Banner - Your Guide to Cruelty-free Shopping

Your Guide to Cruelty-free Shopping

Use your buying power for good

This holiday season, Americans estimate they’ll spend an average of $967 on gifts, decorations and food.

That’s a lot of buying power! If you think about every one of those dollars as supporting the ideals of the retailer or manufacturers you’re buying from, it’s a huge opportunity to make a positive impact. So why not use it to support cruelty-free companies?

At Lush, we define cruelty-free as only using vegetarian ingredients and adhering to a strict anti-animal testing policy. We never test our finished products on animals and won’t buy ingredients from suppliers who conduct or commission animal tests either. In this way, we’re using our buying power to support like-minded suppliers which results in fabulous cruelty-free cosmetics. Anything you buy from Lush is 100 percent vegetarian and never tested on animals.

We know that choosing cruelty-free products and services can seem tough, which is why we’re here with a few easy tips:

Do your research

Information about animal testing and animal ingredients isn’t always easy to find. Check companies’ websites to find their policies and beware of statements that seem incomplete or confusing. Some specifics to watch out for:

-Companies that state they don't test their finished products on animals, but don't offer any information about the ingredients they use could mean that they purchase ingredients that have been tested on animals.

-Companies that claim they don’t test on animals except where required by law. This means they choose to sell their products in countries with compulsory animal testing laws, so they do participate in animal testing.

Thankfully, bloggers like Tashina Combs from Logical Harmony work hard to compile lists of brands that don’t test on animals, so you don’t have to do all the legwork yourself.

Read labels carefully

When it comes to food and cosmetics, it’s important to read ingredients lists and labels critically. If you see something you don’t recognize, look it up. You may be surprised at what’s lurking in your favorite products! And be especially wary of labels that don’t list ingredients—you should know exactly what’s inside before you purchase.

Lather up with cruelty-free products

Watch for problem ingredients

When you’re shopping for items like soap, perfume and haircare, there are a handful of animal-derived ingredients to watch for:


Musk is a popular fragrance in cosmetics and soap, and the real deal is a glandular secretion of the musk deer, which must be killed to extract it. To ensure your perfume or cosmetic is cruelty-free, double check that the musk inside is synthetic.


Gelatin is used as a moisturizer in products like lotions and hair conditioners. You’ll also find it in many jelly candies and puddings, but there’s nothing sweet about it: gelatin is made from boiling down animal carcasses. Cruelty-free alternatives include carrageenan and agar, which are seaweed-based gels.


Glycerin is a by-product of soap manufacturing that uses animal fats. It’s used in cosmetics as a skin-conditioning agent and is also widely used in medicine in the form of gel capsules. There are loads of vegetable glycerin options, so if you see glycerin on a label, ensure your product of choice is using a veggie-based version.

Speak up

Finally, if you have questions regarding a company’s practices, reach out for answers. If you find a brand is not using cruelty-free methods and ingredients, let them know that it’s important to you. This creates a conversation and lets companies know what their customers care about.