5 Brands Most People Assume Are Cruelty-Free But Aren’t


New cruelty-free shoppers need to be careful! For one reason or another, the following brands have gained the reputation of possibly being cruelty-free, although they are not. I’ll give you cruelty-free alternatives for each and every one of them!

Benefit: Not Cruelty-Free

I don’t know exactly what it is about Benefit, but it’s one of those brands people always assume is cruelty-free. Despite their claims, this is a brand that can’t be considered cruelty-free.

Benefit’s animal testing policy, however, is clear about the fact the company tests on animals where required by law. We also know that Benefit products are sold in mainland China, as Chinese Sephora stores carry the brand.

From the FAQ: We do not test our products on animals nor do we permit others to do so except where it is required by law.

If you like Benefit, try these cruelty-free alternatives:


Nuxe: Not Cruelty-Free

Nuxe is marketed as a natural brand that uses safe ingredients and botanical extracts. It makes some sense for a small, natural company to be cruelty-free, but Nuxe is anything but that! They’re big. They’re not all that natural. They also sell in mainland China, and not only online, as confirmed by their Paris headquarters. This is not a cruelty-free company.

If you like Nuxe, try these cruelty-free alternatives:


L’Oreal: Not Cruelty-Free

L’Oreal has recently published that they’ve taken major steps towards ending animal testing within their company, which has led to a mass disinformation. This is why I felt the need to dedicate a full post to L’Oreal’s animal testing policy, and how their change in status does not mean that the company is cruelty-free. Their fine print clearly mentions loopholes: they still test new ingredients on animals, and they still continue to retail their products in China and test on animals.

From the FAQ: L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world. Nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. (…) An exception could be made if authorities required it for human safety or regulatory purposes.

If you like L’Oreal, try these cruelty-free alternatives:


Rimmel London: Not Cruelty-Free

Maybe it’s because it’s one of the smallest drugstore brands, or maybe it’s because it’s a British company, but many people assume that Rimmel London is cruelty-free. Looking at their website, there’s a message saying “Rimmel London against animal testing. Find out more.” When you click that, you have to click again (it’s like a russian doll; they don’t want to admit to the testing) and what you find out is that Rimmel does test on animals when required by law. Boo!

From their animal testing page: The only exceptions are the very few countries where, by law, the regulatory authorities require us to submit our products or ingredients to them for testing on animals as a mandatory part of their regulatory protocols in compliance with their local regulations.

If you like Rimmel, try these cruelty-free alternatives:



This is a hair care brand that loves greenwashing as well as convincing its customers that they’re cruelty-free. On social media, they swear up and down that they don’t test on animals, but when you ask them about selling in China, they go very quiet. PETA has removed Organix from their cruelty-free list and moved them to the list of companies that do test on animals. Below is their official stance. You can read more about Organix and animal testing in this post.

From the official website: Given that there are countries that require animal testing by law, we do our best to respect governing law and regulations set by that governing body.

If you like Organix, try these cruelty-free alternatives:

Are there any other non-cruelty-free companies you feel you should warn people about?

  • http://www.beautifullyvegan.net Jennifer

    E.O.S sells in China, but they used to be cruelty-free.

  • Helen

    A lot of people like to assume their favourite brands are lovely and animal friendly when sadly 8 times out of 10 this isn’t the case.
    I notice you mentioned REN as a CF substitute but they have just been bought by Unilever, one if the biggest testers of animals on the planet. This is such a shame as I really liked REN so won’t be buying from them again now that they’ve sold their soul.

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

      It came as a shock to me too. I’ll definitely give another update about REN in the upcoming months to see what happens, but their cruelty-free status (as a brand) should stay.

  • http://marginaliaandsuch.net/ gricel

    A very long time ago, I read something about benefit not testing on animals (a VERY long time ago), which led to my using them in the first place. I think they even had it printed on their packaging, but that is definitely no longer the case.

  • Ally

    Nyx is owned by Loreal, is it not? How is that a cruelty free alternative?

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

      NYX is still cruelty-free as a brand!

    • http://crueltyfreemakeupartist.weebly.com Melyssa

      Different people have different “rules” or guild lines of what is and whats not cruelty free. NYX is still on the Peta not testing list with a note that their are owned by L’oreal. In my eyes, NYX is supporting L’oreal, so I don’t buy from them. But this is a really blurry line.

    • Helena Fox

      Exactly, when you buy NYX, the money you think you are paying for a cruelty free product ends up in L’Oreal’s full of blood hands!!! I don’t buy NYX or Burt’s Bees either anymore because of their owners.

  • Jemma

    Thank you for this! I buy Organix products a lot, so that won’t be happening in the future. I’d much rather spend my money on Giovanni or Alba Botanica.

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

      I love both of those! :)

  • http://www.justemma.co.uk Emma Everleigh

    Thanks for posting this! Most of these I was aware of, but I’m disappointed to see OGX/Organix there, as I had enjoyed using their products. It’s such a shame when companies change their policies and/or get bought out by larger companies. I always research brands before purchasing, but will have to make sure I check for updates on brands I already use. xxx
    http://www.justemma.co.uka fashion, beauty & lifestyle blog

  • Katherine

    I don’t get why Wet N Wild is “cruelty free”, yet alot of their products are made in China ! doesn’t make sense to me ??

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

      Products made in China are NOT tested on animals by default! They’re cruelty-free as long as the company doesn’t retail in mainland China.

      • Emily

        Wet N Wild is sold in China

        • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

          They’re online only.

          • Emily

            That’s still selling in China, no? It doesn’t matter though anyways because makeup made & sold in china doesn’t have to be tested on animals! :)

          • Tiffany Huynh

            China requires a law where in order to sell to consumers within their territory, the product must be tested on animals. However, products made in china are not required to test, unless they decide to sell there also.

    • Valerie Prather-Stricherz

      More & more these days, when I pick up a product & see the word China anywhere, I have a sudden urge to put it right back down….

  • ajs916

    AVON!!!! Read this! They pay for the tests, which in my book is the same as testing yourself. They also sell in China, so there you have it! http://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/avon-mary-kay-estee-lauder-and-revlon-are-paying-for-tests-on-animals/

    • Sue

      I stopped buying Avon 15 years ago because of their animal testing reputation, much to the shagrin of 1 friend who sold it, and still does. I remember their announcement shortly after that, that they had decided to stop animal testing. It’s a shame they are doing this again, even after they’ve lost so many customers due to this cruel practice. If companies would just take a stand against this in places like China, refusing to sell products there until changes are made pertaining to the laws requiring animal testing, but I guess greed has no bounds. :(

  • Sharon

    How about Organics and Kiehls

    • timelesseyes

      Kiehl’s has never been cruelty-free as I had looked it up previously. I think they are definitely one of those companies that seems to be but are not.

      • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi


  • Elizabeth Vigneault

    I noticed you mentioned Marcelle as an alternative to L’Oréal products. As someone who lives in Montreal, where their products are made, I see them in every drugstore and I have never noticed a cruelty-free logo on their products, neither have I seen it mentioned on their website. Did you have to contact the company personally to get the information? I find it odd that a company wouldn’t pride itself by advertising that they are cruelty-free.

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

      Yes, I contacted them.

      • CynfullyMe

        Please mention Younique, the MLM scam/makeup brand that says they don’t test on animals but I found out this is NOT true. Thanks 👍🏻

        • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

          Hey CynfullyMe! Don’t hesitate to reply here or e-mail me at suzi@crueltyfreekitty.com with any info you found.

  • http://www.erinsjamming.jamberrynails.net Erin Apodaca

    Just because someone sells in china automatically means they aren’t cruelty free?? Can someone explain this?

    • Lynette

      because China requires all products sold there to be tested on animals. They are taking steps to stop it, but havent yet. So, if a company decides to sell in china, they are also deciding to test their products /ingredients on animals to comply with Chinese law. Also, products can be made in China but not tested on animals, if they are not sold there.

  • Emily

    So this is the most current disclaimer on the Benefit site,

    “Benefit does not test our products on animals.

    Since 1989, the Perfumes & Cosmetics companies of LVMH group (including Benefit Cosmetics) have not performed any tests on animals for our products – this was implemented long before the 2013 official ban set by the European Union.

    We are deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing. We’re playing a leading role in developing alternative methods through our support of the “Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing” in the United States. We also actively participate in validation studies of new alternative tests in the framework of the European cosmetics association, Cosmetics Europe. We are one of only a few companies to have invested in creating our own internal department to test raw materials and ingredients to further ensure the quality of our products and the satisfaction of our customers, which is our top priority.

    We are hopeful that alternative testing methods will be adopted worldwide and we will see an end to animal testing.”

    I can’t seem to find anything that discusses their selling of products in China and would love to be clear about them!

  • Laura Carter

    How do the companies which “require” animal testing know the product has been testing on animals in the first place? Does the company have to declare or show some sort of proof? If so, what kind?

  • Gina Hanlon Oslick

    I am a Younique presenter and I am extremely proud to say that our products are cruelty free plus we have products that are gluten free and vegan friendly. If anyone would like to look at our website, please visit http://www.youniqueproducts.com/GinaOslick15239. I can also be found on Facebook.

    • CatLewis1912

      Younique isn’t cruelty free. They may quote that the end product is not tested on animals but their official reply includes a statement indicating that a complete and in depth study has not been conducted on individual ingredients… This means that the ingredients could have been tested on animals and therefore the product wouldn’t be cruelty free. Also when questioned they refuse to disclose whether or not they have plans to expand sale to China which is a country that requires all products sold in that country to be tested on animals by law… a lot of people will see this as an indirect admission that a company has plans to because any company who is truly cruelty free and is passionate about it’s cruelty free status would have not only by now conducted audits to confirm the origins and status of each individual ingredient but would be forthcoming in telling a customer “NO!” when questioned about their intention to expand to the Chinese market not reply with a status saying they plan to expand to other countries soon. Younique have stated that they’re in the process of acquiring official cruelty free status for a very long time now and still haven’t simply because they cannot provide evidence to prove they are truly cruelty free….

  • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

    It doesn’t matter where the products are manufactured. If they’re SOLD in the Chinese market, that’s when the products have to be tested on animals.

  • Rhiannon Adams

    origins is another one that I assumed was cruelty free but sadly their website states that they test “when required by law” so I stopped buying from them.

  • http://www.acupoft.co.uk Teri May

    A lot of people think Bourjois are cruelty free and are surprised when I tell them otherwise, I don’t know why they are one in particular people assume don’t test!

    Teri-May xxx

  • celina

    All the no animal testing sites (Bunny Free, Cruelty-Free and Cruelty-Cutter) does not list “theBalm”. Does that mean the company does in fact test on animals?

    • Amy

      If you’re still interested TheBalm are listed as being cruelty free on Logical Harmony.

  • Jamieson

    Tarte’s parent company – Kose is not cruelty free and so by default neither is Tarte.

  • CynfullyMe

    Please mention Younique, the MLM markets scam/makeup brand. I became a presenter for them under the EXTREMELY false pretenses that they were made in the US, that they were all natural, mineral based, and most importantly, that they were cruelty free. NONE of these facts are true, and I want to spread the message that this company is basically ripping off women and calling it empowerment. When it’s really just a scam targeted at women, and that’s not okay. I’m trying to spread awareness, and I’d love it if you’d help 😋👍🏻✌🏻️ Thank you by the way, I really appreciate the hard work it takes to get to the truth. It wasn’t something I found easily as there are so many loopholes regarding who can say they are cruelty free and why. Just because a company itself doesn’t test on animals, doesn’t mean they don’t hire a lab that DOES test on animals, as most makeup is tested on animals at the ingredient level, to see if it creates an irritant, etc. So thanks for your good works! Much appreciated ❤️🙃 Follow me on IG madcynfull 😘

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

      Thanks for the lovely words and most importantly, I’d really love to hear your experience! Please e-mail me at suzi@crueltyfreekitty.com.

  • Anna Elizabeth

    So basically, China’s laws are screwing things up for everyone else? I absolutely love OGX, and want to encourage them to become a vegan company… do people really think that stopping buying a vegan product from a non-vegan company will encourage them to stop animal testing? I’m just trying to think very logically. Cheers

    • Kelley

      For me, it’s a personal preference to not spend my hard earned money on products that have been tested on animals just so billion dollar companies can continue to make billions of dollars. Knowing the level of cruelty required to bring these products to market is not something that I can, in good conscience, participate in.

      • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

        Thumbs up for this!

  • BecIsSuchAHatefulPerson

    I have a question. So, basically for a brand to be cruelty free they can’t sell it in certain countries (bc of the “where required by law.”)? So a GIANT company has to pull out of a multi-billion dollar makeup economy to be cruelty free…right? I’m mainly referring to China. How is that fair to a company, who themselves do not believe in testing on animals, but a country (or countries) requires it by law? IMO it’s the stupid country that should be boycotted…not the makeup company. But hey, to boycott an entire country is kinda hard to do of course. I HATE animal testing, it’s awful. I’ve seen those videos and it makes me sick. I’m certainly not saying that I support these companies (that have no choice but to test on animals if they want to sell in certain places) because I don’t. I don’t and haven’t purchased from L’Oreal in probably ever. Now benefit- I had NO idea. Won’t be buying benefit!

    Thanks for your blog, it is VERY informative and gives us lots of important info! And it’s just so pretty the way you designed it. I will definitely be following you from now on!😉
    *It was supposed to post as BamaChickadee…overlook that stupid username that I used like ONCE.😂

  • Silja

    When has this list been updated???

    Estee Lauder do not test on animals, BUT they sell in china and allow others to test their products on animas….

    – Estee Lauder owns:

    Estée Lauder, Aerin, Aveda, Aramis, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, Clinique, Darphin, Donna Karen New York, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Ermenegildo Zegna, Glamglow, Goodskins labs, Jo Malone London, Kiton, La mer, Lab series, Le Labo, MAC, Marni, Michael Kors, Ojon, Origins, Osiao, Prescripives, Rodin Olio Lusso, Smashbox, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch.

    – Shiseido (Opdateret liste 9/6-16)
    ( http://www.shiseidogroup.com/brands/?rt_bt=menu-brands_001 )


    Serge Lutens, Narcisso Rodriquez,
    Issey Miyake

    Anessa, Aupres, Aqualabel, Eau Thermal Avéne, Benefique, BareMinerals, clé de peau beauté , D program, d´icila, Elixir, Ettusais, Haku, Integrate, Ipsa, Majolica Majolica, Maquillage, Nars, Prior, Pure and mild, Revital Granas, Urara, Za,

    Hair products produkter;
    Joico, Shishido.

    – Johnson & Johnson; (Opdateret liste 10/6-16)

    Some of their cosmetics:
    RoC, Neutrogena, PizBuin, Clean&Clear

    – Unilever: (opdateret liste 10/6-16)

    Skincare mm.:
    Dove, Vaseline, Neutral, TRESemmé, Rexona, Axe, Toni&Guy, Sunsilk

    – Procter&Gamble: (Opdateret liste 11/6-16)
    Procter & Gamble Denmark ApS, komplet liste over mærker:

    Aussie, Head & Shoulders, Max Factor, Nioxin, Olay, Oral-B, Pantene, Professional Sebastian, SP, Sassoon Professional, Shockwaves, Wella Professionals

    – RimmelLondon:


    Some of the brands they own dont test or allow others to test their products, but reality is that they are own by for example (to take the first example) Estee Lauder AND therefor Estee Lauder makes money of them so by buying from one of these brands, you support indirectly animal cruelty..

    ALLE these main companies dont test BUT allow others to test on animals, and all trade with China.

  • Fiona Virginia

    Are Anastasia Beverly Hills and NYX cruelty free? ABH Dipbrow Pomade apparently is made in China and I just realised that an hour ago and I used this product a million times! (feel bad).

    Urban Decay iconic Naked Palette (the original, I wouldn’t know about the other Naked palettes since I don’t own them), is also made in China… and some of the NYX blushes are also made in China. How can products made in China cruelty free?

    • Julia

      Products made in China are not necessarily sold in China. The Chinese government only requires animal testing on products sold in China, which means that ABH and NYX are indeed cruelty free because they just have products made there, not sold there.

  • http://charleyfowler97.tumblr.com/ Charlotte Fowler

    Rule of thumb is that if they sell in China then they do, or at least hand products over to other companies to test them.

  • Noemi Guzman

    Do you know if Honest Beauty is cruelty free? I emailed them but have not heard back yet.

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

      They told me they would verify and get back to me, but never have.

      • Jules

        On their website it says they’re cruelty free. Do you think they’re telling the truth?

  • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

    Thanks Marge! :)

  • Anna Pottinger-Priest

    I’m new to this page, so glad I found it! VERY glad I read this article… I have bought Organix for the family for years since they carried the bunny logo. Time to change that!
    (I personally use Natures Gate, cruelty free & vegan, but the family doesn’t like it… gotta find a different brand for them!)

  • Colleen Kenten

    When was this list updated last? I was just looking at benefits FAQ page, and it does not say what you quoted.

  • Isis Calder

    Benefit does not test on animals, this is on their website!

    “Benefit does not test our products on animals.
    Since 1989, the Perfumes & Cosmetics companies of LVMH group (including Benefit Cosmetics) have not performed any tests on animals for our products – this was implemented long before the 2013 official ban set by the European Union.
    We are deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing. We’re playing a leading role in developing alternative methods through our support of the “Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing” in the United States. We also actively participate in validation studies of new alternative tests in the framework of the European cosmetics association, Cosmetics Europe. We are one of only a few companies to have invested in creating our own internal department to test raw materials and ingredients to further ensure the quality of our products and the satisfaction of our customers, which is our top priority.
    We are hopeful that alternative testing methods will be adopted worldwide and we will see an end to animal testing.”

    • kat

      Benefit still sells in China, China requires makeup brands to test on animals, ergo benefit tests on animals. Sadly. I use to love Benefit.

  • Cheryl

    I use Arbonne products which are cruetly-free and vegan and know they will be opening a location in Taiwan and selling there. Does Taiwan have the same stance as China in regards to animal testing as I cannot find anything on this. If they are I will have to find new products.

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

      Hi Cheryl! Taiwan doesn’t have the mandatory animal testing laws that mainland China has. Just watch out for them having distributors in mainland China.

      • Cheryl

        Thank you, I will.

  • Valerie Prather-Stricherz

    That’s a great point!