The Truth About Mary Kay’s Animal Testing Policy (2016)

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions and, well, opposition to Mary Kay being on my list of brands that test on animals.

After looking into this company, I can see that they’re very vocal about them “not testing on animals”, so this might come as a shock to some: Mary Kay tests on animals where required by law. And unfortunately, they do sell in mainland China.

At A Glance

  • Finished products tested on animals: NO
  • Ingredients tested on animals: NO
  • Third party animal testing: NO
  • Tested on animals where required by law: YES
  • Sold in mainland China: YES
  • Certifications: NONE (On PETA’s “do test” list)
  • Parent company: N/A

Cruelty-Free Pioneers

From Wikipedia, we learn that Mary Kay was among the first beauty brands to drop animal testing:

In 1989 the company announced a moratorium on animal testing of its products, after pressure from animal rights groups. They were among the first in their industry to do so and to sign the PETA pledge.

This might explain why being cruelty-free is a part of the company’s ethos and culture, but the sad fact is that Mary Kay went back to animal testing in 2012 when they joined the Chinese market.

Not accurate since 2012.
Not accurate since 2012.

Presence in China

Mary Kay currently has a presence in more than 35 countries, including China.

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Because animal testing is required by law for foreign cosmetics selling in China, they forfeited their cruelty-free status in 2012. They’ve also been removed from PETA’s cruelty-free list.

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Current Animal Testing Policy

Here’s a statement from Beth Lange, Mary Kay’s Chief Scientific Officer, which confirms Mary Kay’s “unless required by law” position:

“Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing on its products or ingredients, nor ask others to do so on its behalf, except when absolutely required by law. There is only one country where the company operates – among more than 35 around the world – where that is the case and where the company is required by law to submit products for testing – China.”

The source can be found here.

It’s too bad that a company who was among the first to put an end to animal testing decided to take a step back. Mary Kay isn’t cruelty-free, and I won’t be supporting this company.

  • Isobel Bruning

    Really informative post, I am currently become cruelty free! :)
    https://plantbasedizzy.wordpress.com/

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

      That’s awesome, glad it helped! :)

  • Cydney

    I knew it, thanks for sharing! I was recently demonstrated some Mary Kay products by a rep, first of all not impressed they use microbeads as exfoliant and saw they’re in China, very informative though so thank you 😁

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

      Plastic microbeads?! o_o Hah, you’re welcome and I’m glad it was helpful!

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

    They were doing so great!

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

    I don’t really get that logic haha. Thanks Danielle! :)

  • Brianna

    bummer

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

    I appreciate your input, but this article just shows that Mary Kay tests on animals in China.

    • Elizabeth Faulkingham Alteri

      Mk is working with China to share our science with them so maybe one day china won’t feel the need to test on animals. Maybe one day rather than saying oh Mary Kay how dare they allow their product to be tested on animals by a country that requires it you’ll be praising them for helping bring an end to all testing on animals in China.
      Also, it is important to keep in mind the human impact MK has on China such as women being able to support their families enough to have more than one child. It may not be a perfect system because of China’s laws but k will continue to support this company because of its impact on her lives of humans and its work to protect animals now and in the future.

      • Jeanne Clayton

        maybe “one day” means testing is being done now. I would love to see women succeed in China but not on the backs of suffering and abuse. Building a business by abusing others, no matter what species, is unacceptable. Period

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

          Not to mention that Mary Kay is multi-level marketing.

      • Pawfect

        I find it difficult to believe that a cosmetic company like Mary Kay is so concerned about the Chinese population that it allows animal testing on their products. However, I do believe that they permit this uncalled for cruelty to boost their profit margin by expanding their line into a country that requires this – especially when there are other markets that do not.

  • Jodie Martin Cordell

    Mary Kay didn’t “go back” to animal testing. The truth is Mary Kay stayed out of China for many years while trying to battle the use of animal testing from the outside. However, the Chinese government was less interested in an outside company that didn’t have a stake in their market. So, in 2012 they made the decision to go into the Chinese market to help change the legislation and thinking of the Chinese government and scientists, showing them alternative methods to animal testing. Mary Kay will again be 100% cruelty-free once the Chinese stop their practices of animal cruelty. Again, the research is there if you simply dig deep enough. Most people just stop at the top of the info without finding out the real truth. Here’s the story…again.

    http://m.newsroom.marykay.com/en/releases/mary-kay-leads-efforts-to-pursue-alternative-safety-testing-in-china

  • PJ

    Thank you for this information. I was planning to order from a friend / consultant but Sadly now I won’t.

  • Nikhi Janae
  • Jeanne Clayton

    read it and it clearly says testing is done for countries that require it. What did I miss?

  • Teresa

    Thank you for this post. I thought they were 100 percent cruelty free so I bought some makeup a few months ago. I will NOT be purchasing any more. I will be emailing the company also. I’ll be going to Ulta with my list of cruelty free beans and buying from them.