Environment · Green Fashion

What Exactly Are Organic, Cruelty Free and Vegan Cosmetics?

The organic cosmetic industry is becoming stronger every year. By year 2050 It is estimated the industry will be worth $CAD 24 billion. Many different companies are entering the industry.

We are surrounded by all of these symbols on cosmetics. But what do these symbols even mean?


Cruelty Free means a product is not tested on animals. Even if you are not a vegetarian, I am almost sure most are against animal cruelty.


Vegan means a product does not contain any animal products. This is a must in my books. Many skincare lines and cosmetics claim they are organic or cruelty free but still use animal products in their make-up. However, “vegan” does not guarantee a green product or toxin free. This is sneaky, and a great marketing gimmick. Be careful!

Organic means ingredients are organically farmed. If a product has a certain percentage of organic ingredients, it can be called organic. In the US, the percentage varies from state to state. In Canada, a product can only be deemed organic if at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. A product with at least 75% of organic ingredients can say “contains xx% of organic ingredients.” If a product has less than 75% of organic ingredients, then the product is not eligible for certification and the word organic can only be used in the ingredient list.


USDA organic is an American standard for identifying organic products. For a product to be deemed USDA organic, the product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.

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