Because makeup shouldn't harm us or animals.

Our Standards

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.

Greenwashing is a form of deceptive marketing that tricks consumers into thinking a brand or product is more eco-friendly than they are.

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 Beauty is: “Beauty products that have a low likelihood of causing health issues and hormonal disruption and focus on 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

  1. The brand does not test its product or individual ingredients on animals.
  2. The brand does not hire a third party to test their product or individual ingredients on animals.
  3. The brand does not source ingredients from suppliers who test on animals.
  4. The brand does not sell its product anywhere that animal testing is required (ex: mainland China).
  5. 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 Beauty is: “Beauty products developed without testing on animals that do not include animal-derived ingredients that harm an animal and are not sold where animal testing is mandated.


This post may contain affiliate links from which we earn a commission, at no cost to you. Nothing stated above should be used in lieu of professional medical advice. All opinions are our own.