The Cosmetics Regulation 1223:2009 has definitively established in the European Union the ban on animal testing of cosmetics. But a cruelty-free cosmetic is more than just a product that has not been tested on animals, since in its production cycle a philosophy that is against the exploitation, suffering and use of animals in cosmetics must have been accepted in its entirety. In the past, a number of cosmetic ingredients were obtained from numerous animal parts, for example glycerine was obtained as a by-product of the saponification process from animal fat.
Even though these days many practices have fallen into disuse, only cruelty-free cosmetics can guarantee the ethically aware consumer that a company adheres to the principles of respecting animal life.
In fact, the exceptions to the Cosmetics Regulation are ingredients tested on animals developed for other sectors, such as the medical sector, and then used in cosmetics, and ingredients tested on animals before the Regulation came into force in July 2013, which are still on the market.
The cosmetics companies that declare themselves cruelty free because they embrace this philosophy and ethics are numerous, and still growing; we mention, among the best known in Italy, PuroBio, Fitocose, La Saponaria, Le Herbarie and in general many companies that participate in Sana, the International Organic and Natural Exhibition, an event held annually in Bologna, which is a crucial area of cosmetics production, especially for contract manufacturers.
Vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics
Mistakenly, often due to marketing communication that is not always transparent, consumers are led to identify the label of a cruelty-free cosmetic with a vegan cosmetic. The two aspects overlap but do not coincide.
A vegan cosmetic, in fact, contains no ingredients of animal origin, such as cholesterol or collagen, in its formulation and packaging material, and the ban extends to what is produced by animals, such as honey or beeswax. It is by no means an automatism that a vegan cosmetic is not tested on animals, because it could, for example, have been tested as a finished product if it comes from a country outside the European Union, neither that a cosmetic which is not tested on animals is therefore necessarily be vegan (given the current ban by Cosmetic Regulation 1223:2009).
What is vegan?
A vegan cosmetic, accordingly, in no way contains any animal or animal-derived or animal-produced ingredients. A vegan cosmetic should not be confused with an organic or naturally derived cosmetic, which is also a very common mistake in marketing communication to consumers. A synthetic ingredient such as kerosene is vegan, but it is obviously neither organic nor natural. An ingredient of natural origin such as snail slime is not vegan.
When can we talk about vegan and cruelty free together?
In light of all the above, cosmetics that can claim the virtue of being both vegan and cruelty free are those in which both the complete absence of ingredients derived from animals or produced by animals and the absence of any animal testing coexist, at the raw material design stage and on the finished product. In particular, raw materials that have been tested on animals for use in other industries and at the same time allowed as cosmetic ingredients cannot be used.
Contract manufacturing companies, such as Cosmoderma, can also guarantee this type of cosmetics through the application of equipment hygiene and sanitization methodologies, which make it possible to avoid cross-contamination with non-vegan processing. Product certification represents a voluntary system for companies to provide a guarantee to their customers on the products they purchase, and it can be obtained through structured third-party manufacturing companies such as Cosmoderma.