Desert Essence

Last Updated: June 16, 2021

Is Desert Essence Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Make a positive impact by supporting companies with the same values and ethics as what matters most to you. To navigate and find ethical brands, here’s a summary of Desert Essence’s ethics and initiatives.

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Ethical Analysis

Is Desert Essence cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Desert Essence’s policies.
Desert Essence is cruelty-free. None of Desert Essence’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals, anywhere in the world.
Not all of Desert Essence’s products are vegan but they have some vegan options.
Desert Essence is a certified B Corporation. Desert Essence states they are committed to sourcing organic ingredients wherever possible, supporting sustainable farming practices, purchasing wind power credits, and continually finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Desert Essence products come in plastic packaging.

About Desert Essence

Inspired by the beauty and resilience of nature and powered by the potency that comes from the desert, Desert Essence’s products help nourish your body and your senses.
COMPANY BASED IN: USA
PRODUCTS MADE IN: USA
PRODUCTS: Bath & Body Care, Skincare, Hair Care, Oral Care
CERTIFICATIONS: Leaping Bunny, Cruelty Free International, PETA-Certified

Desert Essence

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You can find Desert Essence cruelty-free products at most drugstores, or at Walmart, Well.ca, iHerb, and Amazon.

Desert Essence is Cruelty-Free

Desert Essence has confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf. Their suppliers also do not test on animals, nor do they allow their products to be tested on animals when required by law. And finally, their products are not sold in stores in mainland China or any other country that may require animal testing.

By our standards, we would consider Desert Essence to be Cruelty-Free.

Below is a screenshot of Desert Essence’s official animal testing statement:

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

As of May 1, 2021, some imported ordinary cosmetics can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, for the most part, animal testing is still legally required for most imported cosmetics in 2021.

But Desert Essence has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.

Cruelty-Free Policies

Note that there is no legal definition for the label ‘Cruelty-Free.‘ It can mean different things to different people. But Cruelty-Free is generally used to imply no animal testing. More specifically, the ingredients, formulation, or finished product are not tested on animals at any stage of product development.

At ethical elephant, we always assess a company’s cruelty-free policy using our Cruelty-Free Checklist. This ensures no animal testing was performed by the brand itself, its suppliers, and by any third parties.

Also, note that Cruelty-Free and Vegan don’t always mean the same thing.

Desert Essence is Not 100% Vegan

‘Vegan’ in cosmetics can refer to an entire brand that is 100% Vegan or a specific product is vegan.

In the case of Desert Essence, not all of their products are vegan. But they have some products that are suitable for vegans.

How to know which of Desert Essence products are vegan?

All of Desert Essence’s vegan products are clearly marked on their website.

The following is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Desert Essence’s official website about its vegan products:

Desert Essence Vegan Product List

The following Desert Essence products are suitable for vegans and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Dental Care

Vegan Toothpaste

Vegan Mouthwash


Hair Care

Vegan Shampoo

Vegan Conditioner

Vegan Hair Styling Products


Bath & Body

Vegan Bar Soaps

Vegan Body and Hand Wash

Vegan Body Care

Vegan Deodorants


Skin Care

Vegan Cleansers

Vegan Moisturizers & Oils


NOT VEGAN – DESERT ESSENCE

The following Desert Essence products are NOT vegan as they contain some animal-derived ingredients:

  • Anti-Breakage Conditioner (contains keratin) – not vegan
  • Anti-Breakage Hair Mask (contains keratin) – not vegan
  • Anti-Breakage Shampoo (contains keratin) – not vegan
  • Lip Rescue™ SPF 30 Lip Balm (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Lip Rescue Moisturizing (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Lip Rescue Therapeutic (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Lip Rescue Ultra Hydrating (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Tea Tree Oil Dental Floss (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Tea Tree Oil Dental Tape (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Tea Tree Replenishing Conditioner (contains keratin) – not vegan

Vegan Policies

Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But it’s usually used in the context to describe something that doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.

Some common animal products used in cosmetics include carmine, lanolin, snail mucus, beeswax, honey, pearl or silk-derived ingredients, animal-based glycerin, keratin, and squalene.

There are plant-based and synthetic alternatives to animal-derived ingredients. But it’s sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a product is vegan just by reading the ingredient list.

So it’s best to ask the company and manufacturers to ensure the ingredients they’ve chosen to use were from non-animal sources.

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