EltaMD (Colgate-Palmolive)

Last Updated: June 9, 2022

Is EltaMD (Colgate-Palmolive) 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 EltaMD’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

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

EltaMD (Colgate-Palmolive)

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EltaMD is NOT Cruelty-Free!

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

In addition, EltaMD is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, a parent corporation that is NOT cruelty-free.

EltaMD’s Animal Testing Policy

EltaMD claims on its website that they do not test on animals except if regulatory authorities require it.

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

Is EltaMD Cruelty-Free?

Policies stating, “except if regulatory authorities required it,” 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 EltaMD Sold in China?

According to this article from ChemLinked, EltaMD entered the Chinese market more than four years ago.

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 EltaMD’s sunscreens are classified as “special” cosmetics.

All “special cosmetics” like sunscreens and hair dyes sold in China must be tested on animals upon registration.

Follow the highlighted lines in the graphic below to see why all Special Cosmetics sold in China (like EltaMD’s sunscreens) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is EltaMD Certified Cruelty-Free?

Some time in 2021, EltaMD used to be PETA-Certified cruelty-free and was listed in PETA’s cruelty-free directory as “This company does NOT test on animals.”

However, in 2022, EltaMD is now on PETA’s blacklist and is labeled as “Warning! This company DOES test on animals.”

See below comparing the screenshots from 2021 to 2022.

Since PETA doesn’t disclose when or why brands get moved from list to list, I don’t know the reason why EltaMD was considered cruelty-free by PETA at one point but now they’re not.

At this time, EltaMD is not certified cruelty-free by any third-party cruelty-free certifications like Leaping Bunny or PETA.

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

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

Yes. EltaMD is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, 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, EltaMD is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, Colgate-Palmolive.

Is EltaMD Cruelty-Free?

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

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

Is EltaMD Vegan?

EltaMD claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but because EltaMD engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by EltaMD to be vegan.

See below for a screenshot of a page on their website claiming those products are “vegan”:

Is EltaMD 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.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to EltaMD

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

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