The Nivea brand is one of the biggest and most well-known drugstore brands globally. They’ve been in the business for over a century, and their presence is pervasive in numerous countries worldwide.
As consumers are becoming more conscious about their consumption choices, especially in the area of animal welfare, a highly relevant question arises. Is Nivea cruelty-free?
The quick answer is no. Nivea is not cruelty-free. But the process of coming to that conclusion is a bit more nuanced than just a simple yes or no. As we will discover further in this article, the ideas and practices behind animal testing can involve a lot of smoke and mirrors.
Here are answers to common questions related to Nivea and its animal testing policies:
- Are Nivea products tested on animals? Yes, where required by law.
- Is Nivea sold in China? Yes. But there’s a more in-depth discussion on regulations in Mainland China below.
- Is Nivea certified cruelty-free? No. Only brands that are free of animal testing can be certified.
- Is Nivea owned by a parent company? Yes. Beiersdorf, the organisation behind the Nivea brand, is the direct parent company.
Does Nivea Test on Animals?
Nivea products can be tested on animals where required by law. This means that although their general proceedings may not actually involve animal testing, they are willing to do it if local institutions authorise and require them to do so.
The most prominent example of this is how animal testing is required in certain cosmetic products sold in Mainland China. If brands want to sell their products there, they will have to adhere to local regulations.
Even though the brand itself isn’t the one conducting the tests as it is usually conducted by local institutions, it still counts as animal testing. Cruelty-free brands avoid selling in Mainland China to bypass this regulation.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that there have been recent regulatory changes in China that have made this situation a bit better. More specifically, they have recently lifted the requirement of animal testing on general cosmetic products like shampoo and makeup.
This implies that brands can now sell general cosmetics in the area without their products going through animal testing. That’s already a step in the right direction!
However, animal testing is still required for certain product categories like sunscreen and hair treatments. So, while the idea that brands test on animals because they sell in China is now less indicative of the truth, it’s still worth looking into.
Nivea's Animal Testing Policy
Nivea’s animal testing policy is pretty vague. They talk a lot about being against animal testing and how they’re advocating for alternative testing methods, but we don’t actually see how this is being done.
Here’s a key excerpt that basically summarizes the official animal testing policy:
“We do not carry out any animal tests on cosmetic products or their ingredients or instruct them – unless this is mandatory by law. “
Hence, Nivea does not conduct animal tests as part of its regular testing proceedings. However, the addendum at the end of the sentence is a clear caveat of being against animal testing. Indicating that they do, in fact, test on animals.
Moreover, we can use the excerpt to glean some information regarding suppliers. Being a cruelty-free brand also means not sourcing from companies selling materials tested on animals. Nivea indicates that they do not test on ingredients nor instruct them.
This tells us that Nivea does not test their ingredients on animals, and they do not require or endorse it throughout their supply chain. But that’s a non-answer to the question of whether or not their ingredients are tested on animals or not.
The fact that they do not endorse tests on animals does not mean that the suppliers don’t do it.
Nivea does have a Code of Conduct, but it is not publicly available (and we looked extensively!). However, the parent company Beiersdorf does issue one, although we couldn’t find anything on animal testing there neither.
Nivea only indicates that their suppliers are screened and audited and must “share best practices” with them.
In general, vague definitions like this tend to not sit well with us. Plus, there’s also the fact that a large, global company like Nivea likely has a large and complex supply chain that may be difficult to manage, leading to the lack of transparency overall.
Is Nivea Vegan?
Asking whether Nivea is vegan is a pretty common question whenever we’re talking about Nivea and if it’s cruelty-free. It’s a bit of a tangential topic, but it is relevant when talking about animal welfare.
To recap, is Nivea cruelty free? Nope. Is Nivea vegan? Well, another no.
Certainly, Nivea might have some vegan products. After all, animal products aren’t essential in cosmetics. However, some vegans might still not buy from the brand as Nivea is not cruelty-free—an idea that contradicts the ideology behind veganism.
You’ll find more detailed analysis on vegan products here.
What Does It Mean To Be Cruelty-free?
Generally, a brand or company is cruelty-free when it does not test on animals. This means that none of their final products are tested on animals, and none of their ingredients are as well. This is the basis of third-party certification companies in giving out certifying companies.
However, personal definitions of buying cruelty-free tend to be more abstract. For example, some people might not choose to purchase from cruelty-free brands with a parent company that still tests on animals.
In a similar manner, some might also consider brands that use animal ingredients as not being cruelty-free. The logic is that using animal products or by-products doesn’t fully translate to the lack of cruelty, like when using beeswax or lanolin.
To add to that, there’s no set government-regulated definition of what cruelty-free means. There are no regulations or laws in place to ensure that when a brand claims a given product is cruelty-free, it actually is.
This poses an issue when you’re trying to purchase from a new brand and aren’t sure of their policies yet, which brings us to our next point.
How To Tell If A Brand Is Cruelty-free
As we established, there isn’t a regulating body for the term cruelty-free. When you purchase from a brand, you don’t really know if they’re telling the truth or not.
In this, certifications are your friend. To prove their credibility as a cruelty-free brand, many will undergo assessment from third-party certification bodies to ensure they are truly cruelty-free.
Popular certifications are the Leaping Bunny, PETA cruelty-free under beauty without bunnies, and cruelty-free international.
Not all certifications are the same, though. Some have stricter standards and overall monitoring of the brands they certify. On the other hand, some are laxer and don’t conduct regular audits. In addition, some have international acceptance, while others are only accepted locally.
PETA, for example, does not conduct regular audits for compliance.
When you’re buying cruelty-free products, it is important to look for their certification as those are your best bet that the company is truly cruelty-free. However, certifications aren’t always solid proof; and you shouldn’t simply assume that they are.
It can be a bit of a conundrum when we look towards these certifications to verify if a brand is vegan or not, and it turns out there might still be some cracks. But they usually hold up in practice. If you are skeptical, educate yourself further on this crucial matter and read more from trustworthy sources and recent research.
In summary, no, Nivea is not cruelty-free. They test on animals where required by law, case in point China, and they aren’t clear on whether their suppliers test on animals or not.
We hope this discussion gave you some insights about Nivea and its stance on animal testing. However, as you’ve probably gathered, the answer to the question: “Is Nivea cruelty-free?” is generally more nuanced than a simple yes or no.
Whether you want to support the brand is completely up to you! Our goal in making this article is to help you make informed decisions about your purchases, not to judge you depending on what you buy.
All that said, we do hope you found this article helpful. Nivea sells in so many locations worldwide, and the brand’s influence is massive and pervasive. Asking the right questions about these multinational companies will surely help us head in the right direction.