Last Updated: March 1, 2024

How Ethical Is SK-II (P&G)?

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 SK-II’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

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

SK-II is also owned by P&G, a parent corporation that does engage in animal testing.
Yes, SK-II sells its products in stores in mainland China under conditions where animal testing is still legally required.
SK-II does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since SK-II engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t consider anything sold or produced by SK-II to be vegan anyways.


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SK-II is NOT Cruelty-Free!

SK-II allows its products or ingredients to be tested on animals when required by law including when selling in stores in mainland China.

In addition, SK-II is owned by Procter & Gamble (P&G), a parent company that is NOT cruelty-free.

SK-II’s Animal Testing Policy

While researching to learn more about SK-II’s cruelty-free status, I couldn’t find the brand’s official animal testing policy anywhere on its website.

So I reached out to SK-II 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).

Unfortunately, SK-II never responded to any of my emails. This definitely raises some red flags.

SK-II is owned by Procter & Gamble and P&G allows some of its other brands to test on animals when required by law (like when selling in China). So, I wanted to see if SK-II is also selling in China where their products will be required to be tested on animals by Chinese authorities too.

Is SK-II Sold in China?

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

Below is a screenshot of SK-II store locator showing results in mainland China:

SK-II Sold in China; Cannot Be Cruelty-Free

But Doesn’t China No Longer Tests on Animals?

Companies can bypass China’s pre-market animal testing by choosing to manufacture their ordinary or general cosmetics in China, but it’s not stated anywhere that SK-II has taken this route.

Additionally, the possibility of post-market animal testing is not completely ruled out and may be conducted on some cosmetics sold in physical stores in China.

As of May 1, 2021, cosmetic companies can also export and sell their ordinary or general cosmetics in China without animal testing only if they meet a set of preconditions first. However, meeting these conditions has proven difficult, and it’s still unclear what exactly is accepted according to the new regulations. So there’s no word yet of any company that has successfully done so.

Follow the highlighted lines in the graphic below to see why most cosmetics sold in China (like SK-II) are still required by law to be tested on animals in 2022.

Because SK-II 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 2022.

Although SK-II may not be conducting these animal tests themselves, they knowingly allow Chinese authorities to test their products on animals to sell in China.

For those reasons, we would not consider SK-II to be cruelty-free by our standards.

Cruelty-Free Policies

Many truly cruelty-free brands have chosen not to sell their products in China because of its animal testing laws. Unfortunately, SK-II 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, and by any third parties, including when required by law.

See below for our complete cruelty-free checklist. Since SK-II already does not meet the last two, we cannot classify the brand as being cruelty-free.

Complete Cruelty-Free Checklist

Is SK-II Certified Cruelty-Free?

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

Because SK-II is not certified cruelty-free by a third party, no one is looking into or substantiating SK-II’s cruelty-free commitments and claims.

Is SK-II Owned By A Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company?

Yes. SK-II is owned by P&G, a parent corporation that still engages in animal testing in 2022.

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, SK-II is NOT cruelty-free and neither is its parent corporation, P&G.

Is SK-II Cruelty-Free?

To sum up, by choosing to sell in mainland China, SK-II must have its products tested on animals. Therefore, we would NOT consider SK-II to be a cruelty-free brand.

Currently, SK-II is on our List of Brands to Avoid – Animal Tested.

Is SK-II Vegan?

SK-II does not claim or market itself to offer any vegan-friendly options. And since SK-II engages in animal testing, we wouldn’t consider anything sold or produced by SK-II to be 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.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives:

Looking for a cruelty-free option to SK-II, below are some of our favourite cruelty-free brands

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What do you think

1 thought on “SK-II (P&G)”

  1. It’s pointless to support cruelty free Brand’s whose parent companies are big conglomerates that sell in China. Shiseido, L’Oreal and P&G (who owns SK-II by the way) all sell in China. So that means they all do animal testing.

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