L’Oreal is a brand we all know by name. And you’ve likely tried some of their products—if not from the brand directly, then through its numerous subsidiaries.
As one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world, it’s important to dig deeper into the brand’s practices. After all, they own a vast portion of the modern beauty industry, and their reach across the world is quite incredible.
With that, is L’Oreal cruelty-free? Do they still test on animals? Are they sold in China? In this article, we’ll explore in depth L’Oreal’s stance on cosmetic regulation and whether or not they still test on animals. This will help you determine whether to keep buying L’Oreal or switch to truly cruelty-free brands.
Note: Our discussion will focus both on L’Oreal Paris and the L’Oreal Group and their methods regarding animal testing. Though the two are not to be construed as the same entities, the differences aren’t that vital in our exploration.
- Is L’Oreal Cruelty-free? No. They still test on animals where required by law.
- Does L’Oreal test on animals? L’Oreal themselves does not test on animals and uses alternative methods of safety assurance (i.e., reconstructing human skin models for in vitro safety tests).
- Is L’Oreal Sold in China? Yes. L’Oreal is sold physically in Chinese stores.
- Has L’Oreal completely ceased testing on animals? Unfortunately, no. Animal tests are still conducted on L’Oreal products in areas where certain health authorities require so.
- Is L’Oreal Vegan? Some of their products might not contain any animal or animal by-products. However, since they are not a cruelty-free brand, none of their products can be considered vegan.
- Does a parent company own L’Oreal? No. Quite the opposite, actually. The L’Oreal group is one of the largest cosmetic groups worldwide, and L’Oreal Paris is the consumer product segment of the brand name L’Oreal.
Does L'Oreal Conduct Animal Testing?
When asked this way, we can say that L’Oreal themselves does not conduct animal testing. They even go out of their way to say that they don’t test their ingredients on animals, which is more than what most large brands can offer.
However, we know that’s not nearly all there is to the brand’s cruelty-free narrative. Even brands that do not conduct animal tests themselves may still do so through third parties or may sanction tests from government entities, as we will see clearly in a while.
Does L'Oreal Use Alternative Methods To Animal Tests?
L’Oreal has a pretty extensive discussion on what testing methods they use. And unlike so many other brands we’ve talked about in the past, they are relatively transparent about their testing processes.
For the last 30 years, the brand claimed they have been reconstructing human skin models in laboratories in order to allow safe testing excluding animals testing. And there is more:
“Besides reconstructed skin models, L’Oréal has a large set of tools as part of its predictive evaluation that does not involve animals, such as molecular modeling, expert toxicology systems, imaging techniques, and many more.”
So far, so good. L’Oreal is open about what methods they use for their cosmetic products and even specifies some of their techniques. Again, however, this doesn’t mean they are entirely free from animal testing, as the next section will explore.
Is L'Oreal Sold In China?
Asking if a brand sells its products in Mainland China is a significant point of contention in any conversation on cruelty-free products. This is because Chinese authorities still conduct animal tests on certain products from foreign brands.
As of 2021, though, this cosmetic regulation has been altered only to include special-use cosmetics sold in Mainland China. General cosmetics like your shampoo or body wash no longer need to undergo animal testing.
It’s also important to emphasize that only brands selling physically in China have to follow the animal testing regulation. Those who sell directly to consumers through websites and online portals are excluded. Even those with pop-up locations don’t need to test on animals, provided they don’t actually sell the products as takeaway items, which is the case with Supergoop!
So Are L'Oreal Products Sold Physically In China?
Unfortunately, yes. L’Oreal does sell its products in Mainland China. Typically, we would have to dig deep to find out this information, but L’Oreal remains transparent about it.
It’s clearly expressed and written that their products may still be subject to animal testing laws as they are sold in China. But given L’Oreal’s nature, why do they still insist on selling there knowing that their products must undergo tests on animals?
What L’Oreal says about their presence in China is pretty similar to what other big brands say. They always indicate that they’re working with certain health authorities to find solutions and alternatives for animal testing. What sets L’Oreal apart, though, is they show their customers what they’re actually doing to contribute: they have tried for years to make the cosmetics regulations evolve towards alternative testing methods.
All in all, it’s clear that they conduct animal tests where required by law. However, it is also evident that they’re an active company working alongside authorities to promote alternative methods to animal testing.
Still, this does not make them cruelty-free.
Is L'Oreal Owned By A Parent Company?
No. L’Oreal is not owned by a parent company. In actuality, the L’Oreal group is one of the world’s largest (if not the largest) cosmetic parent groups.
However, L’Oreal Paris can be considered a subsidiary of the larger L’Oreal Group, but really, there isn’t much of a difference.
Both L’Oreal Paris and the L’Oreal group are not cruelty-free.
Do All Brands Under The L'Oreal Brand Test on Animals?
L’Oreal Paris products are only the tip of the iceberg when discussing the entire L’Oreal portfolio. The cosmetic giant has brands present in many portions of the beauty sector—they even have professional haircare products.
Some of the brands under their wing are Maybelline, Garnier, Nyx, Yves Saint Laurent, Kiehl’s, CeraVe, to name just a few.
This list is already getting pretty long, and we haven’t even covered all the brands they own! Nevertheless, it has illustrated our point: that L’Oreal is one of the largest cosmetic and make-up brands existing today.
But as a parent company, can you safely buy the products on their roster? Well, the answer depends on the subsidiary itself.
Some of these brands, such as CeraVe, are not cruelty-free. Check out our detailed discussion on CeraVe here. A non-cruelty-free subsidiary coupled with a non-cruelty-free parent company is not a good mix for animal welfare.
However, there are certain beauty and makeup brands in the L’OReal group with completely cruelty-free animal testing policies. Garnier, for instance, has recently been given the Leaping Bunny certification, assuring that they do not test their products on animals.
Similarly, NYX and Urban Decay are also cruelty-free, with alternative testing methods recognized and applied by these companies.
Is L'Oreal Vegan?
L’Oreal may have cosmetic products without any animal or animal by-products in them, but they are not a vegan brand, nor do they claim they are one.
Moreover, since L’Oreal has not committed to the total and definite elimination of animal testing for assessing safety, none of their products can be considered vegan.
You can also take a look at our guides on vegan concealer and makeup brushes for some leads on the best vegan brands around.
Unfortunately, although we appreciate their transparency, L’Oreal remains not cruelty-free. The simple fact that at least some of their products in China are tested on animals means that they aren’t cruelty-free at all.
While we appreciate that they are perhaps the most active company working alongside regulators for a rigorous safety evaluation procedure that does NOT involve animals, we cannot recommend any of their products.
For the brands under them, it’s a different story. Though some of their subsidiaries are technically cruelty-free, some buyers still would not be comfortable with their money, eventually ending up in a company that conducts animal tests. At the end of the day, the decision is entirely up to you.
We hope this guide helped you decipher the testing practices of one of the most renowned cosmetic companies in the world, and hopefully orientate your choice towards a clean & slow beauty brand.
Regardless of L’Oreal’s current policy, we still hope they will continue to take action to make alternative testing methods recognized globally.
And who knows, maybe they will finally push for being utterly cruelty-free in the near future?