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Why Benefit Is Not A Cruelty-Free Brand

Benefit is one of those companies that most people assume are cruelty-free, but unfortunately, they’re wrong. If you’re new to the cruelty-free world, keep reading to find out why Benefit can’t be considered cruelty-free.

Policy On Website

Benefit give us some information about their animal testing policy in their FAQ. It reads:

Does Benefit test on animals?

Benefit does not test our products on animals.

Since 1989, the Perfumes & Cosmetics companies of LVMH group (including Benefit Cosmetics) have not performed any tests on animals for our products – this was implemented long before the 2013 official ban set by the European Union.

We are deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing. We’re playing a leading role in developing alternative methods through our support of the “Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing” in the United States. We also actively participate in validation studies of new alternative tests in the framework of the European cosmetics association, Cosmetics Europe. We are one of only a few companies to have invested in creating our own internal department to test raw materials and ingredients to further ensure the quality of our products and the satisfaction of our customers, which is our top priority.

We are hopeful that alternative testing methods will be adopted worldwide and we will see an end to animal testing.

If you only read this statement, you’ll probably assume that Benefit is a cruelty-free company. However, they didn’t address the full picture. What they’re telling us is that their finished products aren’t tested on animals by them, which is the case for most cosmetics companies today.

The last sentence however hints towards something else. They’re saying that they’re “hopeful that alternative testing methods will be adopted worldwide”. Why is benefit so hopeful? Because they sell in markets which require animal testing by law.

Animal Testing in China

Mainland China (the Chinese territory excluding Hong Kong) requires all foreign cosmetics companies to comply with their animal testing laws in order to sell their products there. This means that any American or European cosmetics brand that wishes to enter the Chinese market must agree to have their products tested on animals. Not only that, but they also pay for these tests.

So when Benefit tells us they’re “hopeful that alternative testing methods will be adopted worldwide”, what they’re telling is that they test on animals where required by law, and sell their products to mainland China. If you ask me, it’s a subtle and misleading way of putting it.

Benefit In China

How do we know that Benefit tests on animals where required by law? Because they previously stated so explicitly on their FAQ.

In 2014, the opening sentence in their animal testing policy stated: “We do not test our products on animals nor do we permit others to do so except where it is required by law.”

In 2017, this sentence was cut to: “Benefit does not test our products on animals.”

Benefit also admits to selling in mainland China, which they have been doing for years. This tweet is from 2009:

Shin Kong Place is a high-end department store in Beijing, mainland China.

See Also

Benefit also currently sells in Chinese Sephora stores. They’re listed on Sephora China (most brands listed on Sephora China are NOT cruelty-free, unless they only sell beauty tools):

Benefit’s Real Policy

Even with the changes made to their FAQ, Benefit’s real animal testing policy is the following, as stated in this tweet from 2015: they don’t test on animals unless required by law.

They’re also listed on PETA’s list of companies who test on animals:

Benefit is NOT a cruelty-free company and they DO test on animals where required by law. Their current FAQ is misleading and doesn’t give us the full details of their policy.

If you’re a fan of Benefit Cosmetics, please contact the company directly and ask them to pull out of mainland China in order to gain their cruelty-free status. If Benefit stops selling products to mainland China, they will become a cruelty-free company. If you’re boycotting the brand until they go cruelty-free, let them know! The more people reach out to Benefit, the more chances of them listening and completely ending their animal testing.

View Comments (17)
  • Hello, Suzi! I just wanted to drop a line to say how appreciative I am of your blog. Your research is thorough, and as someone who is new to buying cruelty-free, your guides are easy to use and more complete than relying on Leaping Bunny or PETA alone. I started to become aware of animal testing through two interviews with Kat Von D and a spokesperson for Leaping Bunny on the podcast Fat Mascara, and since then I have been checking the labels of everything I buy. I soon realized that wasn’t enough–I also needed to do some of my own research. I’ve spent the past hour reading your articles, and I’ve bookmarked your site for future use. Thank you for all you do!

  • I personally think it goes too far to say that Benefit’s statement is “misleading”. I read their FAQ on the website first, and then clicked a link to see what you said about them, and it’s clear from the FAQ itself that the Chinese government runs tests on animals, because it’s the law there. On the website ( they say:
    “Some customers expressed concern regarding the situation in China. Our products are made in Europe and for imported cosmetics, the Chinese health authorities order some test on animals: they require companies to make their products available to be tested in state-certified laboratories for registration purposes only, as it is currently their only recognized method to demonstrate product safety.”
    I don’t know when they added this on their website, but I suggest you add it to your post as well, since it adds valuable information, and is no longer misleading about whether they’re cruelty free or not.

    • I agree with the above statement. If they are supplying completed products to the Chinese govt then benefit is correct in their no testing on animals statement. It’s the Chinese govt that is doing the dirty work. I understand the concern of course and you can request that they pull out of that market. But the company is not testing on animals and that is a truthful statement based on the info on their site.

    • Late to the party but I just tried to find more confirmation for this. Apparently every brand that sellls in China pays for the animal testing in order to sell it there. So basically the make-up you buy isn’t tested on animals, untill it gets to China where it pays to get tested to get in. So the statement to message benefit asking them to stop that might actually be helpful.

    • If they were cruelty free they would stand up to China and not sell to mainland. It’s not going too far to say their statement is misleading. There is NO excuse for animal testing, Emma.

  • It is disingenuous at best for a company to say it doesn’t test on animals knowing a country to which it markets its products will. Perhaps if we boycott companies exporting to China then eventually either the companies will stop the trading or China will stop testing. I’m not confident of enough support, given the massive number of products tested here in the US which millions purchase. I’m just one person but I do my part. Thanks for this clarification about the Chinese factor.

  • This information turns me off Benefit, whose products I *was* considering trying, in a huge way.
    Not only do they agree to animal testing, it looks like they’ve attempted to sugar-coat, if not be downright deceptive about, their policy.
    I get that they need to obey the law in the countries in which they sell, but … a company does not HAVE to sell in China.
    I’ll keep shopping companies that share my principles.

  • I just bought in berlin from benefit. First thing i asked was if they are testing on animals or not! The seller lied to me and she told me they DO NOT TEST on animals :(((( i wait til i get back to berlin and bring them back!! Very dissapointed 🙁

  • Hi Suzy, I love your blog! Thank you for doing what you do. I hope you can help me find a cf alternative to Benefit’s Dr Feelgood product. I stopped using them when I found out they sell in China but as my skin isn’t looking so great right now, I’d love an alternative. Thank you!

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