Vegan Free v. Cruelty Free - How They Differ

Vegan Free v. Cruelty Free - How They Differ

Do you consider yourself to be a moral consumer? Do you wonder how your purchases may impact the environment and our furry friends? If so, then this blog is dedicated to you! 

There is a lot verbiage surrounding skincare product quality and a few I'm sure you've heard are "cruelty-free" and "vegan" - but what exactly do those mean and how are they different?

What Is Cruelty-Free?

Cruelty-free is a classification, given to cosmetic or skincare companies that do not harm or kill animals when creating, testing, and producing their products. These companies are able to proudly display their cruelty-free certification signage (most often a leaping bunny) or a guarantee that to their clientele that they do not tests on animals or use distributors that do.  

Some companies are required to make an official press release or statement about their practices and pay to license their logo for legitimacy and recognition. 

An important distinction to know of that cruelty-free items do not test on animals, but they can still contain animal-based ingredients or animal derivatives. This can include things such as milk or milk-sourced ingredients, honey, beeswax or other bee-related ingredients, insect or animal based colors, silk proteins or various marine ingredients. This is where the true difference between cruelty-free and vegan products comes in. 

What Are Vegan Skin Products?

Vegan cosmetics and skincare products contain no animal products or ingredients sourced or derived from animals. These products usually show a vegan certification symbol (often a capital letter V). 

Now don't get us wrong - this can get a little tricky, certified vegan products do not contain animal-based ingredients or derivatives but they still could be tests on animals unless distinguished by the company. 

When shopping for your skincare products, it's important to look for BOTH of these certifications to ensure that they contain no animal ingredients or derivatives AND have not been tested on animals. Usually these certification symbols are provided on the product packaging. 


Even though some products are vegan, they may not always be labeled to show that and not all of us know what ingredients to avoid if they want to maintain a vegan regimen for their skincare. When in doubt, you'll want to check the ingredient list.

Here is a helpful list of animal-derived ingredients to be aware of (the presence of any of these would make a product NOT vegan):

  • Beeswax – secreted by bees to make their honeycombs
  • Honey – drained away from the wax honeycombs and filtered for use in cosmetics 
  • Collagen (from animal tissue or marine organisms) – fibrous protein from vertebrates
  • Gelatin - obtained by boiling animal skin and ligaments and/or bones
  • Lanolin – the fatty substance found on sheep’s wool, obtained from sheared sheep or dead sheep
  • Carmine (cochineal dye) -  a red pigment from the crushed cochineal insect
  • Guanine - fish scales
  • Ambergris - whale oil
  • Estrogen/Estradiol - urine from pregnant horses
  • Retinol – vitamin A; sometimes, but not always, derived from animals
  • Stearic acid – obtained from the fat of slaughtered animals but also available in plant-based and synthetic sources

A few of these ingredients can be plant-based but this can be unclear on product ingredients lists. It’s wise to check with the company if you are unclear of how an ingredient was collected and it's important to you.

Biolumière Organics: Vegan & Cruelty-Free?

The products available at Biolumière Organics are ALL cruelty-free. We do not test on animals. All of our products are also vegan. 


We hope this clarification of cruelty-free vs. vegan cosmetics helps you when choosing your cosmetics. If you have any questions on ingredients or products, feel free to get in touch, we love hearing from you! 


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