Olay 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 selling products where animal testing is required by law.
“We do not test our products on animals. Olay is working closely with governments around the world to provide alternative research methods to eliminate testing on animals, enabling cruelty-free skin care in the beauty industry. For example, in a few countries where Olay is sold, governments still mandate animal tests. In those cases, Olay can be required by law to submit our products to labs where we know animal tests are happening. This is why we do not claim cruelty-free on our packaging. We do not believe these tests are necessary to evaluate safety or performance. But today, they won’t accept alternative non-animal testing methods. We remain steadfast and will continue to advocate for alternative methods to end animal tests in the industry.”
This is an example of “cruelty-free greenwashing” (or bunnywashing) from Olay. They claim not to test finished products on animals themselves, yet there’s no mention of ingredients. Later in the policy, they admit that they’re willing having their products tested on animals in markets that require animal testing.
Their statement is: “In a few countries where Olay is sold, governments still mandate animal tests. In those cases, Olay can be required by law to submit our products to labs where we know animal tests are happening.”
By phrasing it this way, Olay is trying to convey that they have no choice in the animal testing. However, the decision to sell in China is entirely up to the brand. Since, as Olay claims, they were aware that their products would be tested on animals when entering the Chinese market, Olay could have made the decision not to enter the market at all.
Many cruelty-free brands decide not to sell products in stores in mainland China in order to remain cruelty-free. Others choose the online route, which bypasses any mandatory animal testing.
On Olay’s official website, at the very bottom of the page, we find a link titled “Cruelty-Free”. When we click it, we’re directed to a page featuring much more than Olay’s animal testing policy. It starts with a bold headline — Is Olay Skin Care Cruelty-Free? — following by 5 Facts About Olay’s Push for Cruelty-Free Skin Care in the Industry.
Here’s a screenshot of the page (click the image to view full size):
At first glance, this page is very misleading. When we continue reading, it becomes clear that Olay is bunnywashing, or trying to appear cruelty-free when it’s not.
They mention that they test their products on “lab skins”. However, there’s no mention of whether or not their ingredients are tested on animals, by themselves or by their suppliers.
They mention that they invest in cruelty-free research, however they don’t directly mention that they willingly pay for their products to be tested on animals in China.
They tell us that they don’t use the claim “cruelty-free” on their products because their products are tested on animals in China. The fact is: their products are not cruelty-free, which is why they don’t use this label.
Olay is on PETA’s list of brands that do test on animals.
Olay is a popular drugstore skincare brand which also offers body care. They focus on anti-aging products and they can be found in most drugstores worldwide. Olay was acquired by Procter & Gamble in 1985.
Olay is owned by Procter & Gamble, a company that tests on animals. Not only is Olay not cruelty-free but neither is their parent company.
In the beauty industry, it’s common for brands to be owned by a larger company. These are called parent companies, and they’re often global corporations such as L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, or Procter & Gamble.
Most of these parent companies are not cruelty-free, since they test on animals to some degree. They might also own several brands that are not cruelty-free.
However, some of the brands owned by these parent companies are cruelty-free and have strict policies against animal testing.
There are pros and cons to supporting cruelty-free brands owned by parent companies that aren’t.
You can either:
In the cruelty-free community, the majority of conscious consumers purchase from cruelty-free brands even if they’re owned by a parent company that tests on animals. This is our stance at Cruelty-Free Kitty as well. We believe that supporting all cruelty-free brands is the only path towards a cruelty-free and more ethical beauty industry.
It’s also worth noting that subsidiary brands of parent companies are unique corporations by themselves. They act as independent branches and operate independently from the parent company, and can also be sold to other companies including cruelty-free ones.
Another aspect to consider is that many parts of the world only have access to limited brands, so their only cruelty-free options are owned by large corporations. This is a concern we hear about constantly from our international readers. Given this complex landscape, we believe that supporting all cruelty-free brands is ethical as well as practical.
A minority of shoppers choose to boycott brands owned by a parent company that tests on animals.
At Cruelty-Free Kitty, we make it easy for all of our readers to know which brands are owned by a parent company that tests on animals. At the top of each brand page, you’ll see a “parent company” note if that’s the case.
You can also filter our list of cruelty-free brands to only show brands that are not owned by any company that tests on animals.
Finally, for a list of brands owned by a parent company that tests on animals, click here.
Yes, Olay is available for sale in countries with mandatory animal testing. This means that their products were likely tested on animals.
You can trust Cruelty-Free Kitty to be on top of the most recent changes in China’s animal testing laws. As of 2023, the vast majority of beauty brands available in China have had their products tested on animals.
Mainland China still requires these mandatory animal tests for most companies. Is it possible for brands to bypass them? Yes, however it’s currently extremely rare as brands need to “jump through several hoops”.
One way to bypass these animal tests is to only have their products available only online, and not in physical stores. Another way is to manufacture the products in China while making sure to adhere to strict regulations.
In all other cases, beauty brands need to pay for cruel animal tests to be performed using their products. It’s estimated that close to 100,000 rabbits are used in animal testing for cosmetics each year in China alone.
Even though the company itself isn’t executing these animal experiments, they bear full responsibility. Not only does the company sign off on the experiments, but they’re also funding them.
No, Olay is not certified by any organizations.
While companies can be fully cruelty-free without being certified, it’s still a good indicator of their ethical practices. Leaping Bunny and PETA are the two organizations giving out cruelty-free certification.
Olay 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.
Brands can be cruelty-free without being vegan, and claim to be vegan without being cruelty-free. This is because “cruelty-free” refers to the animal testing aspect, while “vegan” refers to the ingredients.
A “vegan” product contains no animal-derived ingredients, such as Beeswax (made by bees), Carmine (a red pigment made from crushed beetles), or Collagen (from mammal or fish skin).
A company is “cruelty-free” at company level, meaning they can’t have cruelty-free products unless the whole company is cruelty-free. However, a company can offer vegan products even if not all of their products are vegan. If all of their products are vegan, then we refer to the brand as “100% vegan”.
We have a list of 100% vegan brands, and you can also filter our official list of cruelty-free brands and choose to show vegan brands only.
Looking for vegan products from cruelty-free brands? Visit our Product Database and make sure you use the vegan filter.
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."
We ask all conscious consumers to be mindful of misleading statements from brands. Companies that test on animals try to minimize their involvement in animal testing, and understandably so—if a brand were to proudly claim to perform cruel tests on animals, their customers would surely reconsider being a loyal fan.
What they do instead is use clever language that shifts the blame away from themselves and makes the public believe that they’re not responsible for the animal testing, or that the animal testing performed on their products is “an exception”.
If a brand is listed as “not cruelty-free” in our database, you can rest assured that their products were tested on animals in recent years.
We monitor every change and constantly post updates. The changes in our database, list of cruelty-free, and brand pages are reflected in real time as soon as we become aware of new information.
Founded in 2014 by Suzana Rose, Cruelty-Free Kitty is the largest and most trusted cruelty-free shopping platform.
We vet every single brand added to our database by contacting them directly and ensuring they adhere to our strict criteria we call "The Cruelty-Free 5".
For a brand to be listed as cruelty-free, it must satisfy the following:
At Cruelty-Free Kitty, we have an unwavering commitment to accuracy. The landscape of cosmetics animal testing is constantly evolving globally. Our team is diligent about staying current on changing laws, brand acquisitions, and policy updates that impact cruelty-free status.
To date, we’ve vetted over 1200+ brands and helped millions of conscious shoppers choose products that aren’t tested on animals. Please feel free to contact us with any questions by using our contact form.
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