Organic? Vegan? Cruelty-Free?

What category does your makeup or skincare fall into? And what is the difference between them? OHLALA explains what is behind the brands in your beauty cabinet.


The cosmetics industry has been going through a significant change in the past years. The demand for products that aren’t too synthetic and, often, concern for the well-being of animals has changed how things are done in the beauty world. According to Statista, the global market value for natural cosmetics and personal care positively increased from almost USD34.5 billion in 2018 to roughly USD54.5 billion dollars expected for the year 2027.

The market has changed, and new terminologies and classifications have been added to product labels. Formulas have been adjusted. Well-known brands have transformed their products to cater to this public demand, while new brands have conquered this growing market. We untangle their nomenclatures, so you can understand what is really behind the products you buy.

Organic Cosmetics
The primary criterion in obtaining organic cosmetic certification is the proportion of natural ingredients in the final product, which must be at least 95 per cent. The second criterion relates to the ratio of those natural ingredients that are also organically produced. They must make up at least 10 per cent, but in some cases, all the natural ingredients are organic.

Natural Cosmetics
These products are easy to classify, as 100 per cent of their ingredients must be natural, with no artificial additives.

Product based on Natural Ingredients
In this category, up to 99.99 per cent of the ingredients are natural. The majority of the components must be of natural origin for a product to fall into this category.

Cruelty-Free
Products labelled cruelty-free mean that no animal went through painful testing for the brand to be released in the market. However, this category is quite tricky. Since 2009, tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients have been banned in the EU under the Cosmetics Regulation. However, to sell their products in specific countries which do require this form of testing, companies need to hire a third party to carry out the tests. So, if you want to support brands that don’t have this practice, you must research a bit further and see if they sell in markets that don’t run under this kind of regulation. Also, if the brand belongs to a bigger group, you might want to skip it because the product you are purchasing may not be tested, but others in the group portfolio might.

You can go to:

www.crueltyfree.peta.org/ or access www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-crueltyfree-brands/ to research if your beloved brand is animal friendly.

Vegan
These aren’t made with any ingredient derived from any animal origin, such as honey, beeswax, collagen, and lanolin. They are replaced by materials derived from plants or minerals. However, be aware that not all vegan cosmetics are necessarily cruelty-free.

The truth is that if you are looking to embrace one type of cosmetic, you must research what is behind it to see if it really falls into the category you are looking for. Even after many rules, there isn’t a universal labelling style, and they can be confusing.

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