What is Cruelty-Free Cosmetics? What Are Animal By-Products?

This article is prepared in collaboration with https://switchlife.blog/.

What is Cruelty-Free Cosmetic?

cruelty free cosmetics

 Cruelty-Free is “Cosmetics without animal testing” from PETA. This means that they neither carry out nor commission or finance animal experiments.
Unfortunately, animal testing in most countries is not yet regulated at all or is very vague. The different countries also have different definitions of "cosmetics". For example, sunscreens are called cosmetics in Europe and parts of South-East Asia. In other parts of Asia and North America, however, sunscreens are referred to as pharmaceuticals, medical cosmetics, or so-called “special use” cosmetics, which often require extensive animal testing.

In many countries, cosmetic raw materials are covered by the Chemicals Act. Just because the laws for cosmetic products in some countries do not require animal testing, the cosmetic ingredients can or must still be tested in animal testing.

What Does A CRUELTY-FREE Product Do?

what is cruelty free

Cruelty-Free means that animal testing has never been carried out in the manufacturing process of a product. This includes individually sourced active ingredients, tests by third parties, and finished products.


If you want to avoid products that have been tested on animals, it is important to familiarize yourself with certain symbols and certifications for cosmetic products. The certifications mean that no animal testing is carried out.

What you should know: However, the certification does not mean that there are no animal ingredients or animal by-products in the products. More on that below.

Which symbol is used on packaging depends on the origin of the product and the organization from which the brand wanted to obtain certification of its product.

cruelty free and animal by products

What Are ANIMAL BY-PRODUCTS And What They Are Used For:

Beeswax: It is made by bees to form their honeycomb and is used as a plasticizer in lip balm.

Honey: food from bees from the nectar of flowers. Used in moisturizers and as a soothing/antiseptic.

Lactic acid + yogurt: a by-product of milk, which contains probiotics and lactic acid. Lactic acid is also used in chemical peels.

Wild boar bristles: hair of wild boar or captive wild boar used in hairbrushes.

Egg + milk proteins: From chickens and cows and in some shampoos, moisturizers, and hair/skincare products.

Animal-free cosmetics

Since March 11, 2013, EU-required safety certificates for cosmetics without animals have had to get by - this is an important step. The big BUT: Whether animal experiments are carried out in any other way is ignored and is therefore not prohibited. In plain language, this means that cosmetics can only be sold in the EU if the required safety tests do not involve animal testing. As long as this is possible, additional tests with animals - for example in China or under the European Chemicals Regulation REACH - will be ignored.
Many cosmetic manufacturers now address the issue of animal testing on their websites or at the request of consumers. Your answers often need to be read very carefully to understand what is really behind them.


"Our products are not tested on animals," says nothing about whether ingredients are perhaps tested in animal experiments.
"Our company does not test on animals," says nothing about whether another company may not be commissioned to test animals.

What To Buy?

On the Kosmetik-ohne-Tierversuche.de website, PETA only accepts cosmetic manufacturers with clear guidelines against animal testing. These are companies whose company policies clearly take a stand against animal testing, and thus help to avoid animal suffering and to completely abolish it in the future. These companies do not conduct animal testing and ensure that their suppliers or third parties do not test on animals. Therefore an import to China is excluded. They assure PETA in writing with extensive questionnaires and binding statements, and only then will they be included in the positive list.
All companies that only produce vegan cosmetics are clearly marked as such in our list and are additionally supported by the PETA logo "cruelty-free & vegan".

You may be interested:

Cruelty Free Vegan Cosmetics

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