is kiehls cruelty free

Is Kiehl’s Cruelty-Free?

Does Kiehl’s test on animals or sell in China?

Kiehl’s is a high-end skincare brand that can be found in malls around the world. But is Kiehl’s cruelty-free or do they test their products on animals?

For a company to be considered cruelty-free they have to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Do not test any of their products or ingredients on animals
  • Don’t allow others to test on their behalf 
  • Do not sell in a country where animal testing is required. 

After doing a bit of research, I found that Kiehl’s doesn’t meet the above cruelty-free requirements and is not considered to be a cruelty-free skincare brand. 

Let’s look into what all of that really means and what you can do about it.

Is Kiehl’s Certified Cruelty-Free?

When researching a brand’s cruelty-free status my first stop is the certified cruelty-free list. There are three organizations that give official certifications to brands around the world; Leaping Bunny, Peta, and Choose Cruelty-Free.

Kiehl’s is not found on any of these organizations’ cruelty-free lists. However, they are found on Peta’s list of brands to avoid

kiehls peta avoid list

Does Kiehl’s Test on Animals?

The next step in my research is going directly to the company’s animal testing policy to see where they stand. Kiehl’s policy can be found in the FAQ section of their website. Here is what it states:

“Our consumers’ health and safety have always been an absolute priority for L’Oréal. As is the support of animal welfare.

L’Oréal has developed a very rigorous safety evaluation procedure of its products, backed by research. Well before the question of animal testing was raised by civil society or within a regulatory framework, L’Oréal has been committed to new methods of assessing safety that don’t involve animals. A true pioneer, L’Oréal has been reconstructing human skin models in laboratories to elaborate in vitro safety tests since 1979, as an alternative to animals. In 1989, L’Oréal completely ceased testing its products on animals, thus 14 years before the regulation required so. Today, L’Oréal no longer tests its ingredients on animals and no longer tolerates any exception to this rule.

Certain health authorities may nevertheless decide to conduct animal tests themselves for certain cosmetic products, as it is still the case in China. L’Oréal has been the most active company working alongside the Chinese authorities and scientists for over 10 years to have alternative testing methods recognized, and permit the cosmetic regulation to evolve towards a total and definite elimination of animal testing. Thanks to this, since 2014, certain products manufactured and sold in China like shampoo, body wash or make-up are no longer tested on animals.”

kiehls animal testing policy

Kiehl’s follows the policies of their parent company, L’Oreal. So the animal testing statement is the same. It states that they do not test on animals and don’t tolerate exceptions. However, they choose to sell in China where animal testing is a requirement. Therefore, Kiehl’s does allow animal testing on their products. 

Is Kiehl’s Sold in China?

Yes, Kiehl’s does sell in China. After doing a quick Google search I was able to locate Kiehl’s Chinese website. A brand doesn’t create a website for another country unless they are serving those customers. I’ve included an image of the website below. 

kiehls chinese website

What About China’s New Animal Testing Laws?

China has announced that as of May 1, 2021, general cosmetics such as shampoo, body wash, lipstick, lotion, and makeup can be sold without being tested on animals. However, a company is required to jump through various hoops for this to happen. As of now, Kiehl’s has not been exempt and their products can still be tested on animals by the Chinese health authority. Even if an exemption happens it is still possible that the products can be subjected to post-market testing

Is Kiehl’s Owned By a Parent Company?

Yes, Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oreal, a company that tests on animals. You can view a full list of brands that L’Oreal owns to see which other companies you should avoid. 

Is Kiehl’s Vegan?

Kiehl’s is not considered to be vegan because they test their products or ingredients on animals or allow others to do so on their behalf. So, until this changes, we choose not to look into whether they may or may not have products that don’t contain animal ingredients. 

What are Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Kiehl’s?

There are several cruelty-free skincare alternatives to Kiehl’s. Check out the list below:

Wrap Up: Is Kiehl’s Cruelty-Free?

No, Kiehl’s is not a cruelty-free skincare brand. Even though they claim to not test on animals, they choose to sell in a country that requires imported cosmetics to be tested on animals.

Therefore, Kiehl’s is not considered to be cruelty-free. They will be added to my list of brands that test on animals

Now I’d like to hear from you…What are your thoughts about Kiehl’s? Please leave your comments below!

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is kiehls cruelty-free

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  1. Judy Wyatt Trickey says:

    This product needs to have publication that it does not meet the criteria to be “Cruelty Free”. In reading their history and all their good works: sustainability, packaging, charities, etc. etc. People get lulled to sleep thinking they Must be “Cruelty Free” too~!!! Thank you for your work and for helping educate the public.

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