND Vegan.

Consider the bigger picture. Now, there are numerous levels of commitment to cruelty free lifestyle, and this point may be a bit extreme for some, but it’s well worth considering anyway.

Many big brands own companies marketed and labeled as cruelty free, meaning buying from the latter technically still puts your money towards animal testing.

Important update on The Body Shop!

The Body Shop, Aesop and Natura joins the list of cruelty-free brands in the Naturewatch Compassionate Shopping Guide.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to support or ditch brands whose parent companies do not support cruelty free makeup, but it’s good to be aware anyway!

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