The Quick Take: Cruelty-free Cosmetics and China Do Not Mix

Last week, we published a long read on what cruelty-free means around the world and why brands that sell in China cannot claim to be cruelty-free. If you don’t do long reads, here’s the Quick Take:

  • The US government does not regulate marketing claims on product labels. Cosmetics manufacturers can claim to be cruelty-free or vegan based on their own interpretation of those terms.
  • As of time of publication, animal testing for cosmetics had been banned in the EU, India, Israel, and Norway.
  • If your favorite brand sells in China, their products are tested on animals. The Chinese government requires foreign brands to test their products prior to selling them in retail stores.
  • Brands and the large holding or “parent” companies that own them skirt the “cruelty-free” exclusion in China by paying the government or a third party to conduct the tests or setting up separate plants within China. Here’s holding company Estée Lauder’s corporate statement.
  • It’s up to you to be an informed consumer! Tell brands and holding companies what you value with your feet, clicks, social media posts, and dollars.

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