Aesop is cruelty-free. In addition to this, all their skincare products are vegan. The brand e-mailed me the following elaborate reply, containing their animal testing policy:
Thank you for your enquiry regarding Aesop’s position on animal testing.
Aesop does not use any animal-derived ingredients or animal-produced ingredients (such as beeswax or honey) in our formulations. None of our finished products have been tested on animals.
The only item for sale in Aesop stores which we cannot classify as vegan are our shaving brushes – as these contain animal hair. In saying this, we are in the process of phasing these out for that very reason, and they are made by an external company in the UK.
All new ingredients are reviewed by our research and development team prior to use. We research the registration status of these ingredients in world markets, and note any past testing. It is an unfortunate fact that some of the ingredients used in our products were historically tested on animals since this was standard practice with some ingredient testing until approximately twenty years ago.
All new products are tested during our product development process for safety using cumulative irritancy testing on human volunteers. Before our products are released to the public, formulations are also assessed for safety by a qualified external agency – either a chemist or toxicologist. These agencies also do not test on animals.
We are committed to ensuring that our finished products are not tested on animals. As you are aware, the cosmetic regulations in China currently require that any finished product imported into the country is required to undergo compulsory quality and safety testing which is completed on animals. In light of China’s requirements for compulsory animal testing, we do not distribute our products in this market. While the regulations have been amended recently to allow alternatives to animal testing for finished products produced in China, as yet this has not been extended to foreign companies. Until these reforms are extended to include foreign companies, we do not intend to distribute our products in China.