Last Updated: March 4, 2024

How Ethical Is SENSAI (Kao)?

SENSAI is NOT cruelty-free in 2023. SENSAI allows its products to be tested on animals when required by law. We also wouldn’t consider any SENSAI products vegan at this time.

Ethical Analysis

Is SENSAI cruelty-free or vegan? We’ve got the answers here! Read below to learn more about SENSAI’s policies.
SENSAI is NOT Cruelty-Free. SENSAI engages in animal testing by allowing its products to be animal-tested.
Yes, SENSAI sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
SENSAI does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since SENSAI engages in animal testing in some capacity, we wouldn’t consider any SENSAI products vegan anyways.


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Is SENSAI Cruelty-Free?

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

SENSAI’s Animal Testing Policy

When asking, does SENSAI test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of SENSAI’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 SENSAI’s animal testing statement anywhere on its website.

So I reached out to SENSAI to ask for more information. More specifically, I wanted to know if they commission or allow others to test, not just their finished products but their ingredients on animals, including when selling in countries that require animal testing (like mainland China).

And they responded by saying,

Thank you for your e-mail and your interest in our SENSAI products.

Regarding your questions about animal testing, please find the Kao statement, where we belong to, below.

Additionally, we are also selling SENSAI products in China and our products are not vegan since they contain silk extract.”

Based on their response, SENSAI has the same animal testing policy as Kao, where both state they make an exception to allow their products to be tested on animals when required to do so by government agencies in particular countries.

Is SENSAI Sold in China?

SENSAI also confirmed they sell their products in China, where some cosmetics sold in stores in mainland China are required by law to be tested 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 SENSAI 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 SENSAI) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2023.

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

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is SENSAI Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

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

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

Yes. SENSAI is owned by Kao, 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, SENSAI is NOT cruelty-free, and neither is its parent corporation, Kao.

Does SENSAI Test on Animals?

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

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

Is SENSAI Vegan?

SENSAI is NOT vegan. SENSAI does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since SENSAI engages in animal testing in some capacity, we wouldn’t consider any SENSAI products 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.

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