Defining Clean & Cruelty-Free Beauty
If you’ve visited our site before, you may have noticed we reference “our clean and cruelty-free standards” quite often. These are general guidelines we have in place when determining if a brand or product aligns with our overall mission – to use less toxic + cruelty-free products.
While our set of guidelines is a great starting point for shopping clean and cruelty-free, we ALWAYS recommend that each person does their research before buying a product.
What “Clean” Means to Us
When it comes to beauty, the terms “clean”, “green”, and “non-toxic” don’t have a firm definition – which makes things tricky. Logos and marketing terminology can often be misleading and promote greenwashing – double tricky.
Here’s how we determine what’s “clean” or not:
Step One: Ingredient List Review
First, we look at the product’s ingredient list and run it through SkinCarisma’s analyzer tool to review the breakdown. If the majority of the individual ingredients are green and the overall product percentage is mostly green, the product (likely) doesn’t contain harsh/toxic ingredients.
Step Two: Ingredient Research
Next, we look for any unfamiliar ingredients in the list, or any that are orange (moderate risk) or red (high risk) in the SkinCarisma scan. We then review scientific studies on these ingredients and note the likelihood of them causing health issues.
Our definition of Clean is: “Products with a low likelihood of causing health issues + hormonal disruption and primarily contain plant-based ingredients.”
What “Cruelty-Free” Means to Us
On the other hand, Cruelty-Free is a lot easier to define. It simply means that a product was not tested on an animal at any point in its production. The confusion comes in when brands use deceptive marketing claims and logos that aren’t properly vetted. Sadly, in the United States, a brand can claim whatever they want on their packaging in regards to animal testing, whether it’s true or not. There are no legal repercussions for doing so.
Here’s how we determine if a brand is cruelty-free:
*All of these must be met in order to be considered cruelty-free
- The brand does not test its product or individual ingredients on animals.
- The brand does not hire a third party to test their product or individual ingredients on animals.
- The brand does not source ingredients from suppliers who test on animals.
- The brand does not sell its product anywhere that animal testing is required (ex: mainland China).
- If the brand uses honey, beeswax, milk, or any other animal-derived ingredient in its product, it does not result in harm or death to an animal.
Our definition of Cruelty-Free is: “Products that are developed and sold (in places) without animal testing/harm.”
This post is not sponsored but may contain affiliate links from which we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Nothing stated in this article should be used in place of professional medical advice. All opinions are our own.