Curel (Kao)

Last Updated: June 20, 2022

How Ethical Is Curel (Kao)?

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 Curel’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

Curel is also owned by Kao, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, Curel sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Curel does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since Curel engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t consider anything sold or produced by Curel to be vegan anyways.

Curel (Kao)

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Curel is NOT Cruelty-Free!

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

In addition, Curel is owned by Kao, a parent corporation that is NOT cruelty-free.

Curel’s Animal Testing Policy

Curel claims on its website that none of its beauty brands test on animals, however, this is not enough information for us to classify Curel or any other brand as being cruelty-free to our standards.

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

In addition, 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.

So I reached out to Curel 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 Curel responded by saying:

“We are pleased to inform you that none of our beauty brands conduct or commission animal testing for our products or ingredients. We ensure all products are in compliance with safety and quality expectations and regulations, which include the EU regulations on the ban on animal testing for cosmetics products and ingredients.”

It’s great to hear that Curel’s products are in compliance with the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics products and ingredients. However, the EU’s animal testing ban does not include animal tests that were conducted outside of the EU, like in mainland China where animal testing is required by law for most imported cosmetics.

So, I wanted to know whether Curel products are sold in China?

Is Curel Sold in China?

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

Below is a screenshot of Curel advertised from Kao’s website to the Chinese market:

Is Curel 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 Curel 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 Curel) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Curel Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. Curel is owned by Kao, 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 become cruelty-free.

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

Is Curel Cruelty-Free?

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

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

Is Curel Vegan?

Curel does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since Curel engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t consider anything sold or produced by Curel to be 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.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Curel

Looking to switch to cruelty-free skincare products? Here are some cruelty-free brands to check out:

Or check out our Guide to Affordable Cruelty-Free & Vegan Skincare Brands!

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