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Start Here: How To Go Cruelty-Free With Cruelty-Free Kitty

by Suzana Rose

Feb 24, 2022

Welcome to Cruelty-Free Kitty! We're an independent third-party organization founded by Suzana Rose in 2014. Since day one, we've contacted brands directly to learn more about their animal testing policy. Today, our database has grown to over 970 brands, out of which more than 600 are verified cruelty-free.

Spread the word.

Hi kitties! We've completely sold out of our August boxes, but you can get our September cruelty-free box for a limited time for only $39.99/month (value of $118). It's shipping early next month! You can subscribe here, but act quickly since boxes are limited!

If this is your first time here or you're new to everything cruelty-free, please take a few moments to read this page. Going cruelty-free can be easy--all the information you need is right here!

I will answer all of your cruelty-free questions, and you'll also have a better idea of the work we do here.

Table of Contents

Who's Behind CFK?
What Does "Cruelty-Free" Really Mean?
Our Resources
5 Questions To Determine If Brands Are Cruelty-Free
How Some Brands Mislead You
Why "Cruelty-Free" And "Vegan" Are Not The Same
Greenwashing Alert: Beware Of Marketing Terms
The Parent Company Dilemma
How To Use Our Cruelty-Free List
How To Find Cruelty-Free Products
Search For a Specific Brand
Why Go Cruelty-Free In 2022?
What You Can Do To Help

Who's Behind CFK?

My name is Suzana, and I'm the founder of Cruelty-Free Kitty. Since going cruelty-free in 2014, I've worked tirelessly to gather the animal testing policies of the most popular beauty brands on the market. Today, we have close to 1000 total brands in our database, and we're constantly adding more.

My mission is to end animal testing in the beauty industry by helping as many people as possible shop truly and reliably cruelty-free. To create this resource, I've spent thousands of hours researching company policies and cruelty-free regulations and spoke with experts from all over the world, including Cruelty Free International and Humane Society International.

Today we have a small team, and I still have the final say regarding each brand we vet. I'm also involved in other projects like Ethicalista, an ethical fashion resource, and of course, our Cruelty-Free Kitty Box, which is a monthly subscription box.

Our Resources

These are our most popular pages:

What Does "Cruelty-Free" Really Mean?

The term "cruelty-free" is not regulated by the FDA, meaning any company can claim to be cruelty-free, regardless of their animal testing policy. This is why we verify each brand on our cruelty-free list to ensure they're genuinely cruelty-free, from ingredients to finished products and don't test on animals at any point, anywhere in the world.

"Some cosmetic companies promote their products with [cruelty-free] claims [...]. The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms."

FDA.gov

This is why we verify cruelty-free claims. A brand is only truly cruelty-free if:

  • The brand itself doesn't test finished products or ingredients on animals
  • The brand's suppliers don't test finished products or ingredients on animals
  • No third parties test the finished products or ingredients on animals
  • The brand doesn't test on animals where required by law

5 Questions To Determine If Brands Are Cruelty-Free

We verify brands by asking them a series of questions we call the Cruelty-Free 5. These are the exact questions we ask them:

  • Does your brand test on animals, for either finished products or ingredients?
  • Do your suppliers test on animals? How do you ensure this?
  • Do any third-parties test on animals on your behalf?
  • Do you test on animals where required by law?
  • In which countries are your products sold (excluding online sales)?

If you're trying to determine if a brand is cruelty-free, feel free to contact them using our questions. They should answer "no" to the first four, and they shouldn't be available for sale in stores in mainland China. This doesn't include Hong Kong, nor does it include online sales (such as Tmall or the brand's online store).

How Some Brands Mislead You

Brands sometimes mislead their customers, which is the case with brands like L'Oreal and MAC. The most common way this happens is when a brand is available in parts of the world that have mandatory animal testing laws. Because foreign governments are the ones performing these mandatory animal tests on their products, the brands claim no responsibility for it.

The truth is that when these tests occur, the brands not only agree to it but also fund the tests themselves. We don't consider any brand that tests on animals through a third party to be cruelty-free, regardless of where these tests are performed in the world.

If a brand claims to be "cruelty-free" while also testing on animals "where required by law", the claim is false and misleading, and the brand is not truly cruelty-free.

The following brands may imply that they don't test on animals, however, they're not cruelty-free according to our criteria:

  • Aveeno
  • Benefit
  • Bioderma
  • CeraVe
  • Clinique
  • Fresh
  • Jergens
  • Kiehl's
  • L'Occitane
  • L'Oreal
  • MAC
  • OGX
  • Olay
  • Philosophy
  • Revlon
  • Yves Rocher

For a full list of brands that test on animals, visit this page.

Why "Cruelty-Free" And "Vegan" Are Not The Same

These two terms have different meanings and can not be used interchangeably! Some products are cruelty-free and not vegan, and just the same, some products can be vegan and not cruelty-free.

Cruelty-free: Not tested on animals.

Vegan: Does not contain animal-derived ingredients.

Cosmetics sometimes contain animal-derived ingredients. For example, carmine is a popular red pigment used in blushes and eyeshadow, made from crushed beetles. Beeswax is another popular ingredient used in skincare products and lip balms among others. See my list of cruelty-free and vegan lip balms here if you're looking for beeswax-free options.

All the brands in our cruelty-free database are cruelty-free, but not all of them are 100% vegan (though most offer a selection of vegan products). You can find brands that are cruelty-free and 100% vegan here.

Greenwashing Alert: Beware Of Marketing Terms

A cruelty-free brand is not necessarily vegan (as mentioned above), nor is it made from "natural" or "clean" ingredients. The cruelty-free status of a brand only pertains to animal testing and not to the other ethics of the brand. Cruelty-free brands are not necessarily more sustainable or environmentally friendly. I've also compiled a separate list of cruelty-free and sustainable beauty brands here if you're looking for both.

The Parent Company Dilemma

Some cruelty-free brands are owned by big corporations that test on animals. Most people consider these brands to be cruelty-free; however, some cruelty-free shoppers choose to avoid them. This is why we mark them as "owned by a parent company that tests on animals," and we decided not to include them in the Cruelty-Free Kitty Beauty Box.

Some brands owned by parent companies that test on animals include:

  • NYX, owned by L'Oreal
  • Tarte, owned by Kose
  • CoverGirl, owned by Coty
  • Drunk Elephant, owned by Shiseido
  • Hourglass, owned by Unilever
  • KVD Vegan Beauty, owned by LVMH
  • Kylie Cosmetics, owned by Coty
  • Ole Henriksen, owned by LVMH

It's up to you whether or not you will support these brands. Some cruelty-free shoppers support them to show the parent company the demand for cruelty-free beauty. In contrast, others avoid them since they would prefer not to support a company that tests on animals indirectly.

For a full list of cruelty-free brands owned by a parent company that tests on animals, please visit this page.

How To Use Our Cruelty-Free List

Our main list of verified cruelty-free brands is the best way to shop cruelty-free. It's more of a tool than a simple list. Our team has manually categorized each brand so you're able to find exactly what you're looking for.

You can refine the list by the following criteria:

  • Only show 100% vegan brands
  • Only show black-owned brands
  • Only show sustainable and/or clean brands
  • Only show brands without a parent company that tests on animals
  • Only show brands that ship to (or are avaiable in) your region (USA, UK/Europe, Canada, Australia, or Internationally)
  • Only show brands available at certain stores like Sephora, Ulta, Target, or Amazon
  • Refine by price range (budget-friendly, mid-range, high-end)
  • Refine by product type (skincare, makeup, deodorant, and many more categories)

You can also combine the criteria above to be super-specific. For example, I can search for budget-friendly skincare products from 100% vegan brands that are not owned by a parent company that tests on animals. It's a super convenient way to find the exact cruelty-free brands you're searching for.

How To Find Cruelty-Free Products

To find specific products, use the Find Products section in the menu.

We have a database of over 1000+ top-rated cruelty-free products. We don't sell these products through our website! We link to the brands, or to retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Target, and Amazon so you can purchase through them.

You can also go really narrow with the filters to find exactly the products you're looking for.

Search For a Specific Brand

If you're looking to know the status of a specific brand, use the search in the menu (the magnifying glass symbol). If the brand is in our database, you'll find out if it's cruelty-free, not cruelty-free, or in the gray area.

We recommend avoiding brands that are either "not cruelty-free" or in the gray area. You'll see cruelty-free alternatives for these brands, so you can find brands that are similar but cruelty-free.

Why Go Cruelty-Free In 2022?

Most people assume that their beauty and personal care products aren't tested on animals in 2022. Unfortunately, this is false. Many companies still test on animals today, either themselves or by funding animal tests.

Today, there's no reason for these brands to test on animals. Here's why.

  • Companies can choose from a list of over 7,000+ safe ingredients to use in their products.
  • Our advanced technology has made alternative methods possible, and they're more reliable than animal tests. Companies only choose animal tests because they're cheaper.
  • Companies can sell their products anywhere in the world without testing on animals. In markets which require animal testing, they can choose to sell online, thus bypassing animal testing.
  • Animal tests are extremely cruel. Bunnies, mice, and even dogs are tortured, maimed, and killed in the process.

We're voting with our money by buying cruelty-free and letting brands know that we won't support animal cruelty. With so many cruelty-free brands available, making the change is easy.

What You Can Do To Help

First, join our insiders community of over 25,000 kitties. It's the best way to stay up to date with the latest cruelty-free news, and you'll also receive my downloadable cruelty-free brand list you can take with you wherever you go.

Second, share our list of cruelty-free brands with your friends and family. Let them know how easy it is to choose cruelty-free companies and find exactly what they need with Cruelty-Free Kitty.

If you've made it to the end of this post, thank you for your help and support! I hope I continue to help you on your cruelty-free journey.

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

+ Show Comments (15) - Hide Comments (15)
  • Jazz says:

    Made it this far and I’m ready to start making the right choices for my household and daily living. Thank you for your time and effort of countless hours of research so that is consumers can be appropriately educated. Very happy to be part of this community and supporting the ethical brands.

  • Yolanda Barker says:

    Can you check brands for me and tell me if they’re cruelty free or not? Is Curl Mix and Donna’s Recipe cruelty free?

  • Morgan says:

    Do you plan on releasing a lower level of subscription box? Some people can’t afford $35-$39 a month on products, but still want to support cruelty free. Why not offer a subscription service at half that cost with smaller sample sizes?
    Being passionate about kindness shouldn’t be exclusive.

    • Suzana Rose says:

      Hi Morgan, thank you for your feedback! We’re working on making it easy to skip a month, so you can only receive the boxes you want and skip anything extra.

  • Tonya says:

    I’m looking at a company called “Brazilian Bare” when Google they list cruelty free. But they are not on your list.

  • Natalie Dyer says:

    Thank you for the research you do and helping educate us on this. You are my go too if and when I am going to try a new product. I also direct others to your site, so they know what they are supporting. Again, thanks for all the info.

  • Arlene Stone says:

    You are doing an amazing job!!! Thank you thank you. I am such an animal lover I get choked up when I hear of the way animals are treated. With this list I should never have to buy from anyone that uses animals for testing. One question. Do any companies use animals to test electrical equipment? I am looking at the Elchim hair dryer from Italy. Do you know if they use animals to test anything and if they do I would be looking for one that does not. Thank you.
    Arlene Stone

    • Suzana Rose says:

      Hi Arlene, thank you for your kind words! I’m not familiar with any animal testing required for electrical tools, however be careful if these same brands also sell hair products or cosmetics of any kind.

  • Bobbie Day says:

    Hello
    I purchased the Drmtlgy brand because they insisted they were cruelty free but when I asked for proof they gave me a explanation that all their products are screened and they are required to provide documentation.
    But seems sketchy, they’re not on any of your lists.
    Can you help?

  • Monica says:

    Dear Suzana,
    Thank you for all that you do!!!!Keep up the fantastic work.

    I am ashamed to tell you that 99.9% of my cosmetics and household purchases are on the cruel list. Shame on me.
    Your website is amazing and have made it easy for me to choose CF products going forward.

    Thank you for being there to help our furry loved ones that we need in our lives, not in a lab.
    Sincerely,
    Monica S

  • d norton says:

    Thank you for what you do. I’m curious about replacing some products that I did not realize have parent Companies that test on animals. Is there a resource that gives alternatives for products ? For instance, Olays’ product Reginerist?

  • Cherie says:

    Hi Suzana. I am a vegan since 2007 and I applaud your work. I have been following you for years. Thank you for what you are doing. There is a huge difference between cruelty-free and vegan on labels. I also cannot stand disingenuous advertising to try to fool us. Animal testing is unnecessary and cruel. I have a blog too and wanted to write a post about you and your incredibly helpful site. Please email me if you are interested. Best, Cherie

  • Barbara Montano says:

    Thank you so much for your “pain staking “ work
    In behalf of precious animals and those of us who love them!I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been to purchase products claiming they are cruelty free only to find out ,not so!Never again,thanks to you and your company.wishing you all the best.from a very loyal supporter Cruelty Free 🐱 💕👍

  • Jacqui ward says:

    Thank you, greatly appreciated,
    This makes it so much easier to go cruelty free shopping.
    Thank you
    Stay safe 🙏😷

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