Clinique (Estee Lauder)

Last Updated: June 6, 2022

Is Clinique (Estee Lauder) Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Clinique is a popular American beauty brand but is Clinique cruelty-free or vegan in 2022?

Ethical Analysis

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

Clinique is also owned by Estee Lauder, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, Clinique sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Clinique claims to offer one or more items that are “vegan” but since we do not consider Clinique 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 Clinique to be vegan.

Clinique (Estee Lauder)

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Clinique is NOT Cruelty-Free!

Clinique allows its products or ingredients to be tested on animals when required by law including when selling in stores in mainland China.

In addition, Clinique is owned by Estee Lauder, a parent corporation that also isn’t cruelty-free.

Clinique’s Animal Testing Policy

On Clinique’s website, they claim they do not conduct animal testing except when required by law and that they are committed to bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which they’re sold.

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

Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?
Clinique’s Animal Testing Statement

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 Clinique Sold in China?

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

Below is a screenshot of Clinique’s store locator showing results in mainland China:

Clinique Sold in China; Cannot Be Cruelty-Free
Proof of Clinique selling in mainland China where animal testing is required by law
Clinique sold in stores in China, required to test on animals
Clinique sold in China

But Doesn’t China No Longer Tests on Animals?

Companies can bypass China’s pre-market animal testing by choosing to manufacture their ordinary or general cosmetics in China, but it’s not stated anywhere that Clinique has taken this route.

Additionally, the possibility of post-market animal testing is not completely ruled out and may be conducted on some 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.

Follow the highlighted lines in the graphic below to see why most cosmetics sold in China (like Clinique) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

Because Clinique 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 2022.

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

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

Cruelty-Free Policies

Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China because of its animal testing laws. Unfortunately, Clinique 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, and by any third parties, including when required by law.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Clinique Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

Because Clinique is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, no one is looking into or substantiating Clinique’s cruelty-free commitments and claims.

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

Yes. Clinique is owned by Estee Lauder, a parent corporation that still engages in animal testing in 2022.

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 go cruelty-free eventually.

But in this case, Clinique is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, Estee Lauder.

Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?

To sum up, by choosing to sell in mainland China, Clinique must have its products tested on animals. Therefore, we would NOT consider Clinique to be a cruelty-free brand.

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

Is Clinique Vegan?

Clinique claims to offer one or more items that are “vegan” but since we do not consider Clinique 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 Clinique 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.

I also noticed Sephora listing some of Clinique products in their “Vegan Skincare” category but note that Clinique is NOT cruelty-free. Clinique products are tested on animals.

I’m assuming Sephora is labeling products as “vegan” when they’re formulated without any animal ingredients or by-products. But “Vegan” Cosmetics should also consider whether the products or its ingredients were tested on animals, anywhere in the world.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Clinique:

Looking to switch to cruelty-free brands? Here are some cruelty-free options that are similar to Clinique:

Many of you have been asking for a cruelty-free alternative to Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and I would recommend Farmacy’s Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm (it’s also vegan!).

Cruelty-Free Swap Clinique Cleansing Balm
Swap Clinique for Farmacy

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What do you think

0 thoughts on “Clinique (Estee Lauder)”

  1. Please do you have a suggestion for an alternative to clinique moisture surge? I am having a hard time finding something. thank you for everything you do. Thanks

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