Last Updated: January 13, 2022

How Ethical Is DERM iNSTITUTE?

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 DERM iNSTITUTE's ethics and initiatives.

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Ethical Analysis

Is DERM iNSTITUTE cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on DERM iNSTITUTE’s policies
DERM iNSTITUTE is cruelty-free. None of DERM iNSTITUTE’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals, anywhere in the world.
Not all of DERM iNSTITUTE’s products are vegan but they have some vegan options.
DERM iNSTITUTE claims their “ingredients are always ethically sourced to protect and preserve the environment.” However, I couldn’t find additional information about their ethical ingredient sourcing policy or practices.
DERM iNSTITUTE has been non-responsive when I asked if their mica is ethically-sourced without the use of child labor.
DERM iNSTITUTE products come in plastic packaging. I couldn’t find anything stating they’re working on reducing their use of virgin plastic in their product packaging.


DERM iNSTITUTE is a new scientific approach to beauty, combining cutting-edge ingredients, therapeutical Asian herbals, powerful botanicals, and groundbreaking DNA & stem cell technologies for topical skin treatments.
PRODUCTS: Skincare


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You can find DERM iNSTITUTE cruelty-free products at Nordstrom.

DERM iNSTITUTE is Cruelty-Free

DERM iNSTITUTE has confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf. Their suppliers also do not test on animals, nor do they allow their products to be tested on animals when required by law. And finally, their products are not sold in stores in mainland China or any other country that may require animal testing.

By our standards, we would consider DERM iNSTITUTE to be Cruelty-Free.

Below are a couple of snippets of the email response I received from DERM iNSTITUTE when verifying their animal testing policy:

“We don’t allow anyone to test animals on our products on our behalf.”

“Our products and raw material suppliers do not test on animals.”

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

DERM iNSTITUTE has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.

“We only sell in online channels in China which do not required by law to test on animals.”

As of May 1, 2021, some imported ordinary cosmetics can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, for the most part, animal testing is still legally required for most imported cosmetics in 2022.

Cruelty-Free Policies

Note that there is no legal definition for the label ‘Cruelty-Free.’ It can mean different things to different people. But Cruelty-Free is generally used to imply no animal testing. More specifically, the ingredients, formulation, or finished product are not tested on animals at any stage of product development.

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 any third parties.

Also, note that Cruelty-Free and Vegan don’t always mean the same thing.

DERM iNSTITUTE is Not 100% Vegan

‘Vegan’ in cosmetics can refer to an entire brand that is 100% Vegan or a specific product is vegan.

In the case of DERM iNSTITUTE, not all of their products are vegan. But they have some products that are suitable for vegans.

How to know which of DERM iNSTITUTE’s products are vegan?

In an email response, DERM iNSTITUTE told me, “All of our products are considered vegan and do not contain any animal by-products.” However, I’ve spotted some non-vegan ingredients like silk amino acids, beeswax, biotin, and hydrolyzed pearl in some of their products. I would advise checking the ingredients before buying and if you’re not sure if it’s animal-derived then it’s best to email the company to ask.

Vegan Policies

Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But it usually means no animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.

Some common animal products used in cosmetics include carmine, lanolin, snail mucus, beeswax, honey, pearl or silk-derived ingredients, animal-based glycerin, keratin, and squalene.

There are plant-based and synthetic alternatives to animal-derived ingredients. But it’s sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a product is vegan just by reading the ingredient list.

So it’s best to ask the company and manufacturers to ensure the ingredients they’ve chosen to use were from non-animal sources.

Where are DERM iNSTITUTE’s products made?

When I asked DERM iNSTITUTE where their products are manufactured, they told me:

“Our products are manufactured in the US.”

Ethical Mica Mining Policy

Mica is a mineral that’s used in cosmetics to add a shimmery effect. But the mining of natural mica has been linked to child labor and human rights violations.

Unless the company discloses its mica mining policy, we have no way of knowing whether its mica is ethically sourced without child or forced labor.

So I asked DERM iNSTITUTE if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor, but they never responded to any of my emails or messages.

I hope this article helped you to understand DERM iNSTITUTE’s cruelty-free and vegan status and by choosing cruelty-free together, we can help end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all!

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