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Is MAC Cruelty-Free?
☠️ MAC Cosmetics is NOT cruelty-free in 2023. MAC allows its products to be tested on animals when required by law, including when selling in stores in mainland China.
MAC’s Animal Testing Policy
When asking, does MAC Cosmetics test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of MAC’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 MAC’s website, they claim they don’t test on animals, however, “while some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products.”
See below for a screenshot of what’s currently stated on MAC’s website:
Policies stating, “some governments conduct animal testing before they will allow us to sell our products,” usually imply the company distributes its products in countries that require animal testing, like mainland China.
Is MAC Sold in China?
Yes, MAC Cosmetics are indeed sold in stores in mainland China.
They state this on their website, “China tests on animals as part of its safety assessment of cosmetic products. We love our fans and we never want to exclude them anywhere.”
MAC is able to serve and include its customers in China without having to test on animals, if they only stick to selling its cosmetics online.
That’s because cosmetics that are shipped directly to customers to China but are not sold in a physical store in mainland China are not required to be tested on animals. But instead of this, MAC chooses to sell in stores.
The following are a couple of screenshots I took from the company’s Chinese website, clearly showing several stores in China carrying MAC Cosmetics:
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 MAC Cosmetics 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 MAC) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.
Because MAC 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 MAC 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 MAC to be cruelty-free by our standards.
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Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China under conditions where animal tests may be required. Unfortunately, MAC 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 MAC already does not meet the last two, we cannot classify the brand as being cruelty-free.
Is MAC Certified Cruelty-Free?
MAC is not certified cruelty-free by any third-party cruelty-free certifications like Leaping Bunny or PETA.
Since MAC is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, no one is substantiating or auditing MAC’s cruelty-free commitments and claims.
Is MAC Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?
Yes. MAC is owned by Estee Lauder, 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, MAC is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Estee Lauder.
Does MAC Test on Animals?
To wrap up, MAC Cosmetics allows its products to be tested on animals when required by law, like when selling in China. Therefore, we would NOT consider MAC to be a cruelty-free brand.
Currently, MAC Cosmetics is on our List of Brands to Avoid – Animal Tested.
Is MAC Vegan?
❌ MAC Cosmetics is NOT vegan. MAC does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since MAC engages in animal testing in some capacity, we wouldn’t consider any MAC 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 MAC:
Looking to switch to cruelty-free brands? Here are some cruelty-free and vegan-friendly options that are similar to MAC Cosmetics: