So you’ve decided to make the switch to cruelty free. Congratulations!
When I went cruelty free I went from feeling motivated and proud of my decision to wondering what on earth I should do first, so this post will talk about how you can gradually transition to having a completely cruelty-free collection of products at your disposal. Of course, if you’d rather do everything in one go, then that’s cool, too — some people just want an immediate fresh start.
(Need more information? Read my post about reasons to go cruelty free.)
How do I know which brands are cruelty-free?
This can be a tricky one. Some brands are very clear about their approach, others… not so much. I normally head to the About Us or FAQ page of the website to see if they state anything about their stance towards animal testing.
Generally, brands with a cruelty-free ethos will be proud of it and mention it at the first opportunity. If you’re in a shop and you see a product with the Leaping Bunny logo (which looks like this) then that brand is cruelty-free, and will have had to pass strict requirements in order to display the logo on their packaging. Not every cruelty-free product will be Leaping Bunny-certified but it’s reassuring to see the logo all the same.
In order for a brand to be considered cruelty free, they:
1. Must not test finished products on animals.
2. Must not test product ingredients on animals. (Every ingredient will have been tested on animals in the past, but the brand must now use humane alternatives.)
3. Must not hire a third party to carry out animal testing on finished products or ingredients.
4. Must not sell their products in China. (Products can be made in China; the regulations are different in that instance.)
If a brand says they are against animal testing, except when required by law, then it means they sell their products in China, where animal testing is compulsory, and they cannot be considered cruelty free.
If you’re still not sure, you can email the brand directly and ask for clarification. This is something I’m planning to do more of so I can make a new cruelty-free brands list and keep it as up-to-date as possible.
Where do I start?
Look at your existing collection of products. You might feel motivated enough to tackle everything at once or you might decide to look at a category at a time, e.g. you could start with your make-up and then move on to skincare, hair etc, or you might look at a brand at a time.
When I sorted through my products I did one of four things:
1. Kept cruelty-free products
2. Kept non-cruelty-free products so I could use them up
3. Gave away any non-cruelty-free products that I didn’t really use but were still full/in-date
4. Threw away any products (both cruelty free and non cruelty free) that had expired
Alex from AlexGraceJones suggests getting little stickers to mark the remaining non cruelty free products in your collection so you can chuck them out once they’re empty and research replacements. I only wish I’d thought of this myself!
Making the Switch Slowly
Once you’ve had a bit of clear-out you’ll be able to use everything you own as normal and see where the gaps are. Some products are easy to replace — shower gel, for instance — while others might prove to be a little more tricky. (I’m still searching for a cruelty-free alternative to a matte red lipstick I used to wear constantly.) We all have different skin types, skin tones, hair types, tastes etc so what’s simple and what’s not will vary from person to person.
Ultimately, the best advice I can give is this: take things at your own pace and don’t be hard on yourself if you buy from a non-cruelty-free brand by mistake. The next installment of Going Cruelty Free is all about buying cf beauty on the high street so hopefully that will give you a good idea of where to start shopping!
What else would you like to know about going cruelty free? How did you make the switch? Let me know in the comments!
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!