Is ELEMIS Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Updated for 2020!)

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Is ELEMIS Cruelty-Free?

ELEMIS is a British luxury spa and skincare brand specializing in anti-aging products but is ELEMIS cruelty-free or vegan?

Is ELEMIS Cruelty-Free?

In 2020, it is unclear whether Elemis is still cruelty-free or not. Elemis was acquired by L’Occitane in 2019. L’Occitane is a corporation that pays and allows their products to be tested on animals when required by law.

Elemis recently changed the wording of their animal testing statement and the new language states Elemis products are sold in China where all imported cosmetics are required to be tested on animals.

However, when I emailed the brand to confirm whether Elemis products are sold in China or not, a representative stated Elemis does not ship to China or have legitimate stockists in China.

Due to the inconsistent responses and statements made by Elemis and the fact that Elemis is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, like Leaping Bunny or PETA, I no longer feel confident to suggest Elemis is a cruelty-free brand anymore.

Changes to ELEMIS’ Cruelty-Free Policy

In 2019, ELEMIS stated on their website that “ELEMIS do not test on animals and does not use animal bi-products apart from honey, beeswax, and milk proteins.” Below is a screenshot I took from ELEMIS’ website on February 20, 2019.

ELEMIS animal testing statement in 2019, before they changed it.

Additionally, in an email response back in 2019, ELEMIS confirmed to me that they do not test their products or ingredients on animals, they do not allow others to test on their behalf, their suppliers also do not test on animals, and their products are not sold in stores in mainland China or any other country that may require animal testing by law.

Below is part of the response I received from ELEMIS in 2019:

Elemis Ltd has always been against animal testing. Elemis has never and will never test on animals. Nor has Elemis ordered such tests by any third parties.

Elemis specializes in natural caring ingredients of the highest quality and safety. All finished products have been extensively tested over time, on our own staff, human volunteers and or by non-animal laboratory trials.

The European Cosmetic Directive banned all animal testing of finished products from September 2004 and ingredients used within products from March 2009. They enforce this directive and dictate what is safe and what’s not. Elemis strongly supports this position and will do everything possible to keep driving non-animal testing alternatives and always approach development in an ethical manner.

We do not use slaughterhouse waste in any of our products. None of our perfumes contain animal extracts and we do not use whale or blubber oils. We do make use of honey, beeswax, milk, milk whey and eggs.

We continue to work alongside partners and suppliers who share our beliefs and who approach their day-to-day operations in an ethical manner, purchasing accordingly.

Elemis wishes to contribute to your well-being by promoting safe, high-quality spa and skincare products, with ease of mind and conscience.

ELEMIS Acquired by L’Occitane

In 2019, ELEMIS was also acquired by L’Occitane, a corporation that does test on animals when required by law.

And some time in 2020, ELEMIS had changed and added a comprehensive statement regarding their stance on animal testing and selling in China.

Below is a screenshot I recently took from ELEMIS’ website:

ELEMIS changed their Animal Testing Statement in 2020

The part of ELEMIS’ new animal testing statement that caught my attention was, “In China, where ELEMIS is sold, all imported beauty products must be submitted for compulsory testing on a limited animal panel in government laboratories before they can be approved for sale in the country.”

This is news to me that ELEMIS has decided to start selling in China since I last spoke with them in 2019. So, I emailed the brand to ask for an explanation and was told by a representative:

“I can confirm that whilst ELEMIS have been bought by L’Occitane and I completely appreciate your concern, I am delighted to confirm that ELEMIS remain cruelty-free and against animal testing. With this in mind, we do not and will not test any products on animals however, we do make use of ingredients such as honey, beeswax and milk proteins in some of our products.

With regards to shipping to China, this is not something we offer nor do we have a legitimate ELEMIS stockists there.”

An ELEMIS representative confirmed that they don’t ship to China and they don’t have legitimate stockists in China but on their website, it clearly says ELEMIS products are sold in China.

I’m confused by the inconsistent statements made by ELEMIS and don’t know who to believe or trust, at this time. So, unfortunately, I’ve decided to move ELEMIS from our Cruelty-Free Brand List to our List of Brands with Unclear Policies until ELEMIS can provide further clarification on the changes to their animal testing statement.

Is ELEMIS Vegan?

ELEMIS claims most of their products are “Vegan” and don’t contain animal-derived ingredients, however, it is unclear whether ELEMIS is truly cruelty-free or not. Therefore, we currently would not consider anything sold or manufactured by ELEMIS to be vegan.

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Alternatives to ELEMIS

I recommend trying out the following cruelty-free and vegan-friendly skincare brands alternatives to ELEMIS:


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6 Comments
  • Loulou
    August 30, 2020

    It is clear on their website that they import to mainland China, which requires their products to be tested on animals. I never thought they used to, not sure if this has recently changed.

    • Vicky Ly
      September 8, 2020

      Hi Loulou,

      Thanks for letting me know about the changes to ELEMIS’s animal testing statement. I emailed ELEMIS to ask whether their products are now sold in China and the representative told me they don’t but as you said, it clearly says on their website that ELEMIS products are sold in China so I’m no longer confident in suggesting ELEMIS is cruelty-free, at this time due to their inconsistent statements.

      I’ve updated the article to include the new information.

  • Heather scott
    August 25, 2020

    HI ya,

    I don’t think this is true any more re Elemis I have just read the below on the UK Elemis website. they are working to help change but still sending Elemis to China in the same way Caudale do.

    ‘ELEMIS have been against the use of animals to test beauty products since our inception over 30 years ago. We do not test our products, active ingredients or raw materials on animals at any point in the product development or manufacturing process, and we require all our suppliers to fully respect the same rigorous standards.

    Our number one priority is the health and safety of our consumers. All our product formulations have therefore been tested extensively over time through alternative methods, including product safety tests and user/clinical trials.

    In China, where ELEMIS is sold, all imported beauty products must be submitted for compulsory testing on a limited animal panel in government laboratories before they can be approved for sale in the country. Specifically, the Chinese authorities require a regulatory dossier including results from one-off tests (which vary based on product category) in order to issue a Hygiene Permit for each new imported cosmetic product. The authorities also stipulate that cosmetics may be subject to random, post-market sampling tests for auditing purposes. These regulatory requirements apply to all cosmetic products not manufactured locally.

    We are deeply committed to ending animal testing for beauty products globally and we support collaborative industry-wide efforts to achieve this goal.

    ELEMIS provide funding to support alternative methods of testing. We partner with the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a non-profit research and testing laboratory dedicated to advancing in vitro (non-animal) testing methods worldwide. The IIVS has an active programme in China, which is dedicated to promoting the use and regulatory acceptance of non-animal testing methods for assessing the safety of cosmetics. Progress was noted in 2018 with IIVS’s appointment to China’s Alternatives Working Group for Cosmetics and, in April 2019, with the acceptance of certain non-animal (alternative) testing methods for the regulation of cosmetics. More detailed information can be found on the IIVS website.

    The cosmetics industry, via Cosmetics Europe, that the Group to which Elemis belongs actively supports as a corporate member, is engaging with the relevant Chinese authorities and animal rights NGOs to introduce alternative testing techniques, such as those used in Europe, where animal testing – including tests on finished products, active ingredients or raw materials – has been banned in full since 2013.

    This constructive dialogue has already led to a series of advances in Chinese regulations, including the decision in June 2014 to end animal testing on so-called ‘ordinary cosmetics’ (shampoo, perfume etc.) that are manufactured and packaged locally. Another major milestone was achieved in November 2016 when the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) approved the use of a non-animal test for the safety assessment of certain cosmetic ingredients. The National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC) are currently evaluating other alternatives to animal testing.

    We trust that this consultative approach with the Chinese regulators and industry bodies will help bring an end to animal testing once and for all.’

    • Vicky Ly
      September 8, 2020

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for letting me know about the changes to ELEMIS’s animal testing statement. It looks like they recently changed the wording on their website and as you said, their new policy states that ELEMIS products are indeed sold in China =(

      I’ve updated the article to include the changes and new information about ELEMIS and currently, I would not consider the brand to be cruelty-free.

“Make ethical choices in what we buy, do, and watch. In a consumer-driven society our individual choices, used collectively for the good of animals and nature, can change the world faster than laws.”― Marc Bekoff

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Is ELEMIS Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Updated for 2020!)