How to Tell If a Cosmetic Has Been Tested on Animals

How to Tell If a Cosmetic Has Been Tested on Animals


There are two easy ways of finding out if a cosmetic is cruelty-free:

  1. By sending a quick email
  2. By looking for genuine cruelty-free certification logos

 

Sending an email 

Step 1: Look for a company name on the product you are inquiring about or if you already know the company name skip to step 2.

Step 2: Use a basic google search to find the email address for this company (or message them on Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

Step 3: Send an email asking the following questions:

  1. Does your company test any of its ingredients or final products on animals?
  2. Does your company pay anyone else to test any of the ingredients used or final products on animals?
  3. Does your company have a parent company? If so, who are they and do they test any of their products or product ingredients on animals or pay anyone else to?
  4. Does your company sell their products in China?
  5. Does your company refuse to sell in China until they no longer require any mandatory animal testing?
  6. Are 100% of the products that your company make free from any animal-derived ingredients and therefore vegan? 

Step 4: The overall answers you are looking for are:

  1. Does your company test any of its ingredients or final products on animals? No
  2. Does your company pay anyone else to test any of the ingredients used or final products on animals? No
  3. Does your company have a parent company? If so, who are they and do they test any of their products or product ingredients on animals or pay anyone else to? Yes, we have a parent company, they are (insert name) but they do not conduct or fund any animal testing whatsoever, OR no we have no parent company.
  4. Does your company sell their products in China? No
  5. Does your company refuse to sell in China until they no longer require any mandatory animal testing? Yes – 100%
  6. Are 100% of the products that your company make free from any animal-derived ingredients and therefore vegan? Yes OR they provide you with a list of the vegan-friendly products that they make. 

The above questions can be used for other products (i.e. household products), just remove the question about China, as the mandatory animal testing laws only relate to cosmetics. Also, see the bottom of this page for an email template that you copy.

 

Cruelty-free certification

Just because a company states that it is ‘against animal testing’ or is ‘cruelty-free’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they, themselves don’t test on animals.

Companies know that cruelty-free is becoming a more important factor for consumers, and more and more people are looking for the most ethical option. Instead of earning, and following through, with a cruelty-free claim, some companies choose to mislead consumers into believing they are against animal testing by using misleading claims on their packing and crafty, well-written answers in articles and on their website.

 

Misleading claims on packing can include:

  • “Against animal testing”
  • “We love animals”
  • “We hate animal testing”

The above statements are not guarantees that animals weren't harmed in the making of a product. 

 

An example of misleading statements (taken from the Nivea website):

“DOES NIVEA TEST ON ANIMALS?

“Beiersdorf, the organisation behind the NIVEA brand, does not test on animals… We believe animal testing is not required to prove the safety and effectiveness of our products. In China, however, animal testing is mandated by law for the official registration and certification of the safety of certain product categories. In this case, the tests are conducted by local institutions authorised by the state, not by the companies selling the product.”

What this really means: yes, their products are tested on animals because they are sold in China where it is mandatory to do so by law.

 

What to look for:

There are several certified cruelty-free logos that can’t be used by a company unless specific criteria are met. These different logos are useful to familiarise yourself with, so you know what to look for!

It’s important to note that each of these cruelty-free certification schemes is different and have unique criteria that companies need to meet along with various application and monitoring processes.

Ethical Elephant has created the below table, summarising the three main cruelty-free certification logos to look out for.

Our top pick is the most thorough certification scheme – the Choose Cruelty Free logo. Choose Cruelty Free is an independent, non-profit organisation based in Australia, which produces the Choose Cruelty Free List (CCF List).

What to look out for — the Choose Cruelty Free logo. 

Read more here.

 

 


Email template to use when trying to find out if a cosmetic is cruelty-free:

Kia ora, 

I'm interested in purchasing a product made by your company. Before I can do this, I want to ensure that the product I'm purchasing is 100% cruelty-free. 

Could you please answer the questions below:

  1. Does your company test any of its ingredients or final products on animals?
  2. Does your company pay anyone else to test any of the ingredients used or final products on animals?
  3. Does your company have a parent company? If so, who are they and do they test any of their products or product ingredients on animals or pay anyone else to?
  4. Does your company sell their products in China?
  5. Does your company refuse to sell in China until they no longer require any mandatory animal testing?
  6. Are 100% of the products that your company make free from any animal-derived ingredients and therefore vegan? 

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindly, 

(Insert name)