The Age Of Certifications: Vegan, Cruelty-Free And Natural Beauty Products
Is it just another beauty trend?
Or is it a consumer-conscious industry shift?
Millions of consumers all around the world are steering away from brands and products that don’t have the official vegan or cruelty-free stamp of approval. Even the ingredients list is being carefully read through by consumers to ensure products are as natural as the brand claims.
In recent years, consumers have become well educated on the benefits of popular cosmetics, skincare and hair care ingredients. The internet has equipped them with facts, while social media has helped widespread the information.
Consumers now know which ingredients are more beneficial for them and even in what combinations with other ingredients, and this is often what they will look for in natural products. Vegan and cruelty-free beauty products are often made from organic ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables. They will usually also exclude harmful chemicals and therefore reduce the possibilities of rashes, allergies, eczemas, and skin inflammation, among other skin problems. However, it is important to always do a patch test with any new product - natural or not.
The advancement of technology in the last few years has made it easier than ever to create outstanding beauty products in the face and hair categories, all while being either vegan, cruelty-free, natural or a combination of the three. Certifications in these areas afford consumers some form of confidence in the brand’s claims when purchasing.
Understanding how these certifications work and the requirements that the company or product must go through to achieve them provides consumers with the added benefit to make better decisions that are in line with their values. After all, not all certifications are made the same, some have stricter requirements than others. Luckily, we're here to help!
The vegan certification was established by The Vegan Society charity that coined the word "vegan" back in 1944! It notifies consumers that the specific product must be free from animal ingredients, including by-products such as honey. Beauty and cosmetic products for the face or hair must also avoid the use of animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process. There must also be no animal testing done by the brand or any of their independent contractors.
However, since most countries do not regulate the authentication for vegan products, there is no requirement for companies to disclose if their vegan claims are true. The certification given by The Vegan Society is used solely to specify if a product is in fact vegan-friendly, making it easier for consumers with values that are of or similar to veganism to make their purchasing decision.
The global vegan trademark is trusted and should be used by consumers as the standard instead of going off claims by companies that might not be true or follow the strict standards for a product to be vegan.
Of course, this is not the only vegan certification or license that is available internationally. Below are a few examples of the logos that will be seen on products with the following certifications. For a complete international vegan certification list, click here.
The cruelty-free certification is given to products that were not tested on animals during the development phase of the product. Since 2021, there are three organisations issuing cruelty-free certifications:
- PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies Program.
- Leaping Bunny Certification via Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC).
- Leaping Bunny Certification via Cruelty-Free International + Choose Cruelty-Free (merged).
The Leaping Bunny Logo is the only internationally recognised symbol that guarantees consumers that no new animal tests were used in the development of the product. Both the CCIC which is based in the United States and Canada, and the Cruelty-Free International (CFI) based in the United Kingdom are more selective in terms of awarding the Leaping Bunny Certification. These organisations require companies to agree to independent audits in order to verify claims before issuing the certification.
PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies Program on the other hand only requires a written agreement from a company that it is cruelty-free in order to receive the certification and authority to use PETA’s cruelty-free symbol on products.
Most consumers that are concerned with purchasing products made with natural ingredients are often left to their own devices to figure it out and read through the list of ingredients on the packaging. Malaysia has not begun to develop legislation or create a local certifier that oversees the manufacture or import of natural and even organic products for any industry.
Recently as the need for natural and clean products has grown in popularity, retailers have curated filters and categories with a list of products that fit the standards of natural products. This is usually in line with internationally recognised certifiers namely Ecocert from France, BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics Seal (Germany), NaTrue (Europe’s natural cosmetics industry lobby group) or USDA (US Department of Agriculture). These organisations and their certifications do provide consumers with assurance.
Beauty products deemed natural could mean a few things. It could mean the product has ingredients that are natural, but that does not mean there are 0% chemicals either. Certain countries like the United States have outlined labelling regulations, where a product can only be deemed natural or organic if 95% of its ingredients are naturally derived. Remember, not all chemicals are bad. Many good personal care products contain approved levels of chemicals in order to maintain the integrity.
Malaysia has a long way to go in its introduction and application of relevant and accurate certifications to help Malaysians navigate through products to find ones that fit their values and ensure quality. SIRIM, the industrial research and technology organisation owned by the Malaysian government offers some assurance for natural and organic beauty products.
As Malaysia's leading inspection, testing body, and certification authoriser, the Industrial Biotechnology Research in Cosmetics & Natural Products operates with technical expertise and fully equipped facilities. The organisation follows the legal conditions of the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and HALAL requirements.
Why Do These Certifications Matter?
Certifications that operate under government guidelines, or are issued by recognised organisations in accordance with their requirements benefit both businesses and consumers.
These certifications provide consumers with a sort of guarantee that these beauty products, in either cosmetics, skincare or hair care comply with the technical and legal requirements of the brand’s claims about a product. It also ensures these conscious consumers that the product for purchase is in line with their values of being vegan and cruelty-free certified.
Companies that are able to secure an internationally recognised certification are able to create trust between themselves and consumers. This trust results in businesses linked to safer & effective products besides achieving better profits.
These certifications make the shopping experience easier as consumers become more aware and knowledgeable of the development process and ingredient list. They afford a piece of mind, that these products' claims are not only true but are also of quality.
Looking for Natural, Vegan or Cruelty-free Hair Products?
To make things SUPER easy for you, we've listed out what CURLrinting has in store for you ;)