ELF is cruelty-free. They do not test on animals. They also confirmed that they do not sell their products in China.

Even though the company is listed on PETA’s cruelty-free brands list, I contacted them by e-mail. Here’s the correspondance:


I know you have PETA certification, and I have a few questions. Are your products tested on animals at any point during the production? Do you buy ingredients from suppliers that might test on animals? Are your products sold in China, not including Hong Kong?

Thank you in advance,

They initially gave me this generic response:

Thank you for your support and interest in e.l.f. cosmetics. At e.l.f. Cosmetics, we believe that beauty comes from within all of us. Our line of luxurious cosmetics captures great looking skin with gorgeous colors and quality ingredients. Our products are designed to let your inner beauty shine through.

We are proud to say that we do not test on animals or endorse such practices. We currently support PETA and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project. All of our brushes in our essential line are made from cut natural horse hair and have genuine wood handles. Our brushes in our studio line are vegan friendly and made of anti-bacterial, synthetic Taklon hair. You can find all e.l.f. ingredients indicated on the packaging of our products as well as on our website. All ingredients used in e.l.f. cosmetics are vegan friendly, safe and meet F.D.A requirements. Ingredients are listed on our website as well as on the packaging of our products.

Our vision is to empower and educate women to play in innovation without sacrificing their budget and feel confident in herself and the products she’s using. We offer a complete line of makeup and professional tools-all at an extreme value price! To learn more please visit eyeslipsface.com.

Since that didn’t answer my questions, I followed up and got this reply:

Thank you for your support and interest in e.l.f. cosmetics.Our products are manufactured overseas, mainly in China. We have strict quality control procedures to ensure that our products are free from lead and hazardous materials. Please note that we do not sell our products in China, due to our cruelty free policy. At e.l.f. Cosmetics, we believe that beauty comes from within all of us. Our line of luxurious cosmetics captures great looking skin with gorgeous colors and quality ingredients. Our products are designed to let your inner beauty shine through.

View Comments (54)
  • Ok if there cutting horse hair then they shouldn’t say there vegan and cruelty free! Also yes I do not feel comfortable with them making any products in China. In my eyes if they have synthetic brushes then why would they NEED TO MAKE ONES FROM HORSES HAIR. NOT BUYING ANYTHING FROM TGEM ANY MORE.

  • All I want to know is if the ingredients used in the products are vegetarian so they don’t have the product of dead animals in them

  • Hi quick question… why isn’t Elf Leaping Bunny certified? You’d think they would be by now. Covergirl is. I’m confused.

  • I would like to weigh in here. Using “cut” horse hair is a slippery slope. This product becomes a demand ingredient and next thing you know animals are hurt acquiring it. The public has no idea what or how it’s obtained. I seriously doubt they go visit a horse farm and give the horses a haircut. It is spun that way to alleviate any guilt. Think about how the estrogen patch is made from horse urine. They don’t follow a horse around with a cup- horses are confined with catheters – like a lab rat. Think of how wool is acquired from sheep leaving them severely injured and cold. I’ve seen the videos.

  • Im confused I’m hoping you can help clear up my confusion 🙂
    So if a product is made in China but, not distributed in China, then it’s safe that its cruelty free?
    I thought made in China meant tested on animals.
    Thanks in advance!

  • Hello Cruelty-Free Kitty,
    I still see that they avoided to answer the most important question which is:
    Are “made in China” e.l.f. products cruelty free?
    Is it safe/ok if I buy an e.l.f.product that’s made in China?

    • China is the home of the “dog festival”, that says it all. They’re also communistic. They will not tell the truth because they regulate themselves and they lie. Consider anything made in China or “PRC” to be tested on animals. Even if one or two products are not tested on animals, China is cruel to it ‘s people and animals. Those cruelty free labels are a joke if the product comes from China. The people don’t even have clean drinking water. And any time there is an animal in a product, rest assured it was not humanely treated. Products are mass produced by the tens of thousands. There is no company that is going to have their workers out trimming horse hair happily off of the mane! Those animals are killed and the hair and hide is ripped off of the carcass.

    • Just because it is made in China doesn’t mean they test on Animal. They have to be sold in a physical store in China to be tested on animals. Companies can make their products in China and still be cruelty free as long as they don’t sell it there. There’s a blog explaining that in here. I Hope that helps.

  • am I wrong in thinking that any business you do with China makes you basically implicit in animal testing? it is the law that they have to test on animals for products there isn’t it

  • I went onto Elf’s website tonight and it says they now ship worldwide. I checked the list and it says it sells to China.

    • they can sell online and ship to china legally without animal testing, but just can’t sell on location in china. she talks about it in one of her other posts.

  • Thank u for this informative site and all the research u have done for those of us who care about the animals! Very mind and eye opening I was nit aware that even if products dont do animal testing they may need to in order to sell in china or other countries. We must all do our part to put an end to the cruel and senseless practice. We must be their voice!!!!!


  • I was in a Dollar Tree store yesterday and they were selling E.L.F. cosmetics. No where on the packaging did it state that they were cruelty free and it also said made in China. I am curious is their standards have changed recently.

  • I purchased e.l.f. mascara and concealer after spending way too much time twirling around a CVS looking for cruelty-free products. eureka! I was just so pleased to find the bunny on the package that unfortunately I did not realize the product(s) is/are “Made in China” “Designed in the U.S.A.” what the !@#$ does that mean? are they talking of the product or the packaging as there is nothing listed on the container of mascara or concealer other than the color(s) I chose? it’s gotten too hard to find anything anymore…………vanity down the toilet…..oh, as an aside I received an email stating that L’Oreal was not testing on animals any longer but using laboratory-grown human skin samples. any input? Lancome is owned by them and was wondering if they were following suit?

    • They don’t use any products that are rated on animals. China only requires testing when products are sold there, not while making them, so they are still 100% cruelty free.

      No, technically L’Oréal doesn’t test itself, but because they sell their products in mainland China they do pay for third party animal testing, and therefore are not cruelty free.

  • Hi, I bought a few products in e.l.f, but I just noticed that the back of the brush says “no animal testing”, but the bunny logo is NOT one the certified bunny logo that correspond to cruelty-free brands. Does that make any kind of difference? the fact that they’re not using any of the certified bunny logos?

  • as a stock holder in ELF, I’m Sorry to hear you are using HORSE TAIL HAIR for SOME of your High-End(?)I would use the term low-end make-up brushes! So in my mind you are beginning to stray and are not 100 VEGAN. yes I hear 99% of your products are, but to me this is not good enough. How does Elf get horse hair ? from already butchered horses, for the death market for horse meat? correct me if not true . Waiting to hear Back. Very Concerned if I can support you 100% or not.

    • Agree – I will NEVER support a company that benefits off of the in humane treatment of animals – especially horses!

        • Why do you assume that only death is cruel? They could be cutting hair off of a confined animal that is not allowed to roam and do what a horse naturally does. Look up how Premarin is made to make the estrogen replacement drug for woman going through menopause, it will make you weep if you have a heart. Whenever I hear that the hair is just cut from a horse, I cringe because we don’t have any information on what the living conditions are for these poor animals. I’m really surprised that peta would support this company considering what some of their tools are made of. Like someone else stated, it’s all or nothing for me.

        • I just think about the use of sheeps wool and I cringe. I use to believe that they wanted a nice trim out in the sunshine on a green pasture. No, what they get is chunks of skin cut out of them and end up with untreated and infected wounds. Down feather is torn out of the birds by the fistfuls causing agonizing pain. Anytime an animal is seen as a commodity respect goes out the door for that animal. If you can’t understand this, then I question if you are posting because you are genuinely concerned about the well-being of animals or you are so in love with e.l.f that we should never dare question where our products come from.

    • Hi I’ve been vegan since the 70’s so I’m not a young person, I feel there is no such thing as nitpicking when it comes to where or what the ingredients are in a product..every question is important, and the horse hair in the brushes most likely came from abused then dead horses, it’s a cruel world when it comes to making money,you know they didn’t just clip some hair off the horse…how many brushes do they sell, that’s allot of horse hair…ask and ask again
      It’s your right to know !!?

    • The hair is cut humanely. not vegan, but cruelty free. We cut our hair all the time for fun. Cutting their hair is more humane that using them for rodeos, or kids rides. its really not a big deal. And they never claimed to be 100% vegan.

  • Cruelty Free Kitty. I have tried to make the vegan community aware of the fact that all chemicals have to be tested to get GRAS or be safe to use. But Peta and vegan celebs don’t want to acknowledge it. Let me explain
    Its just common sense. Companies like Du Pont make chemicals that are not only used in cosmetic industry but even in Food and bathroom cleaning products.
    Any chemical cannot be approved without testing so the manufacturer, rather the patent holder tests the chemicals. This testing is done multiple times on a single chemical. So they can be used in combinations with other chemicals.
    I mentioned “patent holder” because this is another loophole used. Lets say Du pont invents a chemical but it can’t possibly manufacture enough to supply the whole words So its sells patents and then other local or regional manufacturers do it.
    These companies don’t test on animals. So this is how most so called “vegan” cosmetic brands argue that their ingredients are not tested on animals.

    We have to understand this that as long as we are using chemicals it has been tested on animals. Remember the recent controversy with Nestle testing their food products on animals? YES that is exposes this issue. You might wonder why Nestle would test food but they are actually testing some new chemical that might be an emulsifier a preservative or having some other property.

    So we have to totally avoid chemicals. As Chemicals have to be tested on animals to be approved. THIS IS THE USP that companies like DUPONT USE to sell these chemcials. They sell it saying WE HAVE ALREADY TESTED IT SO NOW YOU DON”T HAVE TO.
    Because animals testing is a costly affair.
    Brands Like L Oreal test their final product because they invent their own proprietary chemical formulations which they want to keep secret.
    So they have to test the final product.
    Infact with such brands testing happens only once, but with so called “vegan” brands THAN USE CHEMICALS the testing has taken place multiple times.
    Many vegans argue that these were tested long ago so let me just debunk some of the known arguments.
    1. Tested long before. Yes but unless we move away from chemical culture they will continue testing on animals. As we speak 25000 + chemicals are being tested on animals to replace the 18000+ that were tested and invented in the last 50 years. Whats sad is the animal tests are fraudulent these chemicals are still dangerous and their are replacing them cause they know it will be another 30 years till someone catches up that these are unsafe. By then they will have a newer version to replace the old one. So the animals are tortured for nothing these chemicals are stll unsafe.
    Biggest point is these CHEMICALS ARE NOT NECESSARY!! Yes they replace natural ingredients because they are cheaper its only for profit.
    2. But even natural ingredients are tested on animals at some point. YES Coconuts have been tested on animals but that was to find out if it had any health benefits. The coconut was not tested so that we could eat it. That is the difference without animal testing these chemicals cannot be used. These chemicals are not needed. But we were eating coconut turmeric blueberries green tea long before animal testing began.(This brings be to another issue that is why are natural foods being tested on animals If we want to find the benefits we should test it on humans as humans have already been consuming them for thousands of years).
    3.We can’t be that strict or its not about being 100%…Well this is not about an ingredients but an entire “culture” of chemicals being tested on animals. Infact the testing involved for these chemicals are as huge as the testing required for drugs. Now we can easily live without these chemicals. INFACT these chemicals ARE BAD FOR YOU!!!.

    • Thank you for this info. It makes me furious, sad, and frustrated. But people need to know!! I am going to go as natural as possible with my products. Are there any brands you recommend? Or do you make a lot of your own?

    • Literally everything is a chemical… Just because something says ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s not a chemical. For example, hyaluronic acid: sounds like a chemical, act as like a chemical, is a chemical, but is found naturally in your skin as a hydrating agent. Please stop with the chemical propaganda and scaremongering, because it’s getting old. Not every chemical has to be tested on animals, because literally everything is made up of chemicals.

  • I have just read this in their Faqs and my doubt is, could be considered that all of their products are vegan? Thanks!

    “Do you test on animals?
    We do NOT test on animals or endorse such practices. Our products do not contain animal derived ingredients. Beeswax has been replaced by synthetic beeswax and lanolin has been replaced by Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladinpale-2. We currently support HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project.”

  • But they use HORSE HAIR in some of their brushes? What the what?! I don’t care if it’s cut horse hair, that is still an animal product. Some may think I’m nitpicking, and that’s fine. I just don’t really want to use hair from an animal that may have been in such close contact with it’s a$$ on my FACE. Ew.

    • I work with horses….you are being nitpicky. Elf is a wonderful product. I am a huge animal activist who actively participates in the ethical treatment of animals. Don’t look for wrongs that don’t exist as their are plenty out there that so exist instead let’s celebrate and promote a company that actually does promote cruelty free products…have a great day…and be blessed..research, educate, get involved many wonderful opportunities to get involved?

    • cutting hair is cruelty free. we cut our own hair for fun. it just means that the brushes aren’t vegan. hair is also cleaned and treated. there is no horse ass on their brushes. It is actually very common.

  • I am confused!! Is E.L.F cruelty-free or not? What does it mean that the products are manufactured in China? Please help. 🙁

  • The most important question was unanswered though (or did I miss the answer?), namely if they buy their ingredients from suppliers who test on animals. Because THAT is where the animal testing usually happens.

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