A Lesson in Cruelty-Free Makeup: The Facts (and Brands) You Need to Know | Savoir Flair
A Lesson in Cruelty-Free Makeup: The Facts (and Brands) You Need to Know
article GLOSSIER
by Savoir Flair 3-minute read December 13, 2023

The facts you need to know and brands you need to support. 

It’s something that we don’t tend to talk about (or want to think about), but the fact is that most major beauty brands are still testing on animals. Although many countries have banned testing cosmetics on animals – Britain did so in 1998, the EU in 2013, and countries such as India and Norway have since followed suit – it’s still common practice, resulting in the inhumane treatment and even death of guinea pigs, rats, and rabbits.

You’re probably asking why it’s still happening, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as saying, “Right, no more testing on animals.” The world of cosmetics is always searching for the latest miracle ingredients or cutting-edge technologies and, when new products or ingredients are found, companies have to prove that they’re safe for human use. More often than not, testing on animals then comes into play. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), many brands still seek sites overseas to test on animals as it’s often cheaper and easier than the humane alternatives.

To help one another navigate this, we've put together the facts to know about cruelty-free brands, as well as the names you should be supporting.


They Can't Sell in China

Many countries have and are putting a stop to testing makeup on animals. International cosmetics brands, however, are required by Chinese law to test on animals in order to sell their products in China. This is to cover any products manufactured outside of the country. Note: This doesn’t apply to brands that are ordered via online shopping. Furthermore, this law is only applicable to products sold in Mainland China, not in Hong Kong. Long story short, if your makeup must-haves are stocked in China, you know they’re not cruelty-free.


A Claim Doesn't Guarantee Anything

Just because a product claims to be cruelty-free doesn’t mean that it entirely is. In fact, the term is now being used as a marketing tool (much like the word “natural”), but there’s a lot of gray area around it. For example, some brands hire outside companies to test on their behalf. Alternatively, brands might be part of parent companies or work with suppliers that do continue to test on animals. Also watch out for brands that say they do not test on animals “except when required by law”. That basically means that they do so in order to sell in China. If in doubt, contact the brand directly and question their policies to be sure.


They Bear the 'Leaping Bunny' Logo

This is perhaps the best way to ensure that your makeup is cruelty-free, and it’s as simple as looking out for the Leaping Bunny logo on the back of your product – the industry gold standard when it comes to animal testing. The Leaping Bunny has the strictest criteria for companies to adhere to, more so than PETA, so you are guaranteed cruelty-free cosmetics if you spot the bunny.


Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan

Though misleading at times, reading 'vegan' on the label of a beauty product is not to be mixed up with a cruelty-free label. What's important to remember is that vegan refers to the ingredients in beauty products, perhaps such as honey, beeswax, lactic acid, and animal fat, but does not exclude the potential of it being tested on animals. While “cruelty-free” refers to the lack of animal testing, a product that’s both vegan and cruelty-free is, therefore, what’s least harmful to animals.

The Top 50 Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

We aren’t into naming and shaming, so let’s just say that if a major makeup brand doesn’t feature here, the chances are they test on animals. Bear in mind that the cruelty-free list is constantly changing as laws continue to come into play so, if in doubt, just pay a visit to the brand’s website – it will clearly state if they follow cruelty-free practices. See below for Savoir Flair’s top 50 makeup brands (either available to buy here or shipped to the UAE) that do not test on animals.

Anastasia Beverly Hills


Barry M


Becca Cosmetics


By Terry


Charlotte Tilbury




Fenty Beauty




Huda Beauty



Indie Lee


Jane Iredale

Jeffree Star

Kat Von D

Kevyn Aucoin




Kylie Cosmetics


Lime Crime

Lipstick Queen


Marc Jacobs Beauty

Melt Cosmetics


Osea Malibu



RMS Beauty







The Body Shop

Too Faced

Trish McEvoy

Urban Decay


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