As animal rights gain greater traction, more people are seeking to make the switch to cruelty-free products. The term “cruelty-free” means that a company’s products are not tested on animals.
However, finding cruelty-free products can still be a challenge. When you mention this preference, most retail staff tend to direct you to natural, clean, or organic brands–even though they’re not necessarily cruelty-free.
Here, we cover the best sites to find cruelty-free brands. We’ll talk about the criteria they use to curate a list of cruelty-free brands, the brand categories they cover, and other useful information offered.
Cruelty-Free Kitty has more than 600 cruelty-free brands listed on its website. There are 16 categories, including makeup, skincare, fragrance, hair dye, and more. To curate the list, the founder and team behind the site have reached out to more than a thousand companies to find out about their animal testing policies.
A company is only added to the cruelty-free brand list when it confirms that its products are not tested on animals in-house, by its suppliers, third parties, or sold to countries where animal testing is required by law.
If your local cosmetic stores don’t stock the brands you’re looking for, Cruelty-Free Kitty offers a monthly beauty box subscription called Better Beauty, which has a flat international shipping fee (free for US customers), allowing you to access a variety of vegan and cruelty-free products wherever you are!
Leaping Bunny is the top site to learn about cruelty-free brands. It is developed from the incredible effort of eight animal protection groups and is currently part of Cruelty Free International’s global program.
There are currently more than 2,000 Leaping Bunny certified brands. The four main product categories covered are cosmetics, personal care, household products, and companion animal care, with multiple easy-to-browse subcategories.
Among this list of sites, Leaping Bunny has the strictest criteria. Not only do brands need to provide the standard confirmation that animal testing is not conducted by themselves or third parties, they are also required to set up a yearly supplier and manufacturer monitoring system.
This system is further subjected to audits to ensure that the company continues to meet the promised cruelty-free criteria.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a nonprofit that advocates for animal rights. Its Beauty Without Bunnies program is where you can find a list of verified cruelty-free brands.
It covers a wide range of product types. Besides cruelty-free makeup brands, you’ll also find categories such as baby care, household, as well as vitamins and supplements. You can also search its database by country, so you can easily identify cruelty-free brands available in your local region.
PETA states that companies who want to make the Beauty Without Bunnies cruelty-free list have to sign a legally binding document that assures it doesn’t test on animals.
Logical Harmony is a blog that serves as a good resource to find cruelty-free brands. Its focus is mainly on cruelty-free makeup. You can browse the brands by the following categories: foundation, false lashes, hair removal, mascara, self-tanning, and cleaning products.
If you like going to a one-stop cosmetic shop, Logical Harmony’s guides have you covered. The site offers cruelty-free shopping guides if you’re heading to places like Sephora and Ulta. The content also includes notes that tell you whether a brand is 100 percent vegan or owned by non-cruelty-free parent companies.
Like Cruelty-Free Kitty, Logical Harmony requires companies to answer specific questions regarding their animal testing policies. The brands need to confirm that their ingredients and finished products are not tested on animals.
Ethical Elephant is another popular site. It covers cruelty-free brands, vegan beauty and fashion, as well as sustainable products.
There are seven cruelty-free brand lists, curated by store, affordability, and one dedicated to household cleaning products. If you browse Ethical Elephant’s full directory (which contains more than 1,000 companies), there’s an easy legend you can use to quickly identify whether a brand aligns with your values or should be excluded on your next shopping trip.
The criteria to be included in Ethical Elephant’s list is similar to Cruelty-Free Kitty and Logical Harmony.
Other Tips to Find Cruelty-Free Brands
In addition to using the resources we have covered above, there are some additional tips you can use to identify whether a company is cruelty-free if you don’t see it listed on those sites.
1. Visit the Company’s Website
You may find information about a company’s animal testing policy on the About or FAQ page. However, this tip is mostly applicable for small, relatively unknown indie brands whose products are likely handcrafted, without the involvement of extensive lab research and such.
In these cases, the owners will also likely clarify that the products were tested on themselves. If the brand belongs to a large corporate, it’s important to be a little skeptical and spot the greenwashing.
According to Leaping Bunny, there is currently no regulation for the term “cruelty-free.” Therefore, lots of big companies throw the word around as a way to appeal to well-intentioned consumers. They’re technically not conducting animal testing in-house, but what’s left unsaid is that they may contract other people to do so. This leads us to our next tip.
2. Email the Company
The next action you can take is to email the company. You can use the same questions utilized by blogs such as Cruelty-Free Kitty and Ethical Elephant.
Of course, a non-cruelty-free company won’t directly tell you that it conducts animal testing. Fortunately, the company can’t outright lie to you either. What its customer service will do instead is provide ambiguous replies.
For example, they may go around explaining that they carry out tests to ensure product safety. Hence, the key is that as long as they do not give a clear answer to your specific questions, you’ll know that they’re definitely not a cruelty-free brand.
3. Follow Local Bloggers on Social Media
If you love supporting small businesses, a great way to discover affordable, cruelty-free brands is to follow local bloggers who create content around this topic. It may be difficult to find these indie brands using Google alone, so social media is a better source for this particular type of information.
If you’ve fallen in love with a particular brand, you can email one of the cruelty-free sites above to let them know, too. Once verified, that’s one more cruelty-free brand (recommended by you!) added to their list.
Make the Switch to Cruelty-Free Brands
While the demand for cruelty-free products is on the rise, it hasn’t become the norm yet. By using the above sites as your go-to resource, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to identify which brands are cruelty-free and which are not.
It’s important to do your research to ensure that the extra effort you put into supporting cruelty-free brands hasn’t gone to waste. With the right information, you can make more informed purchase decisions, support genuinely cruelty-free brands, and play your part as a consumer in furthering this worthy cause.