Tuesday, December 4, 2018


I chose to go Cruelty Free with my cosmetics back in 2012, and it has been a world of discovery of interesting brands and products, it was very hard to start out, but I eventually built my entire beauty blog around it. Now I want to give back to people outside of my niche audience.

Here are my tips and some resources to help you make the change!


Stop buying products from brands that sell in mainland China via importation.

You might have to give up on a few favourites, but you might find some new faves while you're at it. Majority of brands owned by the big 7* conglomerates are selling in China, and even though they aren't testing on animals anywhere else. Buying brands under the parent company that aren't sold in China is an acceptable way of entering the cruelty free world, because a vote with your wallet can change things drastically.

*There are well more than just 7, but according to INSIDER, they are Coty, Estee Lauder Companies, Johnson & Johnson, L'Oreal, Proctor & Gamble, Shiseido and Unilever. Others include Beiersdorf, Colgate-Palmolive, Kao and LVMH, just to name a few, all who sell brands in mainland China.  

Some brands do sell in China and remain cruelty free, but the process is complex and so few brands are actually participating, or at least was in the past. The biggest news to date was the announcement of the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny Pilot Program which gives access to Leaping Bunny certified brands to enter China without having to participate in pre and post market testing as required by law.


Shop indie and local.

Etsy is a great marketplace to source cruelty free cosmetics because the stores are generally one or two people operations, making bespoke and small batch cosmetics. They can choose their raw material suppliers carefully. While not all are vegan, a lot of indie brands will have vegan options.

Checking out the world of handmade cosmetics is a great way to support small businesses and help to grow those brands to be more accessible to others.


Take it slow, use up what you have first, then swap out for Cruelty Free Brands.

There's no point in wasting products when you decide to take this step. I admit, I did throw out perfectly good products, but I also had a lot of really old stuff that needed to go. I just then made conscious choices based on what I could access and what my friends suggested.

You might have plenty of CF products in your bag already and you can check to see whether the brand is from one of the resources listed below, but say if your current mascara was from a non-CF brand, and you wanted to buy a new one. You could explore a retailer for a new mascara from cruelty free brands and purchase one, then when you run out of a different product, say a concealer, you can do the same thing. You don't have to buy all new products right away, because eventually, what you have open will expire, and you'll have to replace it anyway.


Vegan does not always equal cruelty free, and vice versa.

In the age of greenwashing, many big and otherwise not so eco-friendly brands are trying to market specific products as eco-friendly, particularly with the use of vegan. While a product can be designed to be vegan, it doesn't necessarily mean that the brand isn't selling the products in China.

Many brands use animal byproducts such as honey, beeswax, bee venom (yes, it's a thing), snail slime, dairy (from various animals), lanolin, and other materials (excluding fur) that may have been collected with minimal harm, but this is a complex issue amongst vegans. I personally use these, but you may not want to, so looking out for vegan formulas may be something you're interested in.

In the instance of collagen products, some collagen may be derived from beef or pork, seafood, including shellfish, which in turn can be a source of allergies, but also makes them not vegan by any means. Carmine (red colouring) is made with crushed beetle shells. This is where you make your own choices.


Ask your favourite brands about their animal testing policy.

There are countless resources available to check the cruelty free status of your favourite brands (listed below), but they're not always complete, and sometimes, brands can end up spending a long time on a pending or grey-area list because they're not clear about it.

Directly asking a brand about their animal testing policy may wind up giving you a spiel that they 'don't test on animals except where required by law' and 'we are working with authorities'. Ask about their supply chain too. See what they say and whether they give a straight forward answer to your questions, or just the spiel. If they give you the latter, you have your answer.


Support brands that have strong values against animal cruelty.

Any brand can get PETA certified, and honestly, it doesn't mean anything except they've met PETA's definition of cruelty free (looking at you, Dove). This is like the RSPCA's standards for free range chickens, which is pretty poor at best.

One thing to ask, is the brand certified by Leaping Bunny (International) or Choose Cruelty Free (Australia)? Brands that support animal rights groups (that are not PETA) and shelters tend to be worthwhile.

In 2018, Covergirl (Coty) was the largest brand to join the Leaping Bunny program, and which I believe to be the ONLY CF brand under the Coty umbrella. Consumer pressure is a key essential role in getting companies that are this big to take the leap. Coty stated that they are working on getting certification for other brands under their umbrella.

Various logos used by brands to denote cruelty free status, but not all of them are regulated.


Ditch the fur.

You'll be surprised how many so called cruelty free brands use animal fur in their brushes and lashes. It's a wise idea to avoid fur, because even if a brand says the hair is collected without harm to the animal (e.g. loose hair collected from the enclosure), there is absolutely no way to know if they were truly kept in reasonable conditions (just like the loose standard for free range chickens).

Opt for synthetic brushes and lashes.


Don't give up!!!

Sometimes you'll stuff up and buy a product that isn't cruelty free because you thought it was or they said they were, but weren't. We're human, we make mistakes.




All cruelty free brands available at major and independent Australian physical + online retailers, and independent Australian and NZ/Oceania brands.

Click on this image to view the text based list!

User Created Lists:
Cruelty Free Kitty (US) @crueltyfreekitty
Ethical Bunny (US) @ethicalbunny
Ethical Elephant (US) @ethicalelephant
Logical Harmony (US) @logicalharmony
Phyrra (US) @phyrra
Sustainable Jungle (International) @sustainablejungle

Choose Cruelty Free (Australia)
Leaping Bunny (International)

*Not the most reliable source of certification, but the list is complete enough. Check other sources for backup.

Other CF Bloggers/YouTube Channels:
Biohazardous Beauty (US) @toribiohazard
Marisa Robinson Beauty (Australia) @marisarobinsonbeauty
My Beauty Bunny (US) @mybeautybunny
Phyrra Nyx (US) @phyrra
Stephanie Lange (Australia/Ireland) @_stephanielange_
Vegan Beauty Addict (US) @veganbeautyaddict


Are you planning to go cruelty free with your cosmetics? Let me know in the comments!

This post is presented as a knowledge piece. Acquisition of products and/or services stated alongside each item, my thoughts are honest.
For more information, please read my Disclosure Policy.


  1. Thanks for the info Rivet. Some good referral sources too. Well done!

  2. Excellent choice Lara. Have you tried BH Cosmetics products. Believe me they exactly match your criteria. They ensures that no single animal has been harmed during the process of making any of their products. And I too am their regular user.