• Caroline Donough

Good Virtues Co. - Vegan or Cruelty-Free?

As an animal lover, I've always been conscious of how my purchasing and consumption decisions impact animal lives, especially when it comes to buying cosmetics and toiletries where the industry has been notorious for a long time for unnecessary animal testing. Over the years, I've done a fair amount of shopping with cruelty-free giants, The Body Shop and Marks & Spencer, but if I'm being honest, I know these two companies are just the tip of the iceberg. There's an entire brigade of cruelty-free brands out there, which means I could be doing a whole lot more, and that's why I've begun to make the switch to cruelty-free in every way that I possibly can.


I'm currently on the lookout for an inexpensive cruelty-free shampoo brand to try, a cheaper alternative to The Body Shop and Marks & Spencer, but I've kind of hit a dead end. Aveda, an upscale cruelty-free salon brand, keeps popping up in my Google search results, maybe because "cruelty-free" is part of my search criteria, but I don't particularly want to splurge or spend a fortune to wash my hair (not if I can help it), so I've tried to narrow down my search to just drugstore brands. But so far, I've come up empty. So right now, I'm like, "Hmmm..."



Funny story: Google did suggest this brand, though: Good Virtues Co., which is available at Tesco and Watsons. And because several bloggers and influencers online touted the brand as cruelty-free, I got excited and went straight to Watsons and purchased a 300ml bottle of the Clarifying Hair & Scalp Shampoo for oily hair to try. It was only when I got home and took a closer look at the packaging did I notice the stark absence of a cruelty-free logo, and so I went from being thrilled to bits to feeling really let down. Goes to show there can be a ton of misinformation out there, which underscores how important it is that we educate ourselves and verify bald claims against credible sources, which I should've done. A quick search on Leaping Bunny, PETA, Choose Cruelty-Free or Cruelty-Free Kitty would've done the trick. I'm kicking myself now because I really should've checked first. Oh well.. *sigh*... but if anyone working at Good Virtues Co. is by any chance reading this and can shed some encouraging light on the brand's cruelty-free status, that would be terrific. Please do so.



Anyway, since I've bought the shampoo, I might as well share some info about Good Virtues Co. in case anyone is interested. It's a Malaysian brand, and according to their website, all their products - skin care, hair care and body care - are free from mineral oils, SLES, ALES, parabens, synthetic colourants, and their ingredients are halal-certified. Featured in each and every one of their products is their star ingredient, Organic Habbatus Sauda Oil (Organic Black Seed Oil), which is reputed to be rich in natural nutrients and antioxidants. My experience of using the shampoo daily for about a week now has been fair overall. It has a milky-creamy consistency and the formula feels light, gentle and non-stripping. What I really like is the price because RM10.30 for 300ml is hard to beat. I should mention, though, that it has somewhat of a synthetic floral scent to it that remains noticeable even after my hair has dried for several hours, which I don't really mind but some people might, so just take note of that in case you might be opposed to using a shampoo that'll leave a lingering fragrance in your hair. Plus, for a product line that claims to be free from foaming agents, SLES (sodium laureth sulphate) and ALES (ammonium laureth sulphate), this shampoo produces a considerable amount of foam. I don't mind the suds, but there doesn't seem to be any mention of an alternative surfactant to explain them. There is also, like I said, no evidence whatsoever of an official cruelty-free accreditation to be found anywhere on the product packaging nor the brand's website, apart from a line that says "100% non-animal derived ingredients", but that basically just means vegan - not cruelty-free. So I don't know why there are people out there calling it a cruelty-free brand.


Anyway, speaking of vegan, it seems to be the latest buzzword in the cosmetics industry. Have you noticed? And it's often used interchangeably with the term "cruelty-free" as though they mean the same thing. They don't. Vegan is vegan. Cruelty-free is a whole other ball game, so let's not blow smoke.


  • "Vegan" means no animal-derived ingredients/no animal by-products (like beeswax, gelatin, lanolin, etc.). "Vegan" refers to the ingredients of a product.

  • "Cruelty-free" means NO ANIMAL TESTING. PERIOD. "Cruelty-free" refers to a brand or company's stance against animal testing. If animal testing had occurred at any stage of supply or production, either on the raw ingredients or the final product itself, regardless of whether the testing was outsourced or conducted in-house, and if the product is sold in China where animal testing for cosmetics is mandatory, that brand or company cannot be considered cruelty-free. Certification from the right authorities like Leaping Bunny (the gold standard for cruelty-free products), PETA and/or Choose Cruelty-Free is the only way for a brand or company to be truly transparent about their manufacturing processes, ingredients and cruelty-free status. If they're certified, you will find them listed in the databases of these animal protection organisations. Virtually any brand or company can claim to be cruelty-free (or vegan, carbon neutral, organic and so on), but if no one is policing them, I'd be sceptical.



I don't know about you, but I find it odd that companies and brands with little to no regard for animal welfare still exist in this day and age. That's so archaic. I mean, this is the 21st century. We have the technology and more than enough intel to know which ingredients are effective and safe to use and which ones to steer clear of. To continue subjecting innocent animals to needless cruelty that will blind, maim and kill them for the sake of vanity is plain uncivilised. I mean, what are we? Barbarians?


So back to Good Virtues Co. and will I be purchasing their shampoo again (or any of their other products)? No, I won't. For a shampoo, I'd say it's decent, but I can't get behind a brand or company that isn't officially acknowledged by a leading cruelty-free organisation nor has any evidence of being genuinely cruelty-free across their supply chain. Obviously, everyone cares about different things, so if you like the brand and their products, please don't take offense at what I've said. I love animals, so of course I'll shop compassionately, and needless to say, I'm not willing to accept cruelty-free claims that aren't substantiated. And vegan claims, too, for that matter.


Anyway, I think I've said enough, but if you'd like to check out 10 reasons why we should go cruelty-free, here's a brilliant article I found on Ethical Bunny. Very enlightening and explains it so much better than I could.


By the way, if you know of a shampoo brand that's both affordable and certified cruelty-free (other than The Body Shop or Marks & Spencer), do feel free to suggest it to me as I'm still looking for one! Cheers for now! 🙂



Note: Price, where mentioned, is correct at time of writing.

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