Mary Kay

Last Updated: May 19, 2021

Is Mary Kay Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Mary Kay is known as an American multi-level marketing company but is Mary Kay cruelty-free or vegan in 2021?

Ethical Analysis

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

Mary Kay

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Is Mary Kay Cruelty-Free?

Mary Kay is known as an American multi-level marketing company but is Mary Kay cruelty-free in 2021? We’ve got the answer here!

Is Mary Kay Cruelty-Free?

Mary Kay is NOT Cruelty-free. Mary Kay sells its products in mainland China where animal testing is mandatory for most imported cosmetics. As a result, Mary Kay pays and allows its products to be tested on animals when required by law.

Mary Kay Animal Testing Policy

On Mary Kay’s website, they claim they do not conduct animal testing on its products or ingredients. However, Mary Kay states there are some governments that conduct animal tests before they’re allowed to sell its products in their country.

I later discovered that Mary Kay was referring to selling its products in China where animal testing is required by law for most imported cosmetics.

Below is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Mary Kay’s website:

Mary Kay Cruelty-Free Claims

Policies stating, “some governments conduct animal testing”, usually imply the company is selling its products in mainland China where the law requires that most imported cosmetics be tested on animals.

Is Mary Kay Sold in China?

In my research, I found out that Mary Kay cosmetics are indeed sold in China. Below is a screenshot I took from Mary Kay’s Chinese website clearly showing they do sell in China:

Mary Kay Sold in China; Required to Test on Animals and Cannot Be Cruelty-Free

Because of Mary Kay’s decision to sell in mainland China, they must consent and pay to have their products tested on animals. That’s why most cosmetic brands selling in mainland China cannot be considered cruelty-free in 2021.

Although Mary Kay may not be conducting these animal tests themselves or in the US, they are knowingly allowing Chinese authorities to test their products on animals in order to sell in China.

Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China because of the country’s animal testing laws. Unfortunately, Mary Kay refuses to do the same and has decided to put profits before the welfare of animals.

Summary: Mary Kay is NOT Cruelty-Free!

To sum up, by choosing to sell in mainland China, Mary Kay must have their products tested on animals. Therefore I would not consider Mary Kay to be a cruelty-free brand.

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

Is Mary Kay Vegan?

Since we would not consider Mary Kay 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 Mary Kay 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, and also must not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Mary Kay

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


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What do you think

2 thoughts on “Mary Kay”

  1. LAURA L THORNAL

    Mary Kay sold in any other country than china is cruelty free. Mary Kay manufactures their products in the country they are sold in therefore only items made in china/sold in china are not cruelty free.
    All other countries are golden.

  2. While yes, Mary Kay chooses to sell in China, MK has taken steps to prove to the Chinese government that cosmetic companies can operate successfully and safely using other methods of testing. I’ve done a research paper on Mary Kay and looked into this deeply. I also know that Mary Kay China is a leader in sales compared to other countries Mary Kay is in giving women in China more opportunities, such as the opportunity to afford more children. Things like this are not a justification for testing policies, but an overall opportunity for progress. With all of this being said, how are we supposed to change the Chinese government on testing policies without having an active presence there..?

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