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#RebelBeautyBites: Vegan vs CrueltyFree: What’s the Dif?

One area of makeup knowledge that always stumps me is Vegan vs. CrueltyFree vs Crueltyfree and Vegan. Logically, you would think that they all would really mean the same thing, but unfortunately, you would be wrong my friend.

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To sum it up in a very short answer; vegan cosmetics are more about what is in the product. Crueltyfree cosmetics are more about the raw ingredients, how they were harvested, and whether the ingredients or the finished product was tested on animals.

Common Ingredients
Vegan products do not contain any animal ingredients or animal derived ingredients. This would include lanolin which is the oil from sheep’s wool, beeswax (commonly used as waterproofing agent), honey, collagen/gelatin derived from the bones, connective tissues and skin of mammals, and albumin, a protein extracted from the blood of cattle used in many wrinkle creams.

Another ingredient that often floats under the radar is Carmine. Sounds cute, right? But in fact Carmine is actually crushed Cochineal Dactylopius coccus a small, scaly insect that is harvested, crushed and boiled to extract the red dye used for everything from lipstick, blush, and nail polish to food.

Look carefully at labels as Carmine can also be called Cochineal or Carminic acid (E120). I recently saw Carmine listed as an ingredient in an Essence Cosmetics lip gloss; Essence is a crueltyfree brand,  but obviously not everything in their line could be considered vegan or cruelty free as some of their products contain animal products.

And sometimes, a product will be made almost solely from an animal ingredient a la Mink Lashes. It is not just a luxurious brand name; they are made of real mink fur, so definitely animal derived, and not cruelty free; essentially they are tiny fur coats for your eyes.

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Fur belongs to the animals! | Gwen Perkins

Keep in mind this is not by any means an exhaustive ingredient list, so if you are not sure what an ingredient actually is, do a quick Google search and you will be able to easily figure out whether it is an animal derived ingredient or not.

If you want to avoid ingesting these ingredients via your makeup and skin care, buying vegan makeup would be definitely be the way to go.

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Tara Teng | Tamara M. Clark

Vegan Designation
To be designated Vegan, a product will bear the certification from The Vegan Society or the Vegan Action group. Vegan only means that the product contains no animal ingredients. Unfortunately, it does not mean that the ingredients or the final product has not been tested on animals.

As I talked about in my previous cruelty free article, there are three different certifications, Leaping Bunny being the industry gold standard. Within each cruelty free list that you can reference, there are many cruelty free AND vegan options listed. A great resource is from Logical Harmony. Their cruelty free list is quite extensive and denotes vegan options next to all brands that qualify. There are many great brands that are both cruelty free and vegan such as Elate Cosmetics, Pacifica and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics , to name a few.

A prime example of all the confusion and how it occurs is when a product is labeled “natural”. On many forums, I have seen comments like “this product is natural, so it cannot have been tested on animals” or “they say they are a natural cosmetics line, that means they are cruelty free and vegan right?” And unfortunately, both of these statements would be incorrect.

The bottom line; something can be vegan but not cruelty free, something can be cruelty free and not vegan, and something can be both cruelty free and vegan.

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On set with Gwen Perkins

If you have not installed the Leaping Bunny app on your phone yet I would recommend getting it. I contacted Leaping Bunny as the barcode scanner function is not working properly on the app at the moment. Leaping Bunny has let me know that they are aware of the barcode issues and are in the process of fixing it. Despite this feature not working, I find their crueltyfree list tool a very handy shopping assistant.

The move to a more conscious lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to evaluate your current path to crueltyfree living in all aspects of your life. Thankfully, every day more products become available to help us in our journeys and allow us to make healthier and more conscious choices.

Peace, Love, and Lipstick!


Next week: What is it really like to be a makeup artist?


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Dominique HankeDominique Hanke (47)

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Dominique is a designer, stylist, fashion writer, and milliner. Her work has been seen on the runways of Vancouver, New York, and Paris and has appeared in local and international media. High-profile clients have included Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl, Arrow), Erin Cebula (E.T. Canada) & Miss America, Mallory Hagan.

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