Clean Brands

Is OUAI a Clean Brand? Investigating Their Cruelty-Free and Vegan Claims

4 Mins read

The beauty industry has seen a significant shift in recent years, with consumers becoming more conscious about the ingredients in their products and the ethical practices of the companies they buy from. Clean beauty has become a buzzword, representing products that are non-toxic, cruelty-free, and often, vegan. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, demanding transparency about what’s in their products and how they’re made.

But figuring out which brands truly live up to these standards can be a challenge. With vague definitions and a lack of regulation around terms like ‘clean’ and ‘cruelty-free’, it can be difficult to separate the genuine from the greenwashed. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at one popular brand – OUAI – to see if it lives up to its clean beauty claims.

OUAI has gained a large following due to its trendy packaging, celebrity endorsements, and promises of high-quality, cruelty-free, and vegan hair care products. But is the brand really as clean as it claims to be? Let’s find out.

OUAI: A Brief Overview of the Brand

Founded by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, OUAI has quickly established itself as a go-to haircare brand in the beauty industry. Atkin, known for working with stars like the Kardashians, launched OUAI in 2016 with the goal of creating a line of luxurious, easy-to-use products that make you feel like you have a personal stylist at your fingertips.

OUAI prides itself on its “real” approach to beauty, focusing on creating products that work for every type of hair and every type of person. The brand’s website states that all of its products are cruelty-free, and many are vegan. They also claim to avoid harmful chemicals and prioritize “sustainable” ingredients.

However, as consumers, it’s essential to dig deeper into these claims. After all, terms like ‘cruelty-free’, ‘vegan’, and ‘sustainable’ are not legally defined or regulated, which means brands can use them however they’d like.

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Defining ‘Clean’: Understanding the Terminology

The term ‘clean’ does not have a universal definition within the beauty industry. While it generally refers to products that are free from potentially harmful ingredients, the specifics can vary greatly from brand to brand. Some might interpret ‘clean’ to mean free from parabens and sulfates, others may exclude a much longer list of ingredients.

‘Cruelty-free’, on the other hand, typically means that a product and its ingredients have not been tested on animals. However, without official regulation, it can be hard to verify a brand’s cruelty-free status. Some brands may claim to be cruelty-free without considering their suppliers or third-party testing.

‘Vegan’ is a bit clearer, usually meaning that a product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products. However, it’s worth noting that a product can be vegan without being cruelty-free, and vice versa.

Cruelty-Free Claims: What Does it Mean for OUAI?

When a brand claims to be cruelty-free, it is essentially saying that neither its products nor any of the ingredients within them have been tested on animals. For a brand like OUAI, which prides itself on its cruelty-free status, this should mean that no animal testing has occurred at any stage of product development or production.

OUAI has been certified as cruelty-free by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program, which is a positive sign. However, it’s worth noting that while PETA’s certification is widely respected, it is not as stringent as some other cruelty-free certifications, such as Leaping Bunny. PETA does not require companies to undergo independent audits or provide supplier declarations, which could leave some room for ambiguity.

Furthermore, while OUAI’s products are not sold in mainland China, where animal testing is mandatory for foreign cosmetics, they are available in Hong Kong, which has different regulations. This does not undermine their cruelty-free status but is worth considering in the broader context.

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Investigations into OUAI’s Cruelty-Free Status

Several reliable resources online, such as Cruelty-Free Kitty and Ethical Elephant, have verified OUAI’s cruelty-free status based on their research and direct communication with the brand. This provides further assurance that OUAI is indeed cruelty-free, as they claim.

However, while it appears that OUAI itself does not test its products or ingredients on animals, the brand has not publicly disclosed information about its suppliers or whether they guarantee they do not test on animals. Given that some companies test their ingredients on animals, this lack of transparency raises some questions.

We should also consider that OUAI’s parent company, Maesa, is not explicitly cruelty-free. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that OUAI is involved in animal testing, brands under non-cruelty-free parent companies can contribute to animal testing indirectly.

Are OUAI Products Really Vegan?

While OUAI claims that many of its products are vegan, the brand is not 100% vegan. Some of its products contain ingredients like keratin, which is often derived from animals. However, they do clearly indicate on their website which products are vegan, making it easy for consumers to choose appropriately.

It’s important to note that just because a product is vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cruelty-free. A vegan product simply doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, but it could still potentially be tested on animals. However, in OUAI’s case, as they are certified cruelty-free, their vegan products should also qualify as cruelty-free.

To provide further clarity, it would be helpful if OUAI could provide more information about where their ingredients come from and how they’re sourced. Transparency is key in the clean beauty movement, and currently, this is an area where OUAI could improve.

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The Importance of Transparency in the Beauty Industry

Transparency in the beauty industry is more important than ever. Consumers want to know what they’re putting on their bodies, and they want to support brands that align with their values. Brands like OUAI, which market themselves as clean and cruelty-free, have a responsibility to back up these claims with clear, easily accessible information.

Unfortunately, a lack of regulation and the use of vague marketing terms often make it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions. Until this changes, the onus is on individual brands to provide clear, accurate information about their products and practices.

In the case of OUAI, while they do provide some information about their cruelty-free and vegan status, there is room for improvement when it comes to transparency about their ingredients and suppliers. This information would help consumers feel more confident in their choice to support OUAI as a clean brand.

Concluding Thoughts: Is OUAI Truly a Clean Brand?

Based on the available information, it seems that OUAI does largely live up to its claims of being a clean brand. The company is certified cruelty-free by PETA, does not sell in mainland China, and clearly labels its vegan products.

However, there is room for improvement when it comes to transparency about ingredients and suppliers. Without more information in these areas, it’s hard to say definitively whether every aspect of OUAI’s production process aligns with the principles of clean beauty.

As consumers, it’s essential to do our research and ask questions when necessary. While OUAI appears to be a largely clean brand, this investigation highlights the need for more transparency and regulation in the beauty industry as a whole. Until then, the quest for truly clean beauty continues.