loreal-animal-testing

I’ve recently received a question about L’Oreal’s cruelty-free status. A reader told me they heard that L’Oreal no longer tests on animals. Is there any truth to this?

Let me start with a quote from L’Oreal newly-created animal testing 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.”

No wonder misleading rumors about L’Oreal being cruelty-free are spreading. The above statement would imply that L’Oreal doesn’t test finished products or ingredients on animals at any stage of production, that their suppliers don’t test raw materials on animals, and that they have pulled out of China.

False! Read the following sentence:

“An exception could be made if authorities required it for human safety or regulatory purposes.” In order words, they do fund animal testing of their finished products in China, where the practice is required by law.

But wait! There’s more deception!

The whole change in L’Oreal’s animal testing policy took place with March 2013 as a cut-off date. The company now claims not to test its finished products or raw materials on animals after this date. They claim:

“When a supplier proposes us an ingredient, we ask to examine its safety dossier. If the dossier contains data generated by means of animal testing before March 2013, L’Oréal can retain the ingredient. If the data was generated after March 2013 and was for a cosmetics application, L’Oréal cannot retain the ingredient. If the data was generated after March 2013 but was for a usage other than cosmetics, then L’Oréal can retain the ingredient.”

Basically, L’Oreal claims not to use any ingredients that have tested on animals IF those ingredients have been tested on animals after March 2013 AND IF they have been tested for cosmetic reasons only. Dear readers, THIS IS THEIR LOOPHOLE.

This is what allows L’Oreal to use animal-tested ingredients in their formulations for new products. These new products consist of anti-wrinkle products, acne treatments, sunscreens, and other skin-correcting or skin-protecting “miracle” products; L’Oreal surely knows what strings to pull to have these products fall under the “medicated ingredients” list.

L’Oreal actually has a history of disguising its cosmetics as drugs, and has been sued by the FDA over misleading ads regarding this. The FDA claimed that L’Oreal products “were intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body, rendering them drugs under the Act (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act).” This is proof that some of L’Oreal’s products were indeed marketed as drugs.

Whether or not there’s a link, one thing’s for sure: the company clearly states to be using ingredients that have been tested on animals for medical reasons, even after their cut-off date of March 2013.

There’s also this statement: ” Also, in response to questions raised by the scientific community and by civil society, local authorities could choose to reexamine the safety data of a known family of ingredients, and could require new safety data.” This is meant to cover their asses, but it also means: If an ingredient that has a proven safety records needs to be re-tested, they will gladly comply by testing it on animals, which is unacceptable for a truly cruelty-free company.

All in all, L’Oreal is not and has never been cruelty-free. L’Oreal doesn’t claim not to test new ingredients on animals. L’Oreal still sells in China. L’Oreal still kills and tortures animals every day by funding animal testing, be it in China or, presumably, for new ingredients. This is one of the the biggest lies relating to animal testing that I’ve seen.

Out of all the companies that have masqueraded as being cruelty-free — and the list is long — L’Oreal wins the grand prize.

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54 Comments on "How L’Oreal is Misleading Customers About Being Cruelty-Free"

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Mina
Guest
It’s funny, cause Milla Jovovich, a long-time L’Oreal model, made a remark that L’Oreal has “always been” cruelty free since many years ago. I wrote an entry refuting that bold faced lie. Btw, I wonder if other cruelty-free people are like me — I refuse to watch any movies showcasing people like Jovovich, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslett, and many others who are paid tons of money to model products for L’Oreal specifically. Let’s not forget Miss Emma Watson who gets paid by Lancome. Why I am REALLY puzzled about is, these people already have more than enough money, why do… Read more »
BillyJean MirrorDeep
Guest

So so manny celebs I like work with all these brands, seems so weird to me, when they seem so involved with other good causes.. random late response, but I was looking around for the subject and needed to vent..

Diana
Guest

I totally agree. I will not buy anything that has been linked with animal cruelty. People are too vain and money hungry and don’t think twice about using products where poor innocent animals have had to suffer.

Sara
Guest

Can we tell L’Oréal and others that we won’t use them ?

Lauren
Guest
Animal testing is the worst and only slightly less worse is finding ways to weasel words about to make it appear as though you are NOT complicit in animal cruelty, when all people want is a clear and definitive statement so they can make choices based on their ethics. L’Oreal, you cannot have it both ways: either say “Yep, we test on animals and we’re okay with losing market share to people who care about that stuff.” or “No we don’t test anything on animals, ever.” and then don’t test on animals ever. Stop being stupid. And, with regards to… Read more »
kisekileia
Guest

Where do you get that L’Oreal isn’t claiming to not test new ingredients on animals? I’m not seeing any exclusion for new ingredients in what you have written about here.

Sophia_B
Guest
Due all respect, you are making assumptions here than showing any evidence. EVERY brand that sells their product in China has to test their products on animals in China. This is not company procedure but the Chinese law orders them to do. No company will ever turn down 1billion potential customers, you need to direct the criticism to the Chinese authorities for keeping a law like that, not to L’Oreal or any other brand. And “they probably test new ingredients in China to use in other countries” is just your assumption. I think it’s unfair to make such assumptions, also… Read more »
Emily Perry
Guest

There are plenty of brands (popular brands who could make a hell of a lot of money in China) who choose not to sell in China, it just depends on whether or not their morals or pockets are more important.

Lexi Alexandra
Guest

Exactly!! ^^^

Lexi Alexandra
Guest
Excuse me, but if a company claims to be cruelty free then actively pursues the Chinese market, knowing full well that animal testing is required by law over there, it’s on the company, not Chinese law! It’s all about the $$$ for them, so by choosing China, they’re choosing $$$ & animal exploitation over caring about their cruelty free status. Activists don’t care if you find us credible or not because the facts speak the awful truth. Don’t put this on us. Plenty of companies do well without China. It’s unfortunate that some have sold out. Fact remains, they’re making… Read more »
Katie
Guest
To be honest it comes down to $$$ and Loreal doesn’t want to pull out of china. China is a big part of their sales sadly, but it is by law that China tests on animals there more countries like china too. But if you buy products in the Loreal brand that are cruelty free, I look at it this way you are buying their cruelty free line is better and will show in their win’s and losses for that year. If that what helps buying their cruelty lines than I’ll do that. Also what I don’t get people in… Read more »
LawGeek
Guest
Look at any list of genuinely cruelty free cosmetics. All of those companies are indeed foregoing the Chinese market, which undoubtedly would be profitable for a significant percentage of them. There are plenty of large, international companies on those lists, including about half of the US’s Sephora brands, who could reasonably expand there (not least at the187 Sephoras in China). Urban Decay, NYX, Paula’s Choice, The Body Shop, Jack Black, and Yes To Carrots have all pledged to never enter the Chinese market while this rule is in place. In addition, many companies already selling in China withdrew when this… Read more »
Guest
Guest

L’Oreal owns Urban Decay.

Kyt
Guest

Urban Decay is owned by Loreal.

Aly Laughlin
Member

Yes, Urban Decay is owned by L’Oreal, yet retains its cruelty-free status. Purchasing from brands owned by a parent company that tests has its pros and cons, so you should do what you feel is right.

Lori
Guest
WRONG! Here are the cosmetic companies that WILL turn down 1 billion potential customers, but I’ll just limit it to those beginning with the first three letters of the alphabet, because there are HUNDREDS!!: Annemarie Börlind Antiquity BC ♥ April Rain Skin Science Apriori Aqua Natural ♥ Arbonne ♥ Arch Addicts ♥ Arcona ♥ Arctic Fox * Ares Sports Rub ♥ Aroma Bella ♥ Aromafloria Aroma Naturals ♥ Aroma Rebel ♥ Aromi ♥ Artisan Naturals ♥ Asili LLC-Marula Oil AspenClean ♥ Astonish ♥ Astrida Naturals ♥ Atelier de cosmetique Athar’a ♥ Aubrey Organics ♥ Au Naturel Botanicals ♥ Aunt Bee’s… Read more »
Katie
Guest

This is sad to me I live in Canada and maybe we have 10 on here that I can get my hands on. The rest I have to pay insane prices on shipping and handling and trying to find who will ship to Canada

Suzi Scheler
Guest

If it wasn’t for cosmetics, they can still use the ingredients that were tested on animals.

Cristina Ciarula
Guest

This is so sad. I got excited when I heard that they went cruelty free, but I knew it was too good to be true.

Kat
Guest

Same

Tia Turner
Guest

Makes me really sad that L’Oréal keeps on conducting like this. Such a huge brand could afford cruelty-free testing methods. Their influence and reach is so huge worldwide…sad, sad, sad.

Claudia
Guest

I’ve heard amazing things about Milani Conceal + Perfect

Sophie
Guest
First of all as a regulatory affairs assistant I just want to say that : – it is not L’Oréal doing the tests in China. The Cfda has its own laboratories, and they check everything from toxicological data to physical and chemistry. So yes L’Oréal doesn’t not tests in China. So if you definitely want to buy something cruelty free, make sure it is not sold in China. Everything sold there is tested. BUT they are doing progress ! They have accepted some new alternative tests. ? – About ingredients : every (type) of ingredient sold before 2013 (cosmetic regulation… Read more »
Miamigirl
Guest

Disgusting there is no longer a need to test on animals science has other ways of testing now in 2017.

new_york_night
Guest

Many thanks to the author and to commentors for shedding light on L’Oreal’s ruse. I will continue to spread the word and boycott their products. L’Oreal: you listening??

Graziele dos Santos Ferreira
Guest
Graziele dos Santos Ferreira

Sou contra o testes em animais ou em qualquer outro ser vivo , se nós sentimos dores , eles também sentem , gostaria que fosse com você? Então pense …

Nanci
Guest
I saw a horrible video on Facebook of a monkey that Loreal has been using for testing hair products. It was horrible and disgusting. I have used L’Oreal products 4 years and I will never again use a loreal product.I will also start spreading the word to any of my friends family or neighbors who use L’Oreal products. I am heartbroken with the vision I saw for monkey bleeding and raw. It also showed cats and other animals that Loreal are torturing. I pray other women that use their products have seen that video and will join me in boycotting… Read more »
Katie Wilson
Guest

If you would have fact-checked, instead of blindly believing everything you see, you would know that the monkey is called “Fighter” and was electrocuted by a high-voltage tower. He’s almost ready to be released back into the wild. Always do your research before believing something.

cessenou
Guest

Stop laboratoires animals

Tiffany James
Guest

According to the loreal website they state they are using episkin which is an artificial skin to bypass the animal testing in China?

Amanda
Guest

Where are you seeing this on their website?

Steph
Guest

http://www.loreal.com/sustainability/l'or%C3%A9al-answers/the-question-of-animal-testing/what-about-in-china (Right here.

Now my thought is what about the hair dye? I know Garnier is no longer being sold in China …and since it’s owned by L’oreal which doesn’t test outside of China. So idk what to make of this really.

Kyt
Guest

They say that while they are sold in China they are sold as “non-functional” to stop the product from being subject to China’s animal testing policy. Did you research this at all? I don’t see mention of it in the article and was wondering.

Patricia
Guest
I wrote to L’Oreal about their deceit and got this answer. I want so badly to believe them because I cannot find a mascara as good a Voluminous. However, I will not use a product that includes animal abuse. “Hi Patricia! Thank you for reaching out. L’Oréal no longer tests its products or ingredients on animals anywhere in the world. An exception would only be made if authorities demanded it: http://bit.ly/1gvkj0H. Also, at L’Oréal, fundamental to our mission of providing superior beauty and personal care products is a firm commitment to our employees, consumers, salon professionals and retail partners only… Read more »
Naynay
Guest

After reading this post, I’m wondering what “certain products manufactured and sold in China like shampoo, body wash or make-up are no longer tested on animals” (off their FAQs) means and why it wasn’t addressed here? Does it mean china still tests on skincare but not these items? I can’t find anyone address this. It conflicts with what is said here so I’d love to know 🙂

Aly Laughlin
Member

It means that they may not be testing all of their products directly on animals, but that some of the ingredients still may have been tested on animals, and in general, they are still conducting animal testing and are not a cruelty-free brand.

Naynay
Guest

So does that mean they don’t test makeup, shampoo and body wash but they do, for example, skin care?

I personally don’t weigh past ingredients on a brand when considering if they’re cruelty feee or not because all companies use ingredients that have been tested on animals in the past, including current cruelty free brands.

I guess I’m wondering if it’s like Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances.

Aly Laughlin
Member

It means that while they claim that some of their finished products which are manufactured in China haven’t been tested on animals, they are still conducting animal testing and are therefore not cruelty-free.

In the case of Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs Beauty is owned by Kendo (which is cruelty-free), whereas Marc Jacobs Fragrances are owned by Coty (which tests on animals) and is sold in China.

Naynay
Guest

Thanks for the clarification. So their final product may not be tested but their ingredients are (or at least new ones)?

milena
Guest

Thank you so much for this post. I despise L’Oreal with a passion. Not only do they torture animals but also treat their customers like fools.

Alexandra
Guest

I’ve recently tweeted L’Oréal telling them to stop testing on animals cause otherwise I would buy any of their products and they had the guts to reply me and even lie to me, saying that they no longer test on animals.
I can’t believe they are no afraid to lie in a social media, cause it’s way too obvious that they do test on animals and in so many cruel ways.

Maddy
Guest

Great article! I’ve just looked at their most recent FAQ page and the bit about the non-cosmetic ingredients post-2013 has been removed. Do you have any info on whether they’ve stopped doing this?

Georgia
Guest

Thanks for the clear up – however I do not see a problem with using products that have previously been tested. To not use it, would be the same as to not use the medical data found from the holocaust studies. It advanced some science, you shouldn’t just bin that knowledge. However, everything else, yeah.

Daina
Guest

They didn’t sue them, they issued a warning.

Karen Ashton
Guest

What they mean is we are cruelty free and do not test on animals unless they want to sell to China. I am sick of hearing companies who had stopped using animal testing going back to this barbaric practice so they can sell to this cruel country who have no respect for any living creatures. The only way they will get the message is people stop buying their products so it hurts them in their pockets.

Petra Postma
Guest

Last night I saw a L’Oréal TV advert with the Dutch model Doutzen Kroes in it. I’ll copy and paste your article on her Fb (if she has a Fb account).
On to it!

J O
Guest

I am against animal testing in any form. I’ve never been a fan of L’Oreal and the fact that they are shady and lie about animal testing just solidifies my dislike of them. There are TONS of quality, truly cruelty free cosmetics and skin care so there’s no need to waste money on L’Oreal.

Aly Laughlin
Member

I completely agree! 🙂

cassie
Guest

Loreal and PETA say their new line of Sulfate free hair care is vegan and not tested on animals. Is this true? Can you speak ot this? Is this really a cruelty free option from them?

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