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What’s the difference between cruelty-free and vegan and clean?

Learn about the clean beauty basics for a healthier you and a healthier planet.

Vegan and Cruelty-Free

— Wendell Berry

When it comes to makeup and beauty, by putting the planet first, it’s really like putting yourself first. Often times, what is good for the planet is also good for you. And, one of the key staples that we love to live by at Undone Beauty is to minimize one’s negative impact on the planet and the flora and fauna that thrive within it.

For this reason, all of Undone Beauty’s products were created with consideration of both your well-being and the wellbeing of our planet. However, in the beauty and skincare sector, we can quickly become overwhelmed by all the terminology: clean beauty, cruelty-free, vegan makeup, free-from… We know that it can be a bit difficult at times to sift through the differences and what they actually mean.

In order to help you begin or continue along a holistic path into protecting the planet we so love, we’d like to share 3 tips to help you wade through this conscious lifestyle shift.

1. How to tell what’s vegan, cruelty-free and clean.
Over the last decade or so, the beauty industry recognized the benefits of catering to a more conscious shopper as indie brands capitalized on the green initiative with a defining philosophy: to respect the environment.

The beauty brands that came about were created from a good place and the resulting ideals they infused in the market disrupted the beauty sector for the better. Not only were these beauty brands more sustainable, but they were also often better for you and showed real results without harming the planet.

The products these beauty brands created follow simple principles such as never testing on animals, avoiding harmful chemicals and dyes, not using animal products or by-products and reinforcing natural key ingredients. Consequently, the terminology that defined each principle made its way into the minds and habits of a mass beauty consumer.

Natural Beauty Natural Coconuts

Beyond the superficial meaning of each word, it is important to do your due diligence to understand the roots behind the clean movement. The differences between terms are somewhat confusing but you’ll eventually you’ll be able to make more informed decisions that can become practically second nature.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the terminology:

  • Clean: Products formulated without toxic ingredients (either natural or chemical). Though each brand can define clean differently, most offer a list of ingredients they avoid. You can check out Undone Beauty’s “No-no List” in our FAQ’s.
  • Cruelty-Free: Products and ingredients that have not been tested on any animals.
  • Vegan: Products made without the use of any animal products or by-products. One thing to keep in mind if you lead a vegan lifestyle is that cruelty-free does not mean vegan. Look for a “Vegan” call-out on the packaging.
Along with the terminology, it’s equally important to become more knowledgeable as to the way the body assimilates make-up and skincare products and the regulations protecting consumers. Here are our top facts to know:
  • The FDA does not require companies to test cosmetics for safety. Nor do they approve ingredients before they can be sold.
  • The EU has banned over 1,000 ingredients, whereas the US has banned less than a dozen.
  • Your skin can absorb up to 60% of what you apply to it.
  • Some chemicals can be excluded from labeling.

Vegan Makeup Benefit Cruelty Free

2. Make a clean break, gradually.

The moment you’ve decided to adopt more thoughtful beauty habits is the time to start phasing out those products that no longer meet your clean standards. For example, if you do not see the “Cruelty-Free” or “Vegan” claims on the packaging of what’s in your beauty bag, take note of those brands and products and slowly replace them with a vegan, cruelty-free alternative. 

And, we know that more of you are making the switch because not only are you supportive of our clean beauty initiatives, you’re prompting us to do more. Especially when it comes to packaging. We hear you.

So, even though we are proud of our innovative vegan makeup brushes, and that fact that all of our vegan beauty products don’t compromise on quality, we are walking the talk with our New Year’s resolution to phase out unnecessary plastic on a majority of our products such as the resealable plastic bag on our Lip to Cheek Cream.

minimalist makeup bag

All-in-all, you have to determine what’s important to you, make a pact with yourself and never look back. Of course, transitioning your habits won’t happen overnight, and we totally get it, so don’t beat yourself up.  Instead, be proud of your new approach and remember, your past purchases are in the past. 

3. Find retailers who share your philosophy
After decades of research and more accessible know-how, cosmetics brands have managed to focus on creating formulas that can easily and effectively fall under one or more of these green categories. That means that there are a ton of products available today that are a clean equivalent to your traditional ones. Nevertheless, having an understanding of where you can shop will help streamline your thought process and take away from the purchasing pressure.
Make it easy: Some retailers were specifically built to meet these standards. Here are some of our favs:

  • Whole Foods
  • Credo Beauty
  • The Detox Market

  • Keep an eye on your favorites: Many retailers have already made big strides towards building their clean and cruelty-free assortment, check out:
  • Target
  • Sephora 
  • Ulta

  • Best of all, on many online stores, you can also filter your beauty products by selecting Cruelty-Free, Formaldehyde Free, PABA Free, and Sulfate Free.

    Kudos to you as you embark on this journey to becoming a conscientious and clean beauty shopper. Living a minimalist beauty lifestyle means that many aspects of your life will start to change for the better. We are certain that the planet and your skin will thank you.

    – Undone Beauty

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    1 comment

    • Margarette Anne: October 13, 2020

      Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, thankyou .

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