Drunk Elephant (Shiseido)

Last Updated: February 2, 2022

Is Drunk Elephant (Shiseido) Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Supporting companies that share the same values and ethics to what matters most to us is how we can drive positive change in this world. Here’s a quick summary of Drunk Elephant’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Drunk Elephant cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Drunk Elephant’s policies.
Drunk Elephant is cruelty-free, but Drunk Elephant is owned by Shiseido, a parent company that is NOT cruelty-free.
Not all of Drunk Elephant’s products are vegan but they have some vegan options.
Drunk Elephant does not claim or market itself as a sustainable company.
Drunk Elephant claims their mica is ethically-sourced without the use of child labor. See their ethical mica mining policy here.
Drunk Elephant products come in plastic packaging. They claim all of their bottles and packaging that doesn’t contain a pump are recyclable. But anything with a pump is not recyclable.

About Drunk Elephant (Shiseido)

Drunk Elephant is committed to using only ingredients that benefit skin’s health and avoiding the 6 ingredients they believe are at the root of almost every skin issue.
PRODUCTS: Skincare, Hair Care, Bath & Body Care

Drunk Elephant (Shiseido)

This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

You can find Drunk Elephant cruelty-free products at Sephora, Cult Beauty, Ulta, Boots, and Amazon.

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:

Drunk Elephant Animal Testing Policy

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

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. ❤️

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 2022.

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.

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?

As of 2021, I will no longer be regularly updating this list of Drunk Elephant’s vegan products as all of their vegan products are now clearly marked. Check their website for the most up-to-date and accurate information on which products are vegan or not.

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.


Body Care

Hair Care

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

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.

Where are Drunk Elephant’s products made?

I asked Drunk Elephant where their products are manufactured and they told me:

“Our products are manufactured in the US.”

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 the company discloses 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.”

I hope this article helped you to understand Drunk Elephant’s cruelty-free and vegan status and by choosing cruelty-free together, we can help end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all!

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What do you think

0 thoughts on “Drunk Elephant (Shiseido)”

  1. Why does the Sephora website say that C-Firma is vegan? I previously reached out to DE and they gave me the same list as you and C-Firma was not vegan because of the seashells. They should not market it as vegan on Sephora!

    1. That’s so frustrating!!! Typically resellers will use the product description provided by the company so I’m not sure if there’s a first edition of the C-Firma that was considered vegan at one point.. but nonetheless, Sephora should definitely update their description to avoid confusing shoppers! Reasons like this is why there needs to be some regulation on what’s allowed to be labelled as VEGAN!

  2. Maria Gabriela Andrade

    I will always support companies that are straightforward with their information rather than sugarcoating it. Drunk Elephant has just scored high on my skincare product consideration.

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