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Covergirl Pulled Out Of China And Is Now Certified By Leaping Bunny

by Suzana Rose

May 12, 2020

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.

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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.

Official 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:

Bottom Line

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!

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

+ Show Comments (46) - Hide Comments (46)
  • Sally Breck says:

    Is Clarins make up and skin care free from animal testing???

  • Claudia Clarke says:

    First, this is a fantastic website. Your dedication to this issue is something I greatly appreciate.
    Now, I just saw a commercial on tv for an Olay/Cover Girl product. How can that make Cover Girl cruelty free?
    Thank you, Claudia Clarke

  • Abby says:

    I am sooo glad that Covergirl has stopped selling in China and is now certified cruelty free by the leaping bunny program!! I have since learned PETA is not a reliable list for cruelty free products as they somehow allowed Dove to make their cruelty free list ??‍♀️ The leaping bunny is to me the most, or at the very least one of the most, reliable cruelty free organizations. I also noticed Covergirl’s ingredients have improved so much: their eyeshadows and cheekers blushes for example, have removed the really bad ingredients like formaldehyde releasers, bht, fragrance etc. I avoid formaldehyde releasers like the plague. Even when added in tiny amounts, it adds up to regular amounts in the body when used daily. Covergirl has definitely come a long way. Brands like Maybelline, L’Oréal, Lancôme, Garnier etc have LOTS of catching up to do. Dove also, they are not actually cruelty free and they are not good for you. I’m a cruelty free shopper and an ingredient watcher. Covergirl has long been one of my favorite brands so to know they are officially cruelty free, AND improving their ingredient, makes me so happy!

  • Lisa says:

    I was confused when Covergirl was touted as cruelty free since they use Olay products in their foundations. Does anyone know how they got around that loophole? I’m just so curious about it.

  • Lori Gutenberg says:

    Has Covergirl pulled all the old products off shelves? I was unable to find cruelty free status when shopping at CVS, Walgreens, Smiths or WalMart on 1.16.2018

  • Emma says:

    I completely agree with you, thanks a lot for writing about these important issues!
    Also, i just wanted to wish you a really nice happy new year, love the blog 🙂



  • Michelle Williams says:

    I’m really dubious about this claim of cruelty-free. I am seeing advertising for Covergirl plus Olay foundation. Olay is decidedly NOT cruelty-free, so how can Covergirl be when it is using Olay in its products?

  • emmi says:

    I would like to bring up a point that covergirl and Olay do have a ageless line. Olay is not a cruelty free brand. Is covergirl going to discontinue this line because if not how can they claim to be cruelty free

  • kara c says:

    I am new to this blog – but does this designation mean they are no longer using Carmine in their products?

    • Suzana Rose says:

      Hi Kara! No, cruelty-free only means there’s no animal testing. Not all cruelty-free brands are also vegan, which would mean they don’t use animal-derived ingredients.

  • Steph says:

    Yeah!!! That’s sooo awesome!! I’m definitely going to support, ditto what Dish^ said ?

  • Debora Newman says:

    Thank you for all your diligence, Suzana! Occasionally, I used Cover Girl when I was young, a zillion years ago, and I never liked it. However, I’m always happy when any brand goes cruelty-free. Maybe I’ll give it another try.

  • Linda Shannon says:

    Sorry. Coty owns over 40 brands of personal care products, most of which are not cruelty-free. By purchasing Cover Girl cosmetics, I feel that I am supporting animal testing of the other brands. It makes me angry that certain brands will be certified cruelty-free while the parent company continues animal testing.

  • Nancy says:

    Do any of their product contai. Palm oil or any glycerine products derived from palm oil? If so, they cannot claim to be cruelty-free. They can say they do t test on animals, but if they are using palm oil, they are destroying orangutan. Not cruelty-free.

  • Lesley Butman says:

    What about the items that they make with Olay? Okay is not cruelty free

  • Quene Hansen says:

    Thanks for the update! I’ve noticed their recent commercials and was wondering if it was possible that they had gone cruelty-free…while I doubt it will change my current purchasing habits, I do think it’s a big step towards getting other companies to do the same. And the more companies that pull out of China, the better for getting them to change their laws!

  • Greta Albritton says:

    I am hesitant to buy Covergirl until I know beyond shadow of a doubt they will not test on animals. I’m satisfied with other companies that are cruelty-free and think they deserve business far more than Coty.

  • Eloise says:

    I used Covergirl years, years and years ago but stopped using it when cruelty-free lists came out. I will use it again if it is cruelty-free. I saw their cruelty-free TV ad. Why test on animals anyway? In the past I’ve tried animal tested products and still had a bad reaction so get those little animals out of the laboratories!

  • Kim says:

    When I first starting reading I thought oh great I can try Covergirl. Not mowing they were owned by Coty. Sorry parent company Coty still sells in China…I’m out.

  • Cindy says:

    It’s a step in the right direction, but my dollar would still in the long run line the pockets of the parent company. I will spend my dollar on products where that is not the case. Some of this may be jumping on the bandwagon due to the law coming in 2020 to California banning the sale of products tested on animals.

  • Dish says:

    Even though the parent company isn’t cruelty free, this is a really big step in the right direction, and I think it would be a mistake not to applaud and support it – otherwise other companies will not have the inducement to follow suit. While we’d all like for them to just go completely cruelty free on principle, profits be damned, this is just not feasible. We get better traction in this fight if we support the companies that are making earnest efforts to go cruelty-free, and things will snowball quicker.

  • Yvonne Walker says:

    Coty still test on animals so i won’t be buying any cover girl products.

  • Meryl fine says:

    I too have issues with big companies buying cruelty free lines like smashbox etc. personally I won’t buy them since the parent co is profiting from it. And companies like smashbox show poor ethics by selling out to them so they can make more money.

  • Meryl fine says:

    Although there are plenty of choices that we all know as affordable I think cover girl has been around so long they have a higher profile and I think this will really bring attention.

  • Corinne says:

    How is Covergirl saying their completely cruelty free when some of their products contain Olay? I’ve never seen Olay being cruelty free, and still have yet to see that it is.

  • LoveBunnies says:

    Owned by Coty, I’ll pass.

  • Denise Womack says:

    I am proud of Cover girl for taking the loving step of becoming cruelty free. Yet, it seems an ethical gray area that they are owned by a company who is not cruelty free. Still, movement seems to be leaning toward caring for all sentient beings

  • I’m happy they are finally LB certified! Seeing their commercials always made me sad. I practically gasped when I saw the news early this morning! I do agree that it is upsetting to find many individuals finding CG to be the pioneer of cruelty-free cosmetics when Wet N Wild, Essence, + more have been cruelty-free options for years!

  • Jane says:

    Animal testing is so wrong! Why people are doing it? I just don’t get it. It’s so cruel! I’m using only cruelty-free brands! You should add Virfinic (https://virginic.com/) to the list. It’s cruelty free, healthy and pure brand. It was really good so far. Thank you for this cruelty free brands list. It’s really useful!

  • Thanh Tran says:

    11/21/2018 – I’m a bit confused by this article. Most of the article from the beginning states that Covergirl does not do animal testing, has pulled out of China, and earned the Leaping Bunny stamp without loopholes– yet the last part of the article says that CG is still not a cruelty-free company. The article also links to this website’s page: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands/ that lists Covergirl as cruelty free, but also links to this other page that lists it as not: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-drugstore-brands/. I appreciate all the work you put into your website and reference it very regularly. Could you please update your articles to be consistent? Thank you.

    • Suzana Rose says:

      Everything under the “********Original Article Below (Outdated)********” disclaimer is out of date, as this post was originally written prior to Covergirl being cruelty-free.

    • Abby says:

      The last part was the original statement, before Covergirl went cruelty free. The writer has updated it.

    • Tina says:

      I totally agree wit Thanh. In one paragraph Cover Girl is cruelty free, the next says it’s not! Please update and be consistent! It’s very confusing!!

  • Steph says:

    This is such fantastic news, and I’m so glad it’s confirmed! I do think it’s important to note that while there are several CF drugstore brands, CoverGirl is the only one—at least that I’ve seen in my country, Canada—to be available at all stores that sell lower-priced makeup; whereas brands like elf, wet n wild, and NYX are only at a couple. Physician’s Formula might have a bigger presence, but I rarely consider them because their shade range for base products is ridiculously limited.

    So, in terms of accessibility (at least where I live), CoverGirl has other brands beat—I can see this being true for other countries, as well.

    • Jessica Gregotski says:

      I’m in Canada as well, and don’t wear a lot of makeup. My concern with covergirl is that the one profiting from their sales is the parent company, that does in fact still test on animals. Such a shame.

  • Chivonne says:

    I just saw an ad on YT stating Covergirl was officially certified and screamed! THIS IS FANTASTIC!

  • Lisa Taddeo says:

    Thank you so much for this clarification! I have not used cover girl in more than 30 years and for them to have the audacity to go on a commercial and say they don’t test?? How can they get away with this?

  • Jennifer Ross says:

    There has been so much marketing spin on this in the last couple of days, just like Dove. I won’t touch the Covergirl product unless I know for sure that they have pulled out of China. Frankly, I just don’t believe it and think it’s a con to try to grab back a part of the market who won’t buy cosmetics tested on animals.

  • Kendra says:

    It’s actually not sold in China but their parent company sells in China so they just say they do. CoverGirl is mostly an American makeup brand.

  • Rachel Fitzgerald says:

    Hi, all the talk about animal testing – I don’t want to wear makeup at all! How can I believe lies that are written, what do I believe? Even though these companies say things in indepth policies – need a person who understands policies/degree in order to understand all of the written stuff! Would take a lifetime!

    Thank you for the information.

  • Tonia says:

    I don’t get how people worry about cruelty free but can often forget about the ingredients being vegan which is obvi an even bigger deal. Thank you for your work here to provide this info to us!!

    • Homes says:

      Items used in cosmetics are often byproducts so, no, it is not as big a deal as animal testing. Wearing leather shoes from a thrift store is not the same as wearing new ones, there are shades of grey.

      • Kay Loppe says:

        I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with either or your comments. It doesn’t matter if the products used in make-up are byproducts because they still came from an animal. Leather is a byproduct from the slaughter of cattle, but in no means is it acceptable to wear leather. Leather is appalling no matter if it is new or used from a thrift shop. There aren’t really any grey areas – it just seems like a way of trying to justify buying a cute pair of leather shoes or a cute leather purse at a thrift shop. Let’s say you had a beautiful pet rabbit with uncommon markings, and the rabbit ran away. Now let’s say the rabbit was captured in a trap – and because of it’s beauty, they had a taxidermist stuff the rabbit for display. After a while, the stuffed rabbit is donated to a thrift shop. The person buying it at the thrift shop is just as guilty as the person who killed it.
        Please don’t take this as being argumentative or rude. I’m simply trying to show another point of view.

        • MT says:

          This is perfectly respectable stance to take. However, I think if an animal is killed and ends up in a thrift store I think it’s actually more reasonable to honor the life that was sacrificed and use it. Though it should have never been killed in the first place, we can’t bring it back. And if I were that animal I’d be pretty pissed off to learn that I was murdered and then left to waste.

  • jaycee says:

    I’m so iffy about brands whose parent companies test on animals. A part of me doesn’t care, but the other part cares a whole lot

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