Essence

Last Updated: June 8, 2021

Is 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 Essence’s ethics and initiatives.

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Ethical Analysis

Is Essence cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Essence’s policies.
Essence is cruelty-free. None of Essence’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals anywhere in the world.
Not all of Essence’s products are vegan, but they have some vegan options.
Essence claims they strive for general waste reduction through re- or upcycling. They also claim they’re committed to using environmentally friendly, sustainable, and recyclable materials to produce their cosmetics.
Essence claims their mica is ethically sourced without child labor.
Essence’s products come in plastic packaging. But Essence states they’re researching sustainable materials and offering more recycling options in their development.

About Essence

Essence is Europe’s #1 cosmetic brand offering fun, high-quality makeup products at an affordable price.
COMPANY BASED IN: Germany
PRODUCTS MADE IN: EU, USA
PRODUCTS: Makeup, Nails, Makeup Brushes
CERTIFICATIONS: PETA-Certified

Essence

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

You can find Essence cruelty-free products at Ulta, Target, and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Essence is Cruelty-Free

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 Essence to be Cruelty-Free.

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

essence animal testing policy

On essence’s website, they have a thorough statement of their animal testing policy that also includes a comprehensive list of FAQs regarding their cruelty-free status.

I love it when a cruelty-free brand is transparent about their animal testing policy like essence has done with their informative 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 Essence has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.

“We are not carried in any stores in mainland China”

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.

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

How to know which of Essence products are vegan?

All of Essence’s vegan products are clearly marked on their website. See below for an example.

Which of Essence Products is Vegan?

As of 2021, I will no longer be regularly updating this list of Essence’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 Essence products that are suitable for vegans and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Face – Essence Vegan

Foundation

Powder

Bronzer

Highligher

Blush

Primer

Sprays

Eyes – Essence Vegan

Mascara

Eyeliner

Eyeshadow

Brows

Lips – Essence Vegan

Nails – Essence Vegan

Not Vegan – Essence

The following Essence products contain animal-derived ingredients or by-products and therefore are not suitable for vegans:

  • #lashes of the day super volume mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • AIR eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • camouflage + healthy glow concealer (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • camouflage + matt concealer (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • colour boost mad about matte liquid lipstick (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • EARTH eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • extreme lasting eye pencil – not vegan
  • eye flirt party look eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • eye got this rock look eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • eyebrow designer – not vegan
  • eyeliner pen waterproof – not vegan
  • FIRE eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • fresh & fit awake make up (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • fresh & fit awake primer (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • get BIG! lashes volume boost mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • get BIG! lashes volume waterproof mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • i love extreme crazy volume mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • i love extreme volume mascara waterproof (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • i love stage eyeshadow base (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • kajal pencil – not vegan
  • lash princess false lash effect mascara waterproof (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • lash princess false lash mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • lash princess sculpted volume mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • lash princess volume mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • mosaic blush (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • volume stylist 18h curl & hold mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • Salut Paris eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • spice up your life eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • super precise eyeliner – not vegan
  • superlast eyeliner deep black – not vegan
  • superlast eyeliner matte black – not vegan
  • superlast eyeliner waterproof – not vegan
  • volume hero mascara waterproof (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • WATER eyeshadow palette (contains carmine) – not vegan
  • what the fake! volumizing & lengthening mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • you better work! length definition mascara (contains beeswax) – not vegan
  • you better work! volume & curl mascara (contains beeswax) – 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 Essence’s products made?

“90% of essence products are made in Europe with some items made in other countries based on specialty parts.”

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

“Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out to us about such an important issue. At essence, we take the problem of child labor very seriously and feel it is our duty to ensure that no child labor is involved at any point in the supply chain of our products. 

In order to be able to guarantee this, we devote our attention closely to the origin of our natural mica and communicate frequently with our suppliers, both private label manufacturers and raw material suppliers. Raw material suppliers that do not offer us the required degree of transparency are no longer taken into account when new projects are awarded.

We have been supporting the sustainable mining of natural mica since 2016 in cooperation with an NGO with the goal of supporting local social projects and improving the living conditions of the population and in particular those of the children in India. We also joined the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI) in July 2017.We are dedicated to the shared goal of eradicating child labor and unacceptable working conditions within the beauty industry. We hope this has answered your concerns but please feel free to reach out with any further questions! :)”


I hope this article helped you to understand essence’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 “Essence”

  1. I’m a tad confused, because for the volume hero mascara waterproof the ingredient list states it contains “cera alba (beeswax)” but it claims to be vegan. You also marked the lash princess sculpted volume mascara as being not vegan for containing beeswax, but in the ingredient list it says contains synthetic beeswax. Would you be able to clarify the discrepancies?

  2. I think some of these mascaras listed as vegan are wrong as the essence website says some of them contain beeswax?

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