Benefit

Suzana Rose

Benefit is NOT cruelty-free.

This means that this brand tests on animals or finances animal testing. Some brands that fall under this category test on animals where required by law, which means they're not cruelty-free.

At a Glance

Finished products tested on animalsYes, where required by law
Ingredients tested on animalsUncertain
Suppliers test on animalsUncertain
Third party animal testingYes, where required by law
Sold in mainland ChinaYes
CertificationsNone (on PETA's "do test" list)
Parent companyLVMH (not cruelty-free)

Benefit is a mid-range makeup brand which is available in over 30 countries, including China. They specialize in cheek and brow products, though they have a full line of products. The company was acquired by LVMH, owner or Sephora, in 1999.

Benefit's Official Animal Testing Policy

“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.

As a result, all Benefit products undergo very strict tolerance tests using non-animal methods during the development of each product to ensure quality and safety prior to market.

Some customers expressed concern regarding the situation in China. Our products are made in Europe and for imported cosmetics, the Chinese health authorities order some test on animals: they require companies to make their products available to be tested in state-certified laboratories for registration purposes only, as it is currently their only recognized method to demonstrate product safety .

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

What This Means

First of all, Benefit claims that they themselves do not test on animals. This claim alone does not make Benefit a cruelty-free company. Companies that are truly cruelty-free must also confirm that their suppliers and any third parties do not engage in animal testing, anywhere in the world, and that their products are not sold in mainland China.

Second, they claim to be “committed to the elimination of animal testing”. This implies that Benefit might test on animals under certain conditions. Many brands who test on animals where required by law, also claim to be committed to the elimination of animal testing and the development of alternative methods. This is a way for brands to gain trust and sympathy from cruelty-free shoppers.

Third, Benefit finally addresses their involvement in animal testing in China. They clearly state that they paid for animal tests to be performed on their products in the country. This means that no matter how “committed” benefit claims to be when it comes to eliminating animal testing, they’re showing their hypocrisy: Benefit does test on animals where required by law, and is therefore not a cruelty-free company.

From Their FAQ

Benefit’s animal testing policy can be found on their website, in their FAQ:

Presence In China

Benefit’s presence in China was announced on Twitter on their official account. Here’s a screenshot of the tweet, which dates from 2009:

Shin Kong Place is a high-end department store in Beijing, mainland China. Benefit has been present in China for over a decade now. They can also be found at Chinese Sephora stores:

Benefit’s Real Animal Testing Policy

Even though Benefit rarely admits to testing on animals “where required by law” or being available in mainland China, this tweet by them sums up their animal testing policy. Make no mistake: Benefit does test on animals where required by law, and they do sell products in stores in mainland China.

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Why We Classify Brands Like Benefit As “Not Cruelty-Free”

The term “cruelty-free” is unregulated. This means any brand can claim to be cruelty-free without breaking the law, even if they test on animals.

Because of this, we communicate with brands directly to gather information about their full animal testing policy.

Brands who are classified as “not cruelty-free” break one or more of the Cruelty-Free 5:

  • Their company engages in animal testing
  • Their suppliers engage in animal testing
  • They allow third-parties to test on animals on their behalf
  • They test on animals where required by law
  • They knowingly sell cosmetics in stores in mainland China, where animal testing could be performed

A supplier is any company that sells the brand raw materials, ingredients, or finished products. A third-party is an outside company or entity, whether or not it’s hired by the brand.

What’s The Deal With China?

Many beauty brands choose to sell their products in China. It’s important to note that these companies can not be considered cruelty-free.

As of 2020, China still requires most cosmetics to be tested on animals in order to be sold in the country.

As for products which can bypass these mandatory tests, the Chinese authorities may still pull these products from the shelves and have them tested on animals. Although the chance is small, we believe that companies can not be considered “cruelty-free” while taking this risk.

View Comments (18)
  • Hi Suzy, I love your blog! Thank you for doing what you do. I hope you can help me find a cf alternative to Benefit’s Dr Feelgood product. I stopped using them when I found out they sell in China but as my skin isn’t looking so great right now, I’d love an alternative. Thank you!

  • I just bought in berlin from benefit. First thing i asked was if they are testing on animals or not! The seller lied to me and she told me they DO NOT TEST on animals :(((( i wait til i get back to berlin and bring them back!! Very dissapointed 🙁

  • This information turns me off Benefit, whose products I *was* considering trying, in a huge way.
    Not only do they agree to animal testing, it looks like they’ve attempted to sugar-coat, if not be downright deceptive about, their policy.
    I get that they need to obey the law in the countries in which they sell, but … a company does not HAVE to sell in China.
    I’ll keep shopping companies that share my principles.

  • It is disingenuous at best for a company to say it doesn’t test on animals knowing a country to which it markets its products will. Perhaps if we boycott companies exporting to China then eventually either the companies will stop the trading or China will stop testing. I’m not confident of enough support, given the massive number of products tested here in the US which millions purchase. I’m just one person but I do my part. Thanks for this clarification about the Chinese factor.

  • I personally think it goes too far to say that Benefit’s statement is “misleading”. I read their FAQ on the website first, and then clicked a link to see what you said about them, and it’s clear from the FAQ itself that the Chinese government runs tests on animals, because it’s the law there. On the website (https://www.benefitcosmetics.com/us/en/help/faqs) they say:
    “Some customers expressed concern regarding the situation in China. Our products are made in Europe and for imported cosmetics, the Chinese health authorities order some test on animals: they require companies to make their products available to be tested in state-certified laboratories for registration purposes only, as it is currently their only recognized method to demonstrate product safety.”
    I don’t know when they added this on their website, but I suggest you add it to your post as well, since it adds valuable information, and is no longer misleading about whether they’re cruelty free or not.

    • I agree with the above statement. If they are supplying completed products to the Chinese govt then benefit is correct in their no testing on animals statement. It’s the Chinese govt that is doing the dirty work. I understand the concern of course and you can request that they pull out of that market. But the company is not testing on animals and that is a truthful statement based on the info on their site.

    • Late to the party but I just tried to find more confirmation for this. Apparently every brand that sellls in China pays for the animal testing in order to sell it there. So basically the make-up you buy isn’t tested on animals, untill it gets to China where it pays to get tested to get in. So the statement to message benefit asking them to stop that might actually be helpful.

    • If they were cruelty free they would stand up to China and not sell to mainland. It’s not going too far to say their statement is misleading. There is NO excuse for animal testing, Emma.

  • Hello, Suzi! I just wanted to drop a line to say how appreciative I am of your blog. Your research is thorough, and as someone who is new to buying cruelty-free, your guides are easy to use and more complete than relying on Leaping Bunny or PETA alone. I started to become aware of animal testing through two interviews with Kat Von D and a spokesperson for Leaping Bunny on the podcast Fat Mascara, and since then I have been checking the labels of everything I buy. I soon realized that wasn’t enough–I also needed to do some of my own research. I’ve spent the past hour reading your articles, and I’ve bookmarked your site for future use. Thank you for all you do!

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