What Does Cruelty-Free Mean Anyway?

Here at Indie Lee we are proud to say that all of our products are certified cruelty-free. For our brand, that means we have never participated in animal testing at any point in our manufacturing process.

“Being cruelty-free has been a
pillar of our brand since day one”

– Indie Lee –

“Being cruelty-free has been a pillar of our brand since day one,” says Indie. When the brand was first launched, Indie Lee was one of just a small handful of beauty brands that were fully committed to being cruelty-free. Since then, more than 5,500 companies have joined the movement to eliminate animal testing. This is a clear indication that cruelty-free beauty products are becoming a more common practice in the cosmetics and skincare industries, but there is still work to do.

A Leap In The Right Direction

While Indie Lee has always been fully committed to being 100% cruelty-free at every step of the product development process, “cruelty-free” is an unregulated claim within the beauty industry. Since there is no one standard definition for “cruelty-free”, it was so important for our brand to obtain certification from third-party organizations.

When describing the importance of certification, Indie said, "When I started this brand, I wanted people to know what we stood for. One of the first certifications I wanted was Leaping Bunny.” Often described as the gold standard of cruelty-free regulation, Leaping Bunny evaluates cosmetic, beauty and household brands based on their strict criteria. One of the first organizations to institute a way to measure the validity of cruelty-free claims, Leaping Bunny has inspired countless businesses to earn their cruelty-free badge, one we have proudly worn for years.

What is the Leaping Bunny Standard, exactly?

According to the organization, The Standard is short for the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, a voluntary pledge that cosmetic, personal care or household product companies based in the US or Canada can make to confirm there is no animal testing in any stage of product development. As part of The Standard, a company’s ingredient suppliers and manufacturers are also required to make the same pledge. Ensuring that all parties involved in the manufacturing and distribution process are committed to absolutely no animal testing confirms that the products are guaranteed to be 100% cruelty-free at every step of the formulation process. The certification also requires that all Leaping Bunny companies are subjected to independent audits and an annual renewal of commitment, promising a continued loyalty to their standard.

“Leaping Bunny focuses on cruelty-free
claims because of the ambiguity around it...”

– Kim Paschen, Leaping Bunny –

“[Leaping Bunny] focuses on cruelty-free claims because of the ambiguity around it,” says Kim Paschen, Program Manager for Leaping Bunny. Having come a long way since its founding in 1996, Leaping Bunny continues to certify new companies, a list that currently stands at over 2,000 and continues to grow.

Pashcen recently joined Indie on her podcast “Coming Clean with Indie Lee” to discuss the importance of the Leaping Bunny mission and how we can expect the clean beauty industry to evolve as a result. “This brand has always been about creating change in the industry, while empowering others via education to live their healthiest lives. Part of that education is to raise awareness about animal testing. By joining hands with Leaping Bunny we are letting consumers know what our standards are. It’s incredible to not only see so many other brands taking this pledge, but changes happening at various state levels and overseas. My hope is that one day, this [animal testing] will be a thing of the past,” says Indie.

So, what does that mean for the future of clean beauty? “It’s absolutely incredible to see the ingenuity of these different companies and how passionate they are about creating products that are free of animal testing but products that also may be bottled without plastic, or refillable programs, etc.,” says Paschen. She explains how beauty and household brands are realizing now more than ever the environmental and social implications of their business decisions and are making a conscious effort to do their part.

As of 2021, Virginia became the fourth state, following California, Nevada, and Illinois, to pass legislation that prohibits cosmetics manufacturers from conducting or contracting cosmetic animal testing in addition to banning the sale of cosmetics that have undergone animal testing. With more and more states supporting cruelty-free legislation, Leaping Bunny remains hopeful about the mission to end animal testing nationwide.

A huge innovation that is currently being made in the cruelty-free space is the development of animal-testing alternatives. With new cell and tissue tests, computer models and other sophisticated methods, brands are being presented with alternatives that are faster, cheaper, more reliable and more humane. These evolving methods will replace the need for animal testing and is another step towards making cruelty-free an industry standard.

Learn more about the Leaping Bunny certification organization by tuning into Indie’s conversation with Kim on her Coming Clean Podcast here or visit their website at www.leapingbunny.org.

Vegan vs Beegan

No Bees Were Harmed in the Making of this Skincare

Another pillar of our cruelty-free commitment is our responsibility to produce skincare products that do not include animal byproducts. The majority of our products are vegan and formulated using only effective, plant-derived ingredients. As part of our product development philosophy, we use only the most efficacious ingredients nature has to offer.

While we are proud of our vegan formulas, we stand behind the Beegan products in our collection, including our fan-favorite I-Waken Eye Serum. What makes a product Beegan rather than vegan? Organic Beeswax, one of nature’s most elegant moisturizers. Sourced from 100% USDA organic beekeepers and harvested sustainably, our “Beegan'' formulas tote one-of-a-kind smoothness. Known for its moisturizing texture, Organic Beeswax creates a breathable yet protective barrier on the skin that makes it the perfect ingredient for added hydration in our products.

We choose to use Organic Beeswax because the process ensures that when the beeswax is extracted from the honeycombs, there is no harm done to the bees or their habitat. The organic process actually promotes healthier hive communities and secures the beeswax in its purest form. Using wholly Organic Beeswax supports organic sources, protects our standards of sustainability and stays true to our commitment to using ingredients that are good for you and the planet. For more information on the benefits of organic beekeeping, read more here.

Why Shopping Cruelty-Free Matters

We believe in empowerment through awareness and in knowledge as power. We also believe it’s time to embrace conscious consumerism. This is why we aim to inform consumers on why shopping brands and products that are cruelty-free can have a lasting impact on beauty industry standards and ultimately have the potential to reshape the entirety of the beauty community.

By being more mindful about what’s in skincare and how it’s produced, consumers can use their purchasing power to support brands with ethical standards and choose products that follow sustainable practices. When enough people take a stand, more companies will begin to change their practices and cruelty-free will one day soon become the norm industry-wide.