Cruelty free is a term that’s been thrown around a lot the past few years, but the truth is there’s actually no one correct definition. Unlike is the case with FDA organic foods, the term cruelty free is essentially unregulated, which unfortunately allows for a lot of misleading labels and sneaky half truths. If a label reads “final product not tested on animals” it’s a pretty safe bet at least some of the ingredients are tested on animals. Likewise, if a company “does not test on animals except where required by law” it probably sells in a country such as China which requires mandatory animal testing (i.e. Mac, Estee Lauder, Revlon, etc.)
Some consumers don’t believe in buying from cruelty free companies that are owned by non-cruelty free parent companies, but to me this is a bit like not buying groceries from any store that carries meat. I believe that by purchasing from cruelty free subsidiaries of non-cruelty free companies, we are in fact sending an important message to the parent companies.
While many of the cruelty free products I use happen to also be vegan, I am decidedly not vegan. If you are interested in learning about vegan beauty products and lifestyle, I highly recommend checking out Logical Harmony.