Explaining the Difference between Vegan and Cruelty-Free Skincare

You’ve probably heard of vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics while buying makeup or skincare products. Indeed, vegan and cruelty-free skincare is the future of the beauty industry. Though some people think of them as synonymous words, they’re interchangeable but mean different things.

From a beauty and skincare line, both vegan and cruelty-free skincare products suit different people according to their unique needs and wants. People should be aware of the difference between cruelty-free and vegan skincare so that they can easily choose the best product that ultimately impacts their health and environment.
Let’s have a glimpse of what actually these terms mean:

Vegan Skincare:

The skincare or beauty products excluded from any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products are called vegan skincare products, such as bee’s honey. A vegan product cannot be cruelty-free and is claimed to be tested on animals.

Many animal-derived ingredients are used in skincare industry. The examples include:

  • Lanolin (wool wax)
  • Beeswax
  • Lactic acid
  • Honey
  • Urea
  • Shellac (A type of resin, derived from female lac bug).
  • Squalane from the liver of sharks

Vegan skincare is made up of 100% mineral and plant-based ingredients. As a vegan diet includes dietary restrictions of not using any animal products or meat, similarly, vegan skincare goes without animal by-products.

Mother Nature is very abundant; therefore, we do not need to endanger or hurt the animal species just for the sake of OUR SKIN. Would you like to hurt or kill YOUR pet because your favorite cleanser contains a specific ingredient in it, even it is present in plants too? You really need to think about it.

Many skincare ingredients can easily be found in the botanical world, such as:

  • Coconut oil-based emulsifiers
  • Squalene from olives
  • Olive wax

Always check while purchasing that the product is 100% vegan and certified.

Cruelty-Free Skincare:

Many people confuse cruelty-free skincare with vegan skincare and vice versa. But the truth is that these two terms are TOTALLY different and SEPARATE.

Cruelty-free skincare can be defined that neither the product ingredients nor the product itself has been tested on animals. Cruelty-free skincare DOES NOT permit the testing of products on animals during the whole developmental process.

Cruelty-free skincare includes the animal testing process, but not the animal ingredients. It means that cruelty-free skincare products can contain non-vegan ingredients, for example,

  • Collagen
  • Keratin
  • Lanolin
  • Carmine
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Beeswax

However, you should be alert about some companies that claim to have cruelty-free products but sell their products in countries that include the animal testing process. A truthful cruelty-free brand is always certified; therefore, you can look for the accreditation of the company while buying the product.

Be Aware of the Labeling:

Labeling of a product does not guarantee that it is cruelty-free or vegan. You also cannot tell that the product you’re purchasing is synthetic-free or toxin-free. Always look for the ingredients and formulation of the product. You just have to do some digging yourself and find the right product for you.


  1. https://www.botani.com.au/difference-between-cruelty-free-and-vegan-skincare-cosmetics/
  2. https://go.gale.com/ps/anonymous?id=GALE%7CA568840596&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=1868596X&p=HRCA&sw=w
  3. https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/the-difference-between-vegan-natural-organic-beauty-products
  4. https://thevegancompany.love/clean-vegan-cruelty-free-beauty/
  5. https://www.adorebeauty.com.au/clean-beauty/vegan/guide/vegan-vs-cruelty-free
  6. https://www.treehugger.com/difference-between-vegan-and-cruelty-free-makeup-4858570

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