You may have bought a product that said 'not tested on animals' or had a cute bunny logo on the back thinking it was cruelty-free only to find out that you supported a company that was never truly cruelty-free.
Cruelty-free claims are being printed on everything nowadays and it's difficult to know what is real and what is fake. Sadly, in the business world money trumps ethics, and if a half-truth can help sell more products, brands aren’t going to think twice about it.
So, how can you spot a fake cruelty-free logo? Let's find out.
5 ways to know if a product is cruelty-free!
1) Look for a certified bunny logo.
2) Download a cruelty-free app.
3) Email the brand directly, but be firm about this.
4) Refer to certified cruelty-free list of brands.
5) Ask a cruelty-free expert.
...But the packaging says 'not tested on animals'?
As cute as these logos are, unofficial logos can not be trusted.
Fun fact: There is no restricted use for the phrase 'cruelty-free' and 'not tested on animals' because there are no legal definitions for these terms. This means that a brand can throw these terms around with fake bunny logos without any legal repercussions of false advertisement/claims, even if the statement is only 1% true.
Here's just some of the fake labels I've noticed while having a little mooch around town centre.
What logos should I trust?
There are three/four logos you should trust for cruelty-free products. They are:
To have a cruelty-free status, a brand must ensure they are following these rules:
They do not test on animals at all during any part of production.
They do not order/use materials from a third party who tests on animals.
They do not have third parties test their products on animals for them.
They do not sell their products in countries where animal testing is required by law (pre and post market - such as China.)
It can also be argued that the following should also be considered if a brand is classified as cruelty-free or not:
- They are not owned by a parent company that test on animals.
For me, I do not support brands with parent companies that test on animals, therefore I think this should definitely be a rule.
It is important to remember that companies must pay to license and use one of the three certified bunny logos. That means a company can be certified cruelty-free and meet all the standards, but they might not be able to afford to pay and use the logo on their packaging. For example, brands such as BYBI Beauty, Evolve Beauty, Sukin, and many more all follow the rules for a certified cruelty-free logo, they just don't have one on their packaging.
These cruelty-free logos do not count for vegan products.
Can I always trust these labels?
Honestly, no, for various reasons actually.
Firstly, PETA is known for certifying brands that are made and sold in China because PETA does not do extensive research into a brands animal testing policies. If you're unsure about a PETA certified product, my best advice would be to go to trusted and well known CF bloggers (Logical Harmony, Free The Bunnies, VeganBeautyGirl, Ethical Elephant) to find out more.
Secondly, some brands use cruelty-free and vegan logos without permission or the brand knowing at all. I will have a blog post coming on this soon.
Thirdly, parent companies. I often see Leaping Bunny logos on brands products that I know have parent companies that test on animals (for example, Bulldog are Leaping Bunny certified, but their parent company is Edgewell Personal Care and they test on animals.) However, more often than not, you can trust Leaping Bunny logos over any other logo. They're the most reliable out of all the logos, just make sure to have a quick google first.
What if I'm still unsure?
If a product's packaging advertises ‘not tested on animals’ or ‘cruelty-free’ without an official cruelty-free logo then you need to dust off that detective hat and get to work by finding out if the brand is actually cruelty-free or not. There are many ways in which you can find this out, such as:
- Email the brand directly.
- Read blog posts.
- Ask around the cruelty-free and vegan community.
- When in doubt, leave it out.
I'm not going to lie to you, cruelty-free shopping is difficult and sometimes you can think 'whats the point if I don't know who to trust?' but you have to keep pushing through all the b***s*** that brands are going to throw at you to make a sale. My top tip would be to not give in easily and don't always believe what you are told straight away by a brand.
The cruelty-free and vegan beauty community are lovely and here to help when you're unsure of brands, or laws, or policies, or ingredients, or anything else you are unsure of. When it comes to shopping
cruelty-free IT. IS. WORTH. IT. I promise. Don't give up and every little really does help!
I hope this blog post helped clarify a little more into how to tell when a brand is straight up lying about their animal testing policies!
Until next time,
- Ellie x