‘Cruelty-free & Vegan’ Isn’t Enough

Cruelty-free and Vegan

A few years ago, when I decided to no longer purchase cosmetics produced by brands that consent to animal testing where it’s required by law, I felt proud of my decision. Don’t get me wrong, I have every day since, too. But something I’ve grown to realise over the past couple years is that that alone isn’t enough for my ‘ethical purchasing consciousness’. I want every purchase I make to feel good. I want it to feel right. And despite the advantage of purchasing cruelty-free and vegan, I’ve realised that it isn’t enough. There are numerous other aspects to consider, such as quality of ingredients, packaging, ethics of production etc. These things have been niggling. I’m at the point now, where I simply can’t deny them.

The global cosmetics market is estimated to be worth around โ‚ฌ181 billion. And I can’t see this figure decreasing any time soon. With influence thrown left, right and centre from Youtube, Bloggers, and Instagram as well as the more traditional television and magazine advertisements, we are bombarded. Those promoting cruelty-free and/or vegan brands totally get my praise. Many people still don’t realise that while we don’t test on animals here in the UK, many of the brands sold here are also sold in China where it’s required by law. (If you aren’t familiar already, Logical Harmony is where it’s at for determining the ethics of products before you purchase them.)

There are obviously some great things that come out of purchasing CF & V options. Firstly, you aren’t supporting the trade in China. Secondly, you’re choosing to support more compassionate consumption. Thirdly, you’re getting the ball rolling and increasing awareness. But I’ve realised that these aren’t the only ethics to be aware of in the consumption of beauty products. What about the formulation? Are you willing to use potentially harmful ingredients that can bioaccumulate in your body so long as it means that you aren’t supporting animal testing? Do you sacrifice yourself for the greater good? And what about landfill? Do the brands you support have an environmental policy? Is the packaging recyclable? Do they encourage you to bring it back to counter/store? Some brands who do support animal testing actually offer these. There are mixed priorities, clearly.

But the thing that I question is the ethical supply chain, or perhaps lack of, in many CF & V drugstore brands. It really can be summarised like this: 99% of the time the more you pay, the better quality you’re going to get. By ‘better quality’, I mean better ingredients with smarter formulas, more innovative packaging and probably happier staff who are producing those products for you.

It goes in the same category as ‘fast fashion’ for me. Granted, cosmetics won’t last you nearly as long as a piece of clothing if you look after it, but is it better to purchase every shade of a cheap drugstore blush for the same price as one high quality option from a niche brand? Depends on what your priorities are, I suppose.

The cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics market is still in the minority sector. That’s going to be the case for at least a few more years. But in the meantime, I encourage you to do your research on the brands you’re purchasing from. Go further than CF & V as your check boxes and ask questions like:

  • How am I going to recycle this packaging when the product is empty?
  • What ingredients are used in this formula?
  • Where is this product made and by whom?

There’s no one out there doing things perfectly. We’re either producing trash or driving around in pertroleum-fuelled cars or whatever else that’s harming the planet. It’s a constant quest for improvement. But I feel that as long as you’re on the path, that’s really what matters. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to encourage your favourite brands to go one step further in becoming more ethical in their production.

If money is the issue, before you feel the pressure to buy luxury brands in recyclable glass bottles that cost you your whole month’s salary for one product, consider DIY instead. Keep it simple. Invest in a jar of high quality organic coconut oil that is multi-purpose and can allow you to make some of your own products.

Be mindful and ask questions about everything you’re purchasing. Remember: what you spend your money on is what you’re investing energy in. Make sure those purchases align with your values.

Photo via Unsplash



  1. 24th June 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Adore your blog! I think it is definitely important to be picky with your products, I am such a hoarder but there are so many important things to think about when purchasing ๐Ÿ˜€ packaging and adverts drew me in before but since saving for a house I have definitely stopped buying on impulse and taking time to swatch, test, read about and absorb the ingredients before committing to a purchase <3 a few times I still haven't used it as much as I'd thought, but I'm doing better than before haha! xx

    elizabeth โ™ก โ€Ice Creamโ€ whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

    • sphynxkennedy
      27th June 2017 / 9:39 am

      Thank you! It really is important to research what you buy. I too used to buy whatever was the latest trend, until I realised that so much went to waste. The power of marketing and online influence, I tell ya! Keep it up girl! I think being mindful is most important ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  2. 3rd July 2017 / 7:02 pm

    You’re absolutely right! Although I’m definitely not there yet, I also recently realised there’s more to going cruelty free and vegan than just doing that. Although my allergies sometimes make it so much harder and frustrating, I think it’s very worth it to make that extra google search. It’s only such a shame that a lot of companies aren’t as easy and straight forward in their policies…

    But yeah, you’re absolutely right: we are the ones choosing to buy the products, so we are the ones that can follow our own moral compass!



    • sphynxkennedy
      3rd July 2017 / 9:07 pm

      Allergies are such a difficult one and I think you have to be easy on yourself if you have them. It’s not your fault! But yes, research is always the answer. I think it’s about feeling out what’s right for YOU and not feeling like you have to live to anyone’s rules but your own, based on what feels right in your gut. Even having an awareness of the ethics around a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle is on the right track, I think ๐Ÿ™‚

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