Updated on May 22, 2021

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

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What do you think

9 thoughts on “Should We Buy From Cosmetic Brands that Sell in China?”

  1. 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

  2. I like this post, it is succint about the loopholes in animal testing. I find it increasingly difficult in the realm of K-Beauty to find information on which brands sell in Mainland China (with the exception of Hong Kong bc no animal testing required there by law). Korean law dictates that no animal testing is to occur on their products, so many of them are donned as “cruelty-free”, however when i research more extensively, that list wittles down profusely. Since their parent company allows animal testing for Chinese market benefits. A few brands I have reached out about but never heard back are Neogen, Missha and Etude House. Although, it may be a language barrier that prevents proper transfer of information, idk, will keep trying to find that awesome list of acceptable k-beauty.

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