01 March, 2016

Natural doesn't always mean Cruelty Free...

I suppose I could have also titled this post "Learning from my mistakes" or the old "When you assume you make an ass out of u and me"...

Oh well, I said going Cruelty Free was a journey and because I still consider myself to be a newbie I shouldn't beat myself up too much over the fact I've had a couple of trip ups along the way! Doing my research is the primary thing that is going to keep me on that CF path and one thing I've discovered so far from my research is that:  Not all "natural" brands are created equal and therefore natural does not automatically mean Cruelty Free. 

I hope you don't consider this a name and shame post.  I'm just sharing one of the first lessons I've learnt and I'll limit myself to mentioning the non-CF yet natural brands that I still have in my collection and those I unwittingly bought after I switched to cruelty free because I assumed.  I've got to admit that what makes things a bit tricky is how brands can change their status at any time so to bring up yet another cliche, it's like being on shifting sands.


Let's get down to the serious part: I have 5 natural, yet not necessarily Cruelty Free brands in my collection (and no, I'm not going to add to the animals' plight by throwing products away).

The first two brands are longstanding favourites. L'Occitane and Crabtree & Evelyn are brands which I have purchased from for years, have featured on this blog many times and I still have a lot of love for the quality of their products dammit! I knew that L'Occitane wasn't CF but Crabtree & Evelyn was a sad surprise for me and I think their status has changed only recently. I found that out with a bit of digging after I made my last purchase from them having assumed they were CF.

Australian brand Jurlique was another surprise to me personally because a natural, Australian brand means it's going to be Cruelty Free right? Well not according to their website as you can read below. Again I'd acted on my uninformed assumptions and bought some products from them in the latter part of last year before I checked the facts.

The last two natural non-CF brands in my collection are Fresh (makers of those amazing lip balms), and the Korean brand Innisfree which was a recent discovery for me, and I was led to believe to be CF but I'm now not so sure about their status. I read in a Singaporean magazine last year they were Cruelty Free so I bought quite a few products in the excitement of discovering a new ethical brand, however on closer investigation I don't feel confident as you'll see from my research later in this post.

In case you're interested in what the brands have to say on the subject, I have supplied detailed information sourced as directly as possible on these brands' stances on animal testing below so you can read and judge for yourself whether you agree with their reasoning.  I can see that some brands are at pains to state they are working towards developing alternatives and I support this, however I personally am not prepared to spend any more money on their products until they are 100% Cruelty Free.


L'Occitane's position on animal testing as stated on their website (here):
"L’OCCITANE does not and has never tested its products, its active ingredients or its raw materials on animals at any point in the product development or manufacturing process. This principle applies similarly to our raw material suppliers.

L’OCCITANE is fundamentally committed to the abolition of animal testing of beauty products worldwide. In China, where our products are retailed, the local Chinese authorities request testing on some cosmetic products sold on the Chinese market, as they view it as the best way to safeguard their consumers’ safety. Our company does not conduct those tests; they are done by Chinese laboratories, approved by local authorities on a limited animal panel.

To move forward we decided to develop our relationship with the Chinese authorities to pledge the case for the end of animal testing for beauty products, through open dialogue. Since 2010 we have therefore engaged in a dialogue with the relevant authorities, as well as animal rights NGOs. Our goal has been to highlight alternatives techniques used in Europe where animal testing has been banned since 2004. This constructive dialogue has led to a series of advances in Chinese regulation including a decision to end this type of tests as of June 2014, on so-called ordinary cosmetics that are manufactured and packaged locally (shampoo, perfume etc.), as well as on imported hygiene products (soap, toothpaste etc.).This is a first step. L'OCCITANE will continue to work proactively for these alternatives to be implemented as soon as possible for all of our products.

We remain of the firm opinion that it is by working from inside China that we will be best placed to further influence Chinese regulation and put an end to animal testing. L'OCCITANE will continue to work proactively with the Chinese experts committee from National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products, for these alternatives tests to be implemented as soon as possible for all of our products." 

Crabtree & Evelyn:
The brand has not addressed the question of animal testing on their website however they have confirmed via correspondence to cruelty free blogger Cruelty-Free Kitty  early in 2015 they "...do not submit [their] products for animal testing by third parties anywhere in the world except where required by local law.” [Source]

Fresh's position on animal testing as stated on their website (here) :
"We do not test our products on animals nor do we permit others to do so except where it is required by law. We are deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing and we are playing a leading role in developing alternative methods through our support of the “Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing” in the United States and the Opal Program in France. Additionally, we are one of only a few companies to have invested in creating our own internal department to test raw materials and ingredients to further ensure the quality of our products and the satisfaction of our customers, which is our foremost priority. We are hopeful that alternative testing methods will be adopted worldwide and we will see an end to animal testing."

Jurlique's animal testing policy as stated on their website (here):
"At Jurlique, we have always believed passionately in providing our consumers with highly effective, potent skin care products, developed with respect for our environment and without the use of animal testing.

We adhere to the strict requirements of the European Cosmetics Directive (76/768 ECC) and the European Commission Regulation (1223/2009), which prohibits the commissioning and testing on animals, of products and ingredients, for the purpose of developing new cosmetic products. Our skin care products are tested on consenting human volunteers by means of a “Cumulative Irritation Test” which determines the irritation and/or sensitisation potential of a product after repeated application to the skin of human subjects.

We do not test our cosmetic and therapeutic products on animals as part of our product development process, or outsource this activity to any third parties, nor have we ever included animal testing in our product development process in the past. We work closely with our ingredient vendors to ensure they are aware of our company values and policies. We continue to adhere to the strict requirements of global cosmetic regulations regarding animal testing, with utmost respect for our customers and environment.

Additional Information Relating to Local Market Laws

In China, local laws and regulations require that all cosmetic products imported into China undergo animal testing to demonstrate consumer safety as part of the product registration process.

Finished product samples are required to be submitted to a third party laboratory in China for testing in order to generate a safety profile for the product. This is a mandatory legal requirement applicable to all cosmetic products imported into China.

Considerable research has been undertaken into non-animal testing alternatives and China's State Food and Drug Administration, or SFDA, has recently implemented a new registration process for certain cosmetics produced in China which means that animal testing will no longer be mandatory for these products. We are encouraged by this progress, and are eager to see China amend its laws to extend this to allow alternatives to animal testing for imported cosmetic products. We will work closely with our Chinese agent to ensure that the alternative testing methods are utilized for our products as soon as they are approved."

The brand has not addressed the question of animal testing on their website so the most direct confirmation of their position came from this post on Reddit:
"I am new to reddit so feel free to remove this post or tell me if I am doing something or posting something wrong. I am a big animal lover and I have recently chosen to become cruelty free as well as vegetarian. I also love Korean cosmetics however it has become clear to me that many brands test or participate in third party testing. I have come across the korean cruelty free list and Innisfree is on the non-tested checklist however it some products do contain animal products and they also sell in China which is not cruelty free. However I messaged their global page about animal testing and this was their first response.
"This is innisfreeworld.
Thank you for visiting innisfreeworld Facebook page. We ban animal testing. No any animal-based ingredient is used for innisfree product. Hope this answer was helpful.
Enjoy shopping with innisfreeworld. Thank you!"

Seemed a little suspicious so I dug a little further and noticed that a Youtuber from Hong Kong stated that Innisfree is available in China so I asked them about that and this is their response.
"This is innisfreeworld.
For your inquiry, only some products produced and sold by innisfree China corporation may need some animal testing due to a legal obligation. Our Chinese corporate body is separated from us so they produce and sell products by themselves in Mainland China. Therefore, all innisfree products are normally produced in Korea and don't use any animal-based ingredients. Several alternative methods have been used instead of animal testing, such as artificial human skin, the HET-CAM, or using eyes of slaughtered ox.
Therefore, you may not hesitate to try our product. Hope this answer was helpful.
We will be happy to assist you. Thank you. "

Concerned over the slaughtered ox eye thing so not to sure about that. But what I am really curious about is if the brand has a separate organization located in China and not sold to China would that make the company located in Korea cruelty free? Still pretty knew to being cruelty free and have only been a vegetarian for about 3 months so tell me anything you think I should know! I hope to try brands like Beyond as I know they are against animal testing. Koreadepart has a non-animal testing section but I don't know how accurate that is. Thanks again!
Edit: Just found out that China no longer required animal testing on regular cosmetics that are produced and sold in China as of 2014. Still not sure if I can buy from this company because it does not necessarily mean they are cruelty free but here is a link to an FAQ http://www.hsi.org/assets/pdfs/bcf_china_cosmetics.pdf"


I'm not preaching, just explaining my position and it's up to you how you base your decisions.

Until next time.


  1. Very interesting read! I'm surprised by many of these brands, especially Jurlique. It's unfortunate that brands won't just refuse to sell their products places where animal testing is required. Do you remember when Urban Decay decided to sell in China and their CF status was going to change and people absolutely REVOLTED? They decided not to sell there in order to keep their CF status - and a lot of dedicated CF consumers. I hope more companies will follow suit! Thanks for the informative post!
    <3 kristen

    1. I'm glad you found this post worthwhile - I know there's a lot of content in there but I didn't want to do any selective editing for the risk of quoting the brands out of context.

      I remember the Urban Decay uproar very well and it's actions like theirs that make me realize that the consumer CAN make a difference when it comes to these issues :-)

  2. This put me in mind of UD, as well.

    I think of natural/synthetic as a very, very different sphere than vegan/non-vegan - all animal products are "natural," in the sense that they are not synthetic or created in a lab. In that sense, I think that the two are usually actually in direct conflict with each other - a lot of animal substitutes either have to be plant-derived (and thus chemically extracted, emulsified and stabilized) or just plain synthesized. It's definitely not at all straightforward, to be sure, and thanks for digging this up!

    1. No problem and I see your point there. Natural in the scientific sense isn't that simple - I hadn't thought of it that way! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...