This is how you can recognize cruelty-free cosmetics at a glance

Hardly anyone would presumably knowingly buy cosmetics that have been agonizingly tested on animals. But how do you recognize cruelty-free cosmetics? Read here which seals of approval exist and what the “PETA Animal Testing-Free List” is all about.

It is no longer just a trend, because conscious and sustainable consumption is a question of attitude to life. This not only applies to the origin of various consumer goods, but also to the manufacturing process. Anyone who buys and uses cosmetics such as creams, make-up, deodorants or the like is consciously or unconsciously part of a whole. Because supply and demand shape the economy, so that a purchase decision is not just a choice of any product or brand, but also a tacit agreement with the manufacturing conditions. Nobody would consciously choose cosmetics that have been tested on animals. However, this happens unconsciously more easily than you think. Although animal testing has been banned in the EU for many years, there are legal loopholes for companies. Buying cosmetics that have been tested on animals is not out of bad faith, but out of ignorance. You can read here how you can recognize animal-free cosmetics and which brands are on the “animal testing-free list” of the animal rights organization Peta.

Animal testing is prohibited by law

On the one hand, the sale and import of cosmetic products and cosmetic raw materials, the manufacture of which was subject to animal testing, in the EU Banned for seven years now, on the other hand, according to the German Animal Welfare Association but still today loopholes. As early as 2003, the EU Commission decided to phase out animal testing for cosmetics and care products. In 2004 there was a ban on animal testing throughout the EU and since 2009 this ban has also applied to the ingredients of cosmetics. In 2013, the last stage of the comprehensive law came into force, so that cosmetics companies is completely forbidden to carry out or commission animal testing for their products or their ingredients.

Cruelty-free cosmetics: how to recognize them?

You can identify cruelty-free cosmetics by knowing what the seals of approval displayed on the product packaging stand for. The following You should know three seals in connection with animal-free cosmetics. But these are also worth mentioning BDIH seal as well as that Natrue label. The latter is pursuing a goal in terms of animal testing in the cosmetics industry clear line, so that Natrue-certified products cannot be sold in countries that require animal testing (e.g. China). the BDIH allows itself a little more leeway, because cosmetics that bear this seal may not have been tested on animals, unless the performance or initiation of these tests is not attributable to the raw material manufacturer, the raw material supplier or the manufacturer of the end product.

Tip: Do you know the app “Codecheck”? The app allows you to identify ingredients directly in the store. Simply scan the barcode on the cosmetic with your mobile phone and in a few seconds you will know what you are holding.

seal of approval

leaping bunny

It is an internationally valid seal that distinguishes cosmetics without animal testing. It is awarded by the “Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC)”, a network of eight animal protection organizations from several countries. Companies using the seal undertake not to conduct, commission or participate in animal testing. This affects every single ingredient as well as the end products.

vegan flower

The vegan flower is awarded by the “Vegan Society”. It is the only seal that stands for both vegan and animal-free cosmetics. Both the product and its production processes and ingredients must be vegan and animal-free in order to be allowed to bear this seal.

Hare with protective hand

The “German Animal Welfare Association” together with the “International Association of Manufacturers for Animal Welfare-Proof Natural Cosmetics, Cosmetics and Natural Goods eV (IHTN)” determine the guidelines for the seal. The label’s standards even go beyond the legal requirements.

Cruelty-free cosmetics: five brands in comparison

The following brands are just a few of the many that are on Peta’s Cruelty-Free List or carry one of the seals of approval.


The range of natural cosmetics brand “Lavera” can be found in every drugstore. There is a wide range to buy products — from creams to shower foam to make-up. Most of the natural ingredients come from organic farming and, in addition to the Natrue seal of approval, which identifies natural and organic cosmetics, they also carry the vegan flower. The entire “Lavera” range is not tested on animals and is clearly marked as such.

dr Hauschka

“Dr. Hauschka” is regarded as a natural cosmetics pioneer and is known for the Products to use high-quality organic raw materials, some of which are even grown by the company itself. The range includes care and decorative cosmetic products, some of which are vegan and 100 percent free of animal testing. The ingredients are predominantly of plant origin, the only exceptions being substances such as beeswax, honey or silk powder. “Dr. Hauschka” is on the “PETA animal testing-free list” (more information on this list can be found in the course of the article) and therefore does not supply the Chinese market.

Colibri cosmetics

“Colibri cosmetics” is a vegan cosmetics company that its Products manufactured in Germany. The waiver of animal testing and the use of vegan ingredients should be a matter of course for the natural cosmetics company, a look at the “PETA animal testing-free list” also confirms this. The basis for products from “Colibri cosmetics” are vegan raw materials from nature, they are supplemented by effective, synthetic active ingredients from the laboratory, so that substances of animal origin are completely dispensed with.


The natural cosmetics brand “Benecos” is on the “PETA animal testing-free list” and primarily appeals to a young target group. Neither the end products nor the processed ingredients have been tested on animals. Almost all Products are also BDIH-certified and vegan. The focus of the range is on decorative cosmetics such as make-up, mascara and nail polish.


“Foamie” is also on the “PETA cruelty-free list”. According to the manufacturer, the shampoos, in the form of solid soap, are vegan and are produced without animal testing. In addition, “Foamie” produces locally in Germany and advertises that the soaps and shower foams are free from mineral oils, PEG, parabens, silicones and Lilial. “Foamie” hits a nerve with its range, because hair soaps and solid shampoos are trendy, because the solid bars of soap often come with almost no (plastic) packaging, so that waste can be saved.

PETA Cruelty Free List

Although the European Cosmetics Regulation prohibits animal testing in the EU, the international animal rights organization PETA maintains a list of companies that meet standards that go beyond legal requirements. Because the legal regulation of the EU allows unclear legal interpretations, which means that cosmetics products that have been tested on animals can still be bought on European and German shelves. PETA only includes cosmetics manufacturers with clear guidelines against animal testing in the positive list. According to Peta “are the companies whose company policy takes a clear stance against animal testing and thus help to avoid animal suffering and eliminate it completely in the future.” The fact that Peta created this “PETA Animal Testing-Free List” and thus maintains standards that go beyond the legal requirements is due to the following two circumstances:

  • The European Chemicals Regulation “REACH” requires animal testing in various cases. Companies that are on PETA’s positive list therefore pledge that they will not carry out or commission any animal testing, not even through the exception of the “REACH” regulation.
  • China required for the export Cosmetic products are not tested on animals, otherwise the products cannot be sold in China. According to Peta, this fact was unknown for a long time because the tests are being carried out by Chinese institutions. This means that if a company also sells its products in China, animal testing is mandatory.

Are vegan cosmetics not tested on animals?

The attributes vegan and cruelty-free are not synonymous. While vegan products do not contain ingredients of animal origin, such as beeswax or honey, they may contain ingredients that have been tested on animals. The reverse is also true, so products that have not been tested on animals can still contain animal substances. You can best recognize vegan and animal-free products by the vegan flower, because this seal of quality combines the standards of vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics.

Sources:German Animal Welfare Association, peta

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