Suzana Rose

Clinique is NOT cruelty-free.

This means that this brand either tests on animals, pays for animal testing, or sells in mainland China. Some brands that fall under this category test on animals where required by law, which means they're not cruelty-free.

Clinique isn't owned by a parent company that is not cruelty-free.


At a Glance

Finished products tested on animals Yes, where required by law
Ingredients tested on animals Uncertain
Suppliers test on animals Uncertain
Third party animal testing Yes, where required by law
Sold in mainland China Yes

Clinique's Official Animal Testing Policy

“Clinique Laboratories, LLC. is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety, and bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which our products are sold.

We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. We evaluate our finished products in clinical tests on volunteer panels.

Clinique Laboratories, LLC. fully supports the development and global acceptance of non-animal testing alternatives. To this end, the Company works extensively with the industry at large and the global scientific community to research and fund these alternatives.”

What This Means

Clinique is being misleading. They open their statement by saying they’re “committed to the elimination of animal testing”, yet they continue by claiming that they do test on animals where it’s required by law.

In order for a company like Clinique to sell their products in stores in mainland China, they have to comply with their animal testing laws. Since Clinique does sell products in China, their products were most likely tested on animals there. Not only that, but it’s the brand itself who funds these animal experiments.

A company can not be considered cruelty-free if they allow their products to be tested on animals where required by law. Companies that are cruelty-free do not sell locally in China, or sell there online only, which doesn’t require any animal tests.

Even though Clinique claims not to test on animals, they make an exception for third parties (for example in China).

When it comes to their suppliers or third parties, Clinique claims that they do not “ask others to test on animals on their behalf”. This claim is meaningless and misleading. They may not ask others to test on animals on their behalf, but the fact remains that they could still test on animals on their behalf without being asked to do so. A cruelty-free company must ensure and verify that third parties don’t test on animals on their behalf.

We know for a fact that Clinique does allow third parties to test their finished products on animals in mainland China, which shows how meaningless the claim above is.

From Their FAQ

Here’s a screenshot of Clinique’s animal testing policy directly from their website:

Clinique In Sold China

Clinique products are sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law. The following screenshot shows us that Clinique is sold at Chinese Sephora stores.


Clinique is a mid-range skincare and makeup brand available at Sephora, Ulta, and multiple other retailers and counters worldwide. The brand was founded by the Estée Lauder group in 1968, and continues to be owned by them today.

Why We Classify Brands Like Clinique 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 (26)
  • Is it correct that if a company sells their product in China that you count them as not cruelty free? Even if they do not themselves test on animals? I’m specifically wondering about Fresh and Clinique.

    • Yes, correct. Brands simply can’t be cruelty-free if they sell cosmetics in China.

  • Is the Clinique “Cruelty Free” lines made in the USA? If so, I see no issue w/ purchasing the USA made ONLY as to not be supporting the foreign produced & cruel version of the line.

  • Que clinique y estee lauder se retire del mercado chino entonces. Yo uso clinique sobre todo los productos de cuidado para la piel, maquillaje tambien pero menos y me gusta pero estoy comenzando a probar productos naturales para el cuidado del pelo por el momento, si me gusta cambiaré todo de a poco.
    Espero que seamos mas consumidores que hagamos presión a estas marcas y podamos preferir aquellas libres de crueldad animal

  • Hi, is there any other product similar to Clinique that is vegan, for sensitive skin? I don’t know what to do as my skin gets dry and my pores get clogged very easily. At this point I’m desperate ?

  • Please do not make innocent animals suffer to make humans beautiful. It is not the true beauty. True beauty comes from within. I don’t know how can some humans Spend so much money on these so called branded products just to make some innocents suffer. You’re spending money for cruelty. And these so called companies earn not dollars but the sorrow and tears of those innocent animals. Please stop this atleast now. Hope humans who have brains will wake up !!

  • It sounds to me that the problem is China. I still there a link to China to protest about their policy.

  • I’m trying so hard to go cruelty free, the last thing I really can’t find a substitute of is the take the day off balm by Clinique, does anyone know something similar? I already tried the coconut butter but it is too oily for my skin and it causes comedones and black spots on me! ????

  • Most people don’t understand that a lot of companies that sell themselves as being cruelty free actually sell to China. It is the law in China to test on animals so the companies that claim to be cruelty free are in the same position as companies like Clinique. They don’t test themselves on animals but sell to a country where the law states they must test on animals. China then tests on animals themselves. Ive only found 2 companies that only sell in the EU and America so products are not tested on animals. The best people can hope for is that the laws in China change but considering they’ve only changed the pedophile law in the last couple of years it’s not happening any time soon!

  • Animals were put on this earth for companionship and to be loved. My family hunts for food in the winter months, but this is different. Maybe clinique should test the products on the runway models first and then let the animals wear the products

  • What you’ve described is the very definition of ‘selling out’. Sorry if that inconveniences your agenda.

  • My thoughts exactly, Sarah! They’re a little confused about how committed they are. Their makeup & perfumes are wonderful, and I miss those ‘bonus gifts’. But sorry, Clinique & Estee Lauder… I’m too committed to animal welfare to buy your stuff anymore.

    And thanks for the info about Paul Mitchell- good to know!

  • According to the law No 1223/2009 Article 17, testing cosmetic products on animals is prohibited. I doubt any company tests on animals anymore. At least not in europe.

  • I’m so confused. Urban Decay is considered CF even though their owner sells products in China that are tested on animals. Urban Decay’s profits are still going into the owner’s pocket. Clinique should round up their popular products, create a new brand (CliniqueCF), not sell to China, and then they can be CF like UD? … I would prefer they work with China to ban animal testing ( which they are doing) than to play games.

  • Hold up.. No company likes to willingly admit they aren’t fully animal cruelty free, so they twist the around their words in such a way that makes some people think they are cruelty free, but they’re not. I’ll explain. Estée Lauder does not use animal testing for their products in America, but they sell their products in China, where it’s required by law to have animal testing, which means that they basically sold out to what they claim to strongly believe is wrong. If you think it’s okay to spend money on Clinique which is a sister company of Estée Lauder, because the products you are buying in places that aren’t China are cruelty-free, do you, but hopefully you’ll know all the facts. I feel like I can’t buy from anyone who has sold out their “morals” to get more money by selling in a non-animal-cruelty place. When you buy from any of Estée Lauder’s products, you are helping them get more money which they will use to make more products, which they are selling in China and testing on animals. That’s the blunt way of saying what Clinique can’t say.

  • This makes me so happy! I have used Clinique for so long due to acne prone skin and can’t find something like it. The fact that your post is recent and the information on this site might need a little update gives me hope that Clinique is in fact cruelty-free.
    Thanks again!

    • Clinique is unfortunately not cruelty-free. 🙁 They share Estee Lauder’s policy which is not to test on animals UNLESS REQUIRED BY LAW. Since Clinique products are sold in mainland China, they do test their finished products on animals.

    • she literally starts the post in bold letters that it is NOT cruelty free you fool.

  • Thank you so much for posting this. It is very important that animals don’t suffer on my behalf and I do love Clinique. I know we can’t save the world alone, but we can try a bit at a time.

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