Vegan and cruelty-free, what do these terms mean?

‘’This cream is vegan, this shampoo is cruelty-free. What does it mean and what does it say about the quality of a product?

The words vegan and cruelty-free are becoming increasingly popular. It is great to see that there is increasing awareness about the use/abuse of animals in the cosmetics industry. Yet it remains difficult; what do you pay attention to and what do these terms actually mean? Health scientist Yentl Murk Jansen explains everything about it.

What do vegan and cruelty-free actually mean?

The words vegan and cruelty-free are often confused, used interchangeably or even misused. Vegan comes from the word vegan and is described as; "not eating or using animal products in any other way". In cosmetics, the word vegan means that no animal ingredients are used in a cosmetic product. Cruelty-Free literally means "cruelty-free". I only consider cosmetics cruelty-free if the ingredients, by-products and the end product have not been tested on animals and animals have not been harmed during the making of the products.

The problem is that these terms are often used interchangeably and are sometimes seen as the same thing. If a product is vegan, this does not mean that it is not tested on animals. If something is cruelty-free, it does not mean that there are no animal ingredients in a product. So it is very difficult! In addition, the regulations surrounding vegan and cruelty-free are complicated. On the internet you can read a lot about catches and brands that misuse these words. So always pay attention to what you buy and read the labels carefully.

How do you know if a product is really vegan and cruelty-free?

If you read my articles more often you know that I say this often; pay attention to the right certifications! If you want a product that is vegan and cruelty-free, it is best to look at the certifications of the Vegan Society. This non-profit organization is the originator of the word "vegan" and has been promoting veganism since 1944.


What does this certification stand for?

Before a product can bear the Vegan Society's sunflower logo, it must meet strict criteria. The most important of these is: “In the manufacture and/or development of the product, and if applicable its ingredients, no animal product, by-product or animal may be used or have been used, nor may animal testing be carried out”. As you can see, this certification focuses on vegan and cruelty-free. This is what makes this certification from the Vegan Society so special. Products with this certificate are not tested on animals - and never have been. They focus on both the ingredients and the end product and there are no animal ingredients in the products. Also, the registration of each product is renewed annually to ensure that the information is correct and up-to-date.

Always opt for vegan or cruelty-free products?

The answer to this question is tricky. In principle I would say yes; vegan and cruelty-free is better and essential for the welfare of the animals. The tricky thing is that it is not true that if a product is vegan or cruelty-free, this says something about the quality of a product. Also possible in a vegan product harmful ingredients that affect your health and your brain. The words vegan and cruelty-free therefore only say something about the origin and testing of the ingredients and the product, nothing about the quality of a product. Furthermore, animal ingredients can sometimes give us a better product. For example, silk in hair products can make our hair (provided it is quality silk) super shiny, soft and healthy. My condition is that a product is always cruelty-free. Do you still get it? Then you do use an animal product, silk, but you do not abuse animals. This depends on how you win silk and how the caterpillars that make this silk have been treated. I will write an article about this soon.

What do I use for my skin and hair?

I use all skincare myself LYKKEGAARD. These products are natural, contain no junk, have the right certifications, make my skin glow and are 100% vegan and cruelty-free! I use products for my hair NATULIQUE. All these brands come from Denmark, a country with strict requirements, and match what I find important in terms of ingredients and end result.


yentle murk jansen natulique lykkegaard gezondheidswetenschapper
Health scientist
Focused on ingredients in (natural) cosmetics and the effects on your health

After studying Health Sciences and a Masters in Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences, I started working for the natural cosmetics companies NATULIQUE and LYKKEGAARD. Hip, high-quality, from Denmark, Scandinavian look and focused on human health. With the aim of making the cosmetics and hairdressing industry more transparent, aware and healthy and to inspire everyone who wants to live a healthier and happier life by offering natural, luxurious cosmetics. I mainly focus on ingredients and the effect on the body, with the motivation to inform people about the importance of clean cosmetics. What you put on skin can also end up in your body and have an effect on your health and BrainBalance.

I myself started using natural hair products before I worked for these companies. Not because of the ingredients or because of my health, but because it simply gave me much nicer and nicer hair. Now that I also know what ingredients are in cosmetics and what natural ingredients can offer us, I am convinced. I mean, using good and healthy products without trying too hard and also getting better hair and skin - perfect.

My goal? Showing people the importance of high-quality cosmetics with fewer bad substances in them, creating more transparency, sharing tips and, above all, making it easier to make the right choice. During my studies, the focus was often on prevention: prevention is better than cure. That is exactly what I want to focus on