Maybelline (L’Oreal)

Last Updated: June 1, 2022

Is Maybelline (L’Oreal) Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Maybelline is a popular American drugstore makeup and cosmetic brand sold worldwide but is Maybelline cruelty-free or vegan in 2022?

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.
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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Maybelline is NOT Cruelty-Free!

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

In addition, Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal, a parent company that is also NOT cruelty-free.

Maybelline’s Animal Testing Policy

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 Cruelty-Free Claims
Maybelline Animal Testing Policy

Unfortunately, L’Oreal (and thereby Maybelline) allows some of their products to be tested on animals when required by law.

Policies stating “an exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it” usually implies 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 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 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 Maybelline 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 Maybelline and L’Oreal) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

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 2022.

Although Maybelline 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 Maybelline 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, 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, and 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 being 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.

Because Maybelline is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, no one is looking into or substantiating 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 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 go cruelty-free eventually.

But in this case, Maybelline is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, L’Oreal.

Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free?

To sum up, by choosing to sell in mainland China, Maybelline must have its products tested on animals. 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 has recently been making claims their Green Edition formulas are “vegan” and are made without any animal-derived ingredients. However, since we do not consider Maybelline 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 Maybelline 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:

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

17 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.

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