Fashion Facts

How to Shop for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

Many of us are now making the effort to become more conscientious consumers, whether that means buying organic vegetables, FairTrade chocolate or coffee certified by the Rainforest Alliance. However, when it comes to cosmetics, it can be difficult to know which products and companies can truly be trusted to be cruelty-free.

In 1968, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) was formed, and it created the Leaping Bunny Program. You may recognise the Leaping Bunny Logo from the labels of cosmetics already, but what does it really signify?

To qualify as a Leaping Bunny brand, the company in question must not carry out any cosmetic animal testing or have any other company do it on their behalf. This might sound obvious, but the CCIC also specifies that companies bearing the logo cannot purchase ingredients from companies that test on animals or allow their products to be tested on animals in order to make sales in other countries.


Due to these strictly-enforced standards, the Leaping Bunny Program has become known as the international gold standard for cruelty-free products. If a product has the Leaping Bunny logo on it, then you can rest assured that you are buying truly cruelty-free goods.

The UK’s second biggest health and beauty retailer, Superdrug, has Leaping Bunny certification for all of its own brand cosmetics. This shows that big companies are starting to realise the potential behind going cruelty free and making their status as such more visible to the consumer.

But what happens when there is no Leaping Bunny logo? Brands like The Body Shop and Lush market themselves as cruelty-free, but with no CCIC approval, shoppers must rely on other methods to certify a brand’s cruelty-free status.

The answer to this predicament: research. Resources such as PETA, the SPCA, and HSI have lists of cruelty-free brands and products on their websites and can offer further guidance regarding cruelty-free shopping. However, if you want to find out about a specific brand, then it’s best to go straight to the source. All companies will have contact information for customers, so it can be a good idea to send an email (politely-worded) asking about their specific company policies on animal testing and which of their products are considered cruelty-free.

Take the beauty subscription service, Ipsy. Co-founder Michelle Phan became a global vlogging sensation with her beauty and make-up YouTube channel in the 2000s, before using this platform to successfully launch her own business across the U.S. The success of Ipsy has catapulted Phan into the sphere of the rich and famous, earning her a cool net worth of $3 million. The company was valued at $500 million in 2015, meaning it is big business.

Despite their phenomenal success, Phan and her company listened when customers lamented the lack of a cruelty-free subscription box from the brand. Like many bigger companies, Ipsy stocks numerous, different cruelty-free products, but was it was failing to make this distinction easily visible to the average customer. This changed when they introduced their ‘Cruelty-Free Picks’ section, which shows that direct communication with a company can achieve results.

If you’re unsure about a brand’s cruelty-free status, look for their published stance on the subject and, if in any doubt, contact them. Examples like the one above show that consumer power is a real phenomenon, and smart businesses will pay attention to it. The best way to effect change and encourage the trend of cruelty-free cosmetics is to put your money where your mouth is and vote with your wallet.