Vegan and cruelty-free brands: what are the differences? Skincare and make-up


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Sometimes being conscientious and thinking about the Planet is much more difficult than it should be. The world of vegan and cruelty-free certifications, products and brands, in fact, is a real jungle and orienting oneself between differences, certifications and international laws, without being misled by marketing and greenwashing, is a real undertaking. Never as today, therefore, knowledge is power.

When it comes to choosing products that are good not only for skin and hair, but also for the environment, the situation suddenly seems to get complicated. The terms of sustainable beauty are many and not all completely understandable: vegan and cruelty-free brands, clean beauty, organic products, eco-tools for face and body, refills… Getting confused is all too simple. And not only because cosmetic labels seem to overlap each other, but also because uniquely defining sustainability is not easy. Very often, in fact, terms such as vegan and cruelty-free seem to be the consequence of each other, while in reality, the differences are many, especially worldwide. In fact, there are no univocal rules on experimentation, which can be very different from one part of the world to another. A theme that touches millions of people, who choose a vegan beauty routine or who wish to respect and protect animals, and that we want to try to explain to you in a few words.

Vegan and cruelty-free brands: differences in regulations

The main problem linked to sustainability in the world of cosmetics is linked to univocal legislation. In Europe, for example, the cruelty-free law has been in force since 2013, which requires the brands of only sell products NOT tested on animals and NOT to test their ingredients on mice and rabbits laboratory. A very important clause of the European International Standard is the impossibility of allowing third parties to carry out these tests. Indeed, then, for ingredients from non-EU countries, brands must declare that the tests took place before a certain year (chosen, however, at the discretion of the brand). A very different legislation from the Chinese one, for example, according to which every cosmetic product must be tested on animals before being put on the market. This is especially a problem when it comes to multinational companies, which cannot be considered cruelty-free simply because they trade with countries such as China.

What does “vegan” really mean?

A product can only be considered truly vegan if it does not contain traces of ingredients of animal origin. The components of the formulas, therefore, will be completely vegetable. This is why milk, honey, animal collagen, silk and cochineal are some of the ingredients that are absolutely banned from this type of formulation. To replace them in the INCI, active ingredients of plant origin, which do not involve the killing or mistreatment of animals. Of course, vegan beauty does not only refer to the ingredients, but also to their impact on the environment and, consequently, on the life of animals. Synthetic surfactants, silicones and petrolatum, for example, are dangerous for the marine environment and, therefore, a vegan brand should not contain any.

– Hairburst, a vegan and cruelty-free brand, enriches its formulas with ingredients of natural origin to give the hair a booster of strength, softness and brightness. Long & Healthy Hair Mask by Hairburst.

– Vegan and made in Italy, Agenov Skincare harnesses all the power of the Amazon to create cutting-edge formulations, with a clean and very high quality INCI. 24h Face Cream by Agenov Skincare.

– Established in 2014 in Melbourne, Kester Black produces brilliant, anti-chipping enamels containing more than 97% of ingredients of natural origin and 10-free. Cruelty Free, Cruelty Free International and Vegan Society certified, they are vegan and not tested on animals. Cherry Pie nail polish by Kester Black.

– Unconventional since 2008, KVD Vegan Beauty combines an unconventional spirit with super pigmented makeup and formulas that respect the planet, 100% vegan and cruelty-free, with fully recyclable packs. Planet Fanatic by KVD Beauty.

– The haircare brand Maria Nila is certified vegan and approved by PETA and gives the hair unique and synergistic ingredients to give the hair new strength and vitality. Structures Repair Leave In Cream by Maria Nila.

– Dermacosmetics is the brand founded by Dr. Susanne von Schmiedeberg to fight aging through vegan products capable of making the skin more toned and elastic. Eye Contour L-Carnosine Anti-AGE by Dermacosmetics.

– Kora Organics products, created by supermodel Miranda Kerr, are organic and natural, certified according to COSMOS and Ecocert standards. Furthermore, the brand is cruelty-free and completely free of sulphates, parabens, silicones and formaldehydes. Noni Lip Tint by Kora Organics.

– Phitofilos phytocosmetic products are composed of plant extracts that contain the beneficial active ingredients of plants. With innovative formulations and rich in 100% ingredients, the brand is eco-friendly and vegan. Cleansing Milk with Avocado and Rhodiola by Phitofilos.

– Morphe is cruelty-free: no product or ingredient is tested on animals and does not allow producers to do it on its behalf. Since not all products are vegan, however, the brand offers the complete list of ingredients.

– Fenty Skin formulas are clean, vegan and cruelty-free, perfect for celebrating the best the planet has to offer with effective ingredients from international sources. Furthermore, packaging is earth-conscious and follows the principle of the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Total Cleans’r Remove It All Cleanser by Fenty Skin.

Are cruelty-free brands also vegan?

Although closely connected by the desire to protect animals, vegan and cruelty-free brands have less in common than you might think. In fact, brands that reject animal testing do not necessarily exclude ingredients such as beeswax, egg white, lanolin or glycerin from their formulas. On the other hand, the promise made to consumers is not to harm animals in any way. How to recognize them? Thanks to the Peta or Leaping Bunny symbol.

Differences between vegan and cruelty-free brands: what to watch out for?

Read the INCI and observe the cosmetic certifications it is certainly very useful to understand if it is a vegan or cruelty-free product. Unfortunately, however, this information can tell us relatively little about the brand. In fact, to sell outside Europe, companies must comply with the regulations of the various countries, which may include animal testing. Similarly, traditionally non-cruelty-free and vegan brands can create entire lines with these characteristics, while not giving up on ingredients of animal origin or testing other references. The best way to make sure you are facing a vegan and cruelty-free brand? Read the website carefully, ask customer service or – in the case of animal tests – consult the PETA website.


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