Cruelty-Free vs Vegan Products

By Keane Lau

Is it Cruelty-Free? Or Vegan products?

Last time, we briefly touched upon the topic of vegan diet. But having a vegan lifestyle is more than that. Have you heard of animal testing? Cruelty-free? And Vegan? Do you know what they actually are?

Rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, dogs and cats are often locked up in laboratories since their birth and have all kinds of ingredient rubbed onto their eyes or skins to test for any allergic reactions. And that’s not the end. They will all be killed after a month and cut open for further examination, if needed. Can you imagine what those animals have to go through in order to get the non-cruelty-free products to your hands?

Cruelty-Free In A Nutshell

A lot of people are not happy with animal testing (if you are brave enough, you’re more than welcome to search images of animals that are used in experiments for testing.). That’s why we opt for cruelty-free products, which contain safe ingredients and that the brands do not involve such process of animal testing in production or hire a third-party to test products on animals. When more people are aware of what is going behind the scenes, more people make their voice heard that they do not support companies on animal testing. Will you be one of them?

Did you know that China is the only country in the entire world that, by laws, require products to be tested on animals? If any brands want to enter into this huge China market, they have to hire people to do animal testing on their own products before launching them in China. Luckily, Hong Kong is able to maintain our own laws and allows brands to be cruelty free!

How do you recognize cruelty-free products?

You may look for these three logos: Leaping bunny, caring consumer and CCF rabbit. These are from well-established animal rights organizations, and the products with these logos are surely cruelty-free but not necessary vegan. Other than that, you can simply google the brands and products to see rather they are vegan or only cruelty-free. At this point, you could be thinking “Oh, that's such a hassle. I just want to buy cruelty-free products without doing a research”. Of course you can, but if you care enough about animal rights, you know spending several minutes or even just a few seconds on google does no harm to you but it says a lot about what you are supporting.

More and more brands are going cruelty-free and VEGAN! You could be just not paying attention to any of them. If you don’t mind spending a tad bit more money, you can search for vegan brands in other countries or local stores that carry them. They could be spending less money on advertising like big brands, but more effort on producing high-quality products and protecting the environment at the same time!

So…What About Vegan Products?

It’s simple. It’s products that don’t test on animal and must not contain any animal ingredients or by-products. Some most often seen animal ingredients include beeswax (cera alba), honey, lanolin from wool, lactose from milk, snail mucin, carmine (More than 150,000 insects may be required for 1kg of this red dye), etc. It’ll be difficult for you to remember the long list, and sometimes they have different names like CI 75470 for carmine. But, there are tons of website that act as a vegan ingredient checker! You may simply copy the ingredient list from a product and paste on to the website. They will do the job and tell you what might be non-vegan from it. Easy and quick, right?

Vegan checker website:

Vegan checker APP: (You can simply scan the QR code!)

Does “cruelty-free” equal to “vegan”?

The answer is NO. Cruelty-free refers to the testing process which doesn’t involve animals, while vegan refers to (i) no animal testing involvement and (ii) the ingredients must not derived from animals. A product can be cruelty-free, but will not count as vegan once it contains any forms of animal ingredient.


Be a more conscious consumer. If you are buying products from a non-vegan brand, it is actually telling them that you support what they do. So, please try to steer away from all those fancy ads or influencers and really do your own research on the cruelty-free or vegan products that you want. At the end of the day, you know the best of what you want, not from ads. That’s all for today! Stay tuned for our next post for more useful information!

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