What does “cruelty-free” mean?

There’s a lot of confusion over the meaning of “cruelty-free”, what the labels indicate and why it’s even needed. We’re going to clear up some misconceptions and share with you some tips on what to look for when buying animal-friendly products.


When you pick up a bottle of something and see a label that indicates it doesn’t harm cute little creatures like the one right above this text, you may be thinking to yourself, whew… I’m winning, I’m not hurting things! Sadly this isn’t necessarily the truth, but that’s okay. We can fix this!

What does a cruelty-free claim mean and why does it matter?

First, you may be wondering why we’re even writing this and you might think that we need to test on animals to ensure the safety of ingredients. Happily that is no longer necessarily the case. There are many alternatives and new technologies and systems are becoming more available and affordable given the increasing consumer interest in removing animal testing (since sadly it’s still legal in the United States).

So, here’s the bad news (and not surprising if you’re a frequent Kind Eye reader). There is no regulation of the terms “cruelty-free” and “not tested on animals”, since there’s no legal definition of them. So when these claims are made, they may mean only that they don’t take their final product and douse an animal with it. Or they could just be completely lying, but we like to think that they’re not being quite that callous. This doesn’t take into account, then, how the ingredients are sourced. Are they sourced by companies that also don’t test on animals? We just don’t know.

Grumble. I know. You thought you were being so ethical! Sigh.

So, what does a conscious consumer like yourself do? First, breathe. It’s going to be okay, you’re trying and we always emphasize how important it is to recognize that alone makes a difference. Caring matters.

A quick note on vegan products

When you see a product that says it’s vegan, in NO WAY does that necessarily mean that it isn’t tested on animals. It simply means that the product doesn’t contain any animal products or by-products. It also means that it could just be filled with harmful synthetics. Don’t be duped by the vegan claim. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s worth taking a holistic approach when seeing this word on a bottle.

When you look at the bottle, here’s what you can watch for:

Some especially fuzz-friendly brands we love

You can see the complete list of brands that are Leaping Bunny certified on Kind Eye, but we’d like to call a few out that we especially love for their going the extra animal love mile.

We hope you found this article useful! If you have thoughts or questions, please use contact us. We love hearing from you!




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I started this company because I’ve always been a conscious consumer (or try to be) and a few years back, I discovered a problem that could be solved with some research and some web skills. My tinted moisturizer had been discontinued, so I was on the hunt for a new one. I started the search online and stumbled on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. After finding a product, I googled where to buy them and hunted around at blogs to see if there was some information on how well it worked. Feeling overwhelmed, I paused. I thought, heck, I build websites for a living, why not build one that has this information available in one place? And so Kind Eye began… and the drive is always to simplify for you, the conscious consumer… trying to do the right thing but probably not having hours and days to hunt for the information.

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