Is Rare Beauty Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

It seems like every celebrity is coming out with a beauty line, and Selena Gomez has hopped on to the trend. She launched Rare Beauty in 2020, and it's a fan obsession! But is the brand cruelty-free and vegan? The answer isn't so simple.

Is Rare Beauty Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Rare Beauty's cruelty-free status is in a grey area. It does not conduct animal testing on its products, but it does not clarify whether its ingredients are tested on animals. Rare Beauty has products free of animal-derived ingredients, but we do not consider it a vegan brand.

Let's start by saying we love Selena's authentic beauty messages she's sending out to the world through her cosmetics. The brand stands against setting unrealistic standards of perfection and hiding what makes each person unique. 

"Being rare is about being comfortable with yourself. I've stopped trying to be perfect. I just want to be me." Says Selena on her Rare Beauty website. 

Her brand concept is booming, and in July 2021, Rare Beauty was reported to have made an estimated $60 million in revenue

But here's the million-dollar question: How can Rare Beauty claim to be cruelty-free when the answer is unknown?

Before deciding on what to buy, here's what you need to know about Rare Beauty's current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Is Rare Beauty Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Rare Beauty cruelty-free cosmetics

Rare Beauty's Cruelty-Free Status is Unclear

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals; or
  • Ask any ingredient suppliers to test on animals within its supply chain.  

But, it does not tell us whether it: 

  • Tests any of their product ingredients or formulations on animals;
  • Allows suppliers or any third parties to test its ingredients on animals; or
  • Distributes its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

The brand states the following:

"Made with love for animals: We are free of animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products and never test on animals (nor do we ask others to test on our behalf)."

But asking others not to conduct animal testing on their behalf doesn't guarantee that they won't!

Rare Beauty's cruelty-free status remains in the grey area until they can give us more information about these critical points.

The good news is that the brand is PETA certified and is not owned by any parent company.

This brings us to the next point:

Rare Beauty is Not Vegan

Rare Beauty claims to be 100% vegan as it doesn't use any animal-derived ingredients, this includes all their makeup tools and brushes.

In saying that, it's hard to consider any of its products "vegan" when we're not sure if it's 100% cruelty-free.

Are all its products free of animal-derived ingredients? Yes.

Are these products considered holistically vegan? We cannot say until the brand clarifies its cruelty-free policies.

With this in mind, Rare Beauty is still a step ahead of many brands since it's free of animal-derived ingredients.

Most mainstream cosmetics 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 – this essential protein plays an integral role in strengthening your skin and potentially help slow down the effects of aging when taken as a supplement. It does this by minimizing wrinkles and dryness. 

If you're interested in which products are vegan or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Rare Beauty vegan products.

Animal Testing Policy and History

Rare Beauty claims to be 100% cruelty-free and has been since it launched in 2020. However, it does not fulfill the criteria required on an international level to meet this claim.

We'll explain what we mean in a bit.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of Rare Beauty's official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from their website:

Rare Beauty Website Claim


Rare Beauty is PETA certified

However, it would be nice to see more certification from them since they're a proudly cruelty-free brand.

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

This is one of the reasons we actually cannot guarantee that it's cruelty-free. 

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

Leaping Bunny certification proves 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 little PETA bunny stamp at the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself. A lot of brands are using fake logos to mislead 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 Rare Beauty Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Rare Beauty does not distribute any of its products to retailers in mainland China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

If Rare Beauty does ship directly to shoppers in China via an online platform, the products will not be tested on animals upon entering the country.

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

The Best Rare Beauty Vegan Products

While we can't consider Rare Beauty holistically until we are clear about its cruelty-free status – all their products are still free of all animal-derived ingredients.

To save you some time, here are some of Rare Beauty's most popular and award-winning products to choose from:

  • Perfect Stroke Universal Volumizing Mascara
  • Pinch Me Soft Liquid Blush
  • Always and Optimist 4-in-1 Mist
  • Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner
  • Liquid Touch Multi-Tasking Sponge

You can visit Rare Beauty's website for a full list of their products. 

Vegan Alternatives to Rare Beauty 

If you are vegan or a strong advocate of cruelty-free cosmetics, Rare Beauty may not be the right brand.

Their cruelty-free status is in the grey area at this stage, which means that even their vegan claims are questionable. 

We cannot safely claim the brand is cruelty-free until we know more about its ingredients sourcing and distribution policies. 

Luckily, there are many alternatives you can find that are certified cruelty-free and vegan to choose from. 

If you're looking for 100% vegan cosmetics that are in the same price range, here are some similar alternatives: 

Is Rare Beauty Natural and Organic? 

Rare Beauty claims to use safe, simple, and clean ingredients that are US FDA approved. However, it is not considered natural or organic and does not claim to be.

Rare Beauty's goal is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use.

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 always good. Just because an ingredient is natural doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin. Poison ivy is natural – but we wouldn't recommend rolling in a field of that stuff!

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

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

Does Rare Beauty Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Rare Beauty has a 91- 100% allergen-free ranking across its product range. (This is excellent!) 

All of Rare Beauty's products are free of allergens such as parabens, propylene glycol, and MCI/ MI. They also sparingly use fragrance, nickel, soy, and Balsam of Peru. 

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Rare Brand is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be. Make sure you buy what your skin needs. 

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

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

This is because 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!

Although Rare Beauty uses clean ingredients and avoids anything harmful, you should always try to avoid the following ingredients:

  • Butylated compounds,
  • Benzophenone compounds,
  • Triclosan,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Formaldehyde, and
  • Lead or other heavy metals.

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 just as safe, if not safer, than anything tested on an animal.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether. 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 Rare Beauty Sustainable and Ethical? 

Rare Beauty has some strong sustainability and ethical initiatives as it ties in with the company values.

As it stands, the brand:

  • Helps create ethically developed products.
  • Focuses on lessening the impact it has on the planet.
  • Strives to do more to help people.

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

The brand is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Creating shipping boxes made from 100% recycled and recyclable items. Even the foam used within the boxes is made from a corn by-product that dissolves within 60 days. 
  • Partnering with businesses that don't use unethical or unlawful practices like forced labor.
  • Using safer ingredients that are kinder to the environment.
  • Using paperboard for secondary packaging made from 100% FSC certified post-consumer waste fibers (if it's necessary).
  • Providing customers with a drawstring pouch made from durable cotton canvas which you can use to keep all your cosmetic products.

Rare Beauty's Mental Health Message 

Mental health is at the forefront of Rare Beauty's public message, and a lot has to do with Selena's struggles after a bipolar diagnosis. 

Through Rare Beauty, she's created a Rare Impact campaign, which strives to educate people about mental health and support those who need it – they call it mental health 101. 

Today, Rare Impact is a safe space for their community to come together, connect through their mental health journeys and build strong friendships. 

They're working towards destigmatizing mental health concerns and helping individuals get help when they need a trained professional to help them through their problems. 

Can you believe how inspirational this is? 

Rare Impact would love to see mental health taught at schools so that kids can come together and support each other when mental health support is needed. 

Rare Impact has a mission to raise $100 million and give access to mental health services within 10 years. 

Final Thoughts

Rare Beauty's inclusive ethos, where all forms of individuality are embraced and celebrated, is incredible. We love the message they're sending out to anyone interested in wearing cosmetics. 

It is a well-developed cosmetics brand that considers various ethical factors, sustainable packaging, and a massive dedication to mental health. 

But their cruelty-free efforts are just beginning – at least, in our opinion.

We hope to see a lot more product and supply chain transparency, especially regarding ingredient production and sourcing. 

We also need more information about its mica mining and palm oil policies and whether it allows shipping to countries requiring animal testing by law. 

As much as Rare Beauty claims to be actively against animal testing and PETA certified, they don't disclose enough information to meet the Cruelty-Free Soul Standard. 

For this reason, we cannot consider its products holistically vegan. 

If you want to see more from Rare Beauty – reach out to them. The more people request open communication from the brand – the higher the chance of it happening. 

We hope to see a change in this issue, and accreditation with Leaping Bunny would be the assurance needed. It is up to us as consumers to stand for what we will and won't accept from our cosmetics. 

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