Shea Moisture (Unilever)

Last Updated: January 9, 2023

How Ethical Is Shea Moisture (Unilever)?

Supporting companies that share the same values and ethics to what matters most to us is how we can drive positive change in this world. Here’s a quick summary of SheaMoisture’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is SheaMoisture cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on SheaMoisture’s policies.
SheaMoisture is cruelty-free, but SheaMoisture is owned by Unilever, a parent company that is NOT cruelty-free.
Not all of SheaMoisture’s products are vegan but they have some vegan options.
SheaMoisture partners with women-led co-ops in Northern Ghana to source their fair trade shea butter.
SheaMoisture claims their mica is ethically-sourced without the use of child labor.
SheaMoisture products come in plastic packaging. Shea Moisture claims its bottles and jars are made of 25%-50% PCR resin (post-consumer recycled resin).

About Shea Moisture (Unilever)

SheaMoisture offers natural products made with certified organic Shea Butter, created by a healer and crafted with care.
PRODUCTS MADE IN: USA, unless otherwise noted
PRODUCTS: Hair Care, Bath & Body Care

Shea Moisture (Unilever)

This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Is Shea Moisture Cruelty-Free?

🐰 Shea Moisture is a *cruelty-free brand. None of Shea Moisture’s ingredients or products are tested on animals. Shea Moisture has met all the criteria in our Cruelty-Free Checklist and is included in our Cruelty-Free Directory.

Does SheaMoisture Test on Animals?

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

In our research, we discovered the following:

  • ✓ Shea Moisture confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf.
  • ✓ Shea Moisture confirmed all their ingredient suppliers do not test on animals
  • ✓ Shea Moisture confirmed they do not allow or sell their products under conditions where animal testing is required by law

By meeting all of our Cruelty-Free Criteria, Shea Moisture is a *cruelty-free brand by our standards.

*Shea Moisture is owned by Unilever, a corporation that is NOT cruelty-free because they allow some of their other brands to test on animals.

The decision is yours whether you want to support or boycott cruelty-free brands owned by a parent company that is not cruelty-free. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to this. Do what you’re comfortable with. I just thought it was important to disclose that Unilever owns Shea Moisture.

What is Shea Moisture’s Animal Testing Policy?

Below is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on Shea Moisture’s website about its animal testing policy:

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

Shea Moisture has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.

With the current changes to China’s animal testing laws, some cosmetics sold in China can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, without meeting those conditions, animal testing is still legally required for most cosmetics sold in China in 2023.

Is Shea Moisture Certified Cruelty-Free?

Shea Moisture is certified cruelty-free by PETA, but not Leaping Bunny certified.

Cruelty-Free Policies 2023

Just because a brand claims it is ‘Cruelty-Free,’ doesn’t always mean that’s the case.

That’s because there is no legal definition for the label ‘Cruelty-Free.’ It can mean different things to different people. But Cruelty-Free is generally used to imply no animal testing. More specifically, the ingredients, formulation, or finished product are not tested on animals at any stage of product development.

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 any third parties.

How We Assess Cruelty-Free Policies

Since 2015, the start of my blog, I’ve been emailing companies asking about their animal testing policies and cruelty-free commitments.

And based on the responses I receive from companies, I’ll research to find any supporting facts needed before concluding whether the brand should be classified as “Cruelty-Free,” “Animal-Tested,” or “Grey Area – Unclear Policies.”

☕️ 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! ❤️

What about Vegan?

Just because something is called Cruelty-Free, doesn’t always mean it’s Vegan. And vice versa.

Cruelty-Free only refers to no animal testing, while Vegan means formulated without animal products.

Some brands are Cruelty-Free, but not Vegan.

And some are Vegan, but not Cruelty-Free.

Another important distinction to know is, Vegan in cosmetics can refer to an entire brand is 100% Vegan or a specific product is Vegan.

Is Shea Moisture Vegan?

⭐️ Shea Moisture is NOT an entirely vegan brand. But Shea Moisture offers some vegan options that are free of animal products.

Below is the response I received from SheaMoisture when I asked if they had a list of their vegan products:

“Currently we do not have a list of products that do or do not contain a certain ingredient. We do have a list of what animal by-products are used in some of our products. Here is a list of those ingredients that are derived from animals. Please use this list to see if the product you are interested in is vegan or not: Beeswax, Collagen, Conchiolin Protein, Honey, Keratin, Lactose, Lanolin, Milk, Pearl Protein, Silk, Yogurt.”

How to know which of SheaMoisture products are vegan?

Currently, only four SheaMoisture products are marked as “Vegan” on their website.

  • 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Vegan Salve
  • 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Vegan Lip Butterstick
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Vegan Lip Butterstick
  • Fruit Fusion Vegan Lip Butterstick

Since SheaMoisture doesn’t label their Vegan products, I think the best way to figure out whether a SheaMoisture product is vegan or not is to check the ingredients and see if it contains any ingredients from the list they provided us with, which is: Beeswax, Collagen, Conchiolin Protein, Honey, Keratin, Lactose, Lanolin, Milk, Pearl Protein, Silk, Yogurt.

Where to buy Shea Moisture? Check out Ulta, Target, Walmart, and on Amazon!

Vegan Policies

Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But Vegan is generally used to mean formulated without animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.

Some common animal products in cosmetics include carmine, lanolin, snail mucus, beeswax, honey, pearl or silk-derived ingredients, animal-based glycerin, keratin, and squalene.

There are plant-based and synthetic alternatives to animal-derived ingredients. But unless a brand explicitly labels its ingredients or product as Vegan, it’s often difficult to know with certainty whether a product is vegan just by reading the ingredient list.

So it’s best to ask the company and manufacturers to ensure the ingredients they chose were from non-animal sources.

Where are Shea Moisture products made?

“Unless otherwise stated specifically on the label, all of our products sold in the U.S. are manufactured in the United States.

The statement found on some of our packaging “Product of (Country)” is not a statement of where the raw material is from, but rather a statement of where the product is processed.”

Ethical Mica Mining Policy

Mica is a mineral used in cosmetics to add a shimmery effect. But the mining of natural mica has been linked to child labor and human rights violations.

Unless the company discloses its mica mining policy, we have no way of knowing whether its mica is ethically sourced without child or forced labor.

So I asked SheaMoisture if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,

“We appreciate the opportunity to respond. We have Mica only in our cosmetics products and are sourced from a mine in Hartwell, GA (USA). Our supplier, a responsibly and sustainably operating company, is a founding member of the UN Global Compact that condemns all forms of child labor.”

I hope this article helped you to understand SheaMoisture’s cruelty-free and vegan status and by choosing cruelty-free together, we can help end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all!

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What do you think

6 thoughts on “Shea Moisture (Unilever)”

  1. Do you have any information regarding palm oil involvement. Incredible blog by the way! So informative and well researched.

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