Maybelline 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.
Maybelline is owned by L'Oréal, a company that is not cruelty-free.
At a Glance
|Finished products tested on animals||Yes, where required by law|
|Ingredients tested on animals||No, with possible exceptions|
|Suppliers test on animals||Uncertain|
|Third party animal testing||Yes, where required by law|
|Sold in mainland China||Yes|
Maybelline's Official Animal Testing Policy
L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.
What This Means
Maybelline is owned by L’Oréal, and inherts their animal testing policy. Not all brands owned by a company that tests on animals inherit their policy, but in this case L’Oréal’s policy is displayed in the FAQ (see below).
Maybelline’s animal testing policy claims that (1) they don’t test finished products or ingredients on animals, and (2) no third parties test on animals on their behalf unless required by law.
There’s no clear mention of their suppliers in this short policy, however we know based on L’Oréal’s full animal testing policy that they do make exception for some ingredients tested on animals by their suppliers.
Because they allow third-party animal testing where required by law, Maybelline can not be considered a cruelty-free brand. This means that Maybelline’s finished products were likely tested on animals in mainland China by the Chinese authorities. In order to be sold in mainland China, foreign cosmetics must be tested on animals as part of their pre-market animal testing laws. The brand in question, in this case Maybelline, must agree not to have their finished products tested on animals, but they must also pay for these animal tests.
Since Maybelline is in fact available for sale in mainland China, and clearly states that they do test on animals where required by law, we conclude that Maybelline is not a cruelty-free brand and has likely financed animal testing.
From Their FAQ
On their website, Maybelline lists their animal testing policy in the FAQ. Under the “animal testing policy” tab, they claim that they don’t test their products or ingredients on animals anywhere in the world, unless it’s required by law.
They also link to L’Oreal’s full animal testing policy. We’ve already covered why this policy is so misleading, and you can read the post if you’re interested.
In short, L’Oreal claims to “no longer test on animals”, though this is false for two reasons. The first reason is clearly stated above: they still test on animals where required by law, and their products are distributed throughout mainland China (read more about China’s animal testing policy here).
The second reason is a very fine print in their full animal testing policy, which states that animal testing could still be a resort for new ingredients under certain conditions.
So even though Maybelline only tests on animals under certain conditions, they no less test on animals.
Maybelline is one of the most popular drugstore makeup brands, and can be found at Target, Walmart, Ulta, CVS, Walgreens, and more. It was founded in 1915 in New York City, and was acquired by French company L’Oréal in 1996.
Why We Classify Brands Like Maybelline 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.