New cruelty-free shoppers need to be careful! For one reason or another, the following brands have gained the reputation of possibly being cruelty-free, although they are not. I’ll give you cruelty-free alternatives for each and every one of them!
1. Benefit: Not Cruelty-Free
I don’t know exactly what it is about Benefit, but it’s one of those brands people always assume is cruelty-free. Despite their claims, this is a brand that can’t be considered cruelty-free.
Benefit’s animal testing policy, however, is clear about the fact the company tests on animals where required by law. We also know that Benefit products are sold in mainland China, as Chinese Sephora stores carry the brand.
From the FAQ: We do not test our products on animals nor do we permit others to do so except where it is required by law.
If you like Benefit, try these cruelty-free alternatives:
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Too Faced (parent company not cruelty-free)
- Tarte (parent company not cruelty-free)
2. Nuxe: Not Cruelty-Free
Nuxe is marketed as a natural brand that uses safe ingredients and botanical extracts. It makes some sense for a small, natural company to be cruelty-free, but Nuxe is anything but that! They’re big. They’re not all that natural. They also sell in mainland China, and not only online, as confirmed by their Paris headquarters. This is not a cruelty-free company.
If you like Nuxe, try these cruelty-free alternatives:
3. L’Oreal: Not Cruelty-Free
L’Oreal has recently published that they’ve taken major steps towards ending animal testing within their company, which has led to a mass disinformation. This is why I felt the need to dedicate a full post to L’Oreal’s animal testing policy, and how their change in status does not mean that the company is cruelty-free. Their fine print clearly mentions loopholes: they still test new ingredients on animals, and they still continue to retail their products in China and test on animals.
From the FAQ: 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 be made if authorities required it for human safety or regulatory purposes.
If you like L’Oreal, try these cruelty-free alternatives:
4. Rimmel London: Not Cruelty-Free
Maybe it’s because it’s one of the smallest drugstore brands, or maybe it’s because it’s a British company, but many people assume that Rimmel London is cruelty-free. Looking at their website, there’s a message saying “Rimmel London against animal testing. Find out more.” When you click that, you have to click again (it’s like a russian doll; they don’t want to admit to the testing) and what you find out is that Rimmel does test on animals when required by law. Boo!
From their animal testing page: The only exceptions are the very few countries where, by law, the regulatory authorities require us to submit our products or ingredients to them for testing on animals as a mandatory part of their regulatory protocols in compliance with their local regulations.
If you like Rimmel, try these cruelty-free alternatives:
5. Organix: Not Cruelty-Free
This is a hair care brand that loves greenwashing as well as convincing its customers that they’re cruelty-free. On social media, they swear up and down that they don’t test on animals, but when you ask them about selling in China, they go very quiet. PETA has removed Organix from their cruelty-free list and moved them to the list of companies that do test on animals. Below is their official stance. You can read more about Organix and animal testing in this post.
From the official website: Given that there are countries that require animal testing by law, we do our best to respect governing law and regulations set by that governing body.
If you like Organix, try these cruelty-free alternatives:
6. Yves Rocher: Not Cruelty-Free
Yves Rocher doesn’t test on animals unless required by law, and they do sell their products in mainland China. Hence, they can’t be considered cruelty-free.
If you like Yves Rocher, try these cruelty-free alternatives:
7. Younique: Not Cruelty-Free
Younique is NOT cruelty-free. They currently claim that they don’t test on animals, and neither do their manufacturers. However they can’t be considered a cruelty-free company. Here’s their animal testing statement before it was deleted:
This means that Younique isn’t able to confirm that their ingredients aren’t tested on animals, which is one of the big pillars of being a cruelty-free brand. Younique is also currently expanding to new markets, which could possibly include China.
If you like Younique, take a look at my cruelty-free makeup guide here with over 100 cruelty-free brands to choose from!
BONUS: MAC and Mary Kay are not cruelty-free!
I get so many comments about both of these brands being cruelty-free, when neither of them are.
Are there any other non-cruelty-free companies you feel you should warn people about?
Suzana Rose is the founder and editor-in-chief of Cruelty-Free Kitty. She loves using her creative energy to run her ethical businesses, and when she’s not working, you can find her thrifting cute clothes, listening to podcasts, or rewatching her favorite episodes of The Office.