Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

Why Aveda, Smashbox, Bath & Body Works Are Not Considered Cruelty-Free By Some

This post may contain affiliate links.

Why Aveda, Smashbox, Bath & Body Works Are Not Considered Cruelty-Free By Some

Very rarely do we ever hear a company just come out and say that they test on animals.

Although it would make our lives so much easier if companies just confessed to testing their products/ingredients on animals, but companies know that it’ll hurt their bottom line if customers knew what they were doing.

Most of the time, it feels like an uphill battle trying to figure out if a company is cruelty-free or not. It also doesn’t help when there are conflicting and confusing animal testing statements surfacing the interweb.

I want to mention 3 companies that have been scrutinized through the years as they claim they do not test on animals “except when required by law” but at the same time, they’re all also certified cruelty-free by PETA.

I’ve noticed many cruelty-free shoppers feel conflicted on whether to support these 3 companies or not and I respectfully understand why.

Let’s get into it!

Why Smashbox Is Not Considered To Be Cruelty-Free By Some

Smashbox Animal Testing Statement

Smashbox is a cosmetic line owned by Estee Lauder.

Estee Lauder is not a cruelty-free brand and has admitted to testing on animals.

Smashbox has assured us that none of their products are sold in mainland China where it is required by law to test on animals. However on Smashbox’s website, they state “We don’t test on animals, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.”

Why Bath & Body Works Is Not Considered To Be Cruelty-Free By Some

Bath & Body Works’ Animal Testing Statement

Bath & Body Works is a popular American retail store mall brand.

On their website, they state “Bath & Body Works policy prohibits the testing of our branded products, formulations and ingredients on animals except in rare cases when required by government regulations”

Bath & Body Works have also denied that they sell their products in mainland China.

Why Aveda Is Not Considered To Be Cruelty-Free By Some

Aveda’s Animal Testing Statement

Aveda is known for their spa and salon products. Aveda, like Smashbox, is owned by Estee Lauder (a company that does test on animals)

On Aveda’s website, they state Aveda does not conduct animal testing, nor ask others to do it on its behalf, except when it is required by law.

Aveda has also claimed that none of their products are available for sale in mainland China.

Is it required by law to test on animals in US and Canada?

By now, you may have noticed a trend between these 3 animal testing statements. Despite PETA verifying that these companies do not test on animals, how is it possible that they can continue to state in their policy that they support, condone, and commission animal testing “when required by law.”

Currently in the US and Canada, there are no laws that require cosmetics to be tested on animals for consumer safety. But at the same time, it is also not banned in the US and Canada. Therefore it is ultimately up to the company to decide if they wish to use animal or non-animal testing methods.

“The FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety, nor does the Act subject cosmetics to FDA premarket approval.” (Source: FDA)

When is it “required by law” to test on animals then?

According to Tashina at Logical Harmony, there are some rare instances where animal testing may be required by law:

  • All imported cosmetics in mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals
  • The FDA and EPA require animal testing on some chemicals used in household products and cosmetics
  • In other cases that are not related to consumer safety (like worker health and environmental toxicity)

Despite some online articles and blogs claiming that Bath & Body Works, Aveda, and Smashbox are sold in mainland China, I have not received written confirmation from these brands that they do in fact sell in China. When I asked PETA about Smashbox, they have reassured me that Smashbox products are not sold in China.

So in what “rare cases” are they required by law to test on animals then?

All three companies have failed to respond to me with further clarifications on what they meant when they added the disclaimer “except when required by law” to their animal testing policy.

At this point, many ethical and caring consumers have personally decided to boycott Aveda, Smashbox, and Bath & Body Works despite that they’re PETA approved and because they believe these brands are supporting, condoning, or commissioning animal tests on their products/ingredients in some form or another.

How do you feel about these brands that claim they do not sell in mainland China and that they do not test on animals “except when required by law” but at the same time, they’re all PETA approved cruelty-free.

Do you choose to continue to support these brands?


16 Responses
  • Britt
    August 31, 2017

    The problem is the legal jargon to save them from being sued versus their actual actions! It would just be better if they made it more clear and kept to their values… now I am so sad. I love aveda hair products and have a gift card for them. Others have written like the author references that they have changed their wording more recently but I’m still unsure :/

  • Sam
    July 27, 2017

    Thank you so much for your posts! I always find them incredibly informative, and it really helps me narrow companies that exercise positive ethics and morals, which helps me be an ethical consumer.

  • Brooke
    February 25, 2017

    So as bath and body works states they don’t test on animals unless required well now they are selling Victoria secret products in the store and as everyone knows Victoria secret is not cruelty free. I just find it an odd situation.

    • Lydia
      April 24, 2017

      Hi, Brooke
      Bath and Body Works is owned by The Limited Brands. That includes, Victoria’s Secret
      Pink (sold through Victoria’s Secret), Henri Bendel and La Senza. Many countries are banning testing on animals for cosmetics. The company states that they are not willing to sacrifice that brand by testing on animals. The FDA in the US does not require any animal testing by law. I spoke to the FDA and got it straight from them.
      Victoria’s Secret has always tested on animals. They even sell UGGs in their catalog and some stores. Horribly ugly boots that take 6-8 sheep to make just one pair. When I learned this, I sold all my VS clothing on eBay. I had about $6,000 worth and closed my VS credit card. I was stunned and so bombed out by their idiocies. Believe me, I let them know all about it. They begged me not to close the credit card. I had a $0 balance and a $15000 limit. They loved me, but obviously not enough. I have a large group of girlfriends that spent more money at VS than some people make in a year or several years.. Now they too have cut up their cards, closed their accounts and sold off all their VS stuff others donated it to the Salvation Army. None of us can walk around and advertise a company that purposely tortures animals.
      Now, on the Limited Brands website they have announced a new VS store opening in Shanghai, like it is something great. Nothing in China is great, except for their beautiful animals of which are in danger of being murdered at any moment. Did you know that Limited Brands who not only murders animals, but harms the environment with all their ridiculous catalogs and can write-off the catalog paper on their taxes!!! WTH, I thought. They get a credit for killing all those trees and the massive carbon footprint of delivering them to as many people as possible.
      Years ago, I contacted Limited Brands regarding VS and how outraged we were to learn of these horrible acts. I even got as far as the CEO’s secretary. I found her name on Linkedin. She was following the CEO! I called and asked for her like a personal friend. They put me right through. Worked like a charm. I was very nice, cordial and respectful. I mean it is just her job, she isn’t doing it. I explained how bad it was and she honestly didn’t even know! I mean really! She stuttered and I could feel her empathy when she spoke. I told her the CEO knows a lot more than he is letting off. I let them know that they lost over $200,000 in business a year just from my group alone. She told me she would pass all the information over to him immediately. Well, if you look online you can see that in 2007 the Limited went bankrupt. They have been selling off brands like gamblers losing money in a $100 a pull slot machine. That made me happy. They have done this to themselves. Horrible leadership is the cause. Any CEO or board member that agrees with animal testing should never be in that position. It kills a company. The only reason big companies like P&G, L’Oreal, etc are still holding on is because people don’t know about the millions of animals they kill every year for no reason at all. Education is the solution. If I see a product tested on animals in someone’s cart I walk over and tell them about it. Then give them a better option and a much better product. Not always do you pay more. One lady had a huge bucket of Tide in her cart at Walmart. I started talking to her, she had no clue and was flustered by it so much she began showing me photos of her pet rats! She ended up buying All and Snuggle which is cruelty free. Sun Products all are. It saved her over $10 and her sanity.

      I have stopped buying VS as stated but still buy Bath & Body Works. The deal is to let them know that people don’t want products tested on animals and make the cruelty free brand the most profitable. I have contacted them again to tell them that. Everyone please boycott and Dump Victoria’s Secret and the garbage they sell Their clothing is sub-par,the material is crappier than ever. They are skimming to keep from going bankrupt there too! Plus, they don’t cater to women with large chests. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Victoria’s secret is one of the worst stores I have ever seen. It makes me sick seeing people still going in there. They are clueless, a bunch of followers just buying crap because it says VS or Pink on it. Ha! It only tells the good people how dumb you are for supporting murder.

    • Anmber
      October 14, 2017

      VS owns B&B

  • Cathi
    December 16, 2016

    I don’t like that language either … it’s very shady and they should just be upfront .

    I have had a really hard time finding a hand lotion that works as well as Aveda’s. … my hands are suffering ! ( especially now that it’s cold weather ). Any recommendations ? Thanks! Cathi

    • Christy L Waits
      January 3, 2017

      I’m not familiar with Aveda hand lotion but 100% Pure hand lotion is absolutely amazing! All of their products are. They are all natural, vegan, with the exception of honey on some products and cruelty free.

      • Demi
        March 11, 2017

        Aveda actually doesn’t say “unless required to..” we are 100% cruelty free and have been since 1978. We get all of our plants organically, are tge first company to be run 100% by wind power and all of our products are 97% naturally derived.

  • Ivy Green
    October 8, 2016

    The bigger the company, the more greed factors kick in, no matter whatever their initial good intentions were. If those companies were truly committed to being vegan and cruelty free, then they would be, plain and simple, openly, thoroughly and without nebulous disclaimers. I for one would not buy any of these companies’ products. Thank goodness for the internet, where you can research stuff in detail before you buy, instead of relying solely on manufacturers’ and retailers’ claims.

  • Nyssa Jorenby
    August 26, 2016

    I have been cruelty free almost 7 years. I happen to work for bath and body works, I can assure you that we love our animal friends, an I have never seen a case where we have to test on an animal.

    • Anabella Zambrano
      February 2, 2017

      The problem is that the actual company admitted they test on animals “when required by law”. You may work for them , but the people who are in charge in the end will forget their values and simpli go forward with animal testing in order to make extra money. I worked for them too.

  • Lety
    August 24, 2016

    I can’t believe that Peta is being so lax. I thought they were the go to people for facts about animal abuses. Do I have to look elsewhere now?

  • Caitlin
    June 30, 2016

    i personally do not support these brands. however, companies may use this language because they use ingredients that are required to be tested for reasons other than cosmetic/household products purposes. they may want to use an ingredient or create a formulation that simply must be tested on animals for reasons other than the purpose for which they are using it. in that case, they either have to decide not to use that ingredient/formulation or include vague language about “when required by law”. it’s a sticky topic. i also think some companies may use this language to leave the channel open to expanding in china or to cover them if they have not done the proper research to know whether their products are for.a.fact. cruelty-free. i wish companies were straight up 100% transparent, but unfortunately that is often not the case and they are being shady. if they only test when “required by law”, they should provide examples and inform consumers as much as possible so they can made educated decisions.

    • Vicky Ly
      June 30, 2016

      100% AGREE! I also choose not to support any of these brands. The fact that we don’t know exactly what these brands mean when they state “except when required by law” is beyond shady to me.

      Like you said, if they only test when “required by law” then I think they should be more straight up with us and list out examples in the rare cases that they must test on animals.

      The fact that they’re not saying much on the topic really turns me off and as a result, I now have the impression that these brands are hiding something or they’re not properly addressing or prioritizing these issues in their supply chain.

      Don’t get me wrong, I would be thrilled to support these brands! but they’re not really giving us much to work with here! Like you mentioned, there is just so much unknown in the phrase “except when required by law” that unfortunately has many caring consumers conflicted and unsure whether it’s right to support these brands!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *