Cruelty free implys that no animal testing went into the development and manufacturing of the cosmetic. However, many regulatory bodies such as the FDA, have not approved a legal definition that binds this term to a certain set of criteria, making it difficult to define.
A concern for consumers is that nearly every raw material has at some point undergone animal based testing, and for a cosmetic to be truly cruelty free, none of the ingredients used in the production can be tested on animals. Also it doesn't mean that the product does not contain ingredients that are animal in origin, that is reserved for those labelled as Vegan. The problem is that many companies brand themselves as cruelty free, are truly not, as they still use raw materials that have been tested on animals. Another issue is when companies lie about the manufacturing process. An example of this is in makeup brushes. Many claim that their bristles from animal origin are obtained humanely and water down their descriptions as almost sounding like the animal is not harmed and is happy. However reality is quite different. Makeup brushes are commonly made from squirrel, mink, sable, horse (sometimes called “pony” or “camel”), or goat hair. With many cosmetics either manufactured or raw materials sourced from third world countries with questionable animal cruelty standards and indeed human labour practices, it makes it hard to accept that the process of obtaining animal fur can be anything less than ambiguous at best and cruel at worst. The only truly cruelty free brushes are synthetic and not derived from any animal fur. Synthetic bristles have come a long way and now far outperform natural bristles. Another big issue is that some markets globally still demand animal testing in order to enter their market. This is terrible and means that almost every major cosmetics parent company has conducted animal testing, so it's almost impossible to be ever truly cruelty free. Likewise, alot of cruelty free brands are owned by animal testing parent companies. It is debatable whether this is okay or not. One side says by supporting all cruelty free brands, including those owned by animal testing parents, you are showing their is a demand for cruelty free and incentivize the parent company to further invest in cruelty free and limit their abandoned animal tested lines. However the other side of the argument is that profits from cruelty free options inadvertently pay for cruelty to occur and provide profit to those who still conduct it, thus there is less incentive than a total boycott. This is a decision each consumer needs to think about and makeup their own mind on their moral compass. In short, it's super hard to avoid animal cruelty completely, but by being more aware and supporting brands and indeed makeup artists that use cruelty free vegan options, you are sending a message to companies that if they want your money, they need to change and adapt to cruelty free practices to maintain their profits moving forward. As a career makeup artist, blogger, author and beauty industry mentor trainer, KC makeup beauty hair offers cruelty free vegan cosmetic options to clients. Additionally all our brushes used are synthetic cruelty free and vegan. We have found it easy to transition many kit products to cruelty free options. As a beauty enthusiast, if you are interested in learning how to convert your practices to a more sustainable cruelty free way, book in for a 1 on 1 Skype mentoring session with us at https://www.kcmakeupbeautyhair.com/product-page/30-min-mentoring-session-ad-hoc