Origins (Estee Lauder)

Last Updated: March 1, 2024

How Ethical Is Origins (Estee Lauder)?

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 Origins' ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

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

Origins (Estee Lauder)

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Is Origins Cruelty-Free?

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

Origins’ Animal Testing Policy

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

Origins recently updated the animal testing statement found on the FAQ of their website.

See below for a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Origins’ website:

To compare, see below for a screenshot (taken on June 11, 2022) of what Origins’ old animal testing statement used to say:

Origins Animal Testing Policy

Origins removed the part where they state that some countries where they sell their products require animal testing as part of their regulatory safety process.

Policies stating that some countries require animal testing 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 Origins Sold in China?

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

Below are a couple of screenshots of Origins store locator showing results in mainland China and their Chinese website:

Origins sold in China; required by law to test on animals and not cruelty-free.
Origins sold in China; required by law to test on animals

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

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is Origins Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. Origins is owned by Estee Lauder, 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, Origins is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Estee Lauder.

Does Origins Test on Animals?

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

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

Is Origins Vegan?

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

I also noticed Sephora listing some of Origins products in their “Vegan Skincare” category but note that Origins is NOT cruelty-free. Origins products are tested on animals.

I’m assuming Sephora is labeling products as “vegan” when they’re formulated without any animal ingredients or by-products. But “Vegan” Cosmetics should also consider whether the products or its ingredients were tested on animals, anywhere in the world.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives

Looking for a cruelty-free alternative to Origins? We recommend the following cruelty-free skincare brands:

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What do you think

25 thoughts on “Origins (Estee Lauder)”

  1. I am Christiane
    I am doing lots of research.. I am shocked to find out that the non cruelty products contain animals product…I don’t know what kind of lipstick to use anymore and I am allergy to scented one.. I am an animal defender and will not wear make up or color my hair…

    1. Hey Christiane! Great to hear from ya!
      Yes I know.. it may seem counter-intuitive that products labelled as ‘cruelty-free” can still contain animal products. If you’re looking for products that do not test on animals AND doesn’t contain any animal products.. you want to make sure you’re looking for BOTH “cruelty-free” AND “Vegan” products.

      You’ll be happy to know that there are several Cruelty-Free AND Vegan lipsticks available! I list 10 of them in this post here which you might find helpful!

      I’m not sure what you might be allergic to but maybe try the more natural lipsticks that I listed? Brands like 100% Pure, Pacifica, Gabriel, Au Naturale, Axiology use natural and non-toxic ingredients to make their lipsticks! Definitely email the brand if you have any questions about an ingredient and if its suitable for you! =)

      Thank you for choosing kinder products that do not harm animals, Christiane! =)

  2. Emilie Plambeck Pedersen


    I was wondering if the companies listed on PETA’S list of cruelty free companies are also vegan companies?
    Can companies on that list still have products that contain animal products??

    1. Hey Emilie!
      Generally speaking, not all of the companies listed on PETA’s cruelty-free database are vegan. It’s more of a list of companies they believe do not test on animals.

      They do have a separate designation for companies that don’t test on animals AND are also vegan (no animal products). If you’re looking at their online directory, those companies are identified with a “V” symbol next to their company name. And if you’re on the lookout for their bunny logo, it’ll say “cruelty-free and vegan”

      I have another post you can read more about the different cruelty-free certifications here >>

      Hope that was helpful information to you, Emilie!

  3. According to Tarte, they are vegan and cruelty free. I’ve been using their Amazon Clay full coverage foundation for several years. Can you confirm their status?

    Thank you for all you do!

    1. Yes! Tarte does NOT test on animals however, they are owned by a parent company (Kose), that DOES test on animals. Some cruelty-free consumers choose not to purchase from Tarte because they feel that they will be indirectly supporting and funding more animal tests done by the parent company, Kose. If you want to learn more about that, check out this post >>

      Tarte also has a bunch of vegan products that don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients but please note that NOT ALL of Tarte products are vegan as some contains beeswax, carmine, and other animal ingredients. They clearly label which of their products are vegan but you can also find a list here >>

      Hope that answers your question, Janet! =)

  4. Hey Vicky,
    I just read somewhere that Origin Cosmetics skin care products are vegan friendly except the lip balmbalm which has been wax in it. Can you please confirm that for me?? My only concern is vegan friendly products. Thanks

    1. Hey Farida,
      I have not inquired about Origins’ vegan products as they are NOT cruelty-free because they DO test on animals. I personally don’t bother to look into whether brands have vegan products if they don’t pass the cruelty-free verification stage of not testing on animals.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful in this case!

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