Paula’s Choice (Unilever)

Last Updated: June 14, 2021

Is Paula’s Choice (Unilever) 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 Paula’s Choice’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is Paula’s Choice cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on Paula’s Choice’s policies.
Paula’s Choice is cruelty-free. But it was recently announced that Paula’s Choice will be acquired by Unilever, a parent company that is NOT cruelty-free.
Not all of Paula’s Choice’s products are vegan but they have some vegan options.
Paula’s Choice plants trees to offset all employees’ air travel carbon emissions. Their office is in an LEED-certified building. And Paula’s Choice opts for ingredients from sustainable sources whenever possible, like their palm oil is sourced from renewable farmer lands which are certified RSPO. And they strive to ensure they aren’t using ingredients derived from threatened plant species.

Paula Choice also states they’re committed to working to reduce their use of plastic and so far, they’ve eliminated all outer cartons except where needed.
Paula’s Choice claims their mica is ethically-sourced without the use of child labor.
Paula’s Choice products come in recyclable plastic packaging and they offer a recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle. Their shipping materials are also recyclable.

About Paula’s Choice (Unilever)

Paula’s Choice offers effective, research-based skin care that is fragrance-free and non-irritating.
COMPANY BASED IN: USA
PRODUCTS MADE IN: USA
PRODUCTS: Skincare, Bath & Body Care
CERTIFICATIONS: Leaping Bunny, Cruelty Free International, PETA-Certified

Paula’s Choice (Unilever)

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

You can find Paula’s Choice products at paulaschoice.com, Nordstrom, and on Amazon.

Paula’s Choice is *Cruelty-Free

Paula’s Choice 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. And finally, their products are not sold in stores in mainland China or any other country that may require animal testing.

By our standards, we would consider Paula’s Choice to be *Cruelty-Free.

Important Update! In a press release, Unilever announced they will be acquiring Paula’s Choice.

*Paula’s Choice will soon be owned by Unilever, a corporation that is NOT cruelty-free because they allow some of their other brands to test on animals.

It’s your choice 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. I encourage you to do what you’re comfortable with, but I think it’s important to disclose that Unilever will own Paula’s Choice.

Below is what’s currently stated on Paula’s Choice’s website:

Paula’s Choice Cruelty-Free Claims

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.

But Paula’s Choice has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test 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.

Paula’s Choice 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 Paula’s Choice, not all of their products are vegan. But they have some products that are suitable for vegans.

Below is what’s currently stated on Paula’s Choice’s website:

Paula’s Choice’s Vegan Claims

How to know which of Paula’s Choice products are vegan?

Paula’s Choice keeps an up-to-date list of their non-vegan products which you can reference here.


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 Paula’s Choice if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,

“The following Paula’s Choice products contain mica:

On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30
25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel
Anti-Aging Lip Gloss SPF 40

We get our mica from two different manufacturers who are both members of the Responsible Mica Initiative. Audits are completed to ensure manufacturers remain compliant.”

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