LATEST UPDATE: As of 2017, Smashbox does not sell products in mainland China and does not test on animals where required by law. Smashbox is now cruelty-free.

Smashbox does test on animals where required by law. This means that Smashbox can’t be considered a cruelty-free company.

We’ve been hearing from many of you about questions you may have regarding animal testing, so we just wanted to quickly let you know that nothing has changed at Smashbox. Our founders launched with a commitment to end animal testing, and that commitment remains. We totally hear your concerns and assure you that our principles are the same today as they were when we first launched.

Here’s the animal testing policy from Smashbox’s parent company, Estee Lauder:

We don’t test on animals, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law.

You can find all the facts about the Estée Lauder Companies’ commitment to help eliminate animal testing here.

China Update

Smashbox have changed their FAQ in regards to animal testing. I have contacted Smashbox and they pulled their products out of the Chinese market.

This change will not affect my personal position about Smashbox’s status, and I do not consider this brand to be cruelty-free. The reasons why a brand would stop selling in China are many. It doesn’t mean that Smashbox took a stance against animal testing, especially considering that over 90% of Estee Lauder brands (Smashbox’s parent company) are still being sold in China. Perhaps the withdrawl was nothing more than a financial decision.

Whatever the reason, a brand should not be rewarded and deemed cruelty-free after having already made the decision to sell in China, knowing full well that this decision also means contributing to animal suffering.

I included a screenshot of their old policy, as well as one of their updated policy below.

July 4th 2014


May 24th 2016


It’s important to mention that although they pulled out of the Chinese market, their policy is still to test on animals when required by law. There was no change in their animal testing policy, but only in their distribution. This means that Smashbox can choose to re-enter the Chinese market at any point without violating their animal testing policy.

PETA Certifiaction


Unfortunately not everyone will share this opinion, and although I do respect everyone’s opinions, I don’t understand how PETA can claim that Smashbox is a cruelty-free company. Smashbox has been selling cosmetics in China for years prior to pulling out. This means that their products have been tested on animals in the recent past.

If your personal definition of cruelty-free cosmetics means no animal testing in China, then I can’t recommend supporting Smashbox.

That being said, keep in mind that Smashbox isn’t a part of the Leaping Bunny’s list, which is a more reliable cruelty-free organization. Click here to learn more about the differences between PETA and the Leaping Bunny.

View Comments (39)
  • Hi! I have to say that I respectfully disagree on the boycotting aspect. I refute companies that test on animals because it’s unnecessary and cruel. However, I think that it would be very poignant if Smashbox’s sales increased because of their decision to stop their inhumane practices. If other companies see that sales increase by a significant amount as a direct result of this change, then perhaps they will follow suit. Because after all, the strongest enticing factor is the almighty dollar.

  • Hi there, Is smashbox cruelty free as of 2017 or is it not? I’m slightly confused by this page as it first says it is with an update for 2017.. yet it follows that its not.

  • I’m a little confused. It says updated policy 2017 for Smashbox is they are now cruelty free, yet underneath it it shares its still not and does test when law requires it. Can you please clarify? I would not like to support companies that test on animals even if required by law.

  • This is very sad. I really love smashbox products, but cannot put money in the pockets of those that test on animals, whether it be directly or indirectly(buying smashbix products is essentially buying Estée Lauder products.) ?

  • Now I’m confused, I bought a smash box contour set for like 22$ on sale as the Sephora because I read a comment saying it was cruelty free, upon looking into it further I found this article, now I don’t know if I should return it or not, half the articles I read say they updated and removed the where legally required
    I’m 99.9% sure i have to return this

    • This article was published prior to Smashbox pulling out of sales in mainland China. As of 2017, Smashbox does not sell products in mainland China and does not test on animals where required by law. Smashbox is now cruelty-free.

  • Not every CF brand wants to be on Leaping Bunny list because they must pay them for it. Just like KIKO Milano

  • This is awesome news!!!

    I’ve spent the last several months trying to find a new primer, because I had always heard Smashbox was not cruelty free. Now I don’t have to look anymore!!

    Thank you for all your hard work on this site!

  • I’ve never bought Smashbox, and would LOOVE to start.
    Since I now know the facts, that isn’t going to happen unless some things change drastically.
    Estee Lauder has chosen [potential] profit over principle, and they’re going to have to do without certain formerly loyal customers as a result.
    Fortunately, there are lots of great truly cruelty-free options out there, so those of us who love makeup AND animals are not “deprived!”

  • logicalharmony Has a new spread about Smashbox being Cruelty Free, says they never sold in the mainland only in Hong Kong where it is not required by law to do animal testing.

  • I heard that Stila is “newly cruelty free.” Is it a similar situation to Smashbox? Or are they genuinely CF and should be supported?

  • Smashbox is and will no longer be sold in China. The company his updated their website and store signage to include the cruelty free bunny!

    • YES! I just saw that. That is great news. I also checked their website, and they seem to be cruelty-free now.

  • I don’t think we should boycott a company for deciding that they no longer want to sell in china and be more focused in being cruelty free because they once sold in China. If we boycott companies that are changing then what makes more companies want to follow? Most name brand companies are owned by a much larger parent company and by boycotting those that want to change we are not helping our case, we are actually doing more damage. I can now say I’ll support smashbox and I’ll still support too faced because they have not changed their stance but in turn can help change their parent companies stance. It’s all about helping each other to reach the end goal. Just don’t buy Estée Lauder named products.

  • There website now says that “We live for lipstick and are serious about primers—but we also really care about animals. That’s why we are cruelty-free. We test our products on human volunteers, not animals.”

    Can you please check and update?

    Thank you!

  • So, does this mean that, if another brand were to pull out of China, say.. MAC for example. Would you consider them to not be cruelty free? Isn’t the point of going cruelty free to help change and guide companies who do animal testing into stopping animal testing? So even if they no longer test on animals they still are not acceptable? I don’t really get that. I think that’s backwards, because it’s kind of like saying a person has done wrong, but never did any good. Only focusing on the mistakes, when people can change and become better people. It’s a little narrow.

  • Peta’s CF list is legit. If a company used to sell in China, but they stopped, why boycott them? They’re doing the right thing. I think you’re harming animals by trying to discredit PETA, who’s policy is to end all animal suffering and staff members who devote their professional and personal lives to be activists for animals.

    • How is she harming animals? That’s a very extreme accusation to say of someone who has devoted her life to raising awareness on animal testing. You yourself are doing the same thing you are accusing her of doing. Thing how hurtful that would feel to someone who loves animals so much! Since you obviously care about animal rights, you must love them too. Would you appreciate it if someone who disagreed with your personal decision decided to start saying you yourself harmed animals?

      Suzi has many times explained her reasoning for double-checking PETA’s list, as well as explaining how their certification works, to people who may not know. She also explains which loopholes companies use to be certified by PETA and still test on animals (which by the way, is not a fault of PETA’s but of the companies themselves that are using legal loopholes to get around PETA) . More to the point posting a picture of something on PETA’s site is certainly not by any means ‘boycotting’ them. At the very most she is questioning their decision, as visible in the ???WTF , a question. (If she were coming from a malicious place the WTF would definitely not just be three letters, if you know what I mean!)

      You say PETA’s list is ‘legit’ and yet you end there on saying why you think so, and instead decide to bash the person who’s website you are using, which leads me to believe you were researching Smashbox specifically as that is what would have linked you to this page instead of one of the more main CrueltyFreeKitty pages. Simply because you dislike the decision her about Smashbox does not make it okay for you to go ahead saying the author of the article is herself “Harming Animals”. Be brave enough to be informed and make your own choice without needing everyone to agree with it. No is forcing you to use or not use Smashbox, but there is not need to go insulting people who might not make the same decision as you. We can all make different choices on which companies we approve of, and still get along without hate. Nobody will agree with anyone 100% of the time, that’s just not how people are, but we can disagree without making accusations of each other.

  • Just a note, many larger brands require the smaller brands they purchase
    to use their same testing policy even if they aren’t being tested on
    animals or being sold in countries that require testing. We can
    speculate as to why they pulled out of China or why they have a policy
    that says “except where required by law” even if they aren’t being sold
    in countries that require it by law… but at the end of the day we
    don’t know. What we do know is that they are not currently being sold
    in countries where testing is required and therefore are technically
    cruelty free. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the day when we don’t have to sit here speculating though cause everything is CF!!! Thank you, btw, for all your hard work in maintaining this blog and your opinions 🙂 They always help me develop my own thoughts and opinions.

    • Thanks for sharing that info on using the same testing policy… and it is so true that it would be great if we didn’t have to speculate… or go hunting out which individual company sold what to where and when, then weighing whether you think using their products even if they are cruelty free is worth the time if you have to go out hunting down this information every 6months.

  • So if they don’t test on animals in the US, and don’t sell in China, why are they not considered cruelty-free? I’m just confused.

    • It’s because most of the products they sell will have been tested on animals. It’s up to you whether you purchase their products now. I personally do because there’s no need to boycott them anymore

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