For me, the easiest part of going vegan was the food–switching to vegan and cruelty free makeup and beauty products took a little more research and effort, but now that I know more about it, it’s easy to buy vegan and cruelty free makeup! Hopefully this post will help anyone out there making the transition to cruelty free and vegan beauty products.
Cruelty Free Basics
- Cruelty free and vegan are two different things. When products are classified as cruelty free, that means the company doesn’t test on animals. When products are classified as vegan, that means they don’t contain animal ingredients (like beeswax, carmine, lanolin etc.) So products can be classified as either cruelty free or vegan or both–if you’re vegan, you want to look for products that are both from a cruelty free brand and are also vegan. For more information, check out this article.
- Companies can claim to be cruelty free and/or vegan even if they aren’t. Some companies simply don’t understand what being vegan means, some claim to be cruelty free because their finished products aren’t tested on animals, but their ingredients are tested on animals by a third party, etc., and some claim to be vegan because they don’t contain animal derived ingredients, but they aren’t cruelty free. Companies also sometimes claim to be cruelty free “except where required by law,” which means they do test on animals in countries where it’s required by law, meaning they aren’t actually cruelty free.
So how do you figure out which companies and brands are actually cruelty free? Logical Harmony!
I don’t recommend using a company’s website as a reliable source of information on their cruelty free status since it isn’t regulated, and they can claim to be cruelty free/vegan even if they’re not. Instead, check Logical Harmony’s Cruelty Free Brand List. If a brand is included on Logical Harmony’s list, that means they don’t test on animals anytime during the creation of their products.
Once you’ve found a reputable cruelty free brand you want to buy from, how do you know which products are vegan?
Some companies listed are 100% vegan (and are labeled as such), which makes shopping from those companies super easy. Many companies are cruelty free with some vegan options though, and in that case, search Logical Harmony for a vegan product list–type the brand name/vegan list in the search bar, and if it’s there, it’ll show up.
If there isn’t a list on Logical Harmony, check the brand’s FAQs on their website, many have a list of which products are or aren’t vegan there, or check the product’s listing–many brands label the individual products if they’re vegan friendly.
If you can’t find any information on which products are vegan from a cruelty free brand, do some more googling to see if someone else has already had the same question or email the company directly.
What about cruelty free companies with a parent company who tests on animals? (These are labeled as such on Logical Harmony’s list.)
This is an issue that is up for debate in the cruelty free community. Some people choose to buy from brands whose parent company tests on animals because it shows that company that people want cruelty free options, and some choose not to buy from those companies because money will trickle up to the company that does test on animals.
It’s up to you where you want to draw that line. I think people should support whichever cruelty free brands they have access to/want to.
So can you still shop at Sephora?
Yes! This was one thing I was worried about when I went cruelty free, but you can still shop at Sephora–yay! Logical Harmony has a list of cruelty free brands available at Sephora as well as Ulta, Target, and a list of drugstore brands. There are also often cruelty free brand options in the Sephora rewards and samples like Too Faced and Tarte.
You don’t have to go cruelty free overnight. I ended up giving away all of my non-cruelty free makeup (which was almost everything) all at once, but you don’t have to do it that way. You can replace things gradually as you run out of products, search for vegan dupes of your favorite products, or get rid of everything–it’s up to you. There’s no wrong way to go cruelty free and obviously not everyone can afford to buy all new products right away.
Find vegan/cruelty free beauty bloggers/vloggers you like and follow them for product reviews and recommendations! A few of my favorites are Logical Harmony, Rhian, Brown Bunny Meli, Jholmie, Vegan Beauty Addict, JKissa, and Beauty with Morgan.
E.l.f. was a lifesaver for me especially at first because all of their cosmetics are vegan, they’re affordable, and they’re widely available at stores like Target and Walmart. Wet n Wild is also an inexpensive and accessible option, and they’ve started labeling their vegan products. Pacifica is also a 100% vegan/natural brand that’s available at Target and Whole Foods. Check out Logical Harmony’s list for more drugstore options.