You might have heard the term ‘cruelty-free’ before, but what does it truly mean when products are cruelty-free?
When brands offer cruelty-free products, they indicate that the products were not tested on animals. This should also include the ingredients in the products, not just the finished product. It’s true that in the past pretty much all ingredients have been tested on animals at some point. So to say that cosmetic ingredients have never been tested on animals wouldn’t be correct. However, when companies refer to cruelty-free ingredients it means that these ingredients have not recently been tested on animals. For example, cruelty-free certifications may require that all ingredients used by a company have not been tested on animals for a minimum of 5 years. When a company uses cruelty-free ingredients and does not test the finished product on animals, they can claim to be cruelty-free.
Going cruelty-free has never been easier, since there are quite a few regulations and laws in place that prevent animal testing on cosmetics and its ingredients. After the 2009 law that prevented animal testing on cosmetic products in the EU, in 2013 a second law also made sure no ingredients may be tested on animals for the purpose of creating a new cosmetic product. So therefore, a lot of European companies are automatically cruelty-free as they have to abide the law.
However cosmetic companies may still test on animals outside of the EU and sell these products and ingredients in the EU. As long as a company can show proof that the ingredients are safe for use using non-animal testing methods, they’re allowed to do animal testing for other markets on the same ingredients and products. This is the case with China, where animal testing unfortunately is still required on all imported products. Therefore no cosmetics company can claim to be truly cruelty-free and sell its products in China, it wouldn’t be possible by law.
Cruelty-free does not mean animal-free
Another aspect to take into account is that cruelty-free products are not always free from animal-derived ingredients. A product can be cruelty-free, but still contain ingredients from animals and insects such as carmine, lanolin, beeswax and silk. These ingredients are unfortunately not always obtained in a cruelty-free way.
For vegans and ethical consumers, this may be an issue. If you want to only use cruelty-free products that have not harmed animals in any way, then it’s best to start looking out for cruelty-free and vegan products as finding cruelty-free products is easy. As long as a European brand does not sell its products in mainland China, most products are cruelty-free because of the current law. Another great option is to choose natural and organic products. Or look into internationally recognized cruelty-free certifications. The three most used certifications are: Cruelty Free International, PETA and Choose Cruelty Free.
At Corpo Natura, most brands are cruelty-free, with the majority being certified by a third party.
Anouk Domínguez is an economist specialized in public policy with a successful career in her home country. After a health setback she started her own research on everything that got in touch with her body. She started to live a green life, and after moving to the Netherlands, she volunteered in an important European Non-Profit Organization, where she worked on chemicals and health to ensure a safe environment for mothers to be.
Corpo Natura is the ultimate result of her new vibrant and healthy lifestyle.