A question we frequently receive is if our brand and products are cruelty free. Did you know? In the EU, the sale of cosmetic products tested on animals has been banned for a while. Moreover, the EU considers cruelty free as a "false claim" unless it is supported with a higher standard. In this blogpost we'll discuss cruelty free claims, regulations and organisations because there's nothing we like more than well informed and conscious people.


Over the past years, the claim “cruelty free” has been increasingly used within cosmetics as more conscious consumers demand more ethical products.

More and more brands jumped on the “trend”, some with certifications, some just stating they were cruelty free.

Because at Skin Sapiens we love transparency and we also think this is an important topic to talk about, in this post we’ll talk about cruelty free claims, the current regulations on animal testing and cruelty free organisations. There’s nothing we like more than well informed and conscious people.

Our answer

As you can tell, we never boasted about being cruelty free, until now. Does that mean we weren’t cruelty-free before? Nope.

On the 11th March 2013, the EU completed the ban on the sale of cosmetics products tested on animals. It ensures that no animal testing is being conducted on final formulations (finished cosmetic products) and on their ingredients or combination of ingredients in order to meet the requirements of the regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products)

What does this mean? To be able to sell in any EU country, brands, as well as ingredients suppliers, must not conduct or commission tests on animals for their cosmetic products and ingredients.

In fact, the EU considers cruelty free as a “false claim” as it states you are compliant with the law, unless it is supported with a higher standard of cruelty free. (Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013 of 10 July 2013 laying down common criteria for the justification of claims used in relation to cosmetic products Text with EEA relevance)

Moreover, claiming that you are compliant with the regulation is forbidden. Why? Because it’s not fair to other brands. With this type of claims, consumers are led to think other brands are testing on animals or aren’t compliant with the law. In conclusion, compliance with the regulation should be a given, not a competitive advantage nor a marketing claim.

So, it’s fair to say that all brands selling in the EU are compliant with the law. Therefore they are cruelty free, right? Well, it’s not that easy.

Watch out

Until now, we’ve only talked about the EU regulation, but what about other countries? As some of you may know, other regulations allow animal testing to ensure the safety of cosmetics products placed on the market.

One of them is China, where they study case by case and decide whether animal testing is needed or not. Even though animal testing is not required for every cosmetic product, for some categories it still is. 

Watch out 1

Think of a company that sells their products in the EU and also, let’s say, in China. We know, 100% sure, that all the products sold in the EU are cruelty-free. If the products sold in China required animal testing, then the company would need to run tests on animals for that specific market. The company isn’t allowed to use those products or any information from the tests on animals in the EU, but it stops being cruelty free as a whole.

On another note, the EU still allows animal testing for other purposes other than cosmetic, to guarantee safety for humans, animals and the environment. Which leads us to the next possible scenario.

Watch out 2

Think of a company that only sells in Europe. We know their products and ingredients haven’t been tested on animals for a cosmetic purpose but, have the ingredients and raw materials been tested for other purposes? 

This is where cruelty free organisations play their role.


As we said, the EU considers “cruelty free” as a false marketing claim UNLESS it’s supported with a higher standard.

The Leaping Bunny is the globally recognised gold standard for cruelty free cosmetics and personal care products/ household and cleaning products. It is the only cruelty free licence that requires a supplier monitoring system to be implemented by the brand, supply chain checking for animal testing right down to ingredient manufacturer level, adherence to a fixed cut-off date policy and acceptance of ongoing independent audits to ensure compliance. The Leaping Bunny is the best assurance that a brand is genuinely committed to removing animal testing from its supply chain. 

Other organisations such as PETA’s Beauty without Bunnies and Australia’s Choose Cruelty Free require a signed statement, and a legally binding contract from the brand, respectively, verifying that they do not conduct or commission animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products. They also have policies regarding the use of animal derived ingredients.

We agree that using the cruelty free claim not supported or approved by a higher standard than the regulation, can confuse into thinking that brands that don’t use these claims in the EU are testing on animals when this is far from the truth. However, unfortunately not testing on animals and being cruelty free don’t always go hand in hand.

Rest assured

As animal lovers, we are proud of EU’s decision on animal testing for cosmetics products and we are more than happy to be under its regulation. But because of the above issues, we chose to seek approval under the Leaping Bunny cruelty free programme, so not only us, but you can rest assured.

We are very proud to announce that all of our own brand cosmetic are now approved under the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny programme!

We’d love to hear your opinion on this. Feel free to leave a comment! 

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