MAC 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.
MAC is owned by Estée Lauder, a 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|
MAC's Official Animal Testing Policy
“M·A·C does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally. To this end, we are proud to partner with IIVS (INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES) to expand the use and acceptance of non-animal testing methods worldwide.”
What This Means
This policy is misleading, as MAC is minimizing their involvement in animal testing, and is using strong language to imply that they’re a fully cruelty-free brand. This is false. They claim that “some governments conduct animal testing” in order for cosmetics to be sold in those countries. The country in question is mainland China, where MAC sells products.
In order for brands like MAC to be sold in China, they must comply with mandatory animal testing. Although it’s true that it’s the Chinese authorities that handle these animal tests, the company must nonetheless willingly agree to them, and pay for them.
Even though MAC is trying to distance themselves from the “animal testing” involved, they most likely paid for their finished products to be tested on animals in China. Companies that are cruelty-free do not sell in countries where animal testing is required by law. Instead, they find alternatives such as e-commerce. If a brand sells products to China online only, these products are not subject to animal testing, and the brand can therefore remain cruelty-free.
For an in-depth explanation about MAC’s animal testing policy, please read my post entitled: The Sad Truth Behind MAC’s Misleading Cruelty-Free Claims.
From Their Website
In the footer of MAC’s website, we find a link titled “Animal Testing”. On that page, we find MAC’s full animal testing policy and an animal testing FAQ:
Here’s their FAQ:
“Which countries require animal testing?
China tests on animals as part of its safety assessment of cosmetic products. We love our fans and we never want to exclude them anywhere.
How does M·A·C test its products for safety and efficacy?
We use human volunteers and we conduct or commission in vitro testing.
Does M·A·C own any animal testing facilities?
No. We don’t own any animal testing facilities anywhere in the world.
What is the Institute for In Vitro Sciences?
The INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES (IIVS) develops and implements programs in countries where in vitro testing is not accepted in order to educate scientists on the scientifically validated safety record of these methods. We are proud to announce a new partnership with the INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES (IIVS) to help ensure that alternative testing becomes the global standard. By funding IIVS’s International Outreach Program (IOP), we are working to make a difference. The IOP provides a wide array of support including technical assistance in the form of lectures, workshops and hands-on training sessions to countries that rely on animal testing to determine the safety of products or ingredients.”
MAC is a popular makeup brand available worldwide. They have standalone stores, and they’re available in department stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s. The brand was founded in 1984 and was acquired by Estée Lauder in 1994. MAC frequently collaborates with celebrities such as Mariah Carey, RuPaul, or Selena.
Why We Classify Brands Like MAC 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.