Last week, Covergirl announced that they were going cruelty-free. Not only that, but they became certified by Leaping Bunny, the “golden standard” of cruelty-free certification.
I was worried when I heard this news. With brands like Dove selling in China while simultaneously playing the cruelty-free card, I was worried that Leaping Bunny might be guilty of the same double-standard PETA showed with Dove.
After speaking with both Cruelty Free International and Coty, I was happy to find out that Covergirl has pulled out of China since being owned by Coty, and they no longer test on animals where required by law.
Not only this, but Leaping Bunny has audited Covergirl before accepting them as a part of the Leaping Bunny program.
This is Covergirl’s updated, official claim on their website:
COVERGIRL does not test on animals and now we’re Leaping Bunny certified by Cruelty Free International, which means we’re Cruelty Free across ALL our products, EVERYWHERE we’re sold.
I’ve updated the listing on the list of cruelty-free brands last week and updated the current post, but I wanted to provide more explanations. You’ll find the old, original post at the bottom, with all the updates.
Leaping Bunny Didn’t Let Us Down
One thing that’s interesting to note is that Covergirl itself did not test finished products or ingredients on animals, and neither did its suppliers, even prior to the cruelty-free certification. The only obstacle to this status was their presence in China and testing on animals where required by law.
By auditing the brand, Leaping Bunny confirmed that no animal testing was taking place at any point during the production of Covergirl products. Since Covergirl has stopped selling in China, there are no loopholes being used by Leaping Bunny to certify the brand as cruelty-free.
I’m thrilled, as a cruelty-free consumer, that Leaping Bunny is showing complete integrity and isn’t compromising any of its values when certifying brands. The same rigorous methods are used for a giant like Covergirl — no exceptions.
Covergirl Is Not a Cruelty-Free Pioneer
There was so much media coverage surrounding this announcement, and Covergirl clearly engineered every step of their cruelty-free certification. They leveraged the process to get media attention and brand awareness.
There’s nothing wrong with this. When a big brand stops testing on animals, they deserve credit and praise. It’s a positive step for the beauty industry, and it shows that brands are listening what consumers like us want.
My problem was with the outright false statements. For instance, Harper’s Bazaar claims in their sub-heading:
“They’re the biggest beauty brand to get certified cruelty-free.”
This is complete BS. Even if we’re looking at the estimated yearly revenue, the statement is false.
Covergirl also goes on to claim:
“CoverGirl truly believes that cruelty-free cosmetics should be affordable and available to everyone — now it is,”
Except they always were.
These press releases are praising Covergirl as being a pioneer of cruelty-free cosmetics, when in fact, they’ve been lagging behind for years. Drugstores have plenty of affordable makeup, and I’m talking about big names like Wet’n’Wild, e.l.f., NYX, Milani or Physicians Formula.
So even though it’s great news that Covergirl is now truly cruelty-free, we weren’t suffering out of a lack of affordable cruelty-free makeup brands.
Covergirl is not a saviour, and presenting themselves this way gives the false impression that there are not other affordable, cruelty-free makeup brands on the market. You and I know that this isn’t true, but the average consumer might not.
Another Coty Brand Will Go Cruelty-Free
It’s important to note that Coty still chooses to test on animals in mainland China, though Cruelty Free International has claimed that Coty is using its influence to help regulations change in China. Coty also claimed that another of its beauty brands will go cruelty-free by 2020.
The change is coming slowly, but it’s coming. Unlike other big conglomerates, Coty is actively pulling brands out of China and being a part of the solution to animal testing.
At A Glance (Updated Version)
- Finished products tested on animals: No
- Ingredients tested on animals: No
- Third party animal testing: No
- Tested on animals where required by law: No
- Sold in mainland China: No – Covergirl has not been selling in China since Coty bought the brand
- Certifications: Leaping Bunny
- Parent company: Coty
- Parent company status: NOT cruelty-free
********Original Article Below (Outdated)********
UPDATE #2: Covergirl is cruelty-free and has confirmed that they’re not sold in China! They’ve been moved to my list of cruelty-free brands.
UPDATE: On November 5th, 2018, Covergirl announced that they’re “cruelty-free” and certified by Leaping Bunny. I’ve moved the brand to the grey area in order to research these claims and ensure that they’ve pulled out of mainland China.
There’s no official statement from the brand or Cruelty Free International concerning mainland China at the moment, and I’m not able to move Covergirl to my list of cruelty-free brands until it’s confirmed that their products are not sold in mainland China.
Covergirl does test on animals. They sell their products in China, where animal testing is mandatory for foreign cosmetics. Because of this, Covergirl isn’t considered to be a cruelty-free brand. Its parent company Coty shares the same policy.
Covergirl inherits Coty’s animal testing policy, as shown on Twitter.
Even though they claim not to test on animals, you have to be careful to read the fine print! Here’s what the FAQ they link to tells us:
Coty Inc. is a leader in the global beauty industry. We have developed a portfolio of notable brands and offer innovative products of outstanding quality for which we are committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of consumer safety. Before we place a product on the market, we assess it thoroughly to ensure that it is safe for human use and for the environment and that it complies with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Our safety assessment of cosmetic ingredients is based on the use of recognized alternatives to animal testing, the use of existing safety data and, increasingly, the sharing of such data with other industries.
We do not perform, nor do we ever commission any third parties on our behalf to perform, testing of our products or ingredients on animals. COTY voluntarily ceased testing finished cosmetic products on animals in 1991, long before the official European ban on such testing in 2004, and we have been actively involved in the research and development of alternatives to animal testing for many years. COTY is a party to SEURAT-1, the single largest Private-Public Partnership initiative aimed to develop alternatives to animal testing of cosmetic products, with a total contribution of €50 million funded in equal by the European Commission and the cosmetics industry, which managed to provide sufficient ground for setting the strategy and strategic collaboration that will be essential for the development of further alternative methods, e.g. for systemic toxicity.
It is common knowledge that China is currently the only country that requires mandatory animal tests on all cosmetic products imported into the country. However, we have been actively involved in the dialogue with the Chinese authorities and regulators, including through our membership to the China Association of Fragrance Flavor and Cosmetic Industries (CAFFCI). As a result, China has recently started to investigate ways to replace animal testing and has sought the assistance of European scientists.
The common goal of all these efforts is our aim to completely replace animal testing.
They’re also listed on PETA’s list of companies who test on animals:
Covergirl is not a cruelty-free company and they do test on animals where required by law. For affordable and cruelty-free alternatives to Covergirl, check out our guide on Cruelty-Free Drugstore Brands!
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.