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20 Apr '16

Cruelty Free Doesn't Mean Vegan

Posted by Unicorn Goods

Cruelty Free Makeup Labels and What They Mean

Lab RabbitsLab rabbits waiting to be tested on.

You’ve probably read cosmetic labels that say “cruelty free” and “not tested on animals” but have you ever stopped to think what do these words actually mean? Just because a product claims that it’s “cruelty free” doesn’t mean that it is. According to the Federal Drug Administration of the United States there is no legal definition for “cruelty free” so brands can adopt this term loosely, and they most certainly do. The actual term “cruelty free” is not trademarked, and can be used freely. Here are some examples of random and unsubstantiated cruelty-free labels.


 Fake Cruelty Free Logo 1 Fake Cruelty Free Logo 2 Fake Cruelty Free Logo 3

Remember, without certification, the above are virtually meaningless.


The only way to really tell if a cosmetic product doesn’t test on animals is to look for a third-party certification icon like the three listed below. When products have a label like one of the three below, they have agreed to be evaluated for the truthfulness of their statements and have met certain standards proving that they are indeed cruelty free. Here’s a look at the differences between these labels. Keep in mind that cruelty free doesn’t mean vegan, but that’s another discussion. All body, cosmetics, and beauty products listed  on Unicorn Goods must have at least one of these standards or prove that they are cruelty-free and vegan.

PETA's Cruelty Free Beauty Without Bunnies

PETA's Beauty without Bunnies Program | This program, based out of the USA,  is one of the largest cruelty-free accreditation programs and includes over six hundred different companies. | Mandates: This program requires that no new animal testing can take place at any phase of product development a certified company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers. |  Accountability: PETA believes that a company puts its image at risk if it falsies cruelty free claims. This economic risk and potential damage of public perception to hold companies accountable. 

Leaping Bunny

Leaping Bunny Program | This international program was formed by eight national animal protection groups who came together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) which administers the Leaping Bunny Program. | Mandates:To become certified a must agree that company does not and shall not conduct, commission, or be a party to animal testing this includes formulations and Ingredients of such products. The program also requires a supplier monitoring system be put in place. Companies also cannot allow animal testing to be performed by or for submission to regulatory agencies in foreign countries. | Accountability:  A company's supplier monitoring system must be submitted to an independent audit.

Choose Cruelty Free

Choose Cruelty FreeThis Australia-based nonprofit organization accredits companies and actively campaigns for an end to animal testing of cosmetics, toiletries and other household products. | Mandates: They will not accredit companies unless all parent and subsidiaries are also accredited (think the Body Shop, owned by L'oreal). Companies must fit one of two criteria (1) The company meets the never tested rule: none of its products and none of its product ingredients have ever been tested on animals by it, by anyone on its behalf, by its suppliers or anyone on their behalf. (2) The five year or more rolling rule: None of its products and none of its product ingredients have been tested on animals by it at any time within a period of five years immediately preceding the date of application for accreditation. | Accountability: Accredited companies sign a  legally-binding contract to the effect that what they have said in their application is factual.


Cruelty free logo comparison

Look out for one of the above legitimate labels when you shop, or just shop with us. We’ve got your back, and bunnies’ and beagles’ backs, too.

Our standards.

Lab testing on beagles.

animal testing certification cruelty free information

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