If you really love Estee Lauder products and living an ethical life you are not going to like what we found out.
We’ll show you why, along with several questionable disclosure gaps in Clinique’s animal testing policy.
We’ll also show you how to resolve this dilemma with the best Clinique cruelty free alternatives.
… so let’s dive in.
is clinique cruelty free?
Estee Lauder owns Clinique and is also a company that tests on animals.
Does Clinique test on animals?
Yes, Clinique does test on animals. Clinique is clear in their animal testing policy – they do test on animals where required by law.
…But is the testing more wide-spread?
What’s not so clear is if ingredients are tested on animals. How they phrase the Clinique animal testing policy does not answer this question.
…this is were it gets interesting… but before we dive into this issue let’s explore their actual testing policy.
Clinique animal testing policy
This is the spot where many brands start to confuse consumers with the omission of key facts.
Even though Clinique as a brand may not test on animals… they don’t actually disclose if their ingredients are tested on animals by suppliers.
BTW… in case you didn’t know… most animal testing actually occurs on ingredients and not the finished products… so this is an important part of the disclosure.
…So avoiding this part of the disclosure is slippery to say the least, and does not provide a complete answer on animal testing.
More on this in a bit… first we need to talk about testing in China.
Does Clinique sell in China?
Yes, Clinique does sell in China and has many locations across Mainland China. Brands that sell in mainland China are subject to animal testing laws which require their products to test on animals.
As you can see from the Clinique China website, they have many stores across mainland China.
The lure of profits from the large Chinese market are too great to resist, and Clinique is willing to allow testing of their products to sell into China. China is one of their fastest and largest growing consumer market.
Clinque is also sold in China by Sephora:
Do Clinique’s Ingredient Suppliers Test on Animals?
So… the next step in our investigation dives into Clinique’s ingredient testing policies.
What we really want to know is if any animal testing happens on their ingredients…
Does their animal testing policy prohibit testing on raw materials?
Does their animal testing policy prohibit the testing of ingredients?
Here is what we found on supplier testing
What we discovered is Clinique does not fully disclose if animal testing happens on their ingredients or raw materials provided by suppliers.
This part of Clinique’s animal testing policy leaves the door open for using ingredients tested on animals by suppliers:
“We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. We evaluate our finished products in clinical tests on volunteer panels.” – Clinique website
Not asking others to test is not the same as assuring your products and ingredients are not tested on animals (by anyone).
We would like to see Clinique disclose if any 3rd parties test on their ingredients.
…Is this really too much to ask?
We have asked Clinique to clarify this disclosure, but have not yet received a clear response.
Many cruelty free brands now choose to take an ethical stand and not test on animals anywhere in their supply chain.
Unfortunately, Clinique is not a brand that has committed 100% to eliminating all animal testing across their supply chain, or alternatively, providing more specific disclosure on this controversial topic.
Is Clinique Vegan Friendly?
Clinique is not vegan. They do not provide vegan labelling on products, nor are they certified as vegan with either Leaping Bunny or Peta. It is likely some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients, as these are often less expensive to source as cosmetic ingredients.
It’s safe to assume that if a brand has not declared vegan status they allow the use of animal-derived ingredients in their formulations. Most brands are not vegan because it’s much more expensive to source and manage vegan raw materials through supply chains.
Common animal-derived ingredients in cosmetics
Ingredients that are often sourced from animals include:
- Hyaluronic Acid – often found in serums and moisturizers
- Retinol – found in some night creams
- Carmine – often found in blush and lipstick
- Stearic Acid – found in skin creams
- Glycerin – a humectant found in many moisturizers
- Lanolin – in some moisturizers
- Lactic Acid – found in some Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
- Beeswax – often found in lipstick and lip balms
- Animal hair – used in makeup brushes
- Guanine – can be used in nail polish and eye shadow
- Keratin – in hair and nail products
- Squalene – in moisturizers, eye creams and facial oils
The bottom line with vegan cosmetics is you can’t tell from the ingredient list if it’s really vegan. As shoppers we can only rely on vegan labelling, 3rd party certifications, and other disclosures offered by the brand.
So how do we tell if any Clinique product is vegan?
The advise we give is simple…. If a product is not advertised or labelled as 100% vegan – assume it is not and may contains animal-derived ingredients.
Truth in advertising laws and product labelling laws exist to protect shoppers from misleading claims. If a brand labels and advertises a product as vegan, it is likely they have invested considerable resources to ensure their ingredient supply chain is vegan, otherwise they could face regulatory and legal risks.
You’ll also want to understand if the entire brand is vegan… or just select products.
For ethical reasons many people only use vegan products from a brand that is 100% vegan and free of animal ingredients.
Who owns Clinique?
Clinique is a large cosmetics brand owned by Estée Lauder who is a large cosmetics conglomerate. Estée Lauder is not cruelty-free.
Estée Lauder owns more than 25 other popular cosmetic brands such as Too Faced Cosmetics, Smashbox, Origins, Glam Glow, La Mer, Becca, Bobbie Brown, MAC, and Aveda.
Estée Lauder admits they test on animals. Their Product Values Report states “our brands are sold in countries where animal testing is required by law”.
More Clinique Cruelty-Free FAQS
Is Clinique Paraben Free?
Yes, Clinique is now free from parabens, phthalates and fragrance and is marketed with the tag line “No parabens. No phthalates. No fragrance. Just happy skin.”
Is Clinique Made in China?
No, Clinique and Estee Lauder (parent company) make their formulations in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada
Is Clinique cruelty free in the US?
No, as they do not verify if ingredient suppliers test on animals.
Is clinique on Peta’s Cruelty Free List?
No, Clinique has not certified with Peta as either cruelty-free or vegan.
Is Clinique on Leaping Bunny Approved cruelty-free list?
No, Clinique has not certified with Leaping Bunny as either cruelty-free or vegan.
Is Clinique Animal Friendly?
No, Clinique is not animal friendly as it tests on animals in China and uses animal-derived ingredients in its formulations.
Is Clinique Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
No, Clinique is not cruelty-free or vegan because it tests on animals in China, uses animal-derived ingredients, and does not label products as vegan.
So, Is Clinique cruelty-free?
Here is a summary of Clinique’s cruelty-free assessment. Clinique is not a cruelty-free brand at this time. To become cruelty-free Clinique would have to stop selling in countries that require animal testing and only use ingredients from suppliers that do not test on animals.
|Tests finished products on animals?||Yes, when required by law|
|Tests ingredients on animals?||Unclear|
|Suppliers test on animals?||Unclear|
|Leaping Bunny Certified?||No|
|Uses animal-derived ingredients?||Likely|
|Sold in Mainland China?||Yes|
|Parent company?||Estee Lauder|
|Are all parent company brands cruelty-free?||No|
Why we don’t consider Clinique a cruelty-free brand
To start with, there is no legal definition for the claims of “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” that are used by cosmetic brands.
The most common definition for “cruelty-free” is that a product or its ingredients were not tested on animals.
Where this gets murky is when brands only talk about their direct testing activities, and omit facts about 3rd party animal testing that may take place on their products or ingredients.
We don’t consider Clinique to be cruelty-free because they test on animals in China. They are also silent on ingredient testing by others in their animal testing disclosure.
Our Cruelty-Free Standard
At Beauty + Kind our standard for “cruelty-free” and “not tested on animals” is very simple. We require brand disclosure that no animal testing has occurred during any part of bringing their product to market by any party. This includes testing on raw materials, ingredients, finished products or selling in countries where animal testing is required by law.Beauty + Kind
CLinique Cruelty-Free and vegan Alternatives
If your looking to switch to more ethical brands, here are some cruelty-free and vegan options to consider:
Certified Cruelty Free
Take the guess work out of it and browse the ultimate list of cruelty free makeup and skin care brands.
Easily find brands that certify they don’t use animal-derived ingredients on the list of vegan makeup and skin care brands.
Learn more about brands using natural formulations on the ultimate list of natural makeup and skin care brands.
Discover brands focused on botanicals and organics on the ultimate list of organic makeup and skin care brands.
DIY Clean Beauty
Have some fun creating clean beauty formulations from the ultimate list of DIY makeup and skin care recipes.
Should You switch to kinder beauty brands?
Our philosophy and Beauty + Kind is that TRUE CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY means that no harm to animals has happened during the entire manufacturing and testing process. This includes the source and harvest of ingredients, ingredient testing, and testing of the final product.
Unfortunately Clinique does not meet our Beauty + Kind standards due to their China animal testing and lack of vegan formulations.
How to make the Switch to Animal-Friendly Brands
Making the switch is easier than you think once you have the right information. If you want to switch to more ethical and animal-friendly beauty brands check out the ultimate list of vegan and cruelty-free brands.