“Vegan” and “cruelty-free” are two of the biggest buzzwords in the beauty world of late, with many of our favourite beauty brands proudly proclaiming that they are now one or the other.
In South Korea, aka beauty product mecca of the world, women have been increasingly demanding for cleaner skincare products, which is a major sign that the ‘clean beauty’ trend will one day no longer be just a trend, but a commonplace standard for all our skincare and make up – just look at how they totally changed the masking game and multi-step skincare regimes in the west!
Also, as we become more educated about common manufacturing processes, we are (rightly) starting to realize that there should be absolutely no reason why animals should be harmed for the sake of our beauty.
But what are vegan products, and how do they differ from cruelty-free? With the dozens of seals, certifications and fancy descriptions, there’s a good chance you were as confused as us if you were trying to switch over to the vegan and/or cruelty-free bandwagon.
Which is why we’ve gone ahead to create this ultimate guide so you can make educated choices the next time you’re out beauty shopping. What are vegan products, and how do they differ from cruelty-free?
So, while the two terms are often used interchangeably, ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ actually mean different things. When a product is labelled as vegan, it means that it does not contain ANY animal products or animal-derived ingredients like honey, beeswax or lanolin. This label describes the ingredients, as opposed to the production process. Items that are tested on animals can technically be labelled as vegan so long they do not actually contain animal products.
It’s also worth noting that a product labelled ‘vegan’ doesn’t always mean botanical replacements were used in place of animal-derived ingredients. Instead, you might find synthetic ingredients that were made in a lab.
Cruelty-free on the other hand, means that the ingredients and final product have not been tested on animals, and refers to the production process. This means it is possible for a cruelty-free product to contain non-vegan ingredients. Common non-vegan ingredients include beeswax, honey, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol and gelatin.
However, it is also important to note that just because a product is labelled vegan or cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean it has a clean, safe or green ingredient list. Make sure to read the list to ensure you are not putting any harmful chemicals on your skin.
Companies can claim anything they want, so if you want to ensure the products you’re buying are truly vegan and/or cruelty-free, look out for accreditation by known and respected organisations such as: Choose Cruelty Free, The Vegan Society, PETA or Leaping Bunny. It is important to read labels, because there are a number of brands that use similar-looking stamps to trick consumers into thinking their products are cruelty-free and vegan.
If you find it excessively confusing to interpret labels, consider downloading mobile apps like Vegan and Cruelty-Free Scanner to do the legwork for you.
As the demand for vegan and cruelty-free products increases, established names in the beauty world have either been slowing transitioning to all-vegan products (Kat Von D) or have a dedicated range of vegan-friendly products (Tarte), which means you don’t necessarily have to throw out all your products or swap to some unheard of brand.
Chances are, you might be using products that are already vegan/cruelty-free. Here are some of the biggest names in beauty that are fighting the good fight, and the best products to cop to kick start your new journey. #takemymoney
Swap out harsh physical exfoliators with this mask that taps into the power of fruit enzymes and white willow bark to decongest and unclog pores while smoothening out your skin.
Perfect for our humid climate, this ultra lightweight moisturiser is packed with anti-oxidant rich vitamin E and Jojoba oil to help repair your skin’s protective barrier while infusing your skin with essential nutrients.
Calm those undereye bags with these handy patches formulated with Tarte’s proprietary Rainforest of the Sea antioxidant complex. Each gel patch is also infused with coconut-oil serum and uses heat-activated technology to deliver powerful actives that will smooth, firm and brighten your under-eye area.
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Long-wear and highly pigmented, this cult favourite liquid lipstick offers a smooth and matte finish that doesn’t dry out your lips. Available in 42 creamy shades, the formula also includes hydrating vitamin E and sunflower seed oil to help nourish those puckers.
Offering a full-coverage, matte-finish and waterproof formula, this foundation takes you from day to night without clogging your pores. Highly pigmented, a little goes a long way and even diffuses light to blur flaws for beautifully perfect skin.
Featuring an hourglass shaped brush, this cult mascara needs just one coat for volumised and defined lashes. Two coats turn on the drama and three? The most intensely black, multidimensional lashes ever.