vegan and cruelty free skincare

Vegan and Cruelty Free Skin Care: What's the Difference?

October 15, 2018

With so many labels to read and designations to look for, being an ethical consumer can be a challenge. To make your skin care journey a little easier, we’re breaking down the differences between two important designations that anyone concerned with animal welfare should look for: vegan and cruelty free. What’s the difference between vegan and cruelty free skin care products, and why does it matter?

What is Vegan Skin Care?

Vegan skin Care products are made without the use of any animal byproducts. Ranging from basic to bizarre, here are some of the most common animal byproducts used in non-vegan skin care products:

  • Beeswax: Made by melting honeycombs, beeswax is used in mascara, lip balms, lotions and more.
  • Carmine: A red dye extracted from cochineal bugs. It’s commonly found in lipstick and eyeshadow.
  • Gelatin: Found in face masks and shampoos. Gelatin is a thickener derived from animal bones.
  • Squalene: Oil from shark livers that’s used in a variety of creams and lotions.

By using a vegan skin care line, you will not only feel better about the ingredients in your products, you can be sure that no animals were harmed or killed when ingredients were sourced. Vegan products are also better for the environment, since reducing our reliance on animal products helps reduce our carbon footprint. If you want to buy vegan products look for the ‘Certified Vegan’ logo.

What is Cruelty Free Skin Care?

When you buy a product that is cruelty free, you are buying something that has not been tested on animals. Between 100,000 and 200,000 animals suffer through cosmetic testing every year, according to Humane Society International. If you want to buy cruelty free skin care products, look for the Leaping Bunny logo. This designation means that no animals were harmed during any phase of the product’s development.

What’s the Difference Between Vegan and Cruelty Free Skin Care?

While both designations are important for any animal lover, they each mean different things. A vegan product won’t have any animal byproducts, but it may have been tested on animals.

Cruelty free skin care products aren’t tested on animals, but may have animal byproducts in the ingredient list. If you want to ensure that your beauty routine doesn’t negatively impact any animals, our advice is to look for products that have both designations.

It’s also important to note that just because a product says “vegan” or “cruelty-free” doesn’t mean it actually is. Anyone can add those words to their product without an actual certification. Vegan Action requires products to be both free of animal byproducts and free of animal testing at any stage in production in order to secure certification. Theoderma products have this certification, and are also certified by Leaping Bunny, which forbids animal testing of any kind.

Theoderma – Naturally Vegan and Cruelty Free Skin Care

All of the products in the Theoderma skin care line are certified vegan and cruelty free skin care products. At Theoderma, mindfulness guides everything we do which means we’re mindful of your skin, your health and our environment. To get a custom skin care regimen that’s entirely vegan and cruelty free, use our Meet Your Match tool.

Savy Guthrie has been a PA working in dermatology for 17 years and has worked in medicine for 20 years overall.  She has treated tens of thousands of patients, helping them achieve healthy, beautiful skin. 

Savy Guthrie is a dermatology PA with 17 years of patient care experience and is the founder of Theoderma Skin Care.

Savy with her dog

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