Dear Megan,

Which makeup brands test on animals? I wish to know if and which brands of make-up test on animals-mainly so I can avoid them.

– Anonymous (via Quora)

This is actually kind of a tough question, because it’s more than just who does / who doesn’t test on animals. Testing on animals is just one form of cruelty in beauty (there’s more in the questions section near the bottom of this post), but first let’s explore who ISN’T cruelty-free, then we’ll find out who is / could be, below:


Cruelty-Free Beauty: The Leaping Bunny ..?


But hey – you need to be approved by them and pay a annual licensing fee to display it, so some brands choose not to (including mine). The only cert I’ll pay for is EWG, but that’s a topic for another day..

How to Determine is a Brand is NOT Cruelty-Free

The first way to check is to Google whether or not they sell in mainland China. For most brands owned by LVMH or L’Oreal – which is a LOT of brands, mind you – the answer is yes. So that includes:

Note: L’Oreal claims that they don’t animal test, ONLY if the regulatory authorities (cough China cough) require it (source). China is a huge market. They’re not missing out. That makes them NOT cruelty-free as a brand.

So here’s those:

L’Oreal (source)

L’Oreal Luxe

LVMH (source):

Also, Cruelty Free Kitty has made a full list here, which details a few more brands that DO test on animals.

Quick Check on Animal Testing: Cruelty-Free Databases

There are also a few websites that have compiled databases which state which brands are Cruelty Free, but these are typically incomplete or out of date. Truly Cruelty Free is one that contacted my brand Amalie awhile ago, to add us to their database.

If the brand distributes through mainland China, that’s a dead giveaway. Even if they themselves don’t test of animals, selling through China means that you are involuntarily subject to potential animal testing by the Chinese government.

The little brands always get left out.

Gut Check: Is My Beauty Truly Cruelty Free?

Past this, there’s two tips I’ll leave you with:

  1. Check the packaging for claims
  2. Email customer service

For any small brand, there’s a million other things on their mind. They might not believe in the leaping bunny logo; they may have simply forgotten or thought “who the hell tests on animals anymore?!”.. it’s kind of a no-brainer for most of us.. don’t test on animals!

If you get to the point where you’re emailing customer service, ask specifically:

  1. Do you test your products – finished or unfinished – on animals?
  2. Does a third party test products on animals on your behalf?
  3. Do you use animal products in your cosmetic formulations?
  4. Were they any animal products or by-products used in the creation of the ingredients? (not just the ingredients themselves)
  5. Do any of your ingredient manufacturers test on animals?
  6. Do you sell your products in mainland China? (not simply ship to; shipping to China is fine)
  7. Is your company owned by a parent company? If so, who? (many parent companies test on animals!)

Best of luck! Just like any purge – a cruelty purge, EWG purge, etc. – it’s going to be a little painful in the beginning. Thankfully, there’s a LOT of new, upcoming beauty companies who DON’T test on animals or use animal products/by-products in their beauty formulations. Shop small.. you can do it!

+ Please comment below if I forgot anything!

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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