The beauty industry has a well-known love for ambiguous definitions that leave consumers quite puzzled (or, deceived.).
Top makeup companies that test on animals are the biggest culprits of using the term flippantly, without any fact to back their claims.
Currently, “cruelty-free” is one of the most trending phrases. As branding would have it, it is also one of the most misleading labels. Several beauty industry insiders and activists confess that this major loophole is the undoing of the beauty industry.
Cosmetics chemist and formulator Anthonia Ademuyiwa says, “there is no established definition of ‘cruelty-free,’ and also there is no regulating agency that oversees the usage of the term.” Scary, indeed.
It gets worse when we are forced to confront the reality behind our most loved makeup companies that test on animals.
Does this imply that a final product hasn’t been tested on animals, or that no animals were used in any stage of the development process? Is a vegan product also cruelty-free?
Several makeup companies insist on being cruelty-free, but this is far from the truth.
In general, if you’re looking for a cruelty-free brand, you’re looking for something that hasn’t been tested on animals. Beyond the finished product, none of the ingredients used should be derived from animals or tested on them.
Unfortunately, despite the awareness around the ethics of going cruelty-free, several big names from the beauty industry are still testing on animals in 2022.
It might come off as shocking, but beauty brands are not averse to greenwashing. Let’s read more about 10 such big makeup companies that test on animals.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Makeup Brands That Test on Animals Do So?
- 2 How Do Makeup Companies Test Their Products on Animals?
- 3 Top 10 Makeup Companies that Test on Animals in 2022
- 4 How Do I Know if My Makeup is Tested on Animals or Not?
- 5 What are the Alternatives to Animal Testing?
- 6 Our Take on Makeup Companies That Test on Animals
Why Makeup Brands That Test on Animals Do So?
Animal testing has been a controversial topic for a long time. The beauty industry is one of the worst in this regard, since several brands are known to perform tests on animals like guinea pigs, rats and rabbits.
Leading makeup brands give some reasons to back their practices.
They claim that animal testing is important to see if the cosmetics are indeed safe for human use or not.
However, several makeup companies have moved past this rhetoric. They believe that animal testing is completely unnecessary, cruel and inaccurate.
Although brands in the United States and the European Union have largely phased out animal testing, it is still possible for companies to participate in it. This is perhaps one of the most ambiguous aspects of being cruelty-free.
There is a reason why companies are still not entirely cruelty-free. Makeup companies such as L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble still sell in countries that mandate animal testing. One such country is the People’s Republic of China. In the PRC, the regulations make animal-testing necessary to sell cosmetics.
The rule applies to both domestic and international makeup brands that want to acquire a stake in the Chinese beauty market.
Sadly, many makeup companies still test on animals in a hyper-aware, hyper-woke year such as 2022. It is not surprising that big beauty brands that claim otherwise still place a hell lot of emphasis on profits. The most deceptive part lies in their own philosophies. Brands tend to disagree with animal testing, but still sell in markets that require it.
The main questions here, are therefore- Are we indeed the conscious consumers we claim to be?
What else are our favorite brands hiding from us? And how do they test on animals?
How Do Makeup Companies Test Their Products on Animals?
(TW: Animal abuse, harm, injuries)
How makeup companies that test on animals do so is something quite mysterious. Brands have successfully kept consumers away from the dark secrets in their testing facilities. If you are curious to know how it happens, read below.
Test methods vary depending on the subjects. Mice, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs are the most common animal “test subjects” for cosmetics.
The process is truly gruesome. Cosmetic testing involves shaving animals and rubbing harsh chemicals on their skin. It gets worse from there. Not stopping at external testing, several products and ingredients are put in the eyes of unsuspecting animals. Mice are reportedly force-fed chemical compounds to monitor their effects.
The most terrible part is that the subjects are not treated with any pain medication. This is a fraction of the remorseless truth of the beauty industry. Home cleaning products go through the same testing procedures.
But if these tests are so brutal, why are they even used?
Turns out, researchers use these tests to monitor signs of general illness or specific health risks like cancer or congenital disabilities. These testing procedures go on for weeks or months.
Another barbaric practice is “lethal dosage” testing.
In such tests, the subjects are force-fed unhealthy amount of dangerous substances that are fatal. Earlier, cats and dogs were also used for animal testing.
Although it is not a common practice anymore, scientists and researchers have used young kittens for parasite testing.
These practices are prohibited now and the animals have been adopted into loving homes. But the trauma inflicted during the testing process has already done the harm.
Some animals are fortunate to be rescued and adopted. Unfortunately, a huge proportion of test subjects are killed after testing and quite brutally. For reasons obvious, we won’t go into the gory details, but you get the idea of how utterly cruel can the beauty and cosmetics industry be.
Therefore, it is highly important to go cruelty-free. In a good vein, brands are forced to reflect on their practices by consumers and organizations such as PETA. The scenario is not too dismal as many brands now carry cruelty-free certifications, such as the Leaping Bunny logo.
There are counterfeits too, but after reading about these cruelty-free makeup brands, you will know how to distinguish between them. For now, it’s time to look at 10 makeup companies that test on animals in 2022.
Top 10 Makeup Companies that Test on Animals in 2022
There are many beauty brands that still test on animals and are not cruelty-free.
Brands that test on animals used to be cruelty-free initially. However, in order to sell in foreign markets, these companies have taken a seemingly unethical route to things.
If you still believe that these names are blameless, they aren’t, at least not spotlessly so.
For a long time, consumers and animal welfare organizations had thought of these beauty mammoths as cruelty-free and vegan.
Identifying such brands and their misleading statements will help you distinguish between the real and the fake cruelty-free makeup brands.
You can also switch to several cruelty-free and safe alternatives- we have explored this in our update on the most safe and ethical cruelty-free beauty brands.
L’Oreal has a famously deceptive FAQ on animal testing. “L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or ingredients on animals, anywhere in the globe,” They do, however, market their products in China, where animal testing for foreign cosmetics is required.
The brand had a bitter face-off with PETA as well in 2013. We have conducted an extensive fact-check and more about L’Oreal’s credentials in this post, here.
L’Oreal owns subsidiaries such as Estee Lauder, Lancome, Vichy and Maybelline, that follow the mandatory animal-testing policy. L’Oreal also houses cruelty-free labels, but that doesn’t make the brand itself cruelty-free.
While we were not a big fan of the company because of this reason, we must give it some credit to the brand for pioneering alternatives to animal testing.
Products like shampoos and specific makeup products are not tested on animals anymore but are still sold in China, the company says.
Benefit is another company believed to be cruelty-free, but it is not.
Like L’Oreal, Benefit states that it does not conduct animal testing. However, this claim alone does not make it a cruelty-free brand.
Benefit has admitted to paying third parties to perform tests on animal for their products sold in China. At the same time, they disapprove of any claims of testing on animals anywhere else until the country’s law demands it. Benefit intends to continue selling in China.
We would say the brand is not beneficial at all, and you know why. But, you can always write to the team and sign petitions for it to go cruelty-free.
Maybelline follows the same policy as its parent company, L’Oreal.
The brand’s animal testing policy states that it doesn’t test final products or ingredients on animals.
Furthermore, no third parties test on their behalf unless compelled by law. However, their suppliers aren’t included in this policy.
This creates a bubble, where the details about the company’s real operations are still not clear to the consumers.
It is easy to fall for the commitment phrase, hook, line and sinker. In fact it is a clever way to steer away from real and authentic cruelty-free claims.
For years, NARS had been a cruelty-free go-to brand.
Unfortunately, they modified their animal testing policy to suit their plan to enter the Chinese market. NARS will no longer test on animals unless it is necessary by law, implying that it is no longer cruelty-free.
NARS might have some vegan products, but it is not cruelty-free certified, according to any organization.
Rimmel London claims to be “anti-animal testing,” yet their products are not cruelty-free because they are sold in China, like every other brand on this list.
Rimmel is committed to following all other safety regulations that prohibit animal-testing. Contrary to what it states, the brand has reneged on its previous commitment to sell in China.
The company confirms that they do not test finished products on animals. However, the statement brings out some greenwashing tendencies as it admits to selling in countries where animal testing is legally necessary.
Besides this, Rimmel London is not transparent about its ingredients and their sources.
While people love this beauty mammoth, we recommend switching to safer alternatives.
M.A .C is a famous makeup brand that is preferred by beauty enthusiasts for its quality and performance.
Sadly, the company downplays its role in animal experimentation, despite suggesting that it is a completely cruelty-free company. This policy is clearly misleading and many consumers end up falling for it.
MAC is owned by L’Oreal subsidiary Estee Lauder and is sold in China, where animal testing is required by law. It offers some vegan products, but that does not make it cruelty-free.
Clinique is a mid-priced skincare and makeup brand found at Sephora, Ulta, and various other outlets worldwide. An Estée Lauder subsidiary, the company’s official animal testing policy is to test on animals only when legally obliged, such as mainland China.This is evidence enough that Clinique is not cruelty-free at all.
Clinique may test on animals directly or via a third party. Even though it claims not to test on animals, they do so.As is the case with other brands, Clinique does have vegan products in its lineup, but it is not completely cruelty-free. We hope it changes for the better though!
Giorgio Armani is another L’Oreal subsidy. Giorgio Armani is not cruelty-free, and neither is their parent firm.While their website claims that “Giorgio Armani does not test its products on animals,” it is a false claim.Because Giorgio Armani’s products are offered in mainland China, they are not cruelty-free since they are subjected to animal testing. The brand is also not certified by any organization.
Avon claims to be the first major makeup brand to stop testing animals nearly 25 years ago. However, it continues licencing and paying local officials in China to test makeup goods on animals to sell them in the market.
While Avon claims to have “a strong concern for animal welfare,” it appears that this is part of a carefully worded strategy to obscure the reality. Our verdict- Avon is not cruelty-free.
Even though, the company is not owned by a parent brand that conducts animal testing, it is not cruelty-free certified.
Estée Lauder owns La Mer, a luxury makeup and skincare brand. Like its parent, La Mer conducts animal testing where the law demands it. The brand’s items are not cruelty-free because they are sold in mainland China.
They offer some vegan products but are not cruelty-free certified
La Mer products are manufactured from top quality ingredients, but their alternatives can be found in the face of products from 100% Pure, which is a completely ethical brand.
How Do I Know if My Makeup is Tested on Animals or Not?
Many makeup and beauty products such as facewashes and hair dyes feature the words vegan and cruelty-free. But just featuring the terms on their policy list and products is not enough.
The use of the term “cruelty-free” is still unregulated. It can e difficult for consumers to distinguish between ethical and non-ethical brands as testing standards vary across countries. We’ve tried to simplify the jargon for you in a few points so that you can decide to continue buying from ‘deceptive’ brands or not-
The first step to making conscious, greener choices is extensive research.
The internet is an excellent source for a quick fact check.
Despite many hoaxes doing the rounds, you can always refer to blogs like ours for quick updates on the most reliable and ethical beauty brands. It’s time to make your cart greener.
Be Zen also offers a chrome extension (click here to download) for the best product based recommendations that are thoroughly checked by our team. We do it so that you don’t have to!
Review the Brand
Cruelty-free firms will proudly display their certifications on their websites.
If you have any doubts about a brand’s legitimacy, look at the FAQs or About Us page on their website. These pages should give you the information you require
Always double-check their parent company if the information appears to be ambiguous.
While some smaller brands may not do testing, they are frequently owned by larger corporations.
Look for the Leaping Bunny Logo
This is the simplest way to determine whether or not your product is cruelty-free.
Leaping Bunny, PETA, and CCF (Choose Cruelty-Free) are the three organizations that strictly regulate their certified brands.
When you see any of these logos, you can be confident about the brand being cruelty-free.
Beware of any false logos you see on the internet from organizations with questionable credentials.
Furthermore, labels that say “no animal testing” or “cruelty-free” are meaningless. These statements have no legal definition and are used without official approval by mkeup companies that test on animals.
Email and Petition Companies for Change
This might need a little more effort , but companies with nothing to hide will be transparent about their products.
Make sure you take the call to drop a mail in their inbox or write to them via their suggestions page.
The right ones will have no trouble supplying you with evidence to back up their claims.
You’ve pretty much gotten your answer if you get an unclear, unsatisfactory, or unpleasant answer or no reaction at all.
What are the Alternatives to Animal Testing?
Replacing animal testing does not mean that humans will suffer due to ‘untested’, harmful makeup products. Nor will it impede our scientific development.
On the contrary, stopping animal testing will only improve and humanize our science.
There are several alternatives to animal testing, such as developing artificial skin testing labs. Hopefully, we’ll be able to stop animal testing altogether.
Some alternatives that can successfully replace animal testing are: cell cultures, computer models, human tissues, and volunteer methods.
Studies have proved that these methods can give accurate results without testing on animals.
We can only hope that they get accepted worldwide, and that more alternatives to animal testing completely replace this cruel and inhumane practice.
Convincing regulators and national authorities to accept these alternatives is an even more demanding task than replacing animal testing altogether.
Our Take on Makeup Companies That Test on Animals
It’s not challenging to steer towards an ethical course, especially when it comes to non-essential items like cosmetics.
Keeping up with animal rights organizations, their official logos, and certifications is a fantastic way to remain on top of everything. You can also check out trends like clean beauty and blogs like ours to stay abreast of which makeup companies test on animals and which of them don’t.
It pays to do your homework the next time you want to know if a company is truly cruelty-free and can stay away from companies that test on animals.
As we believe that clean and ethical beauty is everyone’s right, including that of animals, we completely endorse ethical makeup brands instead of those makeup companies that test on animals. After all it’s 2022- and animal testing is so not cool.