Is Coola Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Is It Doing Enough?)

Coola’s organic sunscreen strives to make clean beauty that feels good and healthy. We hope that this translates into their cruelty-free and vegan message too.

Is Coola Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Coola is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. Coola is also 100% vegan – it doesn't use any animal-derived ingredients.

Within a few months of each other, both Chris Birchby’s parents were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. This ignited his personal mission to develop a healthy and forward-thinking sunscreen brand.

Back in 2007, Birchby couldn’t find any organic sunscreen that felt good on his skin.

While developing the right product took serval attempts to meet his high standards – Coola finally launched with an organic SPF and has since grown to skincare and self-tan products.

So, where is the brand now? And can we trust its cruelty-free and vegan claims?

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Is Coola Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Coola cruelty-free and vegan product

Coola is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Coola has accreditation from PETA, which is a great start. But not the best internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free. More on that here.

The brand is privately owned, but a majority stake was bought by SC Johnson. This private firm is not known to be associated with animal testing- with no relation to Johnson & Johnson.

This brings us to our next point:

Coola is Vegan

In the last few months, this conscious and accessible skincare brand has dropped its use of beeswax to become entirely vegan!

It no longer uses any animal-derived ingredients in any of its products.

Coola Vegan Product confirmation

However, it's worth knowing that Coola is the exception and not the rule.

Most mainstream skincare brands are not 100% vegan. These are certain animal-derived ingredients to look out for in general:

  • Honey & beeswax – these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn't vegan, it doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Lanolin – this ingredient, like honey and beeswax, is used in skincare and cosmetics because it is incredibly hydrating. It is basically the waxy oil that comes from sheep wool. Lanolin can be cruelty-free – follow this link for more details.
  • Collagen – is an essential protein that plays an integral role in strengthening skin, as well as in elasticity and hydration.

    Naturally, collagen can only be found in connective animal tissue. But today, it's possible to make vegan collagen by genetically modifying yeast and bacteria.
  • Carmine – this ingredient is the red pigment made from the crushed female cochineal insect. A little gross, no? But it is completely harmless and is used in makeup to get those rouge tones.

    To find out why carmine is so cruel and the shocking amount of products that use it, you need to read this: Is Carmine Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
  • Squalane – is a cosmetic ingredient predominantly harvested from sharks' livers but can also be derived from plant sources. (Find the best vegan squalane products here.)

    Squalane is an excellent ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, and non-comedogenic.

If you're interested in Coola’s best vegan products or vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Coola’s vegan products.

Animal Testing Policy and History

Coola’s historical cruelty-free stance has been difficult to track down. But we know that currently, it is committed to creating organic and effective sun care and skincare that are cruelty-free.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of Coola official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

Coola cruelty-free website claim

Certification

It would be nice to see more certification from Coola since it’s a proudly cruelty-free brand.

Currently, it's PETA-approved which is not a bad start. You are likely to find the little cruelty-free PETA bunny next to each one of its products.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It seems only to require a brand's written consent that abides by the PETA code of conduct.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

The Leaping Bunny association is very strict and reliable, which ensures that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, are considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't let the image itself fool you. A lot of brands are using fake logos to deceive consumers.

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is Coola Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Coola does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most amount of animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes.

Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

The Best Vegan Coola Products

It’s exciting to say that Coola has said goodbye to all animal-derived ingredients and has a great range of vegan products currently available!

It prides itself on developing a product with you (the consumer) and the planet in mind.

To save you some time, here are some of its most popular skincare products:

  • Self Tanning Foam Dark
  • Gradual Self Tanning Milk
  • Application Mitt
  • Self Tanning Sheet Protector
  • Aero Self Tanning Foam 1 hour Express

You can find a complete list of Coola vegan products on its website.

Vegan Alternatives to Coola

We love what Coola does.

It's 100% cruelty-free, vegan, mostly organic, and users claim it's effective too.

But if the brand is not easily accessible to you, here are some other options to choose from:

Is Coola Natural and Organic? 

Coola uses many organic ingredients – one of its most popular products is its Organic Sunscreen!

It also claims that 70% of any product's ingredients are organic.

The term "organic" is regulated by the USDA. It means an ingredient is free of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or non-organic substances.

Coola has also opted for third-party USDA-certifying agencies EcoCert S.A, Organic Quality Assurance International, and Oregon Tilth.

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" is not necessarily good. Just because an ingredient is natural (take egg whites, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin and risk a salmonella infection!

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Coola is no exception – but it does choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it means it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

A few naturally-derived ingredients Coola uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Raspberry Seed Oil increases moisture and has anti-aging properties thanks to Omega 3 fatty acids. It may also slow free radical damage with Vitamin C and E antioxidants.
  • Aloe Leaf Juice is from the water-rich Aloe plant that has been used as a skincare ingredient for over 300 years (and maybe longer!).

    It’s especially soothing for sunburn but benefits all skin concerns like hydration, protection, and soothing.
  • Rosehip extract is a multi-use, natural ingredient that can moisturize your skin, boost radiance, and speed healing. It’s a quality source of essential fatty acids with a high Vitamin C content.

Does Coola Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Coola has an 82- 91% allergen-free ranking across 63 products.

Coola never uses:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • SLS 
  • Sulfates
  • Cyclical silicones
  • EDTA 
  • Formaldehyde 
  • Synthetic fragrance
  • Hydroquinone
  • Lanolin
  • Microbeads
  • Petrochemicals
  • Mineral oil
  • Polyacrylamide
  • BHA and BHT, MIT
  • Talc
  •  Phenoxyethanol

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Coola is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

However, certain products are specifically for these concerns, so make sure you buy what your skin needs.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

We don’t want to scare you, but you HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States. The reason why will shock you.

The FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

Luckily you really don’t have to worry about Coolio. But for good measure, here are some of the ingredients you really want to avoid in sunscreen and personal care products:
  • Butylated compounds (BHA, BHT)
  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • PPG, PEG, and polysorbate
  • Lead ad heavy metals
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nitrosamines
  • Coal tar and benzene
  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Hydroquinone
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you’re worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn’t be as safe as anything tested on animals.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there is no need.

If you’re interested, here’s more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Coola Sustainable and Ethical? 

Coola’s origin story isn’t just about the founder’s quest to bring organic sunscreen to his parents and consumers like you. He also wanted the brand to reflect his LA lifestyle, which includes respecting the environment.

Coola has strong sustainability and ethical initiatives as it ties in with the company values.

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem. Cosmetic brands only make it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

Some of the ways Coola is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Using 70% organic formulas in all its products.
  • Developing Hawaii Reef-compliant formulas that are safe for our oceans.
  • Developing products using natural ingredients.
  • Ensuring that sustainable farming practices and ingredient sourcing are maintained.
  • Prohibiting the use of microbeads to protect our oceans from pollution.
  • Ensuring that 80% of its bottles and jars are glass.
  • Ensuring plastic tubes are made from sustainably sourced sugar cane-resin.
  • Developing its packaging to be over 75% fully recyclable.
  • Having ethical/responsible MICA mining policies to prevent child labor.

Final Thoughts

Coola is a well-developed and trusted SPF brand that considers various ethical factors. The fact that they are cruelty-free is a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

It would be nice to see more sustainability practices from Coola and some further cruelty-free accreditation from Leaping Bunny.

It would be the ultimate step needed towards being the most ethical and natural sunscreen brand out there! So let's push to make that happen!

If you have any comments for the brand – reach out and share your comments. It’s the only way to spark change.

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