1. See through the bullshit
If you want to find brands that are truly cruelty-free, you're going to have to be critical. Never blindly trust a label and never settle for an incomplete cruelty-free claim. If it sounds fishy, it probably is. There are a ton of false "cruelty-free" claims being thrown around. In other words, there's a lot of bullshit out there, so keep your guard up!
2. Look for the Leaping Bunny
By far the best way to ensure that a brand or product is cruelty-free! The Leaping Bunny has the most strict criteria for companies to adhere to. Read more about it in my Cruelty-Free 101 article Leaping Bunny vs. PETA.
3. Do your homework
Do some online research about the brand or bookmark a trusted list. A simple google search like "Is X cruelty-free?" or "Does X test on animals?" is going to be very helpful. But be wary of conflicting information, which is never a good sign. My own list of popular cruelty-free brands has been thoroughly researched and is updated constantly.
4. E-mail the company
If you can't find any information about the cruelty-free status of a brand, don't hesitate to e-mail them. Look for "contact us" on their website; they'll either provide an e-mail or make you fill out a form. Don't simply ask them if they're cruelty-free; be very specific! Ask them if their products or ingredients are tested on animals, if any third party tests on their behalf, and if they sell their products in China outside of Hong Kong. This is also an opportunity to ask for a list of their vegan products.
5. Be wary of new ingredients
New ingredients don't have a safety proven record and the law requires them to be tested before they can be sold. These tests often involve animals. In fact, one of the biggest reason why animal-testing still exists is because of cosmetics companies trying to come up with "new and improved" miracle ingredients that keep customers interested. Think of brands like L'Oreal, who are notorious for animal-testing: their products are also often full of claims like "Contains the newly-formulated amazing secret ingredient X!!!". If you see any claims on the label about the product using "new" ingredients, research it before you buy it!
From The Cruelty-Free 101 Series:
- Where I Shop Cruelty-Free
- How To Spot a Fake Cruelty-Free Logo
- How To Determine if a Company is Cruelty-Free
- Testing Finished Products VS. Testing Ingredients
- Animal Testing Is Still Required By Law In China
- Leaping Bunny vs. PETA: Who To Trust?
- Why PETA’s Cruelty-Free List Can’t Be Trusted
- The Leaping Bunny Loophole: Be Aware
- When ‘Not Tested On Animals’ Is Complete Bullshit
- Companies That Test On Animals: Should We Boycott Their Cruelty-Free Brands?