2 Ways To Quickly See If A Brand Is Vegan Or Hiding Information

Above: A skin cream stamped with the Leaping Bunny logo indicating it is Cruelty Free, yet a main ingredient is Whole Dry Milk. It is doubtful mother cow would agree to such a claim.

Do not be fooled by a “cruelty free” icon from PETA or Leaping Bunny. Yes, their symbols indicate a product has not been tested on animals but they do not mean a product is vegan. While their approval ought to include not adding ingredients that came from an animal’s body, there is no changing their criteria for what they deem “cruelty free”. Thus, it is left to the consumer to dig deeper for answers…

To make matters worse, “certified vegan” logos from Vegan Society or Vegan Action indicate whether individual products are vegan but this does not apply to the entire brand.

If this insight incites feelings of exasperation, you are not alone…

So how does an ethical consumer determine whether a brand is fully vegan or not?

Searching for answers as an ethical consumer is frustrating and time consuming.

If the word “Vegan” is nowhere to be found on a brand’s packaging, webpage or social media accounts this can be considered the first red flag. However, some brands simply do not communicate their “vegan” status as well as they should. Instead they fear that adding the mere word to their labelling might turn away potential customers. Brands should focus on their target market; to those of us who do care and meet vegan labels with an astounding yes! Instead, brands of all markets continue to scratch their heads, wondering why their business has failed after trying to appeal to “everyone”. Then again, wouldn’t everyone prefer their soaps and scrubs sans animal suffering?

Unfortunately, such is the case that there are still consumers who believe vegan products lack quality or effectiveness if they don’t consist of the same old, classic formulas -regardless if riddled with animal bones, hair, secretions, milks, fats and innards. With advancements and information available to the industry these days, there is simply no need for such products to exist any longer…especially considering ever growing concerns and awareness of the ethical audience.

While ethical consumerism is on the rise more than ever before, brands must bend or break to cater to the conscious community. Or simply not change anything other than their marketing strategy.

To solve the problem of uncertainty or accidentally buy another lip balm, soap or shampoo only to later see it contains a usual culprit (beeswax, honey, milk) there are two methods an ethical shopper can use to determine whether a brand is fully vegan, which are as follows:

METHOD 1: Go to a brand’s website. Find the FAQ section located at the top or bottom of page. If no FAQ section locate the “About” or “Philosophy” page.

Once you’ve reached the FAQ, About or Philosophy section on the brand’s site, press Command + F on your keyboard to open the screen search and scan the page for the word “vegan”. If nothing appears, use Command + F again and search the page for “cruelty free” or “animals” since a brand’s vegan declaration is sometimes hidden within the animal testing tab.

Use your computer’s search “Command + F” feature to quickly scan the page and jump to the words you seek.

But if the word “vegan” is nowhere to be found the brand is now suspicious! Use the brand’s built in search bar and try the words “beeswax”, “honey”, “milk”, “carmin or carmine” or “lanolin”, as these are the most common animal derived ingredients found in personal care, toiletries, cosmetic products, etc. Products should then appear. Balm and thick creams are commonly not vegan. Click on a product.

Above: Products being outed for their hidden ingredients …as if it’s none of our beeswax.

Then press Command + F to search the product page for the commonly animal derived ingredients. Ah, ha! You’ve determined the brand is alas not fully committed to being 100% vegan.

I cannot stress enough that ‘Sustainable Beeswax’ is an oxymoron. Ingredients like beeswax harm ecosystems.

If you still cannot find an answer, a declaration stating “We are a vegan brand” or any of the aforementioned animal ingredients, go to the brand’s Facebook page and send them the following message “Are you a fully vegan brand?”

Facebook Messenger. More effective in getting quick replies when compared to emailing.

Brands are usually much faster to respond via social media rather than email since read receipts make it obvious your message has been received and read.

METHOD 2: Use the HEALabel App and voila! Instantly see a brand’s Vegan + Cruelty Free status. Quick. Straightforward. Unbiased.

The HEALabel App makes it fast and easy to see brands’ vegan + cruelty free status.

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  • If a brand uses the word “Vegetarian” to describe their products it is another red flag (because it allows for beeswax, honey, milk, lanolin, and more animal ingredients).
  • “Plant Based” does not mean vegan.
  • If a brand has a special, separate vegan category that implies their other products are not vegan.
  • Greenwashing is when brands make themselves look good while hiding an unethical aspect of themselves pertaining to sustainability, veganism, health and the like. Sadly, it’s such common practice that there is now a dedicated term for the self vindicating marketing style. Do not be easily swayed when you see marketing strategies (using words like eco friendly, sustainable, organic, natural) that would make a brand seem ethical and perhaps vegan when they actually are not.
  • While it’s great that many brands now offer vegan products, it’s always, always better to support 100% fully vegan brands that do not profit from and continue to fund animal agriculture in any way.
  • Be sure to read wording carefully. FAQ sections can read something like: Q: Are your products vegan? A: YES! We are a fully vegan brand …with the exception of XYZ product which contains beeswax. Translation: NO! We are not a fully vegan brand because we use beeswax.
Above: A meandering, self vindicating answer to a straightforward question.

A FINAL NOTE:

Nowadays there are vegan substitutes that can virtually replace any animal ingredient that was once previously used to make such products. Companies continue to put animal ingredients in their products because it is cost effective and they wouldn’t have to invest in further R & D to develop new and improved vegan formulas. Deceptive brands believe when shoppers see the cruelty free symbol that it signals a green light for us to go ahead and shop at ease, relying on the shoppers mistaken assumption that cruelty free also means vegan. HEALabel aims to uncover marketing deception and help create true transparency for ethical consumers who do not want to cause suffering to animals, people and the planet with their purchases. Together we WILL make positive change for animals, people and the planet.

You can download the free HEALabel app here.

If there are any brands not yet listed in the HEALabel database (web or app) that you would like to see included please email me, Adriane Marie, directly here and I will be sure to add it!

Adriane Marie, founder of HEALabel, ethical consumer website and app. She is the author of this article and has deciphered more ingredient labels than she cares to admit.

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Hi! I’m Adriane, the creator of HEALabel. I spread awareness on ethical consumerism and label transparency to help our Health Environment Animals Laborers.

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Adriane Marie

Adriane Marie

Hi! I’m Adriane, the creator of HEALabel. I spread awareness on ethical consumerism and label transparency to help our Health Environment Animals Laborers.

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