To ensure brands and products are vegan, many different organisations have offer vegan beauty labels. Some of the most known organisations that offer vegan beauty labels and certifications are PETA, The Vegan Society Trademark, Vegetarian Society, and the V-label International.
In addition, there are other organsiations that certify that the brands and their products have not been subjected to animal testing. The most known organisations to provide animal testing free certifications are Leaping Bunny, PETA, and CCF.
Each label has different guides and rules behind them. That is why we have put together a guide to vegan beauty labels. This article will provide an overview of some of the most commonly found vegan beauty labels and their reliability.
What Are Vegan Beauty Labels?
Vegan Beauty labels show the brand’s and product’s animal-friendliness, cruelty-free status, and animal-free composition. Of course, different certified vegan labels have different guidelines but they mostly have the same goal.
In general, animal-friendly beauty can be divided into two: taking a stand against animal testing and avoiding animal-based ingredients. To make people’s lives easier so that they do not have to check the ingredient lists or google the brand every time, we now have vegan beauty labels.
The legitimacy of each logo and label depends on whether the mark has standards or an organization behind it that verifies the meaning. That means manufacturers can use unregulated labels. And sometimes even abuse them, in the hope that those unofficial or independent labels persuade consumers to buy their products.
However, just because a brand uses an unverified label on its products does not necessarily mean it is trying to mislead or lie. In these cases, we recommend doing research online to find out its reliability.
Still, to find suitable and 100% vegan products in stores, it is important to familiarize yourself with the various labels and logos that are common on beauty products.
Certified Vegan Beauty Labels
If you are a vegan, moving in that direction, or just searching for animal-friendly beauty, the vegan beauty labels below are just the ones to remember. Take a picture of them or save them to bookmarks.
PETA Animal Test-Free And Vegan
PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) was launched in 1980, and has since worked hard towards lessening harm caused for animals by humans. PETA first introduced a certified cruelty-free label in 1987.
PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Certifications ensure the certified company and their suppliers do not conduct, commission, or pay for animal testing on ingredients, or finished products. Plus, the product does not contain animal ingredients.
The Animal Test-Free and Vegan Bunny logo is PETA verified. Obtaining that certificate requires companies to fill out a short questionnaire and sign a confirmation statement. To use and license the Animal Test-Free and Vegan Bunny logo, brands pay for it.
However, PETA does not test or track companies, and therefore the veracity of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of written statements.
PETA’s familiar cruelty-free and vegan bunny logos were introduced in 2015. However, in 2020 PETA introduced new vegan logos to help consumers with a more straightforward approach.
The new logos still feature a bunny head but have the wording “PETA animal test-free” instead of the old “cruelty-free”. See the picture below. It is important to note that some products may still to this day have PETA’s “cruelty-free and vegan” logo on their packaging.
The Vegan Society Trademark
This product and its ingredients do not contain animal products, by-products, or animal derivatives. Plus, they have not been tested on animals by the manufacturer or by third parties commissioned by the manufacturer.
The label has been verified by the Vegan Society. Companies submit documentation for the application, which includes written statements signed by the manufacturers.
Vegan Society does not test or track, therefore the veracity of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of the written statements.
Certified Vegan Logo
The product contains no animal ingredients or by-products and has not been tested on animals.
But how to get vegan certification for cosmetics? To receive the label from Vegan Action, brands must provide documentation for each ingredient showing that it is not animal-based and has not been tested on animals since 2000. After 12 months, approved products will be re-inspected.
Vegan.org/Vegan Action communicates with suppliers and manufacturers but does not conduct audits. Therefore, the legitimacy of that label depends on the honesty and accuracy of the brand’s written statements.
The Vegetarian Society Vegan Trademark
This product is free of animal ingredients. Plus, the brand never performs or orders animal testing. It also promises no cross-contamination during production and is non-GMO.
Vegetarian Society requires vegan ingredient lists and a review of documents related to manufacturing processes to control the risk of cross-contamination. This may also mean visits to production sites.
It is important to mention that the Vegetarian Society has two logos: one vegan logo and one vegetarian logo. The vegan one always has “vegan” written out, the vegetarian one just has the letter “v”.
V-Label International Vegan Label
V-Label International vegan label is an internationally recognized certification that assures consumers that a product contains no animal ingredients or by-products and has not been tested on animals.
The application includes information on the product’s ingredients and production process. After submitting the application, the brand’s product will undergo a review process by V-Label’s certification body to ensure compliance with the criteria.
It is important to note that V-Label International does conduct audits to ensure compliance with their criteria. The audits are carried out by accredited certification bodies and can be conducted both announced or unannounced.
Certified Cruelty-Free Beauty Labels
Vegan and cruelty-free must be kept separate. Cruelty-free means that the product has not been tested on animals. However, vegan refers to the animal-free composition of the product in addition to the cruelty-free aspect.
To avoid confusion and know better, we have brought out the most common cruelty-free labels, which are often confused with vegan ones. But it is important to remember — cruelty-free does not equal vegan.
PETA Cruelty-Free Bunny
The Company and its ingredient suppliers do not conduct, commission, or pay for animal testing on ingredients, or finished products. The Cruelty-Free Bunny logo has been verified by PETA and is a part of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program.
Obtaining an animal test-free bunny certificate requires companies to fill out a short questionnaire and sign a confirmation statement. To use and license the bunny logo, brands pay for it. However, the companies are not tested and monitored. So, the veracity of this logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of the written statements. The PETA logos on the picture are old ones and the new ones are seen below.
PETA introduced new logos to its Beauty Without Bunnies program to help consumers identify cruelty-free and vegan products. The new logos still feature a bunny head but have the wording “PETA animal test-free” instead of the old “cruelty-free”. See the picture below.
These logos are intended to help shoppers quickly and easily identify products that meet PETA’s standards for cruelty-free and vegan products. To earn the logos, companies must provide evidence that their products are not tested on animals and do not contain animal-derived ingredients.
The Leaping Bunny certification ensures the certified company and their suppliers do not conduct or commission animal testing.
The Leaping Bunny program conducts inspections, meaning they require companies and their ingredient suppliers to adhere to Leaping Bunny standards.
Companies agree to be audited every three years by an impartial assessor. Brands pay to use and license the Leaping Bunny logo.
CCF Rabbit – “not tested on animals logo”
CCF Rabbit aka “not tested on animals” ensures None of the products or ingredients have been tested on animals, and the product does not contain any ingredients derived from slaughtered animals.
This label was endorsed by the Australian organization Choose Cruelty-Free (CCF). In 2021 the CCF became a part of Cruelty-Free International and the leaping bunny family.
CFF required companies to complete a questionnaire and accreditation application, including a legally binding agreement. Companies paid to use and license the CCF bunny logo.
CFF did not carry out audits, but companies on their list were required to re-accredit regularly to ensure that they continued to meet CCF’s criteria.
Unregulated Beauty Labels
Below we give examples of markings and labels on products that have not been verified by any organization. This means that anyone can print them on their product or design an independent logo with the same meaning.
Cruelty-free logo meaning is that the product and its ingredients have not been tested on animals. The use of this term on the packaging is not controlled by any standard or organization. So, anyone can label their products as cruelty-free and this could also lead to fake cruelty-free logos.
Also, cruelty-free means that the brand may outsource animal testing to a third party, and the ingredient supplier may conduct animal testing. Plus, a not tested on animals logo does not provide any information about the ingredients and does not mean that the product is vegan.
This product does not contain animal ingredients but may contain animal by-products such as milk, honey, beeswax, whey, shellac, etc.
The use of this term is not controlled by any standard or organization, and the product or its ingredients may still have been tested on animals. Any company can label their products as “100% vegetarian”.
No Animal Ingredients
“Does not contain animal ingredients” is a frequently found marking on products, which means that this product does not contain any animal ingredients or derivatives.
However, the use of this term is not controlled by any standard or organization. So, the product or its ingredients may have been tested on animals.
Also, “animal ingredient” is sometimes defined differently. Some brands do not consider ingredients like honey, beeswax, and lanolin as animal ingredients because these are by-products and do not involve slaughter.
The product does not contain animal ingredients or animal by-products. However, again, the use of this claim is not endorsed or controlled by any standard or organization.
Therefore, it is a common misconception that vegan only refers to the ingredients. And that is not true. A vegan product is in no way related to animal exploitation, which means that:
- a vegan product has not been tested on animals;
- a vegan product does not contain ingredients that have been tested on animals;
- a vegan product does not contain animal ingredients or animal by-products.
However, as the term “vegan” is not officially defined or protected and the wrong misconception spreads, we can still find products labeled as 100% vegan that have been tested on animals.
FAQ About Vegan Beauty Labels
The most reliable vegan beauty labels are PETA Cruelty-Free & Vegan logo, The Vegan Society Trademark, Certified Vegan Logo, and The Vegetarian Society Vegan Trademark.
It is important to know the difference between cruelty-free and vegan labels. It is often thought that cruelty-free equals vegan, but that is not true. That is because products that are labeled as cruelty-free may still contain animal-derived components.
The most reliable markings on products are those for which brands have had to pay and fill out documents for. In addition, trustworthy vegan certifications require documentation stating that the product or its ingredients have not been tested on animals or contain any animal components.
Such are, for example, PETA Cruelty-Free & Vegan logo, The Vegan Society Trademark, Certified Vegan Logo, and The Vegetarian Society Vegan Trademark.