ELF Cosmetics

Last Updated: June 8, 2021

Is ELF Cosmetics 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 ELF Cosmetics’s ethics and initiatives.

Where to Shop /

Ethical Analysis

Is ELF cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on ELF’s policies.
ELF Cosmetics is cruelty-free. None of ELF’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals anywhere in the world.
All of ELF’s products are 100% vegan and don’t contain any animal-derivedingredients or by-products.
In 2020, ELF launched their new eco-friendly packaging for their foundation where they removed the plastic box and excess packaging. This was part of their “Project Unicorn” initiative where they claim to have eliminated 650,000 pounds of packaging material since starting the project.
It’s not clear where ELF’s mica is mined or sourced from and how they trace or audit to ensure no child or forced labor was involved.
ELF’s products come in plastic packaging. But they’re working on more eco-friendly packaging, starting with removing the plastic box their foundation used to come packaged in.

About ELF Cosmetics

e.l.f. Cosmetics offers professional makeup and beauty products that are affordable for any budget.
COMPANY BASED IN: USA
PRODUCTS MADE IN: China
PRODUCTS: Skincare, Makeup, Makeup Brushes, Lashes
CERTIFICATIONS: PETA-Certified

ELF Cosmetics

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

You can find ELF products at elfcosmetics.com, Ulta, Target, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, and on Amazon and iHerb.

ELF Cosmetics is Cruelty-Free

ELF Cosmetics 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 ELF Cosmetics to be Cruelty-Free.

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 ELF Cosmetics has confirmed they only sell online and not in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.

e.l.f. is committed to being 100% cruelty-free and vegan. e.l.f. is only sold online, and not in stores, within China. All products that we sell within China are not tested on animals (and do not require animal testing under Chinese regulations).

There’s some confusion about ELF Cosmetics manufacturing their cosmetics in China and their cruelty-free status. To clarify, cosmetics made in China are not required to be tested on animals. Only cosmetics that are sold in physical stores in mainland China require animal testing. That means ELF can make their products in China without animal testing.

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.

ELF Cosmetics is 100% Vegan

ELF Cosmetics has confirmed all of its products are vegan and don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Below is ELF’s statement of how none of their products contain animal-derived ingredients.

ELF Vegan Status

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 ELF Cosmetics’ products made?

ELF Cosmetics are made in China. *Note: Cosmetics made in China are not required to be tested on animals. Only cosmetics that are imported and sold in physical stores in mainland China are required to be tested on animals according to China’s animal testing laws.

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 ELF if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,

“Thank you for your interest in e.l.f. Cosmetics. As part of our corporate compliance program, we require all vendors to comply with applicable laws, which includes laws pertaining to labor standards and safety. Please feel free to contact us if we may be of any further assistance.”

ELF claims all of their vendors must comply with applicable labor laws and standards but the brand did not specifically address where their mica is sourced from and how they audit or trace to ensure no child labor was involved in mining their mica.


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

Kindly Share
the Good Vibes

Inspire others to make a positive change by sharing this resource on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Email.

Share /

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

What do you think

0 thoughts on “ELF Cosmetics”

  1. I recognize this is an old post, but I recently acquired a lipstick by e.l.f., to which the ingredient “beeswax” was listed on the makeup FYI. The lipstick did have the leaping bunny label.

    1. Hi Sim,
      Would you be able to tell me which ELF lipstick you’re referring to? and what shade it was? I’ll have to look into this.
      And perhaps did it say “synthetic beeswax”? I know some of ELF’s lipsticks do contain synthetic beeswax which is considered vegan. But I’d be happy to look into this some more and update this post if some of ELF products use beeswax now.

      Also, please note that Leaping Bunny only implies the product and company does not test on animals. They do not look into whether products are vegan (do not contain any animal-derived ingredients) in order to become certified Leaping Bunny.

  2. I have recently seen new, white brushes by elf that I couldn’t tell if they were vegan or not. Unlike their other brushes, labelled “vegan” or “synthetic,” these are described as being made from “cruelty-free hair.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *