Maybelline (L’Oreal)

Last Updated: January 2, 2023

How Ethical Is Maybelline (L’Oreal)?

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 Maybelline’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Maybelline cruelty-free or vegan? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Maybelline’s policies.
Maybelline is NOT Cruelty-Free. Maybelline engages in animal testing by allowing its products to be animal-tested.

Maybelline is also owned by L’Oreal, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, Maybelline sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
Maybelline claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but because Maybelline engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by Maybelline to be vegan.

Maybelline (L’Oreal)

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Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free?

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

Maybelline’s Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does Maybelline test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of Maybelline’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.

Maybelline states on its FAQ page that the brand is a subsidiary of L’Oreal. And then continues with L’Oreal’s animal testing policy stating,

“L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.

Below is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Maybelline’s company website:

Maybelline Animal Testing Policy

Based on their statement, Maybelline has the same animal testing policy as L’Oreal, where both state they make an exception to allow their products to be tested on animals if regulatory authorities demand it.

Policies stating, “an exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes” usually imply the company distributes its products in countries that require animal testing, like mainland China.

Is Maybelline Sold in China?

I found evidence of Maybelline selling its products in China. Below is a screenshot I took from their Chinese website:

Maybelline Sold in China; Cannot be Cruelty-Free
Maybelline products sold in China where animal testing is required by law

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 Maybelline 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 Maybelline and L’Oreal) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Maybelline Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

Is Maybelline Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?

Yes. Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal, 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, Maybelline is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, L’Oreal.

Does Maybelline Test On Animals?

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

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

Is Maybelline Vegan?

Maybelline is NOT vegan. Maybelline claims to offer some “vegan” options that are free of animal-derived ingredients, but Maybelline engages in animal testing in some capacity, so we wouldn’t consider any Maybelline products vegan at this time.

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 Makeup Alternatives:

Looking for a cruelty-free alternative to Maybelline? We recommend the following cruelty-free affordable, drugstore makeup brands:

or check out our list of drugstore cruelty-free makeup brands!

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What do you think

20 thoughts on “Maybelline (L’Oreal)”

  1. I am deeply disturbed that in the year 2020, so many cosmetic companies STILL test on animals. With all the knowledge we now have about toxins, carcinogens, etc., I find it unfathomable. I stopped using products tested on animals years ago. Why am I so upset? When talking with others about cosmetics, I invariably get a response like “I’m not giving up my MAC makeup. It’s the best.” And, of course MAC is one of hundreds of brands that still follow this barbaric practice. What should we do? I feel that a majority of consumers prefer to turn a blind eye to what goes on. I might be able to convince a few to purchase only cruelty-free, but until it becomes required across the board to ban animal testing, my hands are tied. I wish we could put a bill before Congress.

  2. Someone didn’t do their due diligence…?

    FROM THEIR WEBSITE FAQs:

    L’Oréal does not test any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals
    Our consumers’ health and safety have always been an absolute priority for L’Oréal. As is the support of animal welfare. L’Oréal does not test any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals and has been at the forefront of alternative methods for over 30 years.

    L’Oréal has developed a very rigorous safety evaluation procedure of its products, backed by Research.
    Well before the question of animal testing was raised by civil society or within a regulatory framework, L’Oréal has been committed to new methods of assessing safety that don’t involve animals.
    A true pioneer, L’Oréal has been reconstructing human skin models in laboratories to elaborate in vitro safety tests since 1979, as an alternative to animals. Since then, L’Oréal has an Episkin center in Lyon (France) Shanghai (China), and Brazil where reconstructed skins are produced.
    In addition to skin models, L’Oréal has a large number of non-animal predictive assessment tools, such as molecular modeling, expert toxicology systems, imaging techniques and many more.

    L’Oréal has been at the forefront of alternative methods for over 30 years
    In 1989, L’Oréal completely ceased testing its products on animals, 14 years before it was required by regulation. Today, L’Oréal no longer tests its ingredients on animals. L’Oréal no longer tolerates any exception to this rule.

    Certain health authorities may nevertheless decide to conduct animal tests themselves for certain cosmetic products, as it is still the case in China. L’Oréal is the most active company working alongside the Chinese authorities and scientists for over 10 years to have alternative testing methods recognized, and permit the cosmetic regulation to evolve towards a total and definite elimination of animal testing. Thanks to this, since 2014, certain products manufactured and sold in China like shampoo, body wash or certain make-up products are no longer tested on animals.

  3. Even if regulatory laws in other countries choose to test on animals, the FAQ section HAS been updated since 2015, and it is bad journalism or reporting, or simply lazy to copy and paste information from a previous article, rather than going and finding the most current, updated and accurate information available. This makes all of us who do our best to be cruelty-free and/or vegan appear to be angry and rigid and, above all, too lazy to properly research. I’m incredibly disappointed with your post.

    1. I just checked Maybelline’s FAQ Page (https://www.maybelline.ca/en-ca/faq) and it still says from what I see:

      “Animal Testing Policy

      Thank you for your interest in Maybelline, a brand of L’Oréal USA, Inc.

      L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.

      For complete information on this subject, please click here.”

      If you see something different, please send me the direct link and I’ll have a look.

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