What Does Cruelty-Free IN COSMETICS Mean?

What does cruelty-free mean?

By Ruby Wan Lam Lo - February 03, 2021

You have probably spotted the cruelty-free label on a lot of cosmetic products or have been actively looking for it. Lots of cosmetic brands use it to show their customers that their goods are safe for animals as well. Here at Suntribe we value the cruelty-free policy highly. That’s why we  thought it would be great to give you a little insight into what the term really means and what you should look out for if you care the same for animals as we do. 

What Does Cruelty-Free Actually Mean?

In short, cruelty-free means that a product and its ingredients were not tested on animals. 

But what is the case if a product doesn’t specify that it’s cruelty-free? Does it mean that animals were harmed? The answer is Yes and No. In this case it depends on where the product was produced and where it is being sold. In Europe for example, EU regulations have banned animal testing since 2004 and banned the sale of products tested on animals outside of the EU in 2013. Therefore all products produced, and / or legally sold in the EU have automatically not been tested on animals. 

Cruelty-Free Regulation Within the EU

For products produced and sold in the EU you can be sure they are cruelty-free even if they don’t show any specific logo on their packaging. The EU specifically establishes two bans:

  1. The ban of testing a finished cosmetic product or a cosmetic ingredient on animals. 
  2. The ban of marketing finishes cosmetic products and any of their ingredients which have been tested on animals in the EU.

These bans allow you to stroll the European beauty aisles without the need of constantly double checking for cruelty-free labels. Some brands, of course, still like to use those kinds of logos on their packaging to confirm their love and care for animals. 

How to Know Whether Brands Outside of The EU Are Cruelty-Free

While all products produced and sold in the EU are automatically cruelty-free, thanks to EU regulations, this can’t be said for all the rest of the world. According to the FDA the US doesn’t have any legal definition for these terms and therefore brands can make pretty broad claims for their products. In China, animal testing is required by law and therefore all foreign and imported beauty products have to be tested on animals first. 

This is why organizations like the Leaping Bunny, PETA and the Humane Society exist! Those companies provide cruelty-free labels for brands who pledge to uphold their animal rights guidelines and ensure that products carrying their label have been certified as cruelty-free. 

Check out three of those safe labels below:


What does cruelty-free mean?

If you want to buy products from brands outside the EU you’ll just have to do a little more research and look for those trusted logos on a brand’s packaging or their website.

If you are still unsure or can’t find any, check the companies FAQ or contact them directly, asking about their cruelty-free policy. You can also check if they are listed by PETA or another organisation as cruelty-free. Most programs, like the Leaping Bunny also have a comprehensive shopping guide or an app you can use to check the brand you want to buy from. 

Which Standards Must a Brand Achieve to be Granted The “Cruelty-Free” Label?

When purchasing products from cosmetics companies that are not based in Europe and/or do not produce their products in the EU, you should look out for one of the three certified cruelty-free labels. 

To be able to use any of the official labels, brands must meet the following criteria

The Future of “Cruelty-Free”

Unfortunately, there are still limitations that are not yet resolved in the current EU regulations. For example the bans only apply to cosmetic products and their ingredients, but are not applicable to other sectors such as the fashion industry. 

Right now, the European Commission continues the research into cruelty-free product testing methods in all areas. There are already quite a number of ways to test products and ingredients without animals. And hopefully such research will lead to even further animal-friendly alternatives. 

Are Suntribe’s Natural Cosmetics Cruelty-Free?

The answer is YES! Not only do we produce in Lithuania in the EU, but for us cruelty-free is not only a logo. It is an obligation to protect animal rights and our customers’ safety. Every Suntribe item that you find is 100% cruelty-free and has not been tested on animals. Nor have any of the products components been tested on animals by us or our suppliers. Apart from animal rights, we at Suntribe also care about the environment and our workers’ health when producing our natural cosmetics. This is why we only use natural, organic, safe and reef safe ingredients for all our products. You can trust that our worry-free cosmetics are safe, functional, and effective.

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about the author

Hej! I’m Ruby, a digital marketer from Hong Kong, now living in Sweden. Inspired by the Nordics, I develop my passion on natural and organic lifestyle. I love reading tips and tricks on eco-friendly lifestyle, vegan food, and zero waste etc. When I’m not reading or watching YouTube, you will often see me drinking different kinds of tea and enjoying my peaceful moment.