5 Tips for Transitioning to Cruelty Free and Vegan Cosmetics

Not only is the vegan food industry growing substantially, the cruelty-free beauty and cosmetic marketplace is also taking off!

Many people believe that choosing to only buy cruelty-free and ethically produced products comes hand-in-hand with veganism, as the lifestyle aims to reduce the suffering of living beings.

However, the term ‘cruelty-free’ only means that the product has not been tested on animals, this doesn’t guarantee it only contains vegan ingredients.


This gets rather difficult to determine whether or not a brand is fully cruelty-free because of legal requirements across different countries. In countries such as America, Australia and New Zealand, it is a legal requirement that cosmetics are not tested on animals but in places such as China, cosmetics must be tested on animals before sale. Some vegans argue that if a brand stocks their ‘cruelty-free’ product in China, then it shouldn’t actually be called cruelty-free.

This can make things confusing, and making the transition to vegan cosmetics seem impossible. So, here are some tips to help you get your make up bag vegan!


5 Tips for Transitioning to Cruelty Free and Vegan Cosmetics

1. Find Out Why Choosing Vegan is Important

Most mainstream cosmetics contain some form of animal products such as beeswax, beetles (shellac), oils from sheep wool (lanolin), gelatin, keratin from horse hooves or others. Even if some ingredients aren’t obviously from an animal, unexpected things can be derived from plant or animal sources and it is not required to explicitly state where it was derived from.

In order to get these products the animals have to be killed or they suffer a lot. Animal testing, which is a requirement in China before we can sell cosmetics, is also incredibly cruel.

2. Deal With Your Old Stuff

Before making the decision to go vegan and choose cruelty-free, it’s highly probable that you already have brought many products which don’t meet your new ethical standards, but they are still useable and you are conflicted between stopping them from going to waste or breaking the ‘rules’ of your lifestyle.

Many people choose to use up pre-purchased products until they are gone and make a cruelty-free, vegan certified choice when purchasing new products rather than wasting what has already been produced and purchased.

Alternatively, you might want to consider donating these items to friends, family or op shops (otherwise known as charity shops or thrift shops). You could also sell unused pre-purchased products (try eBay or FaceBook) and donate the money from sale to a deserving cause.

3. Check the labels

Products can come with a certified vegan and certified cruelty-free label. Check products for the trademark vegan and cruelty-free labels before purchasing. If they aren’t certified with labels, contact the company and manufacturers, if they have nothing to hide then they are likely to be more than happy to give you some insight on the ingredients and their stance on animal testing. Do your research prior to purchase to lessen the chance of making a purchase which contributes to animal suffering.

PETA also certifies products with a PETA-certified label that are vegan and cruelty-free.

4. Battle Those Confusing Names

Fancy and scientific sounding names are used by producers and manufacturers to try cover the truth of what they really are. For example, ‘Cetyl alcohol’ is a name used for sperm whale oil, this ingredient is in many cosmetics such as face products however if ‘sperm whale oil’ was listed on the back of moisturisers, consumers are likely to be rather deterred from their purchase.

Don’t be afraid to question ingredients, Google is your friend and a quick search of the ingredients can enlighten you to the source they are derived from.

You can also check out our list of animal derive ingredients right here!

5. Use The Apps!

Finding it confusing to interpret labels and ingredients? Fear not, there are plenty of mobile phone applications that do all that hard work for you! Simply scan the barcode or enter the name of the product and such handy apps will let you know everything you could want to find out.

For example, ‘Cruelty Cutter’, ‘Bunny Free’ by PETA, ‘CrueltyFree‘ by Leaping Bunny, ‘Vegan and Cruelty-Free Scanner’ and ‘Is It Vegan’.

Now time to treat yourself to a new lipstick!