5 keywords to get you started in your sustainable beauty routine

Published November 23, 2020, 3:41 PM

by Paola Navarette

Thanks to advances in science and technology, more beauty brands are now going green. But with all the terms you have to take note of, it can feel somehow overwhelming to choose which product to buy—especially if you’re only starting to switch up your beauty routine to something more eco- and animal-friendly ones. Here’s a simple guide that you can always refer to.


A product is considered cruelty-free if no form of animal testing was involved in its production. Meaning, none of its ingredients nor the final product itself has been tested on animals. You may look for the Leaping Bunny label or certification labels “Cruelty-free” or “Vegan and Cruelty-free” from PETA (People for Ethical Treatments of Animals).


Plain and simple, vegan beauty means the absence of animal byproducts such as honey, milk, or carmine. But remember, while most of the time vegan cosmetics are cruelty-free, the reverse is not necessarily true. Even if a product has no animal-derived ingredients, the brand it came from might still be testing the product on animals. Certification labels to follow include Eve Vegan, Vegan Society, V-Label, and Vegecert, to name a few.


Gluten-free products are free from ingredients that contain gluten such as wheat germ, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and hydrolyzed wheat protein—preventing those with a gluten intolerance from possibly breaking out in rashes or acne. A wheat stalk should be the first thing you look for, or a label that says it’s 100 percent gluten-free. If you’re unsure whether or not the product is actually gluten-free, read the ingredients list.


While brands can mean different things when they use the word “clean,” in general, it is used for products that do not contain any toxic ingredients that could have detrimental effects on humans or the environment. Clean beauty brands like Ilia and Bite Beauty formulate products with pure, earth-friendly ingredients without the harmful parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances. 


This means that each of the ingredients found in the product is grown and processed under a strict code of cleanliness, with no pesticides or fertilizers, and absolutely no genetically modified organisms. The easiest way to determine if a beauty product is genuinely organic is to check if it bears an official Natural Products Association seal or USDA organic seal.