Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan: What’s the Difference?

cruelty free vs. vegan

Cruelty-Free vs. vegan, what’s the difference? The terms cruelty-free and vegan are often tossed around, especially as marketing terms. Sometimes they are interchanged because a lot of people get confused with the terminology.

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Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan: What’s the difference?

What does vegan mean?

  • Vegan simply means a product has no animal by-products in it. This can apply to food, clothing, beauty products, and many other products.

What is cruelty-free?

  • Cruelty-free means a product hasn’t been tested on animals. This includes everything from the beginning stages up to the final product. It also means a brand is not selling its products in a country where they are required to be tested, by law.

What is the difference between vegan and cruelty-free?

  • A product can be vegan but not cruelty-free and vice versa. Many cruelty-free products still contain animal byproducts. Some products can be vegan and not include any animal byproducts, but still be tested on animals.

What are some nonvegan ingredients?

  • The most common nonvegan ingredients in beauty products include beeswax, lanolin, carmine, fur, and silk. Other ingredients could be animal-derived as well so it is always a smart idea to ask the brand to verify if a product is vegan. This applies to food as well. Common non-vegan food ingredients include milk, eggs, and honey. Even if a product looks vegan, if there are any questionable ingredients, it is always smart to ask the brand to verify.

I bought a product that says it’s cruelty-free or has a cruelty-free symbol on it. That means it is cruelty-free, right?

  • The short answer to this is NO. Sadly, there is no legal definition of the word “cruelty-free” much like the term “natural” which brands also like to put on their products. Many companies who are not cruelty-free, whether they test on animals themselves or ask others to do it on their behalf, claim to be cruelty-free. This is where cruelty-free can be tricky and cause a lot of division within the cruelty-free community. People have different definitions of the term cruelty-free. For me, cruelty-free means there is no animal testing involved in any part of the process of producing and selling a product.

What are some examples of brands that test on animals?

  • Some brands that test on animals include Wet n Wild, Bath and Body Works, Maybelline, Nars, Neutrogena and so many more.

What are some examples of some cruelty-free brands?

  • Some cruelty-free brands include Pacifica, Thrive Causemetics, Milk Makeup, Milani, Elf Cosmetics, and so many more! On this website and all of my social media, I only talk about products that are vegan AND cruelty-free. My goal is to not only make cruelty-free and vegan easy but to also show it can be accessible, affordable, and for everyone. Cruelty-free is not one size fits all and you have to make cruelty-free work for you, whatever that may look like. For example, one person may prefer to only buy high-end luxury makeup while another person may prefer to only buy drugstore products.

I like to go by the term “progression over perfection” for my cruelty-free and vegan journey. I try to make choices that make the most sense for me.

Ingredients in beauty and food products change often and it is difficult to keep up with the changes. Please do your own research by reading ingredient lists and reaching out to the brands to cross-check information.

Hopefully, these explanations have been helpful for you and you have a better understanding of cruelty-free vs. vegan. At the end of the day, we are all doing the best we can for the animals. I have tons of videos and posts on my website and social media to help guide you through any questions you might have.

Watch the video below and see how I feel about being the perfect vegan and purchasing non-cruelty-free items.

Check out my vegan lists from cruelty-free companies here.

Check out some of my favorite vegan and cruelty-free products below!

Thank you for using the affiliate links and codes in this post, it helps me with a small compensation so I can provide more content.