Confusing Cruelty Free Beauty

It doesn’t take much to confuse me. Not to say that I class myself as stupid by any measure, and I’d say I’ve got a decent dose of common sense in me, but there are topics out there in the big wide world that just send my brain waves a little wonky! Since starting out on my beauty blogging journey, the subject of cruelty free cosmetics has been one of them. In particular the drastic difference between the amount of information on the products we purchase seems to range from pretty much nothing to knowing everything right down to what the brand’s CEO had for breakfast this morning.

Now I’ll be totally honest with you and lay my cards on the table by saying that not all of the beauty and cosmetic items I own are cruelty free. In truth before my passion for makeup and skin care developed I didn’t really know much about cruelty free beauty but kind of assumed that in today’s world animal testing was a thing of the past. Surely with the technology available we can test products that are designed for human use without subjecting poor fluffy animals to be prodded and poked? My assumption was wrong. I’ve learnt that not only do a huge number of brands still use ingredients that are tested on animals, but also that if you want to really find out a brand’s cruelty free status you have to dig deep. Many brands claim to be ‘Cruelty Free’ and to use cruelty free ingredients but in fact sell into countries where animal testing is required by law. China being the biggest and most controversial right now. We’ve seen brands like Nars which was once deemed as a cruelty free brand, loose a huge amount of following and respect by taking the decision to sell their products into China. Click here to read more. If you clicked the link and looked over the article, you may have been left thinking the same as me. Double Standards? Or no standards? I don’t personally see how in one breath you can state that ‘the global elimination of animal testing needs to happen’ but in the next imply that ‘however we want to make loads of money and sell here so we’re going to allow our products to be tested on animals anyway’. It makes me sad, a huge brand like Nars selling out to further line their pockets. I will not be purchasing anything from Nars again.


Internationally recognised cruelty free symbols

One thing I have noticed is that the majority of brands that don’t claim to have cruelty free status are on the more high-end of the market. Brands we consider to be luxurious and a treat to be able to afford such as Estee Lauder, Clinique, Tom Ford, Dior, Benefit, Bobbi Brown, YSL and the list goes on. To confuse matters further, there are brands that promote to have a cruelty free status, yet are owned by a larger parent company which does not. An example of this could be IT Cosmetics who are a cruelty free brand, however they are owned by L’Oréal who aren’t. All very confusing I know! I suppose it’s down to each individual as to whether they view a brand as cruelty free, especially when there are grey areas like this. A great source for finding out which brands have total, partial or zero cruelty free status is Cruelty Free Kitty where all of the information is broken down by status. Or even PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies campaign. I highly recommend browsing these sites as you may be surprised as to what you will find out!

These are brands that seem to be very evasive when it comes to stating whether or not they are cruelty free. Providing no information online at all. Then there was the confusion of a recent beauty box goodie I received. GlossyBox included Bang Beauty’s Cream Colour, which they stated on their information leaflet was cruelty free. However you can imagine my surprise when I saw ‘Made In China’ slapped across the bottom of the jar. Confused much? I was! I’ve trawled the web and have really struggled to actually find out what their status is. I noticed on a recent jaunt to Superdrug to pick up shampoo, that hardly any brands we recognise had the leaping bunny or cruelty free logos on their packaging, so I made the assumption that if they didn’t have it, that they aren’t in fact cruelty free. Could this be wrong? Are there cruelty free brands which just don’t state it? That would be bonkers, especially in a world there the issue of animal testing is so profound and important to so many people. As a result, I opted to go for Superdrug’s own brand shampoo as it clearly labelled itself as cruelty free on the back. This is an item I wouldn’t have probably normally been drawn to, so it just goes to show how much cruelty free status is now influencing my purchases. Similarly I discovered that a Marc Jacobs product I received in a complimentary Influenster Voxbox is cruelty free, yet nowhere on the packaging does it state that it is. It’s absurd! If you’ve got cruelty free status, shout about it!!!


But it’s not all doom and gloom, and major changes for the better are happening across the world. The European Union, Israel, and India banned the sale of any cosmetics or cosmetics ingredients that have been tested on animals. In 2015 Kendo Brands, who manufactures brands such as Kat Von D Beauty, Bite Beauty, and Marc Jacobs Beauty joined PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. Read more here. These changes are amazing, and it just goes to show that cosmetics can be produced with ethics and integrity in mind. Across the board and at various price points. Barry M and Colourpop for example, both very affordable, and cruelty free!



Countries with current cruelty free beauty status


There are also quite a number of brands that are not only cruelty free, but are vegan! Cover FX, Ecotools and Pai to name a few, whilst Kat Von D is working on reformulating ALL their makeup to be vegan. Again, pop on over to Cruelty Free Kitty to find out more. Many brands offer a selection of vegan products.

So my journey so far has taught me a lot. It has not only made me re-think the products I buy, but it’s really opened my eyes to the ethics and morals within the beauty industry, in some cases the lack of, or contradictory practices. Everyone has their own opinions and views on this matter so by no means is this post here to start a debate, but merely to share with you my personal experience of learning about cruelty free status and how non transparent it can be. I am not sitting up on a pedestal raving about how my conscience is clear as there are products I own in my stash which are from companies who test on animals. But for me this is about opening my eyes a little, and I personally feel that going forward, I want to support and contribute to those brands that do genuinely care about the animals that are too often put in the firing line for the sake of  greed. I also acknowledge that I’ve got a lot still to learn, but there are some amazing resources out there, and I hope that product labelling becomes clearer in the future so we can all make an informed choice about what we are putting on and into our bodies.

Do you have any helpful information in regards to cruelty free and vegan beauty that would help me and others? If so, comment below!

As always, with love


N.B – All the information provided in this post is based upon online research and those reference websites linked throughout.

17 thoughts on “Confusing Cruelty Free Beauty

  1. Thebeautyspyglass says:

    This is such a great subject to write about. I’m teetering on the edge of becoming completely cruelty free, expecially since buying our daughter two bunnies! I’ve definityky stopped using Benefit because of their practices. I recently bought some Clinique products without realising! It’s actually quite shocking that these big brands are still testing on animals.

    Great post lovely

    Samantha x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theconfessionsofanonlineshopaholic says:

    I found this post very interesting to read, as even I didn’t know about certain brands that were testing on animals and I do buy from Estée Lauder, YSL and Clinique quite frequently, which is a shame. I definitely think that this post would be a great post to share around the beauty blogging community, because I think there are others out there like me, who don’t know too much on the subject! I definitely know that other favourite brands of mine like Botanics and The Body Shop are cruelty-free, so that’s a relief!
    Thank you for sharing your research!
    Jenny x

    Liked by 1 person

    • prettypollybeauty says:

      It is super confusing, especially with brands being cruelty free yet their parent companies not! So it kind of leaves people having to make their own opinions as things aren’t so clear cut. Some of my products aren’t cruelty free, and it’s such a shame as they’re amazing xc


  3. thevanityedit says:

    Such an insightful post. It’s crazy to think a lot of people still aren’t aware of the horrific things happening behind all the glitz and glamor of high-end beauty brands.
    And that’s just it, it isn’t pretty! It’s covered up with flash promos and pretty packaging. It’s a sad situation, that’s why it’s so important to get this message out there.
    What gets me the most is the sheer contradictory in plain sight and still so many people are ignorant to it, it’s a global issue that is going to take a long time to rectify. It’s time we started showing true compassion for animals and saving them from the disgusting processes the beauty industry puts them through for the egotistical ways of us humans. I could go on and on, but as you said this isn’t a debate and I’m sure you don’t want me waffling on in a comment!😂
    But anyway this was beautifully written and I can’t wait to continue reading your blog😊 sending you heaps of love and respect girl x

    Liked by 1 person

    • prettypollybeauty says:

      Thank you my sweet! 😙. I think the big issue of transparency needs to be addressed so we know more about what we are buying. Take NYX for example, a cruelty free brand, but are actually owned by L’oreal! You’re right, things aren’t going to change overnight, but every little helps! And never apologise for waffling, it’s what we do best! Why do you think we have blogs?! 😂😂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ashley Simmons says:

    I love this post and it’s very informative! I’m trying to look for more cruelty free brands, because it’s important to me. I can’t believe there are brands that are ok with testing on animals. People should start talking about this topic more often.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. More Than Greens says:

    So true about how confusing “cruelty-free” can be. I feel like I’m constantly googling products and brands! Logical Harmony and Ethical Elephant are two of my go-to sites for cruelty-free info.
    Oddly, “Made in China” doesn’t automatically mean a product is not cruelty-free. The mandatory animal testing only applies if a product is SOLD in China, not if it’s made there. Just to add an extra level of confusion. 😉
    A lot of brands don’t show the cruelty-free logos on their products as they often have to pay to be certified in order to do so. Then there’s the sneaky brands who write “Not tested on animals” on their packaging yet we know they are (perhaps by a third-party) because they retail in China. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • prettypollybeauty says:

      Thank you so much for adding some clarity for me!!! It is really confusing, and the lack of brands commiting to displaying their cruelty free status does make it harder to make an informed choice. Appreciate your response very much 😙 x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kay @ TheEveryRose says:

    Omg don’t even go there with it all! It’s hard work but I just can’t bring myself to use products if I know they’ve been used on animals in those cruel horrible ways!! And if they sell in China forget it, they cannot enter the Chinese market without animal testing – what is wrong with this world??!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • prettypollybeauty says:

      Considering there are so many lovely products out there that are completely cruelty free I struggle to understand why companies still test on animals. And for what ridiculous reason do China require products to be tested in this way before they will allow them to be sold there? It’s all a bit bonkers! x


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