Estée Lauder

Last Updated: March 1, 2024

How Ethical Is Estée Lauder?

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 Estee Lauder’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Estee Lauder cruelty-free or vegan? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Estee Lauder’s policies.
Estee Lauder is NOT Cruelty-Free. Estee Lauder engages in animal testing by allowing its products to be animal-tested.
Yes, Estee Lauder sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Estee Lauder does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since Estee Lauder engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t consider anything sold or produced by Estee Lauder to be vegan anyways.

Estée Lauder

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Is Estée Lauder Cruelty-Free?

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

Note that Estee Lauder is the flagship brand of Estee Lauder Companies Inc., which owns several other beauty brands. In this post, I’ll explore the brand, Estee Lauder’s animal testing policy, and cruelty-free/vegan status.

Estée Lauder’s Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does Estée Lauder test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of Estée Lauder’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 Estee Lauder’s website, they state their parent company, Estee Lauder Companies’ animal testing policy. Estee Lauder claims they don’t test on animals, except where required by law. And “there are, however, still some countries that believe they need to conduct or require animal testing in order to validate the safety of cosmetic ingredients or products.”

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

Policies stating, “except where required by law,” usually imply the company distributes its products in countries that require animal testing, like mainland China.

Is Estee Lauder Sold in China?

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

Below is a screenshot of Estee Lauder store locator showing results in mainland China:

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

Because Estée Lauder 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 Estée Lauder 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 Estée Lauder to be cruelty-free by our standards.

☕️ 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! ❤️

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Estée Lauder Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

Is Estée Lauder Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?

Yes. Estée Lauder is owned by Estée Lauder Companies Inc., 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, Estée Lauder is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Does Estée Lauder Test on Animals?

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

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

Is Estée Lauder Vegan?

Estée Lauder is NOT vegan. Estée Lauder does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since Estée Lauder engages in animal testing in some capacity, we wouldn’t consider any Estée Lauder products 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 Estée Lauder

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

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What do you think

18 thoughts on “Estée Lauder”

  1. I have been going to an Aveda Hairdresser for the past 20 years, since I have found out that Estee Lauder now owns Aveda I have stopped going and have to find an alternative brand that really does not test on animals themselves or by others, no easy task.The excuse that they have to supply to their customers all over the world is unadulterated eye wash. To not sell to such a vast Chinese population would affect their profit and it is obvious they put that before the welfare of animals. Heaven knows animals in China already have such a cruel life I have vowed not to buy one single thing that is made in China, ever again a mammoth task, but I would rather go without. Currently I would like a new radio to replace a broken one, a hand mixer, to replace a broken one and a toaster, again to replace a broken one (never rains but it pours) but as of yet I have had no luck. How is it possible that no-one manufactures these items other than China?

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