Is Sweet Chef Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Can We Trust K-Beauty?)

July 31, 2022

Ever get a craving you just need to fulfill? Your skin might feel that too, and K-Beauty brand Sweet Chef is here to fix it. Could this delicious skincare line be cruelty-free and vegan?

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

In early 2018, Christina Chang and Sarah Lee expanded their Korean Beauty empire with Sweet Chef. Inspired by healthy smoothies and protein-packed salad bowls, this line uses nutrient-packed vegetable extracts and pantry staples with active skincare ingredients.

K Beauty’s ‘double-serum’ technique was drawn on for Sweet Chef’s launch of three serums. Since then, the line has expanded to sheet masks, cleansers, toners, and moisturizers.

The proof is in the pudding, and Sweet Chef fans give rave reviews to this lab formulate range.

But can we trust this K-Beauty brand? We’re all too familiar with Korea and China’s frightening animal testing policies. We dug into its claims and certification, and trust us – you will want to read more.

Is Sweet Chef Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Sweet Chef Cruelty-Free and Vegan Serums

Sweet Chef 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.

Sweet Chef is dedicated to having a strong cruelty-free message, and it shows. It has accreditation from Leaping Bunny– the only internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free.

The brand was launched and is owned by Glow Recipe, a beauty company that actively works against animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

Sweet Chef is Vegan

Sweet Chef has cooked up an accessible and affordable skincare range that’s entirely vegan. It does not use any animal-derived ingredients in any of its products.

However, it's worth knowing that Sweet Chef is the exception, 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 finding the best Sweet Chef vegan products or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Sweet Chef's vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Sweet Chef is 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 Sweet Chef’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

Sweet Chef Cruety-Free Website Claim


Sweet Chef is Leaping Bunny certified.

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 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 Sweet Chef Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Sweet Chef does not sell any of its products in stores in 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 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 Sweet Chef Products

Sweet Vegan started with a great range of vegan vitamin Serum Shots and continues to expand into a full range of veggie-packaged skincare.

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

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

  • Carrot Ginger Blemish Rescue Patch
  • Ginger + Vitamin C Serum
  • Carrot Ginger Salicylic Acid Pore Cleanser
  • Kale + Vitamin B Serum
  • Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost

You can find a complete list of Sweet Chef’s vegan products on its website.

Vegan Alternatives to Sweet Chef

Sweet Chef has a tasty range of 100% cruelty-free, vegan, and affordable skincare products.

Users claim it to be effective when we look at the reviews!

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

Is Sweet Chef Natural and Organic? 

Sweet Chef is a natural brand. It claims to use a high amount of natural, nutrient-dense ingredients in each product.

Although Sweet Chef might use some organic ingredients, it is not certified organic, nor does it advertise itself as an organic skincare brand.

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. Sweet Chef 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 Sweet Chef uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Ginger is rich in antioxidants, so it helps protect and repair skin against free radical and environmental damage.

    It boosts tissue regeneration to heal acne scars and hyperpigmentation. On top of all that, ginger gives a radiant glow.
  • Vitamin A, also called retinol, is an anti-aging boon. It’s another antioxidant powerhouse that refines pores and minimizes signs of aging. Please always use an SPF with this active ingredient or, ideally, use it at night.
  • Oat Milk isn’t just delicious in lattes! This vegan milk alternative is gentle enough on sensitive skin to hydrate and soothe irritation.

    Oats contain anti-inflammatory phenols, which hydrate, nourish, and soothe itchy and dry skin.

Does Sweet Chef Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Sweet Chef has an 82- 91% allergen-free ranking across 5 products.

Although you can’t see its ranking amongst a wide range of products ­– you can rest assured that it’s got strict ingredient policies!

Sweet Chef is free from parabens, synthetic dyes, and fragrances. It also avoids common preservatives, nickel, MI/MCI, coconut, and propylene glycol.  

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Sweet Chef is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and it does 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!

Although Sweet Chef prides itself in being a clean brand – it still uses a few chemical ingredients that the FDA deems unsafe due to issues like skin irritation or hormone disruption. These include:

  • Triclosan
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead or other heavy metals
  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • DMDM
  • Hydantoin and urea (that often release formaldehyde
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Triclosan
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Formaldehyde

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 Sweet Chef Sustainable and Ethical? 

Sweet Chef does not call itself a sustainable brand but has strong sustainability and ethical initiatives.

As it stands, the brand:

  • Help create sustainable, ethically developed products.
  • Focus on lessening the impact it has on the planet.

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 Sweet Chef is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Creating biodegradable sheet masks to minimize consumer waste.
  • Using natural ingredients and biodegradable formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Prohibiting the use of microbeads and microplastics to prevent ocean pollution.
  • Providing details on how to recycle packaging for each product (available on its website).
  • Using recycled glass jars and bottles as product containers.
  • Not using MICA at all to prevent unethical mica mining controversies throughout its supply chain.
  • Receiving a Climate Neutral Certified.
  • Using sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified) and recyclable paper cartons.
  • Ensuring it uses shipping boxes with PCR (post-consumer recycled paper), air bubbles, and tissue paper.

How would we love to see Sweet Chef improve on this even more?

  • Sourcing Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified) to protect our forests.
  • Sustainably sourcing ingredients and receiving a (Fair Trade Certification).
  • Implementing recycled and recyclable pumps.
  • Having an active recycling program that incentivizes consumers to participate.
  • Offering refillable cosmetic packaging.

Final Thoughts

Sweet Chef isn’t just cooking up great vegan skincare; it is leading in the way for global beauty brands much large than them.

With cruelty-free certification and sustainability policies that are more than just lip service, it’s left a good taste in our mouths.  

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

Our only bugbear is that the brand uses palm oil and isn’t certified as sustainably and ethically sourced. Other than that, we love what Sweet Chef is growing and making a positive impact on faces and the world.

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