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

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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.

UPDATE (MAY 21, 2018): I’m happy to report that since the original publication of this post, Smashbox and Aveda have removed the disclaimer “except when required by law” from their animal testing statement and both brands are also still 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 brand owned by Estee Lauder.

Estee Lauder is not a cruelty-free brand and admits 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.”

UPDATE (MAY 21, 2018): Smashbox has removed the disclaimer “except when required by law” from their animal testing statement. Smashbox’s current statement reads Is Smashbox Cruelty-Free? Yes! We live for lipstick and are serious about primers—but we also really care about animals. That’s why we are a cruelty free makeup brand. We test our products on human volunteers, not animals.”

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.

EDITOR’S NOTE (MAY 21, 2018): Bath & Body Works still has the same animal testing statement.

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.

UPDATE (MAY 21, 2018): Aveda has removed the disclaimer “except when it is required by law” from their animal testing statement. It now says, Do you perform testing on animals?
Aveda is a cruelty-free brand. We do not test on animals and never ask others to do so on our behalf. Our products are “people-tested.” Being a cruelty-free brand is an important part of our mission to care for the world we live in and for those we live with, and has been since our founding in 1978. To learn more, click here.”

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?


27 Responses
  • Emma
    May 21, 2018

    Smashbox and Aveda are now listed on PETA’s website as cruelty-free, and both are using PETA’s cruelty-free logo. Yay!

    • Vicky Ly
      May 21, 2018

      Hi Emma,
      Thanks for leaving a comment and reminding me to update this post! Yes!! You’re right, Smashbox and Aveda had removed the disclaimer “except when required by law” from their animal testing statement. And both brands were always certified by PETA, so it’s good to know after all this time, they’re still certified CF!

      However, I would like to point out that Bath & Body Works still has the same animal testing statement that claims, they don’t test on animals, “except when required by law.” And they’re also still certified cruelty-free by PETA. So Bath & Body Works is still one of the brands certified by PETA that seems a little shady to me.

  • Ingrid
    May 18, 2018

    I’m sad as well that L’oreal and Estee Lauder are buying a lot of companies but I hope they decide to remain cruelty free like It cosmetics and too faced

  • Tara
    April 8, 2018

    Thank you so much Vicky! You are an angel for having this website for the preservation of love for animals. I just spent $300 at Aveda after being promised by their staff that they were vegan. I’m so disappointed but alas I felt strange in my gut when I was in the store & it’s another lesson for me to trust this intuition! It is a shame that so many companies advertise to be cruelty free & vegan yet the corruption is still unchecked. I look forward to your newsletter & to hearing from you soon. I’m curious to know….do all products that are vegan always have that advertised on the container? Do you know if the Wild Carrots, Pacifica, & Acure brands are vegan? I’m an animal lover & I have 3 cats. If you have pets & want to learn about the corruption of the pet food industry I strongly urge you to check out thetruthaboutpetfood.com. It’s not my website & im not affiliated with them. It’s just a fantastic resource for anybody with pets to learn the corruption & lack of regulation of the pet food industry & the pet foods that aren’t corrupted. It is shocking. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful knowledge.
    Most gratefully & sincerely, Tara✨💖✨

    • Ewa
      June 8, 2018

      Pacifica is vegan. Not sure about the other ones.

  • Angela
    February 18, 2018

    Estée Lauder is buying everything! Shame on the companies selling out. If we all keep up boycotting all Estée Lauder owned companies due to it being the umbrella company of self processed cruelty free and vegan companies maybe it will get the message. It is very hard to stay committed but I believe we can make a difference

  • Anne McPhillips
    February 8, 2018

    Well explained, thank you Vicki. Just like in all marketing it’s using a play on words and twisting the true meaning of what is going on here.
    Another recent example is L’Occitane Who just last year started selling their products in mainland China. The play on words or games that they choose to play states that oh no they are not doing the testing it’s a third-party. They (tests) are done by Chinese labs, approved by local authorities “on a limited animal panel”.
    So if they torture a few animals it’s ok! THIS IS DISGUSTING AND ALL IN THE NAME OF PROFIT.

  • Ron
    December 3, 2017

    Great post and very informative! I’m glad I stumbled across you while researching BBWorks. I’ll no longer purchase from them on principle if they cannot fully commit to being vegan and cruelty-free. In my opinion if a company is not vegan then they still have a hand in animal cruelty. All companies should be completely transparent regarding their core beliefs, however if that actually occurred I’m afraid we would just see dollar signs as their mission statements.

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