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This report covers:
- Animal testing policies of the 50 largest cosmetics companies
- The growth of the beauty market in China, a country with mandatory animal testing laws.
- The size of the global cruelty-free cosmetics market
- Animal testing policies of the 500 most popular brands on Cruelty-Free Kitty
- Cruelty-free and vegan preferences of cosmetics shoppers
- How many countries worldwide have banned animal testing for cosmetics
- Animals used worldwide in lab experiments
The Top 50 Biggest Cosmetics Companies: Animal Testing Statistics
Of the 50 largest cosmetics companies ranked by market value as per Brand Finance in 2021, we found that 88% fund animal testing. This means that of these 50 companies, 44 are not cruelty-free. (1)
At the top, L'Oréal, valued at USD $10.2B in 2021, is not a cruelty-free company. L'Oréal is followed by Gillette, Nivea, Guerlain, and Estee Lauder, none of which are cruelty-free companies. Other notable brands that fund animal testing include MAC, Lancôme, Pantene, Maybelline, Benefit, and Shiseido.
Out of the 50 top brands, only 6 are cruelty-free: Garnier, who became Leaping Bunny-certified in March of 2021, Tresemme, who followed Garnier's footsteps in May of 2021, The Body Shop, which has been cruelty-free since the company started in 1976, as well as Dove, Herbal Essences, and Sunsilk, who have taken PETA's cruelty-free pledge.
|Global Ranking||Brand||Cruelty-Free Status|
|#5||Estée Lauder||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#10||Head & Shoulders||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#18||Procter & Gamble||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#20||Yves Rocher||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#29||Old Spice||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#41||La Roche-Posay||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#42||Bobbi Brown||Not Cruelty-Free|
|#49||The Body Shop||Cruelty-Free|
Why These Numbers?
Animal testing is still used to assess safety for cosmetic products to this day. In the beauty industry, one of the main reasons why big corporations still fund animal testing is related to their presence in China.
The beauty market in mainland China is experiencing rapid and massive growth. In 2021 the market there underwent 13.8% annual growth as per Statista. (2) However, in order for beauty brands to sell their products in China, they need to comply with the mandatory animal testing laws.
There are ways for companies to avoid animal testing while entering the Chinese market. In 2017, China removed the mandatory pre-market animal testing laws for products manufactured within China. In 2021, they have extended this law to products manufactured outside of the country. There are still exceptions depending on the types of products sold, and companies must comply with strict guidelines.
Some PETA-approved companies, like Dove, Herbal Essences, and Sunsilk, have been able to remain cruelty-free while selling their products in China. Others like Garnier and Tresemme, have entirely pulled out of the Chinese market.
The Top 500 Beauty and Personal Care Brands: Animal Testing Statistics
Using our internal data as of October 2021, we have gathered the top 500 beauty and personal care brands based on consumer interest. Out of 500 brands, we found that 190 (38%) fund animal testing, and another 38 (7.6%) are in the grey area, meaning that they have refused to share their complete animal testing policy. This means that 45.6% of the top 500 brands are not cruelty-free, while 54.4% are cruelty-free.
When we look at the top 100 brands based on the same criteria, there's a shift: 65% are not cruelty-free, while only 35% are cruelty-free. The more popular and bigger the brands, the more likely they fund animal testing in markets which require it by law.
Popular cruelty-free brands in our database include:
- The Ordinary
- The Body Shop
- Too faced
- IT Cosmetics
- Burt's Bees
- Charlotte Tilbury
- Urban Decay
35% of Consumers Look For Cruelty-Free Products
According to a 2019 study by GlobalData, 35% of consumers actively look for "cruelty-free" claims on beauty products. (3)
Out of all cruelty-free beauty consumers, 73% support cruelty-free brands regardless of the parent company's policy. This includes brands such as NYX (owned by L'Oreal) or Tarte (owned by Kose) which are cruelty-free while their parent company is not.
The demand for vegan cosmetics, meaning cosmetics that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients such as beeswax or carmine, is also on the rise. As of 2021, the global market for vegan cosmetics is estimated at 15.1 billion. (4) We found that 29% of cruelty-free consumers exclusively purchase cosmetics that are both cruelty-free and vegan.
The Future of The Cruelty-Free Beauty Market
The cruelty-free cosmetics market is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2024 according to Market Research Future. (5) This is largely due to the rise of new and independent brands, however some of the industry giants are making great efforts for their brands to become cruelty-free.
In 2019, Covergirl pulled out of the Chinese market in order to avoid any potential animal testing, and received their Leaping Bunny certification. In 2021, Garnier did the same. The process of gaining cruelty-free certification for large brand isn't easy. In Garnier's case, the process took 2 years and included vetting over 500 suppliers.
While many big brands are going cruelty-free, a small minority are taking the opposite route. In 2017, Shiseido-owned luxury brand NARS entered the Chinese market, which removed their cruelty-free status. Soon after, Eve LOM and Elemis were also removed from our cruelty-free list for the same reason.
These 44* Countries Have Banned Animal Testing For Cosmetics
As of 2021, 44* countries globally have banned animal testing for cosmetics. This includes the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) as well as:
- Brazil (some states only)
- New Zealand
- United States (some states only: California, Nevada, Illinois, Maine, Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia)
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
This means that 22.5% of counties worldwide have banned animal testing for cosmetics.
In the majority of these cases, the ban applies to the sale of cosmetics that were tested on animals, however these bans don't account for finished products that were tested on animals in other markets.
According to a study by Humane Society International, 70% of people worldwide believe that animal testing for cosmetics should be illegal. The study polled residents of the United States, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, Japan, and Taiwan.
*Including Brazil and The Unites States, where only some states have banned the practice.
Animals Used Worldwide in Lab Experiments
It's difficult to ascertain the exact number of animals used in safety testing in cosmetics worldwide. Only a handful of companies report animal testing numbers: Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Of these countries, few break down the figures into for exactly what purpose lab animals were used. For those that do, figures are given for overall product safety testing, not specifically for cosmetics.
In the European Union and Norway in 2017, a total of 10,804,854 animals were used for lab experiments, of which 945,424 (8.75%) were for toxicological and safety evaluation of products and ingredients. (6)
In Australia in 2017, a total of 20,160,469 animals were used for lab experiments, of which 17,390 (0.08%) of such experiments were for regulatory product testing. (7)
In Canada in 2019, a total of 4,745,317 animals were used for lab experiments, of which 218,065 (4.6%) were for regulatory testing of products. (8)
The US, New Zealand, South Korea and United Kingdom offer no statistics on the exact purpose of animal testing.
We still have a long way to go in the fight against animal testing for cosmetics. As pointed out above, 44 out of 50 of the largest cosmetics brands still fund animal tests, and only 28% of countries worldwide have banned the practice.
As the demand for cruelty-free cosmetics rises and countries slowly but surely ban animal testing for cosmetics, we hope that these numbers will change for the better.
By the Numbers
|Percentage of the top 50 cosmetics brands (by company value) that aren't cruelty-free||88% (44 / 50)|
|Top 500 beauty and personal care brands: how many are cruelty-free?||54.4% (272 / 500)|
|Top 500 beauty and personal care brands: how many aren't cruelty-free?||45.6% (228 / 500)|
|Top 100 beauty and personal care brands: how many are cruelty-free?||35% (35 / 100)|
|Top 100 beauty and personal care brands: how many aren't cruelty-free?||65% (65 / 100)|
|Consumers that look for cruelty-free claims on product packaging||35%|
|Consumers that support cruelty-free brands regardless of parent company policy||79%|
|Size of global vegan cosmetics market in 2021||USD $15.1B|
|Cruelty-free consumers that exclusively buy cosmetics that are both cruelty-free and vegan||28%|
|Estimated future size of the cruelty-free cosmetics market in 2024||USD $10B|
|Countries that ban animal testing for cosmetics||22.5% (44 / 195)|
|People worldwide who believe animal testing for cosmetics should be banned||70%|
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I thought even brands that avoid pre-market testing in mainland China, like Dove and Herbal Essences, are at risk of post-market testing, thereby making them not cruelty-free?