What’s the difference between Cruelty-Free and Vegan Products?

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In the beauty and lifestyle industry “Vegan and Cruelty- Free” are definite buzz words that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Here on Beauty by Buffy, I aim to educate and encourage you all to make the best decisions for your specific needs. Whatever fits your lifestyle needs that will lead to a healthy and happy life. In order to properly do that we need to first identify & define these terms and determine how they best fit into our life.

(If you want to learn even more each of the Logos presented will be linked at the bottom of the page)

What is a Cruelty- Free Product?

For a product to be considered Cruelty-Free, the entire development process of the products (from the early production process to distribution) must not have any association to animal testing AT ALL. Pay close attention to the companies that say things like “we only test when Required by Law”! In the past I personally thought it was okay, but then I quickly learned that companies that engage in this practice probably test their finished products on animals. They use a third-party in order to get away with claiming their Cruelty-Free status and to comply with various regional laws around the world… this makes them not so Cruelty-Free if you ask me. Tashina and Justin from logicalharmony.net do a really great job on updating the lists of companies you can trust so be sure to check it out!

A great example of a company that develops products that are cruelty-free but NOT strictly vegan, is Shea Moisture. Although they do have a variety of products that are vegan their focus is on Non-Toxic products and advocating for great causes such as inclusion, diversity, women empowerment, etc… (you can see why I lalalove this brand!). They have a strict NO animal testing policy and they are certified cruelty-free by both Leaping Bunny and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program, however, most of their products contain animal-derived ingredients like milk, lanolin, honey, royal jelly, and carmine.

So the choice really comes down to what you value and what you can realistically commit to on a day to day basis. I personally aim for non-toxic and ethical brands, I certainly do not condone animal testing as I truly believe it is an unnecessary evil.

What is a Vegan Product?

In order for a product to qualify as Vegan, it shouldn’t have animal or animal part ingredients. Some examples we see on a day to day basis are  animal fats, or any ingredient derived from an animal, ( for example: honey, beeswax, yogurt, etc.) Many products may seem Vegan at first, because many times they are marketed as a non-toxic or natural product and these all fall under the ethical and health & wellness umbrella.

For example, a beauty product that contains beeswax can be Cruelty- Free but NOT Vegan. This is where your judgment comes in and it is up to you to decide if you are strictly Vegan, Cruelty- Free, Organic, etc.  This touches upon a personal choice that can only be made through experience and research.

So how can you tell which products are Vegan? Well, some great organizations have provided our community with Cruelty-Free Logos that help identify trusted products & brands. The Vegan Society and Vegan Action (click on names for more info) have provided us with logos to demonstrate that a product has no animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients so that we can shop our little hearts out, guilt free.

Is There Such a Thing as Vegetarian Cosmetics?

You might’ve noticed on one of my previous the Think Dirty August Subscription Box (click here to read) I mentioned various different ‘labels’. They offered Vegan, Cruelty-Free, AND Vegetarian products. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of my favorite beauty brands, like 100% Pure carried all three labels on their products.

This is an image of a logo you may see on beauty products, toiletries, cleaning products and even food for Vegetarian Products:

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So down to the nitty gritty, the difference between vegan and vegetarian cosmetics is basically the same as the difference between vegan and vegetarian foodie lifestyles. A vegan doesn’t eat animals (including meat, fish, seafood, etc.) and doesn’t eat anything produced by an animal (including eggs, milk, butter, cheese, etc.) and a vegetarian doesn’t eat animals but does eat products made by animals… that’s a lot to take in I know but re-read it a couple of times and you’ll get it, hehe.

So essentially the major difference between vegan and vegetarian cosmetics is that products labeled vegetarian will probably have natural animal-made ingredients (you will see quite often honey & beeswax). Ultimately I encourage you to ALWAYS do your own research and ask questions! It is our right to know.

What Can You Do to Help?

  1. Start supporting Cruelty-Free companies! Unfortunately the only way many companies will take action and listen is through their sales. So when you buy Vegan or Cruelty-Free you are speaking with your money!
  2. Check out all of the organizations mentioned that make these logos possible:
  3. Support fellow Cruelty-Free and Vegan beauty Bloggers
    • Some of my favorite Vegan & Cruelty Free Instagram accounts to follow are:
      • @Rihan
      • @Logicalharmony
      • @Crueltyfreekitty
      • @FashionVeggie

Think Dirty August Subscription Box: REVIEW

The Think Dirty Curated Beauty Box ($95 USD) is by far one of the best Organic and Natural Beauty Subscription boxes on the market. They are in partnership with Green Beauty companies that have a clean rating of 0-3 on their app, which makes it that much easier to make the transition to cleaner products in both the beauty and lifestyle department. I love subscription boxes as they make it a fun way to discover new brands for the fraction of the price if you were to buy each product individually, this box, in particular, had over $200 worth of products!

As you all know I’ve been on a journey to living a healthier and happier lifestyle. I’ve been swapping products I use on a daily basis and using the Think Dirty app along the way has helped me out immensely. I’ve become obsessed with using this app to swap out conventional toxic products for natural and organic options. For more info on this app and some more resources to help you make the switch check out my previous blog-post here. I am so grateful and super excited to receive the Think Dirty August Limited Edition Beauty Box, keep reading for details on the amazing products below! I am going to touch on the products I am most curious or super excited about. Comment below if you’ve tried out the Think Dirty box or let me know which Green Beauty box is your favorite! There is a coupon code for you lovies at the end so make sure you read through it all so you don’t miss out!

100% Pure Everywhere Sun Stick

100% Pure is on the top of my list when it comes to organic makeup brands and I trust their skincare with my sensitive and acne-prone skin. I haven’t had the chance to try much else from their brand. So when I received the Everywhere Sun Stick ($20 USD) I was really happy because A. it is a travel sized sunscreen… I’m obsessed with travel size products, they’re so convenient and cute! What’s not to love? B. it is SPF of 30 using non-nano ingredients and C. it is sunscreen, but stick version, which leaves no room for mess. The SPF 30 provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

The formulation for stick sunscreens are infamous for their white cast. However, leave it to 100% pure to solve that problem for ya. This stick applies creamy and fades away after warming it up on your skin. If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin do not worry I did not breakout when using this the other day, and it is non-comedogenic

Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (2.5 %) Titanium Dioxide (8%) other ingredients: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel (Argan) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) *Certified Organic Ingredients 

LUCID n Dirty Coffee Scrub

Lucid n Dirty is a coffee based scrub that is to be used in one to two sessions per week which in turn will help reduce stretch marks and remove the dead cells from the surface of your skin. The fresh aroma of coffee is amazing to wake up to in the morning, but I have to be honest with you guys, I don’t think I will be purchasing this specific scrub anytime soon. Going for $50 USD, it is way too pricey for my budget, although it does deliver as a great exfoliator it performs on the same level as my Shea Moisture Drugstore version… I also couldn’t find a list of their ingredients on their site which worried me.

Elate Clean Cosmetics

Ingredients: Mica, Iron Oxides, Ultramarines, Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) stem extract. May contain: Titanium Dioxide 

Pictured from left to right: Fairy,Magi, Ethereal

Although the elate eyeshadows ($18 USD) didn’t come in every box the ThinkDirty team was super sweet in sending me not one but THREE different shades! I am super impressed with how pigmented they were and how you can use them as blushes, highlights, or shadows. For my tan skin tone the shades were a little chalky at first but once it warmed up on my skin, it settled nicely. 

Cleaning Essentials: The Original Bottle

I was SO excited about this glass refillable 16 oz blue spray bottle ($16 USD)  that gives you a guideline in making the perfect all-natural, nontoxic homemade cleaners. It makes it sooo simple for you to toss the toxins and clean away using simple natural ingredients. All you have to do is choose a recipe, add ingredients to the fill lines on the bottle, shake, and you’re ready to clean! Every time you mix up a batch of cleaner, you not only are helping eliminate the waste of a plastic bottle (indirectly helping to save the universe), but you also avoid the shipping and production costs associated with that bottle and reduce your family’s exposure to toxic chemicals!

(description by ThinkDirty) Each reusable spray bottle has 5 cleaning recipes printed on the outside. These homemade recipes use naturally aromatic and antibacterial essential oils to replace harsh chemicals. The tile cleaner works well for whitening grout and cleaning tile. The wood cleaner gently and naturally brings out the beauty of wood furniture and floors. The bathroom cleaner is a great antibacterial all-purpose cleaner for not only the bathroom but any room of the house. Our ammonia-free glass cleaner works well on any surface that needs a streak-free shine. Finally, the powerful kitchen cleaner is the one to put to work on hard jobs, thanks to its excellent degreasing properties.

I’ve been meaning to go homemade with my cleaning supplies so this came in perfect timing! I will try each recipe out for you guys and post an update to let you know if the claims really do work!

Lumion Skin Oxygen Serum + HOCL

This is a lightweight serum (full size $38 USD) that is formulated to defend skin against signs of aging, softens fine lines, and aids in the reduction of skin irritations. This would be a perfect serum to apply when you are trying out new products, as the skin tends to get sensitive and irritated unexpectedly at times. Its ingredients are supposed to mimic the body’s natural immune defense system, interesting…. I have yet to try but am really curious to see if the claims are true! Will keep you guys updated.

Ingredients: Electrolyzed oxygenated water, sodium magnesium fluorosilicate, sodium chloride, hypochlorous acid, hydrogen chloride.

Spinster Sisters Soap

Spinster Sisters Soaps are produced in small batches using the cold process soap method.  Using a base of olive, coconut, palm (sustainable/organic), castor, apricot kernel and Argan oils, cocoa butter and fair-trade Shea butter will leave the skin super hydrated. This soap retains the natural glycerin that is produced while you shower, which provides added moisture to the skin! The 0.9 oz sized bar ($2.75 USD) is another perfect product to store in your travel size product pile…if you don’t have one of those create one! It will make packing for when you travel stress-free!

Ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, castor oil, fair-trade shea butter, argan oil, apricot kernel oil, cocoa butter, botanicals, exfoliants, and essential oil (EO) or fragrance oil (FR). 

Rosemira Organics Sample Kit

Rosemira Organics uses Essential oils as their staples. The products are meant to moisturize, balance and support your skin’s natural capacity to regenerate and rejuvenate. They were sweet enough to put together this cute package for the ThinkDirty box, it includes an eye cream, hydrating rose toner and a repair serum. Can you guys guess where this baby is going!? If you guessed in my travel size kit then you guess right, hehe! I am officially prepared for my next travel dates.

All Products Included in Beauty Box are Cruelty-Free:

Rocky Mountain Soap Company: Tea Tree Deodorant
LUMIONskin: Oxygen Serum + HOCL (travel size)
Cleaning Essentials: The Original Bottle (16oz)
Rosemira Organics: Sample Kit
Spinster Sisters Co.: Rosemary Mint Bar Soap (0.9oz)

Zuii Organics: Certified Organic Foundation Primer (samples)
NIUCOCO: Renewing Hair Serum (15 ml)

100% Pure: Everywhere Sun Stick SPF 30

Overall I give major props to ThinkDirty for surpassing my expectations and supplying such a great variety of quality products for any green junkie or person who is a little curious about what all this “green” fuss is about. Please comment or share to anyone who is on a Green Beauty journey to a healthier lifestyle!

Use the code below to save $5 at checkout! (this is not an affiliate link I just like to share the wealth!)






If you don’t use Pacifica for their skincare, wipes, or makeup you are truly missing out. An 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free brand, on a mission to show that green beauty can make you lead a healthier and happier life is definitely right up my alley. Last year they launched an array of new skincare products including a few masks. I was lucky enough to try a few of them… I loved them so much I couldn’t picture my all time favorite which is their hydrating mask, Vital Immersion (I’ll write it’s own review for it later…it’s that good!).  All masks have their own blend of essential oils and fruit extracts so you know you are nourishing your skin with great ingredients.

*Update: Check out the full review of Vital immersion now on the blog! Vital Immersion Review

If you know me, you know I lalalove travel sized products, they come in cute little packages, take up very little space, and you get to try something out before you splurge on the full sized product. Retailing at $18 these masks are reasonably priced so there really is no need to get travel sizes and they are available at: Ulta and Target. Pacifica currently has travel sized lotion and facial wipes on their site which I also adore and really come in handy. I also truly appreciate that Pacifica’s travel sized products that are featured in Ipsy’s subscription bags for example, give you enough use out of them, where you can get a true feel for the product.

PORE REFINE: DEEP DETOX MASK $18 on pacificabeauty.com

The first mask I tried was the Pore Refine Deep Detox mask, when traveling this is a must have. Your pores are gathering so much pollution and bacteria throughout your endeavors getting that gunk out, a gentle way is always a good idea. The texture is creamy and light, feels like you are applying a moisturizer. After applying it for 20 minutes my skin feel soft and it did a great job at unclogging my pores around my nose. This mask is great for a gently deep clean, I believe it’s great for even sensitive skin to apply once a week or to use as a spot treatment when you get any pesky little pimples appearing.

[disclaim]From Pacifica’s website: “Loosen, grab and lift debris to give you the appearance of poreless skin. This modern formula utilizes precious ancient, medicinal ingredients including konjac root, strawberry and tomato that come together to help fight dilated, clogged pores, excess sebum oils, and toxins without over-drying the skin. For Normal to Oily or Acne prone skin.”.[/disclaim]


This mask reminded me of the Kale Detox Face Wash also from Pacifica. The scent is super fresh almost like veggies and the texture is unconventional for the usual mask on the market. The texture is a gel like formula, super lightweight with a cooling effect immediately felt once applied. After leaving it on my face for about 20 minutes I removed with water and felt my skin super smooth and even noticed my face got a bit brighter. It did help with the texture that I have on my cheeks and chin area, if used consistently I think it will work wonders on my skin.

[warning]“An instant solution for dull skin, this powerful non-abrasive mask works like an intensive peel without the downtime or irritation. Formulated to remove and decongest surface debris and dead skin for a refreshed, revitalized, youthful glowing appearance. Ideal for dry to normal skin.”[/warning]


My second favorite (close second to Vital Immersion) of the bunch Skin Revival. This baby packs a powerful punch and is gentle beyond belief! Micro Dermabrasion is something I am new to, but this scrub has helped ease into it. The gentle, tiny Jojoba Beads, and silky texture of it’s creamy substance helps scrub away any dead skin and help rid any acne I may have. I feel like I am in a spa every time I use this and a little really goes a long way.

[question]Revive, brighten and make aging insignificant in your future as you gently scrub dullness away. This effective yet gentle formula with natural beneficials improves the appearance of fine lines and texture.[/question]

You just cannot go wrong with any of these masks and if you get a chance to get any travel sized products be sure to grab them they will make you feel amazing during your getaway, whether its by the beach or in your bath tub, go ahead and treat yourself!