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People all around the world realize that switching to vegan haircare and skincare products is the way to go. In 2019, the vegan beauty products market accounted for $14.3 billion and is expected to reach $25.3 billion by 2029. This is not to say that using cruelty-free hair products is necessarily a “trend.” There is a global awakening. People are eventually seeing the truth about the traditional beauty industry and how harmful it can be to animals and humans.

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If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a vegan lifestyle, or just want to start implementing more vegan beauty products into your routine, then you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to take a deep dive into the beauty industry, what it means to be “cruelty-free” and “vegan,” and just how damaging animal testing , mixing human and animal ecosystems can be.

“Cruelty-Free” & “Vegan”

Cruelty-Free VS Vegan
It’s important to note that “vegan” and “cruelty-free” are not exactly the same thing. Let’s discover what each means.


Vegan means that a product doesn’t contain ingredients from animal derived sources. Non-vegan ingredients that can be found in beauty products include:

  • Honey
  • Beeswax
  • Gelatin
  • Lanolin
  • Squalene
  • Carmine
  • Ambergris
  • Sheep Placenta

Cruelty-Free means that none of the ingredients, nor the product, were tested on animals at any point during production.

The biggest issue with these two definitions, as it relates to the beauty industry, is that neither are regulated by the FDA. So, one company’s idea of “cruelty-free” or “vegan” may be different from another’s. As you may have noticed from the above definitions, “vegan” does not necessarily mean “not tested on animals” unless a product is labeled as both.

No Regulation

The Vegan Society defines veganism as,

“a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

So, if you ask a member of The Vegan Society, they would say that all products labeled as “vegan” should inherently not be tested on animals. However, because there is no federal regulation, the definitive distinction is murky. That’s why it’s important to understand the differences between the two so you can make the most informed decision when purchasing cruelty-free hair products, especially if your goal is to stick to a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle.

In fact, there is no reason why we should still be using animal products in the beauty industry, just as there is no reason as to why we should still be testing on animals. If massive beauty companies like Dermablend, Milani, Too Faced, Tarte, and Lush can provide consumers with vegan and cruelty-free options, all companies have the capacity to do the same.

Cosmetics and other beauty products are an integral part of most humans’ lives, there’s no doubt about it. But appalling tests on animals and using unethically, unsustainably sourced animal-derived ingredients simply cannot be justified by the innovations that have been made in cosmetics. The idea of harming a living creature so that another one can look good is simply a nonsense.

Which Animals Do Cosmetics Companies Test On?

Baby rodent in a surgical gloved hand suggesting experimentation

Animal Exploitation

Although animal testing is not required in the United States, as it is in China, it still occurs. Companies will choose to test their products on animals to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. Nut they do so at the expense and exploitation of defenseless animals.

According to The Humane Society, cosmetic testing is typically performed on mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs.

Cosmetic Testing

Disclaimer: the following information may be disturbing to those who are sensitive to graphic material.

Some animal tests that are routinely performed in the cosmetics industry are:

  • Skin and eye irritation tests – chemical ingredients are dripped into the eyes or rubbed into the skin of a restrained test subject, without any pain relief.
  • Illness tests – animals are force-fed ingredients to be observed for signs of general illness, cancer, and birth defects.
  • Lethal dose tests – animal subjects are forced to consume a certain amount of a product until they are no longer alive. This test is done to determine the “lethal dose” of a product.

Once the tests are complete, the animals are typically put to death with no regard for their life in any capacity. The method of killing is typically asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation – no pain relief is provided.

Animal Rights Issue is a Human Rights Issue

An intensive rodent farming exploitation

Zoonotic diseases are caused by viruses spread between humans and animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the last 100-years, zoonotic diseases have spiked alarmingly, and today they may make up for 60% of emerging infection diseases – including Rabies, Lyme Disease, Salmonella, West Nile, and The Black Plague.

The CDC warns that zoonotic diseases can be spread through direct contact with animals. Chances of spreading disease are increased when “coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal.”

Scientists that test on animals are frequently in situations that the CDC warns against, which puts them at a high risk for contracting and spreading zoonotic diseases. Therefore, it is the best interest of humans and animals alike to put an end to animal testing.

Putting an End to Animal Testing

Human being feeding a baby cat with a lot of care

Luckily, consumers have much more power than they think they do. By massively agreeing to only purchase cruelty-free hair products, as well as other cosmetics, you can send a powerful signal that cosmetics industry won’t be able to ignore anymore.

Keep an eye out for the cruelty-free and vegan label on the products that you’re interested in and stay up-to-date with information from companies and associations like Peta, Ethical Elephant, and Leaping Bunny.

There are also many apps that you can use to determine whether a product is vegan or cruelty-free. Simply input the product’s name, and all of the necessary information will come up!

The Best Cruelty-Free Hair Products

You can begin or continue your journey to a vegan, cruelty-free lifestyle by purchasing cruelty-free hair products that are listed by All of the products on our website have been vetted to be fair for animals, humans, and the environment! We are working hard to have all the information you need to live your hair’s best and healthiest life!

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Vincent P.

Humanist and animal's rights defender