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We all know that the term "cruelty-free" is not regulated. This means that any brand can call itself "cruelty-free" with no repercussions whatsoever, even if they, their suppliers, or any third parties, test on animals. Some brands, such as Almay, abuse this trick and label themselves as being "cruelty-free", although their products are sold in mainland China.
Other brands, like Fenty Beauty, fail to provide the necessary information about their animal testing policy to be added to the Cruelty-Free Kitty list of cruelty-free brands. They also claim to be "cruelty-free", but are unable to address their suppliers, third parties, or any animal testing where required by law.
For all these reasons, I compiled a list of popular brands that are not cruelty-free. Some of them test on animals, most commonly in mainland China, while some of them are in the grey area. From Almay to Schwartzkopf, here are 101 brands to avoid if you're trying to support cruelty-free brands.
Note: This lists includes brands that are in the grey area, meaning they have not confirmed their cruelty-free status with us and were unable to answer all our questions.
If you scroll down, you'll find the reasons why I added the brands with an asterisk (*) to this list.
101 Brands That Are Not Cruelty-Free
- Wet n Wild*
- Physicians Formula*
- Laura Mercier*
- Maui Moisture*
- Bobbi Brown
- Yves Rocher
- Honest Beauty*
- Mary Kay
- Make Up For Ever
- Max Factor
- Herbal Essences*
- La Roche Posay
- Marc Jacobs Fragrances*
- Tom Ford
- Clean & Clear
- Peter Thomas Roth
- Artistry by Amway
- Jo Malone
- Head & Shoulders
- La Mer
- Sally Hansen*
- Estee Lauder
- Dr. Jart+
- Old Spice
This brand is not truly cruelty-free depiste their claims and PETA certification. They continue to sell some of their products in mainland China, where they could be tested on animals. If you're on the fence, please read my article on this topic to find out what it means for Dove to still sell in China.
Despite their misleading animal testing page, MAC has not been cruelty-free since 2012, when they joined the Chinese market. This means that the brand paid for their products to be tested on animals in China.
Fenty is currently in the grey area, since they were unable to answer specific questions regarding their animal testing policy. It takes more than a "cruelty-free" claim to make it on the Cruelty-Free Kitty list, and we hope that Fenty will soon be able to confirm that their products or ingredients are not tested on animals, either by them, their suppliers, or any third parties.
Morphe has been caught with contradicting claims about their animal testing policy. They've also mislabeled a product as being vegan and failed to warn their customers long after they changed the formula. For these reasons, we don't trust Morphe to be a cruelty-free brand and they're currently in the grey area.
Wet n Wild
In 2019, we broke the story about Wet n Wild secretly selling in mainland China and lying about their cruelty-free status. After Wet n Wild confirmed their presence in China and refused to pull out in order to remain cruelty-free, we moved the brand to our list of companies that test on animals.
After Wet n Wild, Physicians Formula was also spotted in mainland China. Both companies are owned by Markwins, who refuses to take responsibility for their misleading claims and pull out of China. Both brands are still on PETA's cruelty-free list, and they continue to market themselves as cruelty-free brands.
NARS used to be a cruelty-free brand until 2017, when the company decided to enter the Chinese market. This means that they agreed to have their products tested on animals in China, therefore losing their cruelty-free status.
Although Laura Mercier almost ticks all the cruelty-free boxes, they unfortunately can't confirm whether or not they tested on animals where required by law. This puts them in the grey area.
L'Oreal has been heavily misleading their customers about their animal testing policy. They claim to be cruelty-free, but we need to read the fine print: they do test on animals where required by law, or under certain circumstances.
The Sephora brand itself (Sephora Cosmetics) tests on animals.
Avon is using loopholes to market itself as a cruelty-free company in the United States. We don't consider this company to be cruelty-free in 2020.
Maui Moisture didn't address their complete animal testing policy, and they're in our grey area.
OGX lost their cruelty-free status when they started selling in mainland China. They currently test on animals where required by law, even though their marketing is misleading.
Nudestix lost their cruelty-free status when they entered the Chinese market. Even though they managed to bypass pre-market animal testing laws, they still put their products at risk of animal testing as per Chinese regulations.
Because of confusing statements, Lorac is currently in the grey area. They claim that they're unable to confirm that "the suppliers of their suppliers" are cruelty-free, which could mean that they're doing their best to cover up any potential animal testing.
Native is now owned by Procter & Gamble. When asked about their animal testing policy, they couldn't confirm that their suppliers don't test on animals, that no third parties test on animals on their behalf, or that they don't test on animals where requird by law.
After being asked about their animal testing policy, Inglot could not confirm that their suppliers don't test on animals.
We reached out to Honest Beauty and to The Honest Company multiple times, but they were unfortunately unable to provide us with a full animal testing policy.
Although Davines promotes sustainable practices, the brand tests on animals where required by law. For this reason, it can't be considered a cruelty-free brand.
Alterna couldn't provide their full animal testing policy.
Despite cruelty-free claims, Herbal Essences continues to sell in China, which puts the brand at risk of post-market animal testing.
After reaching out to Batiste multiple times, we weren't able to hear back from them regarding their full animal testing policy.
Marc Jacobs Fragrances
Marc Jacobs Fragrances is owned by Coty and is tested on animals in mainland China. Not to be confused with Marc Jacobs Beauty, which is owned by Kendo and is not tested on animals. Both companies are licensing the Marc Jacobs name, and the two brands are completely separate.
Almay has started advertising their products as "cruelty-free", however please be warned that these claims are untrue. Although they don't test on animals themselves, they test on animals where required by law, which means this brand is not cruelty-free.
Be careful of their misleading claims! Sally Hansen nail polishes are currently advertised as "vegan" by the brand, however they're not cruelty-free. Sally Hansen tests on animals where required by law.
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