OPI (Wella)

Last Updated: March 6, 2024

How Ethical Is OPI (Wella)?

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 OPI’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

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

OPI (Wella)

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Is OPI Cruelty-Free?

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

OPI’s Animal Testing Policy

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

However, I couldn’t find OPI’s official animal testing policy anywhere on its website.

So I reached out to OPI to ask for more information about their animal testing policy. More specifically, I wanted to know if they commission or allow others to test their products/ingredients on animals, including when selling in countries that require animal testing (like in mainland China).

OPI responded by saying:

“Thank you for your inquiry. At Wella Company, we do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing across our industry.

All our products are safe and have been developed, manufactured and packaged in compliance with the laws, regulations and guidelines applicable in each country in which they are sold.

Wella Company’s human safety experts review our ingredients, as well as the finished products, by applying the best science, based on the use of recognized alternatives to animal testing, existing safety data and the sharing of such data with other parties and industries.

Some governments or agencies stipulate the testing of finished products on animals in accordance with local legal and regulatory requirements. An example is China, where we continue to be involved in the dialogue with the Chinese authorities, including through our active membership of industry groups, to find alternatives to their use of animal testing.

We have also recently come out with our OPI Nature Strong, our first natural origin vegan nail lacquer. To find out more go to the following link. https://www.opi.com/shop-products/nail-polish-powders/natural-origin-nail-polish”

Based on their response, it turns out that Wella owns OPI. And OPI has the same animal testing policy as Wella, where both state they don’t test their products on animals but then state China’s animal testing regulations.

Policies stating China’s animal testing laws 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 OPI Sold in China?

In my research, I discovered that OPI products are indeed sold in stores in mainland China.

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 OPI 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 OPI) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is OPI Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. OPI is owned by Wella, 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, OPI is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Wella.

Does OPI Test on Animals?

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

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

Is OPI Vegan?

OPI is NOT vegan. OPI claims its “Nature Strong” nail polish collection is “vegan” and is free from animal-derived ingredients, but OPI engages in animal testing in some capacity, so we wouldn’t consider any OPI products vegan at this time.

The following is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on OPI’s Nature Strong product page:

OPI claims its Nature Strong products are both “cruelty-free” and “vegan.” OPI also states their Nature Strong collection is not sold in countries that require animal testing (like China). These products produced by OPI may not have been tested on animals, but OPI, the brand itself, isn’t cruelty-free as they allow some of their other products to be tested on animals.

When considering whether a brand is truly cruelty-free, we assess its entire supply chain and all of its products. Making sure that the brand does not conduct or condone animal testing on any of its products or ingredients, and not just a collection of products.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to OPI

Looking to switch to cruelty-free products? Here are some cruelty-free brands to check out:

And check out our guide to Cruelty-Free & Vegan Nail Polish Brands!

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