Compliance Symbols on Beauty Products: What Do They Really Mean?

In a time marked by heightened awareness of health, sustainability, and ethical practices, the beauty industry has witnessed a shift in consumer preferences. Today, a growing tribe of conscious beauty consumers is emerging—demanding transparency and scrutinizing the ingredients that go into their skincare and makeup essentials.

Whether you’re looking for a product that wasn’t tested on animals or one with recyclable packaging, it would be nice to have a label that quickly identifies the products you can trust, right?

But nowadays, there are dozens of different compliance labels out there—and most of us don’t know what they actually mean. 

That’s what we want to talk about today. In this blog post, we’ll dive into a handful of the top compliance symbols we’ve seen recently and examine what they really mean (and how they’re earned). 

Leaping Bunny 

leaping bunny

The gold standard of cruelty-free logos is the Leaping Bunny – and we are proud to display this label on our own Original Sprout products. This is also the only logo that’s internationally recognized. If you see this symbol on your favorite skincare, makeup, or cleaning product, it means there was definitely no animal testing involved in its development. 

The Leaping Bunny is certified through Cruelty Free International, a prominent organization that promotes alternatives to animal testing and encourages ethical practices within the beauty and cosmetic industry.


In order to display the Leaping Bunny, products must be accredited through third-party testing. This is a very detailed process that requires documentation and auditing, so you know that this is a symbol you can trust.

Cruelty Free Bunny 


There are multiple bunny logos other than the Leaping Bunny. They each claim to represent brands that abstain from animal testing. However, that may not always be the case. To be a conscious consumer, it’s important to understand how to navigate the maze of official and unofficial bunny logos. 

“Cruelty-free” isn’t a regulated term, so the rules for certification aren’t always cut and dry. While some logos hold genuine commitments to animal welfare, others can be misleading. 

Certifications like the “Beauty Without Bunnies” logo promoted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) can typically be considered safe, as these brands are required to sign contracts verifying that they don’t test on animals. 

Other certifications, like Choose Cruelty Free, require documentation but not audits. Therefore, it’s important to be cautious and do your own research when assessing the validity of cruelty-free logos.

Certified Vegan


The Certified Vegan Logo is a registered trademark that helps people identify products that contain no animal products or byproducts and that have not been tested on animals. In addition to animal products, items made from bone char like sugar, or insect byproducts like silk or honey, do not qualify as vegan.

Products that have this label are certified by Vegan Action, a non-profit organization with the primary mission of promoting veganism and supporting the adoption of a vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Action has a rigorous certification process that involves reviewing ingredients, assessing manufacturing processes, and conducting on-site inspections. So, if you find a product with a Certified Vegan logo, you can rest assured that there are no animal products involved.

Vegan Sunflower


Another vegan certification is known as the “Sunflower.” This is a logo awarded by the Vegan Society, which was founded in Great Britain in 1944. It can be used to label products of any kind that do not contain any ingredients of animal origin. 

Can you truly trust the Sunflower symbol? Yes! The Vegan Society is built on transparency. In order to receive this logo, brands must abide by strict criteria, third-party verification, and regular audits.

If you want to buy vegan products, it’s important to only trust Certified Vegan or the Sunflower and be wary of other logos claiming to be 100% vegan. 



Phthalates are chemicals that can be found in a variety of different products—from plastic containers and bottles to synthetic leather and faux leather goods. The main concern is that phthalates found in plastics often leach into the products they hold, which can include skin creams, shampoos, and more.

While “phthalate-free” is slapped across many products, there is no official label for products not containing this chemical. That’s why you should always read labels of products you’re interested in. 

To do this, check the numbers on the recycling symbols of plastic bottles. Avoid plastics that have the number three, six, or seven, as those likely contain phthalates.  



When choosing skincare products, most of us do our best to stay away from toxic ingredients. However, there’s still much confusion around products that claim to be "non-toxic," since the definition isn’t crystal clear. Thus, a non-toxic logo alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee a product’s safety. 

This is where doing your homework and being an educated consumer comes into play. To ensure a product is non-toxic, understanding its ingredients is crucial. Educate yourself on harmful substances to watch out for, such as phthalates and parabens. 

Prioritize reputable brands with transparent labeling. Choose items with recognizable, natural ingredients, and research brands' commitment to safety and transparency before making a purchase.

Ocean Bound Plastic


Ocean-bound plastics (OBP) refer to plastic materials that are at risk of entering the oceans. These plastics are commonly found near coastal areas and riverbanks. 

Zero Plastics Ocean is a nongovernmental organization that aims to promote responsible plastic recycling. To address the issue of plastic waste, they’ve created two certifications: Ocean Bound Plastic Certified and Ocean Bound Plastic Neutral.

Brands with these labels have proven that they collect and treat either commercially or non-commercially recyclable ocean-bound plastics. 

This organization has experts in certifications, marine biology, and waste management. They have companies go through rigorous audits, so you can be sure to trust Ocean Bound Certifications. 



A "sulfate-free" claim on a product suggests that it doesn't contain sulfates. However, even if a product has this logo, it’s not a regulated term. That’s why it’s important to err on the side of caution, and always check ingredients for yourself.

Sulfates are harsh cleansing agents, often found in hair care products, face washes, or body soaps. Brands claim to be sulfate-free to attract consumers seeking gentler products that won't strip them of natural oils. 

If you’re concerned about sulfates in your soaps or shampoos, look for names like "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate" (SLS) or "Sodium Laureth Sulfate" (SLES) on ingredient lists. Beware of similar-sounding compounds, and try to do additional research.



As its name suggests, Ecocert is a certification that verifies eco-friendly and organic products. They aim to make it easier for consumers to identify brands that are truly environmentally friendly.

Ecocert is an independent certification body that certifies its own products. It sets and oversees its own standards for organic and environmentally friendly products. When a product meets its criteria, it can receive the Ecocert certification label.

With binding contracts, audits, and reviews, Ecocert is a trusted label for those looking for socially responsible, sustainable, organic, and fair-trade brands. 

Certified BPA-Free


We’ve all heard of Bisphenol A (BPA), but many of us don’t know just how prevalent it is. Research has also raised concerns about BPA's potential to leach into food and beverages, leading to potential health risks, including hormone disruption and developmental issues. 

While some products claim to be "BPA-free," not all such labels are regulated or accurate. To best avoid BPA’s, research independently. Take products labeled "BPA-free" with a grain of salt. Instead, look for recycling codes: #3 for PVC and #7 (other) for possible BPA presence. 

Shop Beauty and Skincare Products You Can Trust

With so many brands competing for your attention, it can be hard to know who to trust. On the bright side, there are reputable certifications that can steer you in the right direction. 

At Original Sprout, we go above and beyond to guarantee our products are high-quality and safe. With cruelty-free and vegan products like baby washes, hair oils, shampoos, gels, and  more, you can cover all your bases while still using fresh, clean ingredients.

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