Is Glow Recipe Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Can We Trust K-Beauty?)

Glow Recipe’s fruit-forward, clean formulas were a quick viral sensation. Unfortunately, many K-Beauty brands don't have the best animal testing policies out there. So what sets Glow Recipe apart? – Does it have cruelty-free and vegan claims we can trust?

Is Glow Recipe Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Glow Recipe 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. Glow Recipe is also 100% vegan – it doesn't use any animal-derived ingredients.

Glowing skin is the true Korean beauty ideal, and it’s what co-founders of Glow Recipe, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, wanted to build their skincare brand around.

Together, these two former L’Oréal execs developed a brand that combined their Korean cultural heritage and all the knowledge they accumulated from being raised working in the States.

Glow Recipe’s products have a mix of cultural heritage and beauty traditions from both the U.S. and Korea. Their powerhouse ingredients come from fruits like avocado, blueberries, pineapple, papaya, and watermelon.

Each formula is inspired by their Korean upbringings – like their grandmothers rubbing watermelon rinds on their skin to soothe irritation.

Seems like grandma knew a thing or two about skincare since Glow Recipe had an estimated $100 million in sales during the 2021 financial year. Pretty impressive for the first 5 years of a business!

But you might know that Glow Recipe hasn’t always been vegan – here’s what you need to know about Glow Recipe’s current animal testing policies and vegan ranges.

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Is Glow Recipe Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Glow Recipe Cruelty-Free and Vegan beauty range

Glow Recipe 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.

Glow Recipe has a solid cruelty-free message with accreditation from Leaping Bunny – the only internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free.

The brand is privately owned with private venture funding. So you don’t have to worry about any pesky parent companies associated with animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

Glow Recipe is Vegan

Glow Recipe has recently reformulated the final product in its range that wasn’t vegan, and the brand is now 100% vegan! 

Glow recipe does not use any animal-derived ingredients in any of its products.

If you’re curious – the product it discontinued was the Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, which contained honey. The only similar vegan product listed is the Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask.

But when it comes to vegan cosmetics, it's worth knowing that Glow Recipe 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?
  • Squalane ­­– is a cosmetic ingredient predominantly harvested from sharks' livers but can also be derived from plant sourced.

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

If you're interested the best Glow Recipe vegan products or finding  brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Glow Recipe vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Glow Recipe has been committed to creating clean, effective, and affordable cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been its intention since it was founded.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Glow recipe cruelty-free and vegan claim

Certification

Glow Recipe is Leaping Bunny certified.

Glow Recipe Cruelty-Free Claim

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn’t hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It only requires 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.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products it sells.
  • 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, is considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's a good sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself.

A lot of brands are using fake logos to fool 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 Glow Recipe Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Glow Recipe does not distribute any of its products to China or any country requiring animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year. The U.S. doesn't sit far behind that, with 17 million animals killed yearly for experimentation and testing.

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 Glow Recipe Vegan Products

Glow Recipe has a great range of vegan products that continues to expand.

Every fruit the brand uses in its formulas has key skincare benefits! Glow Recipe prides itself in 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:

  • Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer
  • Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops
  • Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
  • Plum Pump Hyaluronic Serum
  • Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

For a complete list of Glow Recipe vegan products, you can find everything on the website.

Vegan Alternatives to Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe is an excellent option for vegans as it provides a wide variety of products for you to use.

They are proud to have a clean track record and noteworthy transparency with its consumers. We love that it is cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable.

Although the brand does have strong cruelty-free and vegan principles that act in its favor – it might not be not easily accessible to you.

The products are moderately expensive, so it’s worth knowing more affordable vegan options are available!

If that's the case, here are some alternatives we recommend:

Is Glow Recipe Natural and Organic? 

Glow Recipe is not a natural or organic brand despite using high amounts of fruit extracts and ingredients.

However, it claims to use safe, innovative, and clean ingredients.

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" doesn't mean it's good for you. Take gluten, for example. It's a natural protein in wheat that certain people are highly allergic to. Even topical application can lead to terrible health issues.

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and Glow Recipe is no exception. But it chooses to use better or clean synthetics.

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

A few naturally-derived Glow Recipe uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance in our skin that helps maintain moisture, and boost tissue regeneration and wound healing.

    As we age, we produce less hyaluronic acid – making it an essential ingredient in our beauty products. 
  • Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 with so many skin benefits. It helps strengthen your skin barrier and reduce inflammation, redness, pore size, fine lines, and even acne.  
  • Ceramides are essential fatty acids that we need to prevent water loss between the layers of our skin.

    Ceramides balance moisture, improve the skin barrier function, reduce inflammation, and have been shown to prevent acne breakouts.

Does Glow Recipe Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Glow Recipe has a 91% allergen-free ranking for each product. This is pretty impressive!

Glow Recipe has a strict list of ingredients it will not use. Some of these include parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, triclosan, triclocarban, mineral oil, SLS/ SLES, DEA/ TEA/ MEA, and phthalates.  

Click here for their complete list.

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

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

As a conscientious shopper, you must read up on any brand's ingredient list before making a purchase – especially if you live in the United States.

This is because the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the U.K., on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

While Glow Recipe has strict ingredient policies, here are some of the ingredients you really want to avoid for good measure:

  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • DMDM Hydantoin and urea (that often release formaldehyde)
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Triclosan

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 Glow Recipe Sustainable and Ethical? 

Glow Recipe has strong sustainability and ethical initiatives that align with the company values.

Several of Glow Recipe’s initiatives work towards:

  • Help create sustainable, ethically developed products.
  • Focus on lessening the impact it has on the planet.
  • Strive to do more to help people.

Glow Recipe is pledging to donate $1M dollars in donations by the end of 2022 through their Glow for Good social impact program.

So far this year, the company has donated funds to:

  • Celebrating Pride with It Gets Better & MPJI Institute
  • CARE's Ukraine Relief Fund
  • Marsha P. Johnson Institute in celebration of black history month

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

Some of the ways Glow Recipe is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Using natural ingredients and biodegradable formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Being part of TerraCycle® recycling program that customers can easily follow. Other brands that have joined TerraCycle include Josie Maran, Acure, and eos.
  • Developing sustainable packaging with sustainably sourced paper (PEFC-certified), soy-based inks, and PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic and glass.
  • Officially being carbon neutral certified.
  • Using wind power to fuel its manufacturing factories.

Final Thoughts

Glow Recipe is a conscientious and clean skincare brand that considers various ethical factors.

We love that this brand is proudly cruelty-free and has made a conscientious effort to go vegan. These actions help us take a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

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

Glow Recipe’s sustainability policies are forward-thinking and as refreshing as their product names.

The “Glow For Good” campaign that pledges to give $1 million in monetary and product donations by the end of 2022 is fantastic.

Looking at the organizations they’ve given to shows how quickly they respond to a global crisis – it’s a win for the beauty industry.  

Glow Recipe is a strong choice for activists who want skin as clear as their conscience.  

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