This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
AHAVA is NOT Cruelty-Free!
AHAVA allows its products or ingredients to be tested on animals when required by law including when selling in stores in mainland China.
AHAVA’s Animal Testing Policy
While researching to learn more about AHAVA’s cruelty-free status, I couldn’t find its official animal testing policy anywhere on its website.
The only thing I found was an underwhelming bullet point on their ‘Customer Care’ page, stating all “AHAVA products are never tested on animals.”
However, animal testing for cosmetics can happen at various stages of product development, including at the ingredient level, and is often done by others and not the cosmetic company itself. This is why 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, or any third parties.
AHAVA’s statement that their products are never tested on animals is not enough information for us to consider any brand as being cruelty-free according to our standards.
So I reached out to AHAVA to ask for more information about their animal testing policy. More specifically, I wanted to know if they commission or allow others to test, not just their finished products but their ingredients, on animals, including when selling in countries that require animal testing (like in mainland China).
And AHAVA responded by saying:
“We are vegan and have always been; we do not use any animal ingredients or test on animals unless required by law.“
Based on the response I received from AHAVA, the company admits to allowing its products to be tested on animals when required by law.
Policies stating, “unless required by law,” usually imply the company is selling its products in mainland China. That’s because cosmetics sold in stores in mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals.
Is AHAVA Sold in China?
In my research, I discovered that AHAVA products are indeed sold in stores in mainland China.
It should also be noted that in 2015, AHAVA was acquired by a Chinese conglomerate, Fosun International.
Below is a screenshot of their official Chinese (ahavachina.cn) website:
And the following is a screenshot of list of all their counters where their products are physically sold in China:
But Isn’t China No Longer Testing on Animals as of 2021?
Companies can bypass China’s pre-market animal testing by choosing to manufacture its ordinary or general cosmetics in China, but there’s no word that AHAVA has taken this route. Additionally, post-market animal testing is not completely ruled out and poses a potential risk for all cosmetics sold in physical stores in China.
As of May 1, 2021, cosmetic companies can also export and sell their ordinary or general cosmetics in China without animal testing only if they meet a set of preconditions first. However, meeting these conditions has proven difficult, and it’s still unclear what exactly is accepted according to the new regulations. So there’s no word yet of any company that has successfully done so.
Because AHAVA decided to sell in mainland China stores, they must consent and pay to have their products tested on animals. That’s why most cosmetics brands selling in mainland China cannot be considered cruelty-free in 2021.
Although AHAVA may not be conducting these animal tests themselves, they knowingly allow Chinese authorities to test their products on animals to sell in China.
Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China because of its animal testing laws. Unfortunately, AHAVA refuses to do the same and therefore cannot be considered cruelty-free.
Is AHAVA Certified Cruelty-Free?
AHAVA is not certified cruelty-free by any third-party cruelty-free certifications like Leaping Bunny or PETA.
Because AHAVA is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, no one else regulates or looks into AHAVA’s cruelty-free commitments and claims.
Is AHAVA Vegan?
Since we would not consider AHAVA to be cruelty-free as their products are tested on animals when required by law, we also wouldn’t consider anything sold or manufactured by AHAVA to be vegan.
In order for products to be considered vegan by ethical elephant’s standards, the products and their ingredients must not be tested on animals anywhere in the world. Also, they must not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
Cruelty-Free Alternatives to AHAVA
Looking to switch to cruelty-free cosmetics? Here are some cruelty-free brands to check out: