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Drunk Elephant is *Cruelty-Free
Drunk Elephant 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 Drunk Elephant to be *Cruelty-Free.
*Drunk Elephant is owned by Shiseido, a corporation that is NOT cruelty-free because they allow some of their other brands to test on animals.
It’s your choice whether you want to support or boycott cruelty-free brands owned by a parent company that is not cruelty-free. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to this. I encourage you to do what you’re comfortable with, but I think it’s important to disclose that Shiseido owns Drunk Elephant.
Below is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Drunk Elephant’s website:
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 Drunk Elephant has confirmed they only sell online or in Hong Kong, and not in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.
Here is how Drunk Elephant explains it:
“We are so thrilled to be in China! However, if you’re asking about animal testing, let’s be clear: That is something we would never do. Hong Kong SAR does not require animal testing. That is the only place where we are selling in retail (via @SephoraHK). In mainland China, we are using cross border e-commerce which does not require the same registration process as cosmetics sold via retail there. We are Leaping Bunny Program Certified, and have never, nor will we ever, animal test or allow our products to be tested on animals. ❤️“
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.
Drunk Elephant 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 Drunk Elephant, not all of their products are vegan. But they have some products that are suitable for vegans.
How to know which of Drunk Elephant products are vegan?
All of Drunk Elephant’s vegan products are clearly marked on their website.
Which of Drunk Elephant Products is Vegan?
Below is a list of Drunk Elephant products that are suitable for vegans and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products, and instead, utilize only those of either plant or synthetic origin.
- A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream
- B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel
BesteNo 9 Jelly Cleanser
- C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream
BronziAnti-Pollution Sunshine Serum
- F-Balm™ Electrolyte Waterfacial
- JuJu Bar
- Lala Retro Whipped Cream
- Protini™ Polypeptide Cream
- Shaba Complex Eye Serum
- Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser
- T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
- T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
- Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
- Cocomino™ Glossing Shampoo
- Cocomino™ Marula Cream Conditioner
- T.L.C. Happi Scalp™ Scrub
- Wild Marula™ Tangle Spray
Not Vegan – Drunk Elephant
The following products do contain ingredients of animal-derived origin and therefore are not suitable for vegans:
- C-Firma Day Serum (contains acetyl glucosamine, derived from seashells) – not vegan
- Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 (contains acetyl glucosamine, derived from seashells) – not vegan
- Umbra Tinte Physical Defense SPF 30 (contains acetyl glucosamine, derived from seashells) – not vegan
- Lippe (contains beeswax) – not vegan
- Pekee Bar (contains honey) – not vegan
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.
Ethical Mica Mining Policy
Mica is a mineral that’s used in cosmetics to add a shimmery effect. But the mining of natural mica has been linked to child labor and human rights violations.
Unless a company publicly addresses its mica mining policy, we have no way of knowing whether its mica is ethically sourced without child or forced labor.
So I asked Drunk Elephant if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,
“Thank you for reaching out! Most of the world’s naturally-derived mica, which is the mineral that gives D-Bronzi its subtle glow and helps brighthen the eye area in C-Tango, comes from India, ours included.
Sustainability and ethical business is at the heart of Drunk Elephant, which is why we only work in partnership with mica suppliers that have an exceptional record for both their environmentally responsible mining methods and ethical labor practices.
Our mica supplier sources only from mines that meet fair and safe labor standards (including banning child labor) and practice environmentally sound mining methods. This includes a series of monitoring and auditing processes—including monthly and unannounced inspections of the mines and processing plants—to ensure compliance at every stage of their supply chain.
Beyond the importance of safe and ethical working conditions, these fair labor standards include funds for community development, education, healthcare and scholarships for those living in the region where our mica supplier’s mines are located.
Whenever possible, Drunk Elephant will always choose the sustainable and ethically harvested route for any raw material used in our products.”