Why We’re Vegan & Cruelty-Free & Why It Matters

BY Alyssa Montemurro
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Fact: at Function of Beauty, we really, really love our animals. So much so in fact, that we often have a few four-legged friends roaming around our office throughout the day (and yes, it’s every bit as wonderful as you’d imagine it is). When you’re animal-lovers like us though, it isn’t enough to just have a pet-friendly office, which is why we took the steps a long time ago to make sure all of our products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Not sure what exactly that means for your hair or why it matters? We get it— that’s why we’re breaking it all down for you right here in one quick and easy (and animal-friendly!) guide!

What makes a product vegan?

It’s simple really—vegan products are those that do not contain any animal ingredients or animal byproducts. When dealing with beauty products specifically, that means that traditional animal-derived ingredients like beeswax, honey, collagen, lanolin, and gelatin are never used. To figure out if a product you’re interested in using is vegan, start by scanning the label and packaging for these other popular animal-derived ingredients. Thankfully, in this day and age, for every animal-derived ingredient out there, there is also a safe, animal-friendly alternative that’s just as effective, which means shopping for vegan products is now easier than ever!

Are vegan and cruelty-free the same thing?

When you hear that a product is vegan and free of animal byproducts, you’d think it’s also cruelty-free, right? Not necessarily. While vegan beauty means the absence of animal ingredients, cruelty-free simply refers to products and ingredients that have not been tested on animals. Going cruelty-free should sound like a no-brainer then, right? After all, who really wants to hurt innocent animals? Unfortunately, animal testing is still the norm for the vast majority of beauty companies who sell their products in store. The reason? Though animal testing is banned in many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and the European Union (fun fact: California recently became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals!), China (not including Hong Kong) still conducts mandatory animal tests on all cosmetic products imported into the country. So, note that even if a beauty company does not test their products or ingredients on animals in the U.S., if they sell their products in China, they are not considered cruelty-free.

How can I tell if a product is vegan and cruelty-free?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the confusing jargon surrounding vegan and cruelty-free beauty, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations out there that have rolled out specific logos and decals to help determine if a product is vegan and cruelty-free, the gold standard of which is the Leaping Bunny Program, which grants certification to personal care and household product companies that ensure no animal testing is done at any phase of the production process. PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program (which Function of Beauty is a part of!) is also another great resource that lists every registered company that is either cruelty-free or both vegan and cruelty-free, and has corresponding logos to help you easily identify them. Just keep a look out for the cute little bunny insignia and you’re all set!

Why should this matter to you?

Just because you eat meat or enjoy the occasional cup of tea with honey doesn’t mean that vegan and cruelty-free products aren’t for you. Aside from being kinder, safer, and all-around better for our furry friends, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products can also have a massive impact on overall animal consumption, making it a potentially more environmentally-friendly option too. And let’s be real, do you really want to use products that cause harm to innocent animals or utilize their parts when there are plenty of other safe, effective alternatives out there that won’t compromise your values? Yeah, we didn’t think so.

And if that wasn’t reason enough to consider switching to an animal-friendly regimen, consider this: vegan products may actually be better for your hair and skin (depending on your needs).  While non-vegan products are technically harmless for human use, vegan products are often far more abundant in vitamins and minerals that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making them a potentially smarter and more beneficial option than your usual non-vegan products. Your pets will also totally approve of them and really, isn’t that what matters most here?

Want to switch to vegan + cruelty-free shampoo and conditioner? Start by taking the hair quiz here!

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