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Should We Buy From Cosmetic Brands that Sell in China?

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READER INQUIRY:

I was wondering about companies like MAC who (from what I’ve gathered) do not test on animals except in China unfortunately. So the products I hypothetically buy from them here in Canada where I live would not be tested on animals, right? I guess I’m trying to figure out the ethics behind it all. I am new to finding animal testing free products.

MY RESPONSE:

This is totally a legitimate and logical question that I get asked.

Animal testing can happen at various stages, it’s not just a matter of asking whether the finished product or the ingredients were tested on animals and then calling it a day!

Animal testing can happen at any point and the testing can be done by anyone.

Some companies claim that they don’t have control over this.

But that’s a lie. If you’re a company.. you have a say and direct control over how your business operates and therefore as a company, you’re responsible for those decisions and actions.

Cosmetics Sold in China

Using the hypothetical example of MAC, the reader is correct about how MAC is sold in China and therefore by law, their products must be tested on animals.

MAC is well aware that they are required to pay Chinese authorities to test their products on animals in order to sell in their country. However MAC is not obligated to sell in China. They choose to do so.

When considering if a product is cruelty-free, we usually look at the entire brand/company and their animal testing policy. Generally, you don’t want to buy from a brand that conducts, condones, or supports animal testing, anywhere in the world.

It’s like proclaiming “I’m a vegetarian… but I consume meat when I travel to other countries.” by definition, I shouldn’t be calling myself a vegetarian and the results of my actions are not excluded just because I’m outside my home country.

Cosmetics Sold in China

Why this is a problem

This reader’s question is totally legitimate because companies will say just about anything to make themselves look good in order to sell you their products. If they’re testing on animals, they’ll try and downplay it. In similar cases like MAC, they’ll phrase their policy to make it sound like only a very small portion of their products are tested on animals.

But whether a company pays to test only 1% or 100% of their products on animals, it’s still called animal testing where innocent animals are routinely blinded, poisoned, and killed.

When examining the ethics behind your purchase decisions, it’s important to look beyond the finished product that you bring home with you. Instead, look at the overall company that you are choosing to give your money to. Do they condone or support animal testing?

I’m so happy to hear people ask these types of questions because it proves that more and more consumers are demanding for companies to do the right thing!

How do you feel about cosmetic brands that are sold in China?


Photos by striatic and davidthiel used under CC BY 2.0

9 Responses
  • Maria
    July 16, 2017

    THERE ARE GOOD BRANDS WITH GREAT MAKEUP THAT ARE NOT GREEDY AND SOLD IN CHINA — companies can claim what they want but I know your parents company or you are sold in China — I WILL NOT BUY YOUR BRAND.
    I cannot live in peace knowing what I’m applying has either burn or blinded a caged innocent animal …MY MONEY WILL NOT PAY FOR ANIMALS TO BE TORTURED

  • Nat
    March 7, 2017

    Thanks so much for your post! This has been on my mind a lot. I’ve used MAC for so long and it’s been my go-to for every make up item I use but the fact of them selling/testing in China has made me feel uneasy. This post has convinced me it’s not OK for me to continue buying from them, period, even if the products I buy at home were not tested on animals.

  • Ado
    May 22, 2016

    “I was wondering about companies like MAC” – Erm, MAC is not a company, but a brand owned by Estée Lauder, a company that does conduct animal testing =)

    • Vicky Ly
      May 23, 2016

      Yes, that’s true!! People do have mix feelings about supporting brands owned by a parent company, which I chose to remain neutral on that topic in this post to avoid any confusion. Man, there’s just too many layers to these animal testing issues! =(

  • Margaret
    May 22, 2016

    I don’t buy cosmetics that sell in China, but we still have some personal care products in our house that are sold in China. It’s definitely the next thing I’ll be tackling on my list. And you make a very good point – they aren’t being forced to sell in China!

  • Phyrra
    May 20, 2016

    I won’t buy from companies that sell in China (with of course the exception for Hong Kong, since Hong Kong is not required to test).

  • Jordana
    May 20, 2016

    I will never give my money to companies that sell in Mainland China. They choose greed over ethics and I’m not about supporting brands that are happy to fund animals being tortured and killed for the sake of sales. It irritates me that these companies try to make out that they have no choice in the matter yet they are the ones paying for the tests. It’s disgusting!

    • Vicky Ly
      May 20, 2016

      I’m with ya on that, Jordana! It’s infuriating how companies try to brush it off like it’s not a big deal .. but it IS a big deal for the millions of animals that are being tested on!! Ughs. I’m just glad there’s a growing consumer awareness for detecting when a company is trying to mislead us!

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