If you love Dove products and living a cruelty free life you now face a dilemma.
Using and supporting Dove skin care is technically aligned with an ethical lifestyle… BUT with one major caveat that might want to make you switch today…
We’ll show you why we consider Dove to be essentially Cruelty Free, but and also point out one major concern in their animal testing disclosure you’ll need to consider and monitor overtime if you want to only use cruelty free makeup brands.
… so let’s dive in.
is Dove cruelty free?
Unilever owns Dove and is a company that does test on animals.
Does Dove test on animals?
No, Dove does not test on animals directly themselves as a brand… however do expose their products to post-market testing by regulators in China by selling in Mainland China.
…this part gets more controversial when you consider their disclosure… but before we dive into this issue – let’s explore their actual testing policy.
Dove animal testing policy
So what is the big deal? … to unravel this we first we need to talk about post-market testing in China.
Does Dove sell in China?
Yes, Dove currently sells its products in Mainland China and we believe they are being silent on the fact their product sales in Mainland China expose their brand to random Post-Market animal testing.
Chinese regulators have the power to randomly select cosmetics sold in Mainland China for post market surveillance testing which may involve testing on animals. Without a change in Chinese legislation it is impossible for Dove to state with certainly that no animal testing happens on their products. The only way to state this with certainty would be to cease all direct product sales inside Mainland China.
Dove’s disclosure is conveniently silent on this issue
“Dove has enacted a policy prohibiting any animal tests anywhere in the world: no projects are approved internally if they were to result in a requirement for animal testing of Dove products or ingredients anywhere.
In order to achieve this milestone, Dove has made key decisions on how and what products it sells in countries where animal testing may still be a mandatory requirement, such as China. All new products Dove will launch in China in the future will not be subject to animal testing by Chinese authorities.”
The second issue we have with Doves’ disclosure is the emphasis only on new products, without reference to existing products.
Does Dove Certify as Cruelty Free?
Yes! Dove is certified with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as cruelty free.
…so what’s that catch?
PETA certification requires a brand to provide a Statement of Assurance attesting that it “does not and shall not conduct, commission, or pay for animal testing of any cosmetics and/or household products, nor will it conduct, commission, or pay for animal testing of ingredients used in, or formulations of, such products…. including, without limitation, formulations and ingredients of such products”
Does Dove Certify with Leaping Bunny?
No! Dove is not certified with Leaping Bunny as cruelty free which is the gold standard of cruelty-free certification. We believe the reason they have not certified with Leaping Bunny is because they cannot certify to Item 4 in the following Leaping Bunny Statement of Assurance:
Leaping Bunny certification requires a brand to provide a Statement of Assurance attesting that:
- “The Company does not and shall not conduct, Commission, or be a party to Animal Testing of any Cosmetic and/or Household Products including, without limitation, formulations and Ingredients of such products.
- The Company does not and shall not purchase any Ingredient, formulation, or product from any Third Party Manufacturer or Supplier that conducted, Commissioned, or had been party to Animal Testing on said Ingredient, formulation, or product after the Company’s Fixed Cut-off Date. If a formulation, Ingredient, or product is found not to comply with the Standard, the Company will replace it with an alternative that complies with the Standard’s criteria or remove it from the product range.
- The Company must implement a Supplier Monitoring System.
- The Company shall not allow Animal Testing to be performed by or for submission to regulatory agencies in foreign countries.”
…post-market surveillance animal testing might be the reason why we see no Leaping Bunny certification.
Do Dove’s Ingredient Suppliers Test on Animals?
So… the next step in our investigation dives into Dove’s ingredient testing policies.
BTW… in case you didn’t know… most animal testing occurs at the ingredient level, and not the product level.
What we really want to know is if any animal testing happens on Dove ingredients…
Does the Dove animal testing policy prohibit the testing of ingredients and raw materials on animals?
Here is what we found on supplier ingredient testing
What we discovered is Dove is committed to not testing on ingredients and also prohibiting suppliers from testing on ingredients:
“We do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing. Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new approaches that can guarantee the ingredients we use in our products are safe without any need for animal testing.”
So what disclosure is missing?
We would like to see Dove clearly disclose their exposure to post-market surveillance testing in Mainland China.
Is Dove Vegan Friendly?
It’s safe to assume that they allow the use of animal-derived ingredients in their formulations as Dove is silent on the issue of vegan ingredients. Most brands are not vegan because it’s much more expensive to source and manage vegan raw materials through supply chains.
Dove is not vegan. They do not provide vegan labelling on products, nor are they certified as vegan with either Leaping Bunny or Peta, and nor do they claim to be vegan. It is likely some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients, as these are often less expensive to source as cosmetic ingredients.
Common animal-derived ingredients
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 it’s really difficult to tell from the ingredient list if the source is animal or synthetic versions. As shoppers we can only rely on vegan labelling, certification and other disclosures offered by the brand.
Without Dove identifying which ingredients are animal-derived it is difficult to tell which products are not vegan.
Our Vegan Cosmetics Shopping Advice
If a product is not advertised and labelled as 100% vegan you should assume it contains animal-derived ingredients.
For ethical reasons many people only use vegan products from a brand that is 100% vegan and free of animal ingredients.
Who owns Dove?
Dove is a large cosmetics brand owned by Unilever who is a large cosmetics conglomerate. Unilever is not cruelty-free.
Several Unilever brands are silent on their cruelty-free status and do not certify with either PETA or Leaping Bunny as cruelty free.
More Dove Cruelty-Free FAQS
Is Dove Made in China?
Yes, some of Dove’s products sold in China are manufactured in China.
Is Dove cruelty free in the US?
Yes, Dove does not test on animals in the US.
Is Dove on Peta’s Cruelty Free List?
Yes, Dove has certified with Peta as cruelty-free.
Is Dove on Leaping Bunny Approved cruelty-free list?
No, Dove has not certified with Leaping Bunny as either cruelty-free or vegan.
Is Dove Animal Friendly?
No, Doves is not animal friendly as it uses animal-derived ingredients in its formulations and is exposed to animal testing risks in China.
Is Dove Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
No, Dove is cruelty-free, but not vegan and likely uses animal-derived ingredients in its products.
Dove Skin Care Cruelty-Free Summary
Here is a summary of Dove’s cruelty-free assessment. Dove is a cruelty-free brand at this time, but in the grey-zone due to unclear China testing risks.
|Tests finished products on animals?||No|
|Tests ingredients on animals?||No|
|Suppliers test on animals?||No|
|Leaping Bunny Certified?||No|
|Uses animal-derived ingredients?||Likely|
|Sold in Mainland China?||Yes|
|Are all parent company brands cruelty-free?||No|
Why we consider Dove 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.
Is Dove cruelty free? We consider Dove to be a cruelty-free brand because they do not allow their products or ingredients to be tested on animals, but have questions about their integrity and full disclosure. For these reasons we cannot fully endorse Dove as 100% cruelty free. We think there are better skin care brands you could use that are 100% ethical and cruelty free… so it’s time to swap out Dove for something new!
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
Dove 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 Dove does not meet our Beauty + Kind highest standards due to their lack of vegan formulations and likely use of animal-derived ingredients (which involve animal suffering).
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.