How to Decode Cosmetic Labels for a Cruelty-Free Lifestyle


If You Love Cosmetics and Hate Animal Cruelty, This Guide for Decoding Labels and Living Cruelty-Free is For You!

Animals are wonderful creatures, and they should be loved, appreciated and cared for. However, the harsh reality is that despite a strong and intense campaigning against animal testing, numerous cosmetics companies continue with this abominable practice. Companies are now using tricky tactics to lead you to believe their products are cruelty-free when in reality they are not.

One of the ways to put an end to this is to boycott such brands and commit to purchasing only products that come from companies that are truly cruelty-free. However, this is easier said than done. Seeing the words ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘not tested on animals’ followed by a bunny picture on the product label may seem convincing enough, but these labels are often misleading.

While the company in question may not be testing their products on animals, more often than not they rely on other companies to do the ‘dirty work’ for them. That’s why we are here today, to give you the full scoop on how to spot genuine and honest cruelty-free companies and make wise and conscientious purchases.

Be aware of the loophole

As the awareness on the cruelty of animal testing rises, companies do everything in their power to distance themselves from the controversy and negative publicity they would face if their participation in the practice transpired. Instead of choosing not to test on animals, these companies manage to find loopholes by using third party testing. This means that animal testing could be done by an ingredient supplier, a lab formulating the products, an affiliate company or a parent company. That way the company has the freedom to market the product as cruelty-free, because ‘technically’ they are.

Don’t trust the label

When you see the phrase “this finished product was not tested on animals” it’s time to become suspicious and ask, “Is this product truly cruelty-free?” This is again another way companies try to make you believe the product in question is safe. The reality behind this facade of a phrase is that is that while the combination of products that make the finished product wasn’t tested on animals, individual ingredients may have still been tested on animals.reading cosmetic labels for animal products

On top of that, companies will often resort to ingredient names that don’t seem suspicious but animal derivatives are lurking under those names. That is why organizations such as PETA, who are dedicated to abolishing all kinds of animal cruelty, have created an extensive list of such ingredients to help raise awareness and know what to avoid in your quest to buy cruelty-free cosmetics.

The list includes everything from A – Adrenaline, which is code for hormone from adrenal glands of hogs, cattle, and sheep, to W – wax that comes from animals and plants and is used in the manufacturing of lipsticks, depilatories and hair straighteners. Make sure to study the entire list, print it out if you can’t remember it all (it’s surprisingly and scarily long), and make smart and kind choices.

Know where to turn to

choosing cruelty-free cosmetics

For further guidance, always turn to passionate advocates and organizations such as The Leaping Bunny and PETA whenever you are in doubt as to whether your potential future purchase will bring revenue to a company that still upholds to cruel practices. For instance, The Leaping Bunny has created an extensive, all-encompassing list of approved brands, so you always have a safe and verified place to turn to in pursuit of ethical shopping.

Another organization, the one based in Australia, a country that has become one of the leading ones in uncovering animal-testing companies, is the amazing CHOICE that has conducted a thorough investigation and came to a startling discovery that a great number of companies conduct animal testing without telling the consumers.

There is hope though… using the resources now available, we can make conscious choices about the products we buy and the companies we support with our purchases. Case in point – Ultraceuticals, an Australian skincare brand which is truly cruelty-free and neither tests on animals nor uses animal derivatives. All hope is not lost, you just need to know where to look for a safe cosmetics heaven.

Not all bunnies are created equal

Cruelty-Free Labels

As CHOICE warns us, “just because they’ve put a bunny on it, doesn’t make it cruelty-free. Look for an official logo from one of the third party certifiers.” There are different kinds of bunnies, so the next time you go shopping, make sure you have this picture printed out, carry it around with you and trust only the product that have the bunny on the left.




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Nicole is a lifestyle blogger at and is passionate about yoga and healthy living. She enjoys sharing her experiences and ideas on how to lead a happy and healthy life. If you want to read more from Nicole you can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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