Cetaphil (Galderma)

Last Updated: March 6, 2024

How Ethical Is Cetaphil (Galderma)?

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 Cetaphil’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Cetaphil cruelty-free or vegan? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Cetaphil’s policies.
Cetaphil is NOT Cruelty-Free. Cetaphil engages in animal testing by allowing its products to be animal-tested.

Cetaphil is also owned by Galderma, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, Cetaphil sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Cetaphil claims to offer some products made without animal-derived ingredients, but because Cetaphil engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by Cetaphil to be vegan.

Cetaphil (Galderma)

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Is Cetaphil Cruelty-Free?

☠️ Cetaphil is NOT cruelty-free in 2023. Cetaphil allows its products to be tested on animals when required by law, including when selling in stores in mainland China.

Cetaphil’s Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does Cetaphil test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of Cetaphil’s ingredients or suppliers test on animals. And they don’t sell in any country or under conditions that may require animal testing by law.

To assess whether brands are cruelty-free, I always start with the company’s official animal testing policy on their website.

On Cetaphil’s website, they claim their parent company, Galderma does not test Cetaphil products or ingredients on animals, however, “some health authorities may conduct animal testing for certain cosmetic products prior to approval for sale on the market, as is the case in China.”

Below is a screenshot of what is currently stated on Cetaphil’s website:

Cetaphil Cruelty-Free Claims

Policies stating China’s animal testing laws usually imply the company is selling its products in mainland China. That’s because some cosmetics sold in stores in mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals.

Is Cetaphil Sold in China?

In my research, I discovered that Cetaphil products are indeed sold in stores in mainland China.

Below is a screenshot of Cetaphil’s Chinese website:

Cetaphil Sold in China - Cannot Be Cruelty-Free
Cetaphil’s Chinese Website

But Doesn’t China No Longer Test on Animals?

With the recent changes to China’s animal testing laws, cosmetic companies can now export and sell some of their cosmetics in China without animal testing only if they meet ALL of the following preconditions first.

  • ONLY sell ‘general’ cosmetics (like makeup, skincare, haircare, nail polish, and perfumes)
  • must NOT sell any ‘special’ cosmetics like sunscreens, hair dye, hair perming, or other cosmetics claiming new efficacy
  • must NOT sell products designed for infants or children
  • must NOT sell products that contain a ‘New Cosmetic Ingredient’
  • AND if post-market testing is required, then the company must have a policy in place where it will RECALL its products rather than allow its products to be tested on animals

Also, products must meet ONE of the following in order to avoid animal testing in China:

  • manufactured in China, or the final assembly is in China
  • if manufactured outside of China and then exported to China, companies must obtain the proper product safety certificates and documents

However, it’s not stated anywhere that Cetaphil has taken any steps to meet the above preconditions in order to avoid animal testing while selling in China.

Follow the highlighted lines in the graphic below to see why most cosmetics sold in China (like Cetaphil) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.

Because Cetaphil has 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 2023.

Although Cetaphil may not be conducting these animal tests themselves, they knowingly allow Chinese authorities to test their products on animals in order to sell in China.

For those reasons, we would not consider Cetaphil to be cruelty-free by our standards.

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Cruelty-Free Policies

Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China under conditions where animal tests may be required. Unfortunately, Cetaphil refuses to do the same and therefore cannot be considered cruelty-free.

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, or by any third parties, including when required by law.

See below for our complete cruelty-free checklist. Since Cetaphil already does not meet the last two, we cannot classify the brand as being cruelty-free.

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Cetaphil Certified Cruelty-Free?

Cetaphil is not certified cruelty-free by any third-party cruelty-free certifications like Leaping Bunny or PETA.

Since Cetaphil is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, no one is substantiating or auditing Cetaphil’s cruelty-free commitments and claims.

Is Cetaphil Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?

Yes. Cetaphil is owned by Galderma, a pharmaceutical company (owned by L’Oreal and Nestle) that still engages in animal testing in 2023.

Some cruelty-free consumers may choose to purchase and support cruelty-free brands owned by animal-tested parent corporations as they hope it will convince the parent company to become cruelty-free.

But in this case, Cetaphil is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Galderma.

Does Cetaphil Test on Animals?

To wrap up, Cetaphil allows its products to be tested on animals when required by law, like when selling in China. Therefore, we would NOT consider Cetaphil to be a cruelty-free brand.

Currently, Cetaphil is on our List of Brands to Avoid – Animal Tested.

Is Cetaphil Vegan?

Cetaphil is NOT vegan. Cetaphil claims most of its products are free from animal-derived ingredients. But since Cetaphil engages in animal testing in some capacity, we wouldn’t consider any Cetaphil products vegan anyways.

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.

Below is a screenshot of what is currently stated on Cetaphil’s website about their vegan claims:

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Cetaphil:

Looking for cruelty-free alternatives to Cetaphil? We recommend the following cruelty-free skincare brands:

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