ELF Cosmetics

Last Updated: January 5, 2023

Is ELF Cosmetics Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

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 ELF Cosmetics’s ethics and initiatives.

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Ethical Analysis

Is ELF cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on ELF’s policies.
ELF Cosmetics is cruelty-free. None of ELF’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals anywhere in the world.
All of ELF’s products are 100% vegan and don’t contain any animal-derivedingredients or by-products.
In 2020, ELF launched their new eco-friendly packaging for their foundation where they removed the plastic box and excess packaging. This was part of their Project Unicorn initiative which is “a commitment to stripping down cluttered packaging for more sustainable options. Since 2019, e.l.f. has eliminated over one million pounds of excess packaging waste.”

ELF Cosmetics also claims its the first beauty company to utilize a Fair Trade Certified™ factory.
It’s not clear where ELF’s mica is mined or sourced from and how they trace or audit to ensure no child or forced labor was involved. See their ethical mica mining policy here.
ELF’s products come in plastic packaging. But they’re working on more eco-friendly packaging, starting with removing the plastic box their foundation used to come packaged in.

About ELF Cosmetics

e.l.f. Cosmetics offers professional makeup and beauty products that are affordable for any budget.
COMPANY BASED IN: USA
PRODUCTS MADE IN: China
PRODUCTS: Skincare, Makeup, Makeup Brushes, Lashes
CERTIFICATIONS: Leaping Bunny, PETA-Certified

ELF Cosmetics

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Is ELF Cosmetics Cruelty-Free?

🐰 ELF Cosmetics is a cruelty-free brand. None of ELF Cosmetics’ ingredients or products are tested on animals. ELF Cosmetics has met all the criteria in our Cruelty-Free Checklist and is included in our Cruelty-Free Directory.

Does ELF Cosmetics Test on Animals?

When asking, does ELF Cosmetics test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of ELF’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.

In our research, we discovered the following:

  • ✓ ELF Cosmetics confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf.
  • ✓ ELF Cosmetics confirmed all their ingredient suppliers do not test on animals
  • ✓ ELF Cosmetics confirmed they do not allow or sell their products under conditions where animal testing is required by law

By meeting all of our Cruelty-Free Criteria, ELF Cosmetics is a truly cruelty-free brand by our standards.

What is ELF Cosmetics’ Animal Testing Policy?

Below is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on ELF Cosmetics’ website about its animal testing policy:

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

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

e.l.f. is committed to being 100% cruelty-free and vegan. e.l.f. is only sold online, and not in stores, within China. All products that we sell within China are not tested on animals (and do not require animal testing under Chinese regulations).

With the current changes to China’s animal testing laws, some cosmetics sold in China can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, without meeting those conditions, animal testing is still legally required for most cosmetics sold in China in 2023.

There has been some misunderstanding about ELF Cosmetics manufacturing its cosmetics in China and its cruelty-free status.

To clarify, cosmetics made in China are NOT required to be tested on animals. Only some cosmetics sold in physical stores in mainland China require animal testing. That means ELF can make its products in China without animal testing.

Is ELF Cosmetics Certified Cruelty-Free?

ELF Cosmetics is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and PETA.

Cruelty-Free Policies 2023

Just because a brand claims it is ‘Cruelty-Free,’ doesn’t always mean that’s the case.

That’s because 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.

How We Assess Cruelty-Free Policies

Since starting my blog in 2015, I’ve been emailing companies asking about their animal testing policies and cruelty-free commitments.

And based on the responses I receive from companies, I’ll research to find any supporting facts needed before concluding whether the brand should be classified as “Cruelty-Free,” “Animal-Tested,” or “Grey Area – Unclear Policies.”

☕️ Every week, I continue to reach out to new brands while trying my best to keep current brands updated. If you found any of my posts or guides helpful, consider Buying Me A Coffee! I would greatly appreciate it! ❤️

What about Vegan?

Just because something is called Cruelty-Free, doesn’t always mean it’s Vegan. And vice versa.

Cruelty-Free only refers to no animal testing, while Vegan means formulated without animal products.

Some brands are Cruelty-Free, but not Vegan.

And some are Vegan, but not Cruelty-Free.

Another important distinction to know is, Vegan in cosmetics can refer to an entire brand is 100% Vegan, or a specific product is Vegan.

Is ELF Cosmetics Vegan?

⭐️ ELF Cosmetics is a 100% vegan brand. All their products are vegan, and are formulated without any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Where to buy ELF Cosmetics? Check out elfcosmetics.com, Ulta, Target, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, and on Amazon and iHerb!

Vegan Policies

Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But it’s usually used in the context to describe something that doesn’t contain any 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 ELF Cosmetics’ products made?

ELF Cosmetics are made in China. *Note: Cosmetics made in China are not required to be tested on animals. Only cosmetics that are imported and sold in physical stores in mainland China are required to be tested on animals according to China’s animal testing laws.

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 ELF if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,

“Thank you for your interest in e.l.f. Cosmetics. As part of our corporate compliance program, we require all vendors to comply with applicable laws, which includes laws pertaining to labor standards and safety. Please feel free to contact us if we may be of any further assistance.”

ELF claims all of their vendors must comply with applicable labor laws and standards but the brand did not specifically address where their mica is sourced from and how they audit or trace to ensure no child labor was involved in mining their mica.


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

If you found this helpful, consider Buying Me a Coffee. So that I can continue to keep this site running and updated.

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What do you think

18 thoughts on “ELF Cosmetics”

  1. Hello. This is a nice blog you’ve got here, and I admire the efforts you’re doing. I’ve got a little question though; if a brand claims to be vegan, can we rest assured that it has NO animal derived ingredients, such as carmine and cochineal?

    1. Hi Bia,

      Unfortunately there isn’t a universal or standard definition for what qualifies a product to be labelled as “vegan”. So this means the term “vegan” can mean something different from one person to the next. Some companies would consider beeswax or honey to be vegan ingredients and I’ve dealt with a number of companies who are very adamant that beeswax is vegan so they’ll continue to label their products as vegan because that’s how THEY define the term.

      There are a number of third party organizations who verifies products to ensure none of them contains animal derived ingredients like the Vegan Society and Vegan Action. You can check out some of these logos and their standards in this post here (scroll to the bottom where you can find the logos) https://ethicalelephant.com/cruelty-free-vegan-labels-logos/

      Hope that helps!

  2. Hello. This is a nice blog you’ve got here, and I admire the efforts you’re doing. I’ve got a little question though: if a brand claims to be vegan, can we rest assured that it has NO animal derived ingredients, such as carmine and cochineal?

  3. Elf should do business here in America .
    Not selling in China , but manufacturing in china does not help . I’m not buying it .

  4. Hi,
    Just wanted to let you know I emailed E.L.F yesterday after reading this article and just got a reply.
    All of their products are vegan including their skincare.
    Hope this helps. X

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