ELEMIS (L’Occitane)

Last Updated: January 27, 2023

How Ethical Is ELEMIS (L’Occitane)?

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 ELEMIS’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

ELEMIS is also owned by L’Occitane, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, ELEMIS sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
ELEMIS claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but because ELEMIS engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by ELEMIS to be vegan.

ELEMIS (L’Occitane)

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Is ELEMIS Cruelty-Free?

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

ELEMIS’s Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does ELEMIS test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of ELEMIS’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 ELEMIS’s website, they claim they do not test their products, ingredients, or raw materials on animals. However, “in China, where ELEMIS is sold, all imported beauty products must be submitted for compulsory testing…”

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

Is ELEMIS Cruelty-Free?

In ELEMIS’ animal testing statement, the company states their products are indeed sold in China, where animal testing is required by law.

As a result, ELEMIS is NOT cruelty-free because they have chosen to sell their products in China and therefore, must submit their products to be tested on animals by Chinese officials.

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

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is ELEMIS Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. ELEMIS is owned by L’Occitane, a 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, ELEMIS is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, L’Occitane.

Does ELEMIS Test on Animals?

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

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

Is ELEMIS Vegan?

ELEMIS is NOT vegan. ELEMIS claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but ELEMIS engages in animal testing in some capacity, so we wouldn’t consider any ELEMIS 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 & Vegan Alternatives to ELEMIS

I recommend trying out the following cruelty-free and vegan-friendly skincare brands alternatives to ELEMIS:

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What do you think

11 thoughts on “ELEMIS (L’Occitane)”

  1. I don’t buy Elemis now they are owned by L’Occitane, L’Occitane sell to china. Elemis may be cruelty free but who profits? L’Occitane.
    I think things should be clearer about who owns companies. Because non cruelty free corporations are profitting from cruelty free brands.

  2. Shame on Elemis. I’ve just heard today that they are now moving into the Chinese market so they will have to allow animal testing. It’s getting increasingly difficult to find truly cruelty free brands in the UK.

  3. HI ya,

    I don’t think this is true any more re Elemis I have just read the below on the UK Elemis website. they are working to help change but still sending Elemis to China in the same way Caudale do.

    ‘ELEMIS have been against the use of animals to test beauty products since our inception over 30 years ago. We do not test our products, active ingredients or raw materials on animals at any point in the product development or manufacturing process, and we require all our suppliers to fully respect the same rigorous standards.

    Our number one priority is the health and safety of our consumers. All our product formulations have therefore been tested extensively over time through alternative methods, including product safety tests and user/clinical trials.

    In China, where ELEMIS is sold, all imported beauty products must be submitted for compulsory testing on a limited animal panel in government laboratories before they can be approved for sale in the country. Specifically, the Chinese authorities require a regulatory dossier including results from one-off tests (which vary based on product category) in order to issue a Hygiene Permit for each new imported cosmetic product. The authorities also stipulate that cosmetics may be subject to random, post-market sampling tests for auditing purposes. These regulatory requirements apply to all cosmetic products not manufactured locally.

    We are deeply committed to ending animal testing for beauty products globally and we support collaborative industry-wide efforts to achieve this goal.

    ELEMIS provide funding to support alternative methods of testing. We partner with the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a non-profit research and testing laboratory dedicated to advancing in vitro (non-animal) testing methods worldwide. The IIVS has an active programme in China, which is dedicated to promoting the use and regulatory acceptance of non-animal testing methods for assessing the safety of cosmetics. Progress was noted in 2018 with IIVS’s appointment to China’s Alternatives Working Group for Cosmetics and, in April 2019, with the acceptance of certain non-animal (alternative) testing methods for the regulation of cosmetics. More detailed information can be found on the IIVS website.

    The cosmetics industry, via Cosmetics Europe, that the Group to which Elemis belongs actively supports as a corporate member, is engaging with the relevant Chinese authorities and animal rights NGOs to introduce alternative testing techniques, such as those used in Europe, where animal testing – including tests on finished products, active ingredients or raw materials – has been banned in full since 2013.

    This constructive dialogue has already led to a series of advances in Chinese regulations, including the decision in June 2014 to end animal testing on so-called ‘ordinary cosmetics’ (shampoo, perfume etc.) that are manufactured and packaged locally. Another major milestone was achieved in November 2016 when the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) approved the use of a non-animal test for the safety assessment of certain cosmetic ingredients. The National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC) are currently evaluating other alternatives to animal testing.

    We trust that this consultative approach with the Chinese regulators and industry bodies will help bring an end to animal testing once and for all.’

    1. Hi Heather,

      Thanks for letting me know about the changes to ELEMIS’s animal testing statement. It looks like they recently changed the wording on their website and as you said, their new policy states that ELEMIS products are indeed sold in China =(

      I’ve updated the article to include the changes and new information about ELEMIS and currently, I would not consider the brand to be cruelty-free.

  4. It is clear on their website that they import to mainland China, which requires their products to be tested on animals. I never thought they used to, not sure if this has recently changed.

    1. Hi Loulou,

      Thanks for letting me know about the changes to ELEMIS’s animal testing statement. I emailed ELEMIS to ask whether their products are now sold in China and the representative told me they don’t but as you said, it clearly says on their website that ELEMIS products are sold in China so I’m no longer confident in suggesting ELEMIS is cruelty-free, at this time due to their inconsistent statements.

      I’ve updated the article to include the new information.

  5. Christina Knight

    I am appalled that Elemis is now selling to China. Just goes to show that profits always come first. I have used Elemin for years will not purchase again and will let my friends know. What a shame that they have let themselves and the consumer down so badly.

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