Mary Kay is not cruelty-free. They may test on animals, either themselves, through their suppliers, or through a third party. Brands who fall under this category could also be funding animal testing by selling products in mainland China, where it's required by law.
“Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients. Nevertheless, there are still some governments that conduct animal testing before they will allow certain products to be sold in their country. Mary Kay is committed to the elimination of animal testing and is a strong advocate of utilizing alternative methods to substantiate the safety of our ingredients and products. For almost three decades, we have been a global leader in helping to develop alternative testing methods to ensure product safety, and we will not rest until we convince all governments that alternative methods are a better way to ensure cosmetic product safety. Our commitment continues in partnership with global regulatory agencies that manage cosmetic safety, with animal advocacy groups and with leading animal alternative researchers.”
Here’s their older policy to compare:
“Mary Kay does not support animal testing. Mary Kay is committed to the elimination of animal testing and is a strong advocate of utilizing alternative methods to substantiate the safety of our ingredients and products. We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to do so on our behalf, except when absolutely required by law. For more than two decades, we have been a global leader in helping to develop alternative testing methods for product safety. This commitment continues today, in partnership with global regulatory agencies that manage cosmetic safety, with animal advocacy groups and with leading animal alternative researchers.”
This statement confirms that Mary Kay pays for their products to be tested on animals in China. Although they claim that this only happens when “absolutely” requires by law, the brand willingly entered the Chinese market, and knowingly funded animal testing in the country.
Even though Mary Kay claims not to test on animals, and not to “ask others” to test on animals on their behalf, they’re not providing any information about their suppliers. When brands claim not to “ask others” to test on animals on their behalf, this is a meaningless statement. Mary Kay may not have “asked” the Chinese authorities to test their products on animals, but they allowed this to happen nonetheless.
When researching this brand, you’ll notice that Mary Kay is very vocal about “not testing on animals”, and so are their fans. In the beginning, this used to be true: Mary Kay was considered a cruelty-free company, and was even approved by PETA.
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.
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. Mary Kay can no longer claim to be cruelty-free, and in this regard, they took a huge step backwards when they decided to have their products tested on animals in China.
On their official site, we can find a link titled “Mary Kay Around The World” in the menu at the top. This shows us a list of all the countries where Mary Kay is sold, which includes China.
Their animal testing policy can also be found on their website.
Mary Kay is not owned by a parent company that tests on animals.
Yes, Mary Kay is available for sale in stores in mainland China. This means that their products were likely tested on animals in mainland China.
No, Mary Kay is not certified by any organizations.
Mary Kay might offer some vegan products, however because this company is not cruelty-free, we recommend avoiding any products they offer even if they are vegan.
Most brands don't publicly display their full animal testing policies. We contact brands directly with our questions in order to get their complete policy. If any brand states that they, their suppliers, or any third party test on animals, the brand is listed as "not cruelty-free."
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