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.

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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 love this sight, but am not taken in by ANY company that has any excuse for testing on animals EVER!! What, you do not make enough millions selling in countries who are more aware and understand that testing on animals has no relevance. This is why our world does not improve…you have to actually care….

  2. Hi Vicky,

    I am shocked that origins is not cruelty free. I love the face cream with SPF.

    Do you have a recommendation for a cream similar to the origins products and with SPF?

    Where would I get it?

  3. I love the Origins Plantscriptions line, but now after learning they aren’t cruetly free, would like an alternative. Any suggestions? Thank you!

  4. Thanks for the information. I can’t believe that anything is tested on animals in this day and age. I can’t imagine the ethics behind the person who actually does it. It’s easy to be ignorant when you are not in front of it, even as a company. I just don’t understand how an ‘ethical’ company would sell in a place where they know unethical things are happening.

  5. I don’t really know Origins brand. I remember once a girl from Denmark gave me some products of this company. I didn’t know it was owned by Estee lauder and back then knew anything about vegan /cruelty free products. Now it will be blacklisted permanently, the products I used weren’t worthy anyway.

    This site seems very accurate and trustworthy. I will save it for product research.

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