NARS (Shiseido)

Last Updated: June 7, 2022

Is NARS (Shiseido) Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

NARS is a French cosmetics and skincare company founded by professional make-up artist and photographer François Nars, but is Nars cruelty-free or vegan in 2022?

Ethical Analysis

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

NARS is also owned by Shiseido, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, NARS sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
NARS claims to offer one or more items labeled as “vegan formula,” but because NARS engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by NARS to be vegan.

NARS (Shiseido)

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NARS is NOT Cruelty-Free!

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

In addition, NARS is owned by Shiseido, a parent company that is also not cruelty-free.

NARS’ Animal Testing Policy

On NARS’ website, they claim they don’t test on animals except where required by law.

Below is a screenshot of what is currently stated on NARS’ website:

Is NARS Cruelty-Free?
NARS Animal Testing Policy

Policies stating, “except where required by law,” 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 NARS Sold in China?

In June of 2017, NARS announced on their Instagram that they have decided to start selling their cosmetics in China. As a result, NARS must allow its cosmetics to be tested on animals upon registration in China.

View this post on Instagram

We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see: http://bit.ly/2rVjnwV

A post shared by NARS Cosmetics (@narsissist) on

“We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China.”

We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognised organisation at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world.”

Although NARS 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 NARS to be cruelty-free by our standards.

Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China because of its animal testing laws. Unfortunately, NARS refuses to do the same and therefore cannot be considered cruelty-free.

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 NARS 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 NARS) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

Because NARS 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.

Cruelty-Free Policies

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is NARS Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. NARS is owned by Shiseido, 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, NARS is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, Shiseido.

Is NARS Cruelty-Free?

To sum up, by choosing to sell in mainland China, NARS must have its products tested on animals. Therefore, we would NOT consider NARS to be a cruelty-free brand.

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

Is NARS Vegan?

NARS claims to offer one or more items labeled as “vegan formula,” but because NARS engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t classify anything sold or produced by NARS to be 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.

Below is a screenshot of what is currently stated on NARS’ website about their vegan status:

Is NARS Vegan?
Is Nars Vegan?

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to NARS

Looking for a cruelty-free makeup alternative to NARS? We recommend the following cruelty-free cosmetics brands:

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