Beauty & Cosmetics

Transitioning to Cruelty-Free: Can You Trust Brand Websites?

Transitioning to Cruelty-Free: Can You Trust Brand Websites?

One of the first places that many of us look for information from brands is their own website. Almost every brand out there includes an About or FAQ page. As the cruelty-free movement gets bigger and bigger, more and more brands are including a statement about their animal testing practices or cruelty-free stance on their About or FAQ pages. Some brands provide just a short and sweet response while others give paragraphs of information. It often can feel like they are being very clear about things. But can you trust brand websites to give you an accurate answer?

In this post, Logical Harmony walks you through some of the reasons why it can be hard to trust brand websites and FAQ pages to give you a clear answer about a brands cruelty-free stance and why Logical Harmony requires more information to verify if a brand is cruelty-free or not.

Unfortunately, it’s a fact that brands are looking to earn your trust, and your dollars, as a consumer. They know that you will visit their website in order to learn about their brand and their animal testing policies. They also know that cruelty-free is a big topic right now, and they want you to like what you read on their website. While many brands do a great job with clear communication on their website, it can be hard to know how to navigate their statements to figure out if their products are truly cruelty-free.


There’s no regulation on the term cruelty-free. Brands who test on animals can still claim to be cruelty-free.

While some brands are being very transparent when they say that they are cruelty-free and do not test on animals, not all of them are. It is very sad to say, but there is no regulation on what the term cruelty-free means and when it can be used. This holds true around the world. Brands can knowingly have a third party test on animals for them, or purchase ingredients that they know have been tested on animals and still say that they are cruelty-free.


Simplified and single sentence responses.

“Our products are not tested on animals.”

Often times brands post a very simple and short response. “We are cruelty-free!” is often seen. Because there is no regulation on the term cruelty-free, this statement could have value or could mean nothing at all. It’s hard to know without talking to the brand to find out more details.


Lots of talk about being cruelty-free sandwiching a “required by law” testing statement.

“We no longer test on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world. Nor do we delegate this task to others. The rare exception allowed is if regulatory authorities demand it for safety or regulatory purposes.”

Frequently brands will start their cruelty-free statement by talking about how they are cruelty-free and how the EU prohibits animal testing. Then include a sentence or two about how, in some rare cases, they are required by law to test on animals, but that they are committed to being cruelty-free and ending animal testing.

The important thing to remember is that required by law animal testing is optional and is something that brands pay for. Any truly cruelty-free brand does not sell in markets that require animal testing by law nor use ingredients and formulations that would require animal testing per laws around the world. Choosing to sell in those markets or use ingredients that would require animal testing is a choice brands make on their own, and foot the bill for.


Just because they are sold in the EU doesn’t mean that they are automatically cruelty-free.

“We are against animal testing. All our products are manufactured in the EU. In EU animal testing for cosmetics has been illegal for several years.”

A lot of brands maintain that they are cruelty-free simply because they sell in the EU. While the animal testing ban in the EU is a huge step forward for the cruelty-free movement, it can’t be used to definitively say if a brand is cruelty-free or not. The primary reason for this being that the ban only has weight within the EU. The ban does not control the actions the brand takes outside of the EU.

A brand could still sell in markets outside of the EU that require animal testing. Many brands who do test on animals in order to sell in markets that require animal testing also sell in the EU.


Remember that brands don’t have to tell you details.

Another sad but true reality is that brands have no obligation to tell you anything about their animal testing practices or cruelty-free policy. In fact, there are still many brands who do not want to share that information with anyone in private, much less in a public space such as their own About or FAQ page.

Brands can share as little or as much information with consumers as they want. This is why Logical Harmony is so grateful for all the brands who have taken the time to go through our verification process to be added to the Cruelty-Free Brands List!


Brands know being cruelty-free sells and want to appear to be cruelty-free even if they are not.

This ties into the above information that brands don’t have to tell you details. There are a lot of brands who know that consumers are getting wiser and wiser about animal testing policies. As a result, they are simply not including information on their FAQ pages in order to make it appear is if they are cruelty-free.

There are a few brands I have talked to that do not say that they do test when required by law on their FAQ pages or that they have pulled out of markets that require animal testing. In fact, their FAQ page makes it sound as if they are completely against animal testing and are a completely cruelty-free brand. However, in talking to them more, they share more detailed statements that include that they do, in fact, test on animals when required by law. Some even still sell in these markets through another retailer but have only closed their own stores in China. Whether or not this is intentional is up for speculation, but it definitely doesn’t feel great to know that many people are mislead by their FAQ page.


Logical Harmony doesn’t use brand websites to add brands to our Cruelty-Free Brands List.

When I first transitioned to cruelty-free beauty, I quickly learned the hard way that About and FAQ pages were often not great sources of information. The verification process to be added to the Cruelty-Free Brands List does not rely on information found on a brands website About or FAQ page for that reason.


Hopefully, this helped to clear up some common misconceptions about brand FAQ pages and cruelty-free statements. If you have any questions, I would love to know. Please leave a comment!

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9 Comments

  • Reply Rosie Thursday - January 26, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I don’t understand why brands can’t just be honest. If testing on animals makes them uncomfortable, then maybe they shouldn’t do it.
    I just read a post on http://www.phyrra.net, where she called Batiste to find out about their animal testing policy, and they refused to tell her which countries they sold in. That’s just ridiculous.
    I tend to take the line that if a company is unclear or unwilling to clarify, that they are probably testing on animals.

  • Reply Amy Saturday - November 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    If a brand is PETA or Leaping bunny certified do you accept that or still want them to answer/fill out your questions? This stuff is very confusing and I appreciate this article. Thanks

    • Reply Tashina Combs Tuesday - November 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      I still ask that they submit the documents and answer the questions to be listed on LH. 🙂

  • Reply Yvette N. Tuesday - September 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I rely on your list when looking for products. Thank you.

  • Reply Jessica Saturday - July 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to compile a trustworthy cruelty free list!

    • Reply Tashina Combs Sunday - July 31, 2016 at 10:47 am

      You’re welcome! Thank you for reading/using it. <3

  • Reply Emily Monday - May 16, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Tashina,

    My question is – what stops companies from lying to you? Couldn’t they just do the same thing they do in their FAQ’s to you?

    Thanks,
    Emily

    • Reply Tashina Combs Tuesday - June 21, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      The process to be listed on Logical Harmony is more than just a handful of questions. We require paperwork and various verifications. Could brands forge these documents? Maybe. But, it seems like an awful lot of work to do.

  • Reply Pia Monday - May 16, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Thank you for yet another insanely informative and helpful post, Tashina! This has really got me thinking and confused though, seeing as I have previously got in touch with a couple brands myself, in order to try to figure out if purchasing their products would be a wise and compassionate idea.
    Anyway, in saying that, what I would like to ask you is what your opinion of H&M is and if them stating that they do not test on animals is reliable? Also, do you know anything about the policies of other “mainstream” chains/ brands such as urban outfitters, newlook, topshop, etc?

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