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theBalm is Cruelty-Free
theBalm 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 theBalm to be Cruelty-Free.
What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?
theBalm has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.
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 2022.
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, or any third parties.
Also, note that Cruelty-Free and Vegan don’t always mean the same thing.
theBalm 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 theBalm, not all of their products are vegan. But they have some products that are suitable for vegans.
The following is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on theBalm’s website about its vegan claims:
Which of theBalm Products is Vegan?
Below is a list of theBalm products that are suitable for vegans and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
Face – theBalm Vegan
- Bahama Mama Bronzer
- BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer
- Bonnie-Lou Manizer Highlight & Shadow
- Even Steven Whipped Foundation
- Mary-Lou Manizer
- Sexy Mama Anti-Shine Translucent Powder
- Stainiac Lip and Cheek Stain
- Take Home The Bronze
- timeBalm Face Primer
Eyes – theBalm Vegan
- Cheater! Black Mascara
- Furrowcious! Brow Pencil
- Mad Lash Mascara
- Meet Matt(e) Ador. Eyeshadow Palette
- Overshadows Mineral Eyeshadow
- Put A Lid On It Eyelid Primer
- Schwing Black Liquid Eyeliner
- SCUBA Water Resistant Black Mascara
- SmokeBalm Vol. 4 Eyeshadow Palette
- What’s Your Type? Mascara – The Body Builder
Lips – theBalm Vegan
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.
Where are theBalm’s products made?
I asked the Balm where their products are manufactured and they told me:
“Thanks for contacting theBalm! We are lucky enough to have partners all over the world who can meet our standards. We are committed to creating the highest quality products you know and love. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know.”
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 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 theBalm if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,
“Our lab’s vendors undergo routine audits to ensure that their mica is ethically sourced, and that child labor is not used in any stage of the process. It is sourced from different locations but regardless of origin, the raw vendors have strict guidelines they must adhere to.”
I hope this article helped you to understand theBalm’s cruelty-free and vegan status and by choosing cruelty-free together, we can help end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all!