Working in the beauty industry, I would constantly come across clients who were looking for products that were either vegan or cruelty free. I personally, had no idea what the difference was, I know, how could I?! I always did research as to which brands were indeed, cruelty free or vegan, but honestly, had no idea what the difference was between the two. I respect others lifestyle choices and would always try to help clients find products that still supported their lifestyle, but also, made them feel at their best.  I would struggle to help clients find products that suited them because a lot of companies wouldn’t list it, or would say one thing then their ingredients said another and I couldn’t figure out what exactly these clients were looking for (ingredient wise). Recently, I decided to get to the bottom of it and figure out what the difference between the two were and, if I didn’t know the difference, I’m sure there are others out there who don’t know as well.


The word vegan refers to a food or material free from any animal products. Examples: Meat, milk, eggs, honey, wool, goose down or leather.  If a product is vegan, it means it does not contain any animal ingredient or animal derived ingredients. Top ingredients used that would make a product not vegan would be (to list a few) honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin. Here are 4 common reasons why someone would choose to go vegan.

  1. Health and Nutrition – Most turn to a plant based diet to improve their own health and well being because of the negative impacts of animal agriculture on animals and the planet
  2. Environmental Protection – Industrialized animal farming is a huge factor that plays a large part in the environmental degradation and anyone seeking to live a more eco friendly lifestyle cannot help but realize the impact of their food choices
  3. Social Justice – We breed and kill billions of animals on an annual basis, just so we can eat them. Recognizing that animals do not solely exist for us to use them as a means to an end.
  4. Morality – Realization that no form of animal use is morally justifiable and that we shouldn’t be wearing them or using them when animal-free alternatives exist

* This is information I have gathered from numerous vegan friends and Does not necessarily mean it is right or wrong, just what I gathered from our conversation.

I just briefly wanted to touch on what I have learned being vegan was. I do not want to go heavily into detail with it because its new to me and I don’t want to give misinformation, offend anyone, etc. So hopefully, you get some idea of what vegan is. Its a choice, I respect it, and would never tell someone what I think is right or wrong or what I think they should do with their own lives, body, decisions. Ok, so lets touch on what cruelty free is and how it relates to being vegan.


Cruelty free is a word a lot of cosmetic companies have been putting on their products to let clients know that the product they are about to purchase, was not TESTED on animals. It does NOT mean that the product doesn’t include animal product, it just isn’t tested on animals. This is where I got confused, me thinking cruelty free, not testing on animals, that must mean they don’t use animal product itself, where in fact, that is not the case. But, what it does mean is, no animals are being used as “test dummies” for our products. But that does NOT mean, no animals were harmed in order to make the product (look for animal ingredients being used in product). Bunnies are mostly used to test products because they have delicate eyes, similar to humans. If a bunny has a reaction, they then go back to lab and change formulations of product before selling. Its a way for cosmetic companies to ensure the safety of their products. A growing number of cosmetic companies, are adopting cruelty free cosmetic testing standards thanks to increased demand as to most of the clients are becoming aware of how animals are being treated in order to make products.

So, why would someone want cruelty free and not necessarily vegan? That was another question of mine that I kept asking. Cruelty free is there for animal activists or for clients who are animal lovers and want to know that in order to feel “pretty” they are not harming any animals while doing so. Vegan is there for the client who wants to know that there are NO animal ingredients OR harming/testing done on the products they are going to purchase.

I’m getting anxiety just thinking of this, its just a fine line. I feel like, we THINK we are doing good when purchasing cruelty free, but really, if the product has an animal ingredient in it, then realistically the animal was harmed in order to make the product. The most common ingredients I have come across on brands that say they are cruelty free is beeswax and lanolin. SO, YEAH they didn’t test it on a bunny, but they most likely hurt a sheep or killed some bees to make the product. Bright side though, not all cruelty free products have to or do use animal ingredients. Whew! So here is just a little list of a few of my favorite Cruelty free / Vegan Products

CRUELTY FREE PRODUCTS (drugstore and high end)

  • Ardell
  • Burts Bees
  • Elf
  • Flower
  • EcoTools
  • Hard Candy
  • Jane
  • Jordana
  • Milani
  • NYX
  • Physicians Formula
  • Pixi
  • Sonia Kashuk
  • Wet N’ Wild
  • Anastasia
  • Bite Beauty
  • BareMinerals
  • Becca
  • Blinc
  • Butterlondon
  • Buxom
  • CoverFX
  • Deborah Lippmann
  • Hourglass
  • Josie Maran
  • Julep
  • Nars
  • O.C.C.
  • Nars
  • Tarte
  • Too Faced
  • Urban Decay
  • Eyeko


  • Tarte (not all products) on Tartes website they have a full list of all vegan products
  • O.C.C.
  • Dose Of Colors
  • Arbonne
  • Cozette
  • Pacifica
  • Nude Skincare
  • ELF (the whole line is vegan and cruelty free)
  • EcoTools (also, all vegan and cruelty free)

As you can see the “vegan” list is pretty short, its hard to come by “high end” products that are vegan. If anything, try your best to be aware of ingredients and what you’re purchasing OR don’t listen to me and do what you want! Hope this helped or gave you some kind of understanding of the two, again, I’m still learning about the difference and this is just what I have collected from numerous people. If I am misinformed, or wrong, let me know, I am still open and trying my best to get a better understanding of it all. The best I can do, is to always stay on top of knowing which products claim what, that way when I am helping a client, I can confidently lead them into the right direction. Thank you for reading, stoppin’ by, until next time


Bailey Sarian



2 thoughts on “VEGAN VS. CRUELTY FREE

    • I know that’s why it’s under cruelty free and not vegan . A lot of brands that have bees wax consider themselves cruelty free… I explained in the whole long paragraph .


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