My product doesn’t carry a cruelty-free label or certification, does it mean that it was tested on animals? No. “Cruelty-free” is not a regulated term. It fact, it is a vague term: it usually means “not tested of animals” but there are many different types of cruelty involved in the product production (e.g hurting animals while farming). Each brand can have their own understanding of what the term means and use it accordingly. When it comes to certifications, remember that all of them cost companies money. Small, young brands might not have the resources to go through the certification process. Decisions to carry a certified label is not an ethical, but a marketing decision for a cosmetic brand.
But, it is possible that a product with a “cruelty-free” label was tested on animals when imported to China, or that ingredients in the product were tested on animals in a recent past. Cruelty-Free around the world:
The EU is at forefront of the cruelty-free movement. Animal testing of cosmetic products and ingredients, as well as selling products in the EU that have been tested on animals elsewhere is banned.
The US allow cosmetics to be tested on animals, but it is not required by the FDA. Most large companies market their products both to the EU and US, and since they need to establish the product safety without animal testing to be able to sell in the EU, in most cases they use the same approach to marketing in the US as well. This is how the EU ban has a “spill over” effect on the US market
As of now, China requires the finished imported cosmetics products to be tested on animals, with recent exceptions. This is why many consumers decide not to buy products that are also sold in China. Should you trust “cruelty-free” labels?
To a certain extent. Do your own research as well: go to the brand website and read their policies around animal testing or even email them with questions about animal testing in their supply chain