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The truth about cruelty-free skincare and cosmetics

We are all familiar with the claim 'cruelty-free'. It is a claim we often come across, but what exactly does it mean for cosmetic brands? When is a cosmetic brand allowed to use the cruelty-free claim on its packaging and in their information? And what should you pay attention to if you want to be sure that you buy products from brands that are actually free from animal testing?


What does the claim cruelty-free actually mean?
The claim ‘cruelty-free’ means that products cannot be tested on animals. That is not all because not only the products but also the ingredients from which a cosmetic product is made should not be tested on animals. When purchasing ingredients for cosmetics, the creator and manufacturer of the product must therefore always ensure that the supplier of the ingredient provides a statement stating that the ingredient has not been tested on animals. Without this official declaration, the end product is not allowed to be sold in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe.


Is a cruelty-free product also a vegan product?

No, this is definitely not always the case. Cruelty-free does not automatically mean that the product is vegan. Cosmetic products can be cruelty-free, but might still consist of ingredients that come from animals, such as collagen, lanoline, and keratin. No tests have been done to get to the creation and production of the product, yet it may still contain animal parts or ingredients made by animals. 

Read here how you can be sure that the skincare product you buy is vegan.


Is animal testing still a thing in The Netherlands and Europe?

One would think that laboratory tests on animals are something ancient, something you read about in history books. Animal testing for cosmetic products has indeed been prohibited in the Netherlands since 1997, and in the whole of Europe since 2004. From 2009 onwards, testing on animals is also no longer allowed for cosmetic ingredients in Europe. This means that all cosmetic products sold on the Dutch and European market are cruelty-free and not tested on animals.


So, are all manufacturers in Europe producing 100% cruelty-free and without harming animals?

It is confusing, but the answer is no, not exactly. The fact that cosmetic products that are produced in Europe and that are being sold on the European market are not tested on animals, does not mean that the manufacturers of those products do not test on animals in other countries and markets. To be able to sell their goods in other countries where testing is still mandatory, some so-called ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetic brands might still use animals to test their products on somewhere outside of Europe.


Where are animal tests still being conducted?
Unfortunately, ingredients and cosmetics are still tested on animals in some parts of the world. In China, for example, animal testing is still partially mandatory. Before 2021 it was mandatory to test all cosmetics products and cosmetic ingredients with animal testing, but since 2021 a new legislation has come into effect, stating that now a part of the cosmetic products and ingredients are obligated to be tested on laboratory animals. Unfortunately, lab testing on animals still has not been completely abolished yet.


To give a clear explanation: some cosmetics brands sell their goods both in Europe and in China, which means that there is a chance that they, as a brand and organization, aren’t officially 'cruelty-free'.

Are Comme Ça Skincare products cruelty-free?

Yes, our products are completely free of animal testing and cruelty-free. We never test on animals (only on humans 😉) and the suppliers of our ingredients must always provide a statement stating that the ingredients have not been tested on animals. Our skincare is also 100% vegan. No animal has ever suffered in any way for our cruelty-free skincare. 

To read what it means when skincare is said to be vegan, click here.



Le Youth Serum is completely vegan and a cruelty-free serum, composed of a beautiful mix of vegetable oils, algae, and plant extracts with unique properties to give your skin a beautiful, healthy look with a miraculous glow. The algae extract restores skin elasticity [1] and, together with the Acmella Oleracea extract, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles [2]. The wonderful blend of vegetable oils softens the skin while the vitamins and antioxidants protect the skin [3,4,5]. This fantastic blend of botanicals and the seductive scent of vanilla is the perfect way to pamper yourself every day and provide your skin with a beautiful glow. And all of that cruelty-free and vegan!


La Vitamin C Powder is a completely cruelty-free superfood for the skin. It consists of the purest and most effective form of vitamin C [6], combined with the strong antioxidant ferulic acid. The vitamin C is made from corn and wheat starch and the ferulic acid from rice bran oil. Vitamin C restores the skin barrier [8], which is important for dry and dehydrated skin, and it is essential for the formation of collagen [7], which tightens the skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles [8]. It also evens out the skin, reduces hyperpigmentation [8,9] and is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from premature ageing.

Do you have any questions about this or another skincare related topic? We are happy to help you with any uncertainties you may have. Shoot us a message at charlotte@commecaskincare.com, and we will answer your inquiry within 48 hours.


Is it equally important to you that your skincare products are vegan, too? Then please continue reading this article! (We can already give away that all Comme Ça Skincare products are 100% vegan!)

  1. Pascale Goyat, Lucie Brun, Sebastien Barre, George Rosson. Microalgae as sustainable source of powerful actives. (2014). Natura-Tec, France. http://www.fratelliparodi.it/images/news/Microalgae_as_sustainable_source_of_powerful_actives%20_2014-11.pdf

  2. Frederic Demarne, Ghislaine Passaro. Use of an Acmella oleracea extract for the botulinum toxin-like effect thereof in an anti-wrinkle cosmetic composition. (2009) Patent application. https://patents.google.com/patent/US7531193B2/en

  3. Fang, Xuezhi & Du, Menghao & Luo, Fan & Jin, Yongfeng. (2015). Physicochemical Properties and Lipid Composition of Camellia Seed Oil (Camellia oleifera Abel.) Extracted Using Different Methods. Food Science and Technology Research. 21. 779-785. 10.3136/fstr.21.779. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/fstr/21/6/21_779/_article

  4. Offord, Elizabeth & Gautier, Jean-Charles & Avanti, Ornella & Scaletta, Corinne & Runge, Frank & Kraemer, Klaus & Applegate, L.A.. (2002). Photoprotective potential of lycopene, ??-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C and carnosic acid in UVA-irradiated human skin fibroblasts. Free radical biology & medicine. 32. 1293-303. 10.1016/S0891-5849(02)00831-6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12057767/

  5. Rojas-López, Adalith & P. Cañizares-Macías, María. (2013). Antioxidant Capacity in Vanilla Extracts Obtained by Applying Focused Microwaves. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 04. 244-253. 10.4236/fns.2013.48A030. https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=35897

  6. R. Pinnell MD, Sheldon & Yang MD, Huanshu & Omar, Mostafa & Monteiro-Riviere, Nancy & V. DeBuys MD, Holly & Walker, Linda & Wang MD, Yaohui & Levine MD, Mark. (2001). Topical L‐Ascorbic Acid: Percutaneous Absorption Studies. Dermatologic Surgery. 27. 137 - 142. 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2001.00264.x. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1524-4725.2001.00264.x

  7. Nusgens, Betty & Humbert, Philippe & Rougier, Andr|[eacute & Colige, Alain & Haftek, Marek & Lambert, Charles & Richard, Alain & Creidi, Pierre & M Lapi|[egrave]|re, Charles. (2001). Topically Applied Vitamin C Enhances the mRNA Level of Collagens I and III, Their Processing Enzymes and Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 in the Human Dermis1. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 116. 853-859. 10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01362.x. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11407971/

  8. Traikovich SS. Use of topical ascorbic acid and its effects on photodamaged skin topography. Archives of otolaryngology–head & neck surgery. 1999;125:1091–1098. doi: 10.1001/archotol.125.10.109. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10522500/

  9. Espinal-Perez LE, Moncada B, Castanedo-Cazares JP. A double-blind randomized trial of 5% ascorbic acid vs. 4% hydroquinone in melasma. International Journal of Dermatology. 2004 Aug;43(8):604-607. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2004.02134.x.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15304189/



This is a very precious, 100% vegetable and organic facial oil that has not been tested on animals. The prickly pears contain seeds from which the prickly pear oil is made. The high concentration of linoleic acid (>70%) restores skin elasticity, moisturizes, softens and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation. The powerful antioxidants vitamin E and provitamin A protect against premature skin ageing. It is a perfect combination for beautiful skin without harming animals.