Difference between vegan, cruelty-free, natural, organic, toxic-free, eco-friendly and sustainable

It is becoming more and more common to find cosmetic products on the market that indicate they are vegan, natural, cruelty-free, toxic free or sustainable, the multitude of terms that we can find sometimes makes us feel a bit confused and we do not know which product to choose. Therefore, in this article we explain the differences in detail of these terms, so that it is easier for you to differentiate what you are looking for:

Vegan: for their manufacture they only use ingredients of vegetable or mineral origin, excluding any type of product of animal origin or derivatives, such as milk or beeswax.

Cruelty-free: these products are not allowed to have been tested on animals at any stage of their development. Currently, experimentation with animals for the development of cosmetics is prohibited in the European Union, but many companies continue to carry it out to export their products to countries like China, if you want to know more you can read our article on cruelty-free in cosmetics (link) .

natural: are those that in their composition contain at least 95% of products of natural origin. According to the NATRUE association, natural products are substances of botanical, mineral or animal origin (not including dead vertebrates) and mixtures of the above that have been processed by a type of extraction that does not alter the characteristics of the product of origin as in the case of essential oils, vegetable oils or extracts.

Organic or ecological: in general it is considered an organic product when at least 95% of the ingredients of vegetable or animal origin come from organic farming and are certified organic. In the final product, at least 20% of the products must be organic, it is important to bear in mind that products such as water and minerals are not considered organic since they do not come from agriculture.

Toxic-free: are those products that do not contain any toxic compounds for human health or the environment in their composition, such as parabens, polyethylene glycols (PEG), diethanolamines, phthalates, silicones, fragrances or synthetic preservatives. You can see what substances it is in the following our blog article.

Sustainable: When we talk about sustainability in cosmetics we refer to different aspects that are taken into account throughout the product development process:

  • Manufacturing must be carried out in accordance with ethical and sustainability principles.
  • Materials should come from environmentally friendly sources whenever possible.
  • The use of toxic or polluting ingredients is prohibited.
  • The packaging must be recyclable.
  • They must not generate toxic waste in the environment.


As you can see, these are terms that indicate different characteristics and requirements of the product but, in general, they are not exclusive, that is, a vegan product can be cruelty-free, ecological or natural. Although we must bear in mind that the fact that a product is cruelty-free does not necessarily imply that it is vegan.

At Planthia all our products are vegan, cruelty-free, natural, toxic-free and sustainable, and most of the raw materials we use are certified organic.


For more information you can consult any of the following sources:

Natural and organic cosmetics: definition and concepts

Sustainability, natural and organic cosmetics: consumer, products, efficacy, toxicological and regulatory considerations 

Sustainability in the cosmetic industry: a review

Cruelty-free vs. Vegan: what's the difference? 


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Sustainable, Natural, Toxic-Free, Cruelty Free and Vegan Products

At Planthia we create unique products with high quality ingredients that respect the environment and take care of your body. WELCOME TO THE COSMETICS REVOLUTION!