Conscious Beauty Choices: Cruelty-free, Vegan Beauty, & More

by Prachee last updated -

Makeup has a long history, and yet has never experienced a surge in mass popularity like it enjoys today. Cosmetics and skincare products are accessible to almost everyone. However, there is also more awareness about the individual and environmental cost of anything that you do under the label of ‘beauty’. Depending on your lifestyle and ethical choices, there are various factors to consider when choosing beauty products from amongst tags such as vegan beauty, organic makeup, and more.

However, labels can get confusing. You might be leading a 100% vegan lifestyle and reach for cruelty-free cosmetics, only to realize that they are not the same and do not cater to your requirements. On the other hand, you could be very conscious of what chemicals you are putting on your skin and thus opt for organic products, but then realize they’re not as natural as you want, or even entirely organic. Beyond this, you might simply be keen on knowing what practices the brands you use are following, irrespective of your lifestyle choices. Here are some key skincare and makeup terminology you should know to effectively navigate the increasingly dense world of ‘beauty’.

Vegan Beauty and Cruelty-free Beauty

Veganism can be limited to food or can extend to all areas of your life, based on how dedicatedly you practice it, and whether you are ethically vegan or a food-conscious vegan. Vegan beauty ideally caters to someone who makes all choices as a vegan, but anyone can choose to opt for them. These products are ideally free of any ingredients which are derived from animals or which harm animals in any way.

On the other hand, cruelty-free products are those which haven’t caused any harm or cruelty towards animals, which mostly means that they haven’t been tested on animals. It might be easy for many of us think that one would mean the same thing as the other or at least that each entails the other. But this is often not the case.

Vegan beauty products can be made avoiding the use of everything derived from animals and still practice something that constitutes animal-cruelty. On the other hand, the cruelty-free tag could only be about not having tested products on animals, but it could still have used animal-derived ingredients.

So, if both these concerns go hand-in-hand, be sure you ask the right questions. If not, then know that vegan beauty is usually about the use of vegan products, while cruelty-free is usually about avoiding any harm to animals.

vegan beauty products arranged on a pink background

Vegan beauty products can be made avoiding the use of everything derived from animals. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Natural Beauty and Organic Beauty

Organic means produce, including plants and animals, which has been grown with all-natural substances and generally has avoided the use of synthetics or chemicals such as pesticides. The FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of the FD&C Act and FPLA. However, none of these laws or the regulations enforced by the FDA define the term ‘organic’. So, if a cosmetic product is labeled as organic, it is required to comply with both USDA regulations for the organic claim and FDA regulations for labeling and safety requirements for cosmetics. [1]

To put simply, organic means the use of ingredients that have been derived from sources that have been grown without the aid of synthetic products such as fertilizers. But this does nothing to assure you that it is safer. On the other hand, natural is supposed to mean that the ingredients are sourced from things found in nature. This is where you grow cautious as some labels could also use it to define naturally derived products that have been heavily processed.

To sum it up, organic and natural beauty can easily go together, but that isn’t always the case. You could still be allergic to some ingredients or it could still have traces of chemicals that you do not want to include in your routine. It is best to go through the list of ingredients before. Also, these products do not have to be vegan or cruelty-free unless specifically mentioned.

Sustainable and Clean Beauty

There is no certification for clean beauty, for it is more about creating products that are environmentally sustainable as well as more favorable for your use. Sustainable beauty is about creating products that are devoid of ingredients that are not polluting or harmful to the environment.

These are usually free of parabens, sulfates, and other such usual suspects which are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or environmental pollutants.

What Beauty Products Are Best?

It is always best to pick what you identify with. If something is clean but not adhering to your vegan lifestyle or vice versa, it will not make you happy. To our delight, there are more than ever companies catering to one or many of these categories, so it is easier to choose.

There are products that can fit into multiple or all categories. Try out these and see if they suit you. Also, as with food, it is a good practice to read labels. There are several apps and website out there which can help you navigate through safe and unsafe ingredients.

Beauty is about what makes you happy. If keeping abreast of the latest trends is not as fulfilling to you as sticking to a tried-and-tested regime, you do you! Protection Status
About the Author

Prachee is a content writer for Organic Facts and is responsible for writing on the latest wellness trends. A former Journalism & Media teacher, she prides herself on being able to seamlessly dabble between health, science, and technology. She has completed her Masters in Communication Studies from the University of Pune, India as well as an online course on “Introduction to Food and Health” from Stanford University, US. Prachee fancies herself to be a poet and a cook when the rare lightning of inspiration strikes.

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