Head & Shoulders (P&G)

Last Updated: March 15, 2023

How Ethical Is Head & Shoulders (P&G)?

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 Head & Shoulders’ ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

Head & Shoulders is also owned by P&G, a parent company that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, Head & Shoulders sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Head & Shoulders does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since Head & Shoulders engages in animal testing in some capacity, we wouldn’t consider any Head & Shoulders products vegan anyways.

Head & Shoulders (P&G)

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Is Head & Shoulders Cruelty-Free?

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

Head & Shoulders’ Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does Head and Shoulders test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of Head & Shoulders’ 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.

Head & Shoulders claims on its website that they have not tested a finished product on animals in over a decade. Then they go on to state China’s animal testing laws.

See below for a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Head & Shoulders’s website:

Policies stating China’s animal testing laws usually imply the company is selling its products in mainland China. That’s because some cosmetics sold in stores in mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals.

Is Head & Shoulders Sold in China?

In my research, I discovered that Head & Shoulders products are indeed sold in stores in mainland China.

Below is a screenshot of Head & Shoulders’ Chinese website:

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, Head & Shoulders sells anti-dandruff shampoo, which are considered ‘Special’ Cosmetics. All ‘Special’ Cosmetics sold in China are still required by law to be tested on animals.

Follow the highlighted lines in the graphic below to see why Head & Shoulders are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Head & Shoulders Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

Is Head & Shoulders Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?

Yes. Head & Shoulders is owned by P&G, 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, Head & Shoulders is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, P&G.

Does Head & Shoulders Test on Animals?

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

Currently, Head & Shoulders is on our List of Brands to Avoid – Animal Tested.

Is Head & Shoulders Vegan?

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

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

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