Cruelty-free, vegan and Clean Beauty - What's the difference?

In the skin care jungle, you often come across different terms that in one way or another imply an approach or regulations for the products sold. Here we find out what cruelty-free, vegan skin care and the relatively new term Clean Beauty mean!


When you shop at GLOWiD, you can be sure that everything is cruelty-free (abbreviated as CF), which means that the products from the brands we sell have not been tested on animals during any part of the production process.

In the development of skin care, a lot of time is spent in labs where chemists test different formulations, ingredients and methods so that the end product is what you want. Previously within the EU, and still in many parts of the world, there was a tradition of testing the products on animals during the process. This is because it was deemed to ensure the quality, effect and result of the product, but also to see how safe the product is deemed to be in order to ultimately be used on humans. Today there are alternatives to animal testing, for instance computer simulation, which are even considered more reliable than animal testing!

As for Korean skin care in general, it is not always cruelty-free, but a majority is and has long aimed to be. In 2018, South Korea passed a new law banning animal testing in skin care, where they are now actively phasing out these tests for kinder and more ethical skin care production.

Vegan skincare

That a product is vegan means that it does not contain any animal ingredients or by-products. What was previously perhaps considered a trend or niche is becoming increasingly common today and is something that the beauty industry has opened its eyes to. Plant-based alternatives to animal ingredients are being developed at an increasingly high rate, in more and more products.

It's easy to think that vegan skin care is synonymous with cruelty-free, but that's not the case. In other words, it is in practice possible that a vegan product has been tested on animals and that a cruelty-free product contains animal ingredients, but often the concepts go hand in hand to protect animals and nature.

Vegan skin care products are made from plants, minerals and safe synthetic ingredients. The term synthetic can at first glance be perceived as something chemical and unsafe, but are ingredients or components that cannot be found in nature (or try to imitate what is found in nature) and are therefore produced precisely from a safety perspective. The fact that an ingredient is completely natural does not necessarily mean that it is automatically better than a synthetic alternative because its concentration can have an irritating effect on, for example, sensitive skin.

Of course, choosing vegan suits those who otherwise live according to a vegan lifestyle. But since there are so many vegan options today, you probably already use products that are, without even thinking about it! It is simply more standardized than before.

At GLOWiD there is a large selection of vegan products from all our brands and you'll find them here!

Clean Beauty

Clean Beauty is a contested and fuzzy concept that lacks a real definition, but a common interpretation is that the ingredients must be clean, natural and "chemical free". And here it is good to have a little context, precisely because it is a concept that arose from a particular context.

The term originated in the USA where, unlike the EU, there is a lack of a proper regulatory framework and control body regarding what ingredients and products may be launched on the market - or rather a reaction to the FDA's (equivalent to the Food and Drug Administration) lack of regulation. In other words, this means that as a consumer in the USA, you cannot be sure that the cosmetics and skin care you buy are not free of dangerous and toxic ingredients, and it is also not something that the producers are obliged to be clear about on the packaging. An illustrative example is that in the EU there are around 1,300 prohibited substances/ingredients, while in the USA there are only 11.

Clean Beauty as a concept thus strives towards the opposite. It is encouraged to use products with safe and preferably natural raw materials and ingredients, transparency about the contents of the products and preferably with a low amount or no preservatives in order to consume sustainably and environmentally friendly, and without danger to its users. It should be clean, simple!

However, the concept is not completely unproblematic, as said, it lacks a definition and is therefore free of interpretation and can mean different things to different countries, brands or people. However, when consuming products sold within the EU, regardless of country of origin, you can rest assured that they have been reviewed and tested before being approved - just because something is not according to someone's definition of "clean" does not mean it is "dirty".

What can you learn about the Clean Beauty trend? Becoming aware of ingredients and knowing that not all products in the global skin care market are guaranteed to be vetted and safe. Something that is especially good to remember now that international online shopping is so common!

At GLOWiD you'll find, for example, I'm From which focuses specifically on being transparent at all levels. In addition to a standard ingredient list, they also list the main ingredient's place of origin, and have a focus on natural ingredients with inspiration from traditional, natural medicines.

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