🇬🇧A Beginners Guide To Cruelty-Free Beauty

rabbit-373691_960_720 copy.jpg

About a year ago a thought came to me that it would be nice to use only natural, cruelty-free and vegan beauty products. Although I did not act on it immediately this idea kept buzzing in back of my mind until a couple weeks ago it finally clicked in my brain. I felt such a strong desire to change contents of my beauty stash that I could not resist ! The initial decision was intuitive but after some research I understood that it was the right thing to do, at least for me. I have been vegetarian for almost 10 years now (with occasional fall backs, but, hey, we're all just humans !), I am not using or wearing real leather products and becoming cruelty-free in beauty department is only logical next step. 

In almost four years of blogging I have accumulated quite a stash of beauty products and built relationships with different brands. For me it would not only be an act of throwing out a few lipsticks and shampoos - I knew that it would mean a change of content on my blog too as I am sharing with you my honest opinions and true self. Not only the whole reorganisation felt overwhelming - I was (and still am !) afraid that my readers will not share my outlook and loose interest because obviously I will not review most popular and luxurios but not cruelty-free brands.  At those moments of doubt I always remember a quote from Pinterest : Blog what you live, don't live to blog. I am growing and changing and so is my blog with me.

To spare you hours and hours of research and show you that switching to cruelty-free beauty stash in not so overwhelming, I am sharing this little introductory guide and my step by step process.



  • Cruelty-free means not tested on animals. A cruelty-free company is not testing its products or ingredients on animals, is not paying third parties to do it and is not buying ingredients from companies that perform tests on animals.

  • Here is short summary on how animals tsting is conducted. “Although they are not required by law, several tests are commonly performed by exposing mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals to cosmetics ingredients. This can include:
    • skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief
    • repeated force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards such as cancer or birth defects
    • widely condemned “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death.
    At the end of a test the animals are killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation. Pain relief is not provided. In the United States, a large percentage of the animals used in such testing (such as laboratory-bred rats and mice) are not counted in official statistics and receive no protection under the Animal Welfare Act."

  • EU have banned to perfom tests on animals since March 11 2013. This means that beauty products (including its ingrediants) that are made or sold in European Union territory can not be tested on animals. However, this undeniably good decision concerns only beauty products and have a few loop holes. Read quick summary Animal Testing Of Cosmetics Officially Banned In European Union.

  • Companies that sell in China can not be cruelty-free. Unfortunately Chinese government demands all imported beauty products to be tested on animals. Instead of performing tests by themselves, companies are paying Chinese government to do it thus supporting this system. Usually in company's description it will be hidden under statetement "do not test on animals except when required by law". This article Is your favorite brand cruelty-free? Not if they sell in China and this post Should We Buy From Cosmetic Brands that Sell in China? explain it very clearly. Here is also list of beauty brands selling in China.

  • A cruelty-free brand's parent company might not be innocent. It is not a secret that there are few big companies (like L'Oreal and Estee Lauder) who have aquiared a lot of smaller brands. What if parent company is not cruelty-free ? Read pros and cons of using these products in the post Companies That Test on Animals: Should We Boycott Their Crualty-Free Brands?.

  • PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and was founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk, an animal rights activist. It is a nonprofit charitable organization and the largest animal rights organization in the world. In order to become a part of PETA's crulety-free list company must complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement assuring that they do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future.

  • Leaping Bunny was started by eight national animal rights groups who formed the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). In order to be approved by Leaping Bunny company must provide proof that it does not conduct animal testing on any stage of product development and that their suppliers do not as well and agree to regular on-site audits by an impartial third party to ensure their no animal testing claim.



Cruelty-Free Brand List (my favorite !)

List of Officially Cruelty-Free Brands 2017 (mostly the same but features also brand's responses via email)

PETA Search of Cruelty-Free Brands

Leaping Bunny Approved Cruelty-Free Brands 

Brands To Avoid (the bigest list - you will be shocked ! P.S. This list contains also EISENBERG Paris (one of my all time fave brands !), however, brand representatives contacted me personally, reassuring that their products and ingredients are not tested on animals, according to Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009.)

Blacklist of Products aplied widely in science, medicine, cosmetics and food industry (if you are willing to take a step further)



1. Make a list of cruelty-free brands that you know. Looking at huge list of cruelty-free brands (who knew there were so many ?!) might feel overwhelming. Therefore I scanned through this cruelty-free brand list and this list of cruelty-free brands (also checked grey area and pending brands) and wrote down all familiar names. Also, very helpful is list of brands to avoid. If I could not find a brand name or was not sure, I checked it through PETA search. Very conveniantly authors have marked vegan brands, so I divided all brands into 3 categories - here is my personal list :

Anastasia Beverly Hills
bareMinerals (parent company not cruelty-free)
By Terry
Charlotte Tilbury
Cover FX
Diptique Paris
Eco Dent
Eylure Lashes
GOSH Cosmetics
House of Lashes
Kat Von D Beauty
KKW Beauty
Kylie Cosmetics
LH Cosmetics
Makeup Geek
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Milk Makeup
NYX (parent company not- cruelty-free)
Physicians Formula
PUR Cosmetics (Mineral)
Real Techniques
RMS Beauty
Sunday Riley
Tarte (parent company not cruelty-free)
Tata Harper
The Balm
The Body Shop (has Leaping Bunny logo but parent company is not cruelty-free)
Urban Decay (parent company not cruelty-free)
Zoella Beauty

Alterna Haircare (parent company not cruelty-free)
Beauty Blender
Eco Tools
ELF (cosmetics vegan but not all skincare and brushes are vegan)
Jefree Star Cosmetics
My Konjac Sponge
OSEA Malibu

Bella Pierre
Dr. Hauscka
Jane Iredale
Lily Lolo
Nubian Heritage
Sante Natural Cosmetics
Tilk! Bio
Uoga Uoga

alpaca smile.jpg

2. Reorganize your beauty stash. I checked all beauty products through lists mentioned above and categorized into 3 piles : cruelty-free, not-cruelty-free and questionable (the ones I could not find any information about). Then I wiped all drawers and boxes and put my cruelty-free products back. Turned out I have enough of everything so I was able to donate the rest. However, if I had holes in my beauty collection, I would continue to use not-cruelty free products until I find alternatives. No necessity to go extreme, ya know !


It was hard. There were products I was using almost daily and then there were some that held sentimental value (like the red Dior lipstick - my first luxury beauty product !). Yes, my heart was hurting a bit when PETA showed red lettering under one after another name of my favorite brands. But when I thought of all the animals that are being tortured and then killed - my heart hurt a lot more.

In our modern times when there are available alternative testing methods, testing on animals (or supporting it financially which is more common) is absolutely unaccetable. I want to support brands that are choosing a better, more sustainable and friendly way of doing business. Who are trying to make a change instead of blindly grasping money. I guess this post marks a new chapter on Peppercakes (and in my life !) and I hope you are staying with me ! 

Here is video of my beauty declutter - it is in latvian but still you can have a glimpse !

Cute baby animals photos via internet