From The Straits Times    |

What does cruelty-free really mean, you ask? Well, this refers to products that were made without harming or testing on animals. However, there are no laws that require a product to be certified before it can use labels like ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals’ on its packaging. According to international certifying body, Leaping Bunny, such labels are also unreliable because they may only refer to the finished item when animal tests were actually carried out on an ingredient level. Plus, some brands outsource their testing to other laboratories. 

The best way to be sure that no animal testing was done at any stage by a company or its contractors and suppliers is to look out for the logos of recognised certifying organisations, the most well-known ones being PETA and Leaping Bunny. The latter has stricter criteria, requiring that companies submit to independent audits to verify their claims, whereas the former only needs a written agreement and signed statement. It’s also worth noting that some brands may obtained certification but left out the logos for aesthetic reasons, or didn’t get themselves certified even though they meet the standards. 

Meet the 9 cruelty-free beauty brands that are known for championing the movement:


It’s certified cruelty-free by PETA. Although the cosmetics company was acquired by Japanese cosmetics giant, Kose, in 2014, it has stuck to its guns with no animal testing conducted on its ingredients and finished products, or by any companies they work with. Try: Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping Palette, $80.

Urban Decay

This progressive brand that made the colours of sludge and grime cool is certified by both PETA and Leaping Bunny. It was also one of the earliest cosmetic companies to get approval under the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, a voluntary pledge overseen by animal protection groups in the US and Canada. Try: Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Powder, $50.

John Masters

Celebrity hairstylist, John Masters, is an avowed believer in ethical treatment for all animals and has stated that the only animal ingredients used in his products are honey and beeswax. The brand is PETA-certified. Try: John Masters Lavender Hydrating Mist for Skin & Hair, $26. From Bud Cosmetics


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Bjork & Berries

A new entrant to our local market, this Swedish eco-luxe brand has no official certification, but states that all its products are cruelty-free. Most of the ingredients it uses are said to come from wild herbs, plants and berries found in Sweden. Try: Bjork & Berries Birch Recovery Face Oil, $86. Available at TANGS Plaza and online at Zalora


Using only minerals, mineral pigments, plant oils and botanical derivatives, this makeup line is approved by PETA and promises that none of its products have ever been tested on animals. Try: Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush, $40. From Pure Tincture


For its first venture into cosmetics, this home-grown brand came up with three soaps inspired by different times of the day. Designed, developed and made in Singapore, they’re free from animal testing as well as potentially harmful chemicals like parabens, sulphate and formaldehyde. Try: PS.Cafe Fine Soap, $49. From PS.Cafe outlets

Three Cosmetics

A quintessential Japanese wellness brand, it has a holistic approach towards beauty that aims to care for your mind, body as well as the natural world from which it derives key ingredients and the essential oils that feature prominently in its products. Try: Three Balancing Cleansing Oil, $68.

Himalaya Herbals

The brand has adhered to concepts of herbal health, wellness and eco-friendliness since its founding in 1930 – way before those ideas became fashionable. Its respect for the earth and its creatures sees it promising that that none of its cosmetic products are, or ever will be, tested on animals. Try: Himalaya Herbals Oil Control Lemon Face Wash, $6.95.

Kat Von D

A well-known vegan and animal-lover, Kat Von D has drawn attention to animal rights through her social media and has steadfastly committed her products to being completely cruelty-free. Endorsed by PETA, the brand has also announced plans to reformulate all its products to be veganTry: Kat Von D Lock-it Liquid Foundation, $56.



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This story was first published in the November 2017 issue of Her World magazine.