Given the scale of the climate crisis, more and more people are taking responsibility for their actions and the consequences that they have on the environment.

Choosing cruelty-free products is an excellent way to reduce your environmental footprint, prevent animal abuse, avoid harmful chemicals, and look after your skin microbiome. But how can you build a beneficial skincare routine around these principles? Here is all you need to know about the importance of switching to cruelty-free products, the benefits of this choice, and how to get started on your new skincare journey.

What are cruelty-free skincare products?

We all try to make more sustainable choices in our everyday life. But when it comes down to buying cosmetic products, labels and logos can be consuming. Vegan? Organic? Natural? Cruelty-free? What is the difference between them?

Generally, cruelty-free refers to all of those products and activities that do not involve the abuse or harm of animals. In the cosmetic industry, cruelty-free means that a certain product and its ingredients are not tested on animals.

However, the official definition of cruelty-free is not clear, and many companies might still:

  • Use products that have been tested on animals in a foreign country
  • Utilise suppliers that test their products on animals
  • Utilise products that have been on the market for years and have been tested on animals in the past
  • Not test on animals but include animal-derived ingredients in the formula (creating a product that is not vegan)

This confusion can make choosing cruelty-free products difficult for consumers, and it is always recommended to learn more about the mission and values of a certain brand before committing to a purchase.

How to identify cruelty-free products

Firstly, let’s make some important clarifications on the different definitions:

  • Vegan products are those that do not contain ingredients and products deriving from animals. However, some of the synthetic ingredients included might have been tested on animals – vice-versa, a cruelty-free product that is not tested on animals can include animal-derived ingredients.
  • Organic” is a definition used for foods produced using organic farming requirements. In the cosmetic industry, organic products are the ones including some or all organically-grown ingredients.
  • There is no definition for “natural products” and many manufacturers use this label to describe a product that includes some natural active ingredients.

To identify cruelty-free products, the best way is to look for the bunny logo that is usually placed at the back of the label, next to the ingredient list. Depending on the organisation that has verified the product, you might find one of the following:

You can also use the PETA directory to check if a brand or company is cruelty-free or contact the brand directly to ask about their policies.

The benefits of cruelty-free skincare products on the environment

Choosing a cruelty-free skincare routine might reduce your choice, causing you to exercise mindfulness and only shop for essential, beneficial products. In turn, this can have important benefits on the environment and how sustainable your lifestyle is. Here’s how:

  • Cruelty-free products can help you reduce your environmental footprint. As we have seen, cruelty-free products contain a fraction of the chemicals you can normally find in standard cosmetic products. These chemicals, which include triclosan, parabens, fragrances, sulfates, and microplastics, are obviously harmful to the animals they are tested on, but they are also pollutants that have severe environmental impacts.
  • If you are thinking about switching to a more ethical, plant-based lifestyle, cruelty-free products are the obvious choice. While we refer to them as “lab rats” the animals used for cosmetic testing are many and they are subjected to harsh, painful, and sometimes lethal tests.
  • An increasing number of skincare brands have started to see the cruelty-free label as a must-have selling point. Most of these brands are companies that have researched alternative ways to create their products to yield the greatest benefits on the environment, skin microbiome and the animal world.

Find a personalised cruelty-free skincare routine with Skin Trust Club

In the UK – and in the EU – animal testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients is illegal since 1998. However, the UK could begin to allow animal testing again for cosmetic products – which is a significant issue and one consumers need to be aware of.

If you are looking to switch to a more sustainable, natural, and beneficial skincare routine but you are unsure where to start, begin by taking a Skin Trust Club skin microbiome test. Alongside valuable insights on your skin microbiome composition and type, you will get personalised skincare suggestions designed to restore the health and beauty of your skin – naturally!