Is It Really Cruelty Free ?

Is It Really Cruelty Free?

Cruelty Free. No Animal Testing. Vegan. This Product is Not Tested on Animals.

I’m sure you have seen these labels on many products in the beauty industry. They all sound good, right? Well, labels can be deceiving. I am going to help you decipher what these labels mean, and what you need to know when buying beauty products.

The Rules

First we need to understand the rules of animal testing in the the beauty industry. Let me point out that there are rules regarding animal testing, which means animal testing is completely legal, and still a common practice. There is only one Federal law that applies to animals in research. While there have been amendments over the years since it was enacted in 1966, it still provides only minimal protection for certain species. It excludes species such as rats, mice, and birds bred for research—who together constitute an estimated 90-95% of animals in laboratories. You can read the entire Animal Welfare act along with it’s history here.

It’s Personal

It’s hard to think about, but dogs are the main animal used for cosmetic testing. There are plenty of heart wrenching stories showing the very ugly side of the beauty industry. I am not here to show you horrifying pictures to make my case, so rest easy. Deciding to go cruelty free in your personal shopping is a personal decision that everyone has to make on their own. I have personally made the choice to no longer buy from companies that still test on animals. For multiple reasons, but honestly, I just can’t look at my own dogs while doing my hair and make up knowing what other dogs have gone through just for my beautification.

Come on, look at those faces!


As a salon owner I knew that I could be a big contributor to animal testing in the beauty industry. I didn’t want that! It’s a bit of a balancing act trying to stick to my own convictions while not pushing them on to everyone. Owning a salon while trying to avoid animal testing can be a bit of a challenge because most main stream product companies do not regulate animal testing. It is extra work and extra money, I get it… However, there are cruelty free professional hair care products out there, and we found one!

We are proud to carry a product line that has PETA’s cruelty free logo and the Leaping Bunny logo. Healium Hair is a Florida based company, with everything being made in the US, and went through the rigorous processes of getting verified by these organizations. In addition to all of this, the products themselves are high quality and work great!

All Labels Are Not Created Equal

There are no specific laws that exist regarding cruelty-free labeling of products. So companies can take liberties. It is unlikely that a company would put blatantly false information regarding its animal-testing practices on its products. However, be aware that statements on labels may be misleading and not fully informative. It turns out that “Not tested on animals” and “Cruelty free” may only mean that the finished products aren’t tested on animals. However, animal testing could have been done on the ingredients used in the products. It also does not mean the product is free from animal products. Same goes for those that say “Certified Vegan” but could still have been tested on animals. Why all the loopholes? Well, the FDA has not approved a legal definition that binds these terms to a certain set of criteria, making it difficult to define.

Then There’s China

One more thing to make all this more confusing, China. China is one of the last major countries that requires animal testing on hair, skin and cosmetic goods. Salons and manufacturers want their products to be recognized as cruelty-free because the demand for such products is on the rise, especially among millennials. So, if companies wish to sell their products in China, they must submit to the animal-testing rule. While companies might not perform animal tests themselves, they’re obliged to provide samples and pay the government to conduct them. On the bright side, China has started to work with U.S. non profits to train Chinese scientists in tests using reconstructed cells. This will put them on track to eliminate animal testing all together. Yay!

Confused? Keep Reading!

While laws, or lack there of, are not very helpful if you’re looking to avoid animal testing, there are other organizations out there to help. I will tell you about some of them, and what their logos and stamps of approval mean. However, I encourage you to do your own research to make informed purchasing decisions. Each of the organizations below also have lists of their approved companies.


Choose Cruelty Free  Not Tested on Animals Verified by CCF (Choose Cruelty Free)

None of its products and ingredients have ever been tested on animals by it, by anyone on its behalf, by its suppliers or anyone on their behalf and must not contain any ingredients derived specifically from killing an animal or provided as a by-product from killed animals. CCF also will not accredit companies unless all parent and subsidiaries are also accredited

Learn more about this organization.


PETA cruelty free Cruelty Free Verified by PETA

Companies listed either signed PETA’s statement of assurance or provided a statement verifying that they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future.

Learn more about this organization.



 Leaping BunnyNot Tested on Animals Verified by The Leaping Bunny

The company and their ingredient suppliers do not conduct or commission animal testing of their products. An independent assessor must audit the company once every three years. Or, in the case of smaller companies, a “spot-check,” commissioned by the CCIC and performed by an accredited auditor.

Learn more about this organization.

Vegan societyVegan and Not Tested on Animals Verified by The Vegan Society

This product and ingredients do not contain any animal product, by-product or derivative and must not involve testing of any sort on animals by the manufacturers or on its behalf, or by any third parties.

Learn more about this organization.



Being environmentally friendly and opposing animal cruelty is not as simple to follow through as it should be. It is an admiral decision that requires a little extra effort in day to day purchasing. So, I hope this article helps, and remember to do your own research! There are so many sources out there to help guide you in your quest to abolish animal testing.

Have any questions? Comment, email, DM or just call us. We love to talk about this stuff 🙂


– Rebecca J Hebert

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