MAC (Estee Lauder)

Last Updated: June 8, 2022

Is MAC (Estee Lauder) Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

MAC is a popular cosmetics company, offering more than 100 shades of cosmetics, but is MAC cruelty-free or vegan in 2022?

Ethical Analysis

Is MAC cruelty-free or vegan? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on MAC’s policies.
MAC is NOT Cruelty-Free. MAC engages in animal testing by allowing its products to be animal-tested.
Yes, MAC sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Since MAC’s products are animal-tested, we wouldn’t consider anything sold or produced by MAC to be vegan.

MAC (Estee Lauder)

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Is MAC Cruelty-Free?

MAC Cosmetics is NOT Cruelty-Free!

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

In addition, MAC is owned by Estee Lauder, a parent company that is also not cruelty-free.

MAC’s Animal Testing Policy

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 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 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:

MAC Sold in China
MAC Cosmetics sold in stores in China

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 it’s not stated anywhere that MAC Cosmetics has taken this route.

Additionally, the possibility of post-market animal testing is not completely ruled out and may be conducted on some cosmetics sold in physical stores in China.

As of May 1, 2021, cosmetic companies can also export and sell their ordinary or general cosmetics in China without animal testing only if they meet a set of preconditions first. However, meeting these conditions has proven difficult, and it’s still unclear what exactly is accepted according to the new regulations. So there’s no word yet of any company that has successfully done so.

Follow the highlighted lines in the graphic below to see why most cosmetics sold in China (like MAC Cosmetics and Estee Lauder) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is MAC Cosmetics Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

Is MAC Cosmetics Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?

Yes. MAC Cosmetics is owned by Estee Lauder, 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, MAC Cosmetics is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, Estee Lauder.

Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty-Free?

To sum up, by choosing to sell in mainland China, MAC Cosmetics must have its products tested on animals. 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 Cosmetics Vegan?

Since we do not consider MAC Cosmetics to be cruelty-free as their products are tested on animals when required by law, we also wouldn’t consider anything sold or manufactured by MAC Cosmetics to be 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 MAC:

Looking to switch to cruelty-free brands? Here are some cruelty-free and vegan-friendly options that are similar to MAC Cosmetics:

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