Paul Mitchell

Last Updated: May 21, 2021

Is Paul Mitchell Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

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 Paul Mitchell’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Paul Mitchell cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Paul Mitchell’s policies.
Paul Mitchell is cruelty-free. None of Paul Mitchell’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals, anywhere in the world.
Not all of Paul Mitchell’s products are vegan but they have some vegan options.
Paul Mitchell is committed to making their company operations “cleaner and greener” and also committed to plant one million trees by the end of 2022 in partnership with Reforest’Action.

Paul Mitchell also claims they’re committed to sustainable and ethical ingredient sourcing. Currently, they have a self-sustaining solar-powered, organic awapuhi farm in Haiwaii and their 100% pure Australian tea tree oil is sourced from Australian farms that are certified for ethical sourcing and harvesting practices.

In addition, Paul Mitchell’s headquarters in California uses energy from solar panels and their Clean Beauty product line was manufactured with 100% certified clean energy from renewable sources.
Paul Mitchell claims their mica is ethically-sourced without the use of child labor.
Paul Mitchell products come in plastic packaging but Paul Mitchell is committed to transitioning their packaging to contain an average of 75% post-consumer recycled plastic by 2025. Also, their new ‘Clean Beauty’ product line contains packaging that is 90% derived from sugarcane and is 100% recyclable. And their hair color tubes are made with up to 45% recycled aluminum and are 100% recyclable.

Nearly all of their paper materials like cardboard boxes and promotional packaging are FSC-certified and/or made from recycled materials or tree-free.

Additionally, Paul Mitchell offers a recycling program for their styling tools.

About Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell offers salon-quality hair products and styling tools.
COMPANY BASED IN: USA
PRODUCTS MADE IN: USA, hair tools made in China
PRODUCTS: Hair Care
CERTIFICATIONS: PETA-Certified

Paul Mitchell

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

You can find Paul Mitchell products on Amazon and Ulta.

Is Paul Mitchell Cruelty-Free?

Paul Mitchell is Cruelty-Free

Paul Mitchell has confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf. Their suppliers also do not test on animals, nor do they allow their products to be tested on animals when required by law.

By our standards, we would consider Paul Mitchell to be Cruelty-Free.

Below is a screenshot of Paul Mitchell’s official animal testing statement:

Paul Mitchell's animal testing policy

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

As of May 1, 2021, some imported ordinary cosmetics can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, for the most part, animal testing is still legally required for most imported cosmetics in 2021.

In 2017, Paul Mitchell started selling some of their Tea Tree products in China and claims they weren’t required to test on animals. But how did Paul Mitchell bypass China’s animal testing laws?

Here is what’s currently stated on Paul Mitchell’s website:

So I emailed and asked Paul Mitchell how they were able to sell some of their products in China without animal testing?

They explained to me that they’ve been trying to get China to approve and use the latest technology of reconstructed human tissue models as a scientific non-animal testing method for product safety.

As soon as China accepted this new non-animal test alternative, they allowed Paul Mitchell to test a selection of its products using this new method instead of normal animal testing. And that is how Paul Mitchell got approval to market some of their products in China without animal testing.

Here’s a snippet of the email response I received from Paul Mitchell:

“Thank you for your inquiry. In 2012, John Paul Mitchell Systems® partnered with an American company that is at the forefront of tissue engineering and is a world leader in the production of innovative 3D reconstructed human tissue models. Their innovative use of non-animal (in-vitro) testing had the powerful synergistic effect of lower costs and significantly improved product safety.  

John Paul Mitchell Systems® brought a group of respected scientists from China to work side by side and train with their team and, as a result, the China FDA accepted the impressive results and reproducibility of the non-animal test alternatives and agreed to test a small selection of products for approval without the normal animal testing required. Subsequently, we were granted approval to market a select offering of Paul Mitchell® and Tea Tree products in China—without animal testing.  
Due to the hard work and dedication of the team, and in compliance with local laws, John Paul Mitchell Systems® is now able to service hairstylists and guests in China while maintaining its core corporate value of zero animal testing. Thanks to years of research and diligence, John Paul DeJoria’s steadfast commitment to providing the finest-quality, cruelty-free professional products continues today.    

According to co-founder and Chairman of the Board John Paul DeJoria, “Since the Paul Mitchell brand was founded in 1980, we have always adhered to our strict no-animal testing policy and will continue to do so in the future. We are proud to be the first professional beauty company to announce that we don’t conduct or condone animal testing.” 

I then asked about the issue of post-market animal testing. Historically, Chinese officials would pull products off from store shelves and test them on animals. This was often done without the company’s knowledge or consent.

Paul Mitchell reassured their products are not subject to post-market animal tests in China and stated, “As long as the products are properly registered and shipped to approved outlets, they will not test.”

It’s from my understanding that Paul Mitchell is only offering a small selection of their approved products to specific outlets in China, specifically for use in hair salons or by hairstylists in China. Therefore these products are not required to be tested on animals.

Cruelty-Free Policies

Note that 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, and by any third parties.

Also, note that Cruelty-Free and Vegan don’t always mean the same thing.

Paul Mitchell is Not 100% Vegan

‘Vegan’ in cosmetics can refer to an entire brand that is 100% Vegan or a specific product is vegan.

In the case of Paul Mitchell, not all of their products are vegan. But they have some products that are suitable for vegans.

Paul Mitchell also claims they are committed to making 10 of 12 product lines 100% vegan by 2023.

How to know which of Paul Mitchell products are vegan?

All of Paul Mitchell’s vegan products are clearly marked on their website. See below for an example.

Paul Mitchell Vegan Products

Below is a list of Paul Mitchell products that are suitable for vegans and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

As of 2021, I will no longer be regularly updating this list of Paul Mitchell vegan products as all of their vegan products are now clearly marked. Check their website for the most up-to-date and accurate information on which products are vegan or not.

Shampoo – Paul Mitchell Vegan

Conditioner – Paul Mitchell Vegan

Hair + Scalp Treatments – Paul Mitchell Vegan

Hair Styling Products – Paul Mitchell Vegan

Skin Care + Body – Paul Mitchell Vegan

Hair Color – Paul Mitchell Vegan

  • All Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Color products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and are 100% vegan, including the color XG, The Demi, and The POP XG.

Vegan Policies

Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But it’s usually used in the context to describe something that doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.

Some common animal products used 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 it’s sometimes 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’ve chosen to use were from non-animal sources.

Ethical Mica Mining Policy

Mica is a mineral that’s 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 a company publicly addresses its mica mining policy, we have no way of knowing whether its mica is ethically sourced without child or forced labor.

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

“We use Mica in 2 products currently, Tea Tree Grooming Pomade and Invisiblewear Pump Me Up. Our Mica source is from Germany and are both ethical and safely sourced!”

Where are Paul Mitchell products made?

“Our styling tools are manufactured in China and our liquid lines are manufactured throughout the United States.”

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What do you think

0 thoughts on “Paul Mitchell”

    1. Hey Juliet! This is frustrating because Paul Mitchell doesn’t list their ingredients on their website so I’ve been having a hard time verifying whether this beeswax is synthetic or not because it clearly says it’s vegan on their website but at the same time the product description says “flexible beeswax adds pliability.”

      Hmm… I’ve removed the Flexible Spray Wax off this vegan list for the time-being. Thank you for letting me know!! =)

  1. Hi there. It is disappointing to find that beeswax is included. Have you discovered yet if there is indeed synthetic beeswax?

    Also trying to find which of their hair products are actually without beeswax. So tired of my grey and just impossible to get information from Paul Mitchell themselves. Hope you make a breakthrough!

  2. I checked Leaping Bunny and they don’t come up on the list. It also stated that they didn’t recommit to the program. Of course, this was last year, so maybe it’s different this year. I’m not sure if that means anything or not. Ugh. What to do? Also, as a recent convert to veganism, I want to thank you for all the time and effort you put in to this site. It’s been soooo helpful to me.

  3. Super strong condition has silk amino acids… derived from silk… from silkworms or moths. How is this product marketed and listed as vegan?

    1. Hey Rachel,
      Thanks for letting me know the Super Strong Conditioner by Paul Mitchell contains silk amino acids and it’s not vegan. I’ve removed it from this vegan list.

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