Last Updated: March 1, 2024

How Ethical Is Clarins?

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 Clarins’ ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Clarins cruelty-free or vegan? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Clarins’s policies.
Clarins is NOT Cruelty-Free. Clarins engages in animal testing by allowing its products to be animal-tested.
Yes, Clarins sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Clarins claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but because Clarins engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by Clarins to be vegan.


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Is Clarins Cruelty-Free?

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

Clarins’ Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does Clarins test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of Clarins’ 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 Clarins’ website, they claim that they don’t conduct animal testing except in cases when required locally by law and that they comply with all applicable regulations in every country in which their products are sold to.

See below for a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Clarins’ website:

Is Clarins Cruelty-Free?

Policies stating, “except when required locally by law,” usually imply the company distributes its products in countries that require animal testing, like mainland China.

Is Clarins Sold in China?

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

Below are a couple of screenshots of Clarins store locator showing results in mainland China and their Chinese website:

Clarins sold in stores China and required to test on animals
Clarins sold in China, cannot be Cruelty-Free

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 Clarins 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 Clarins) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.

Because Clarins 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 Clarins 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 Clarins 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, Clarins 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 Clarins already does not meet the last two, we cannot classify the brand as being cruelty-free.

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Clarins Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. Clarins is owned by Groupe Clarins, parent corporation 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, Clarins is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Groupe Clarins.

Does Clarins Test on Animals?

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

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

Is My Clarins Cruelty-Free?

In 2019, Clarins launched a skincare line called My Clarins targeted at the younger generation. The company claims these products from its My Clarins line are both cruelty-free and vegan, but I wouldn’t buy from this line.

Is My Clarins Vegan?
Is Clarins Vegan?

Clarins states its My Clarins line is free of animal ingredients and that since its My Clarins line isn’t sold in China and those products have not been tested on animals, that means they’re cruelty-free.

However, My Clarins is just one small product line operating under the same umbrella as Clarins.

If Clarins really cared about helping to end animal testing for cosmetics, they should stop testing their main product line, Clarins, on animals!

When evaluating a brand’s cruelty-free status, I review the overall brand itself and whether they conduct, commission, or condone any type of animal testing on its ingredients, formulations, or finished products.

To see Clarins produce a separate line of “cruelty-free” and “vegan-friendly” skincare while trying to paint a picture that they’re “partially” cruelty-free does NOT mean they’re truly cruelty-free in our books.

Is Clarins Vegan?

Clarins is NOT vegan. Clarins claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but Clarins engages in animal testing in some capacity, so we wouldn’t consider any Clarins products vegan at this time.

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 Clarins:

Looking for cruelty-free options similar to Clarins, here are some of our recommendations:

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What do you think

25 thoughts on “Clarins”

  1. I’m gutted. I’ve spent a couple of months trying samples for my hydrated skin. Finally settled on Clarins and a random comment on Facebook has led me to further investigation. I also thought they were cruelty free. I can’t, in all conscience invest in their products now.

  2. I have been using Clarins products for many years and was led to believe they did not use animal products or test on animals, l too will no longer be buying from this company until they cease the unacceptable testing on animals.

  3. I have made a decision to research all skin care & makeup to make sure they are truly cruelty free before buying. I think it’s a slow start but more & more people will do the same & others might just be shamed into It. Clairns should wake up to this & pave the way.

    1. Completely agree, Ruth – and if it means I’ll be buying products without an expensive logo slapped all over it, then so what? And if anyone cares about it enough, then perhaps they need to rethink whether they’re really as concerned about products being vegan as they say.

  4. So I gather everyone here thinks that Clarins should close their long established spa’s and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work both inside and outside of China so as not to be ‘greedy’. They were well established in China before anyone was concerned about animal testing. Do your research properly and see what a conscientious effort they are making on many fronts such as sustainability and protecting the environment. They are working to find a solution rather than turning their backs on their own people. None of their products outside of China are tested on animals.

    1. So Michelle if none of their products outside of China are tested on animals why on earth would it be a threat to the Chinese workforce if they did the same as the rest of the world?

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