Cruelty Free – how, why, what’s easy and what’s not.

Being cruelty free is something I have slowly become more passionate about. It’s a topic that many people feel very strongly about and can cause very heated discussions and feelings. This post isn’t really about that, more our personal journey and trying to work out how to make cruelty free work for us, and slowly phasing out products we use that might be tested on animals or made by brands that support animal testing.

I am not a beauty blogger, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do use a fair bit of skincare products, and my tween is also a bit of a skincare and make up guru in the making. We also have some products that are prescribed or medically advised, for us to use.

I recently did a bit of an “audit” of what we use, particularly what I use, and did some online research into the brands and who owns them and their vegan and or cruelty free policies.

Some things I found out:

Cruelty free does not always mean a product is free from animal products or materials. If a product or brand has been classified as cruelty free by the various recognised authorities, it means they don’t test on animals but they could still use animal products such as lanolin, or other ingredients. If you are vegan, this isn’t good news.

If a product is recognised as vegan it means they do NOT use animal ingredients.

So depending on your stance you may want to look for both of these. If you are not vegan, cruelty free may be what you feel comfortable with.

For me, cruelty free and potentially vegan is the aim. I am allergic to lanolin (that was fun to discover, when I was learning to breastfeed my first baby and lanolin is what is prescribed for sore nipples, let’s just say it didn’t help and leave the tmi for another post) and I prefer not to use ingredients that are animal based if I can. I am slowly working my way through what I am using and finishing them, and removing things and replacing them. I am not throwing stuff away, that is wasteful. I won’t buy them again.

But not all is as it seems:

My research led me to find that some products and brands I use are certified themselves as cruelty free, but they are actually owned by companies that are not recognised as cruelty free (Ahem, L’Oréal amongst others, big companies that have swallowed up other brands) and this poses a problem if you want to be totally cruelty free and not use products that are associated with the brands that refuse to do that.

For me, at the moment, I will use one or two products that are themselves cruelty free but still owned by certain bigger brands that are not, but I am working on finding alternatives. My current issue is that I use a skin foundation base that contains a very strong SPF factor. Recommended by my dermatologist, that works well for my weird and sensitive skin, and it’s a brand that is itself cruelty free but it’s owned by them who shall not be named (see above, ahem)

I personally don’t understand why there are so many smaller, successful skin care and make up companies that are fully cruelty free and don’t test their products on animals, but yet bigger brands with the financial resources still do. I assume it is because they want to continue to trade with China and sell there, where animal testing is still required legally. Money talks I guess?

It isn’t as easy as it seems to “just go cruelty free”. You have to do your research, check the companies, make sure they are genuinely cruelty free, check who they are owned by. Just because they say they are doesn’t mean they are.

I do think that being cruelty free is better for the planet, I don’t think testing skincare and make up needs to happen by using animals. Let’s hope that one day, it won’t be an issue. I think if more people checked and realised then they might act and not buy. We can always hope, can’t we?

Please feel free to comment and share good cruelty free brands you like and use, I am always keen to hear of new brands and companies that other people recommend.

If you are cruelty free, was it gradual or a clean sweep?



Posted in Eco-Friendly Family Life, Health and tagged being a greener family, cruelty free, cruelty free skincare, skincare, vegan skin care.


  1. Excellent post- I wonder how many people knew Body Shop was bought by L’Oreal which itself is owned by Nestlé . However Body Shop has recently been bought again by Natura (Brasil) International B.V. which does seem to have a better track record: From Wikipedia:

    “Natura promotes its image as an eco-friendly,sustainable company (using natural products, working toward sustainable environment and social support etc.). The company also uses ordinary women rather than supermodels in its advertisements.”

    In contrast L’Oreal uses various legal loopholes to still not completely ban animal testing from its products such as the China issue you write about.

    Thank you so much for adding this post to #GoingGreen – it reminds me of one of the reasons I do not wear make-up!

    • I stopped shopping at Body Shop when they were owned by L’oreal. Now they are owned differently, I have started letting the tween shop there again. I wish we could find a way to make animal testing and the use of plastics and harsh chemicals ruled out entirely. Sadly we are dancing to the tune of £ and China…

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