If you love Mac Cosmetics and living a cruelty free life you now have a big decision to make.
We’ll show you why along with the questionable disclosure gaps in MAC’s animal testing policy.
We’ll also show you how to overcome this challenge with the best MAC cruelty free alternatives.
… so let’s dive in.
is MAC cruelty free?
Estee Lauder owns MAC Cosmetics and is also a company that tests on animals.
Does MAC test on animals?
Yes, MAC Cosmetics are tested on animals in Mainland China. MAC 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 MAC animal testing policy does not answer this question.
…this part gets interesting… but before we dive into this issue – let’s explore the actual testing policy.
Mac animal testing policy
So this is the spot where many brands start to mislead consumers with omission of key facts.
Even though MAC Cosmetics as a brand may not test on animals… they don’t disclose if their ingredients are tested on animals by suppliers.
BTW… in case you didn’t know… most animal testing occurs at the ingredient level, and not the product level.
…So avoiding this topic is not cool, and is not a complete disclosure on animal testing facts.
More on this in a bit… first we need to talk about testing in China.
Does MAC sell in China?
Yes, MAC 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 be test on animals.
As you can see from the MAC Cosmetics China website, they have many stores across mainland China.
MAC puts profits ahead of ethics. MAC is willing to allow testing of their products in China to access this marketplace. China is one of their fastest and largest growing consumer markets.
MAC Cosmetics is also sold in China by Sephora:
Do MAC’s Ingredient Suppliers Test on Animals?
So… the next step in our investigation dives into MAC’s ingredient testing policies.
What we really want to know is if any animal testing happens on MAC ingredients…
Does the MAC animal testing policy prohibit the testing of ingredients and raw materials on animals?
Here is what we found on supplier testing
What we discovered is MAC does not fully disclose if animal testing happens on their ingredients or raw materials provided by suppliers.
This part of MAC’s animal testing policy leaves the door open for using ingredients tested on animals by suppliers:
“M·A·C does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally.”
Not asking others to test is not the same as assuring your products and ingredients are not tested on animals (by anyone).
What disclosure is missing
We would like to see MAC disclose if any 3rd parties or suppliers test on their ingredients or raw materials.
…Is this really too much to ask?
We have asked MAC to clarify this disclosure, but have not yet received a clear response.
Many cruelty free brands now choose to take an ethical stand and do not test on animals anywhere in their supply chain.
Unfortunately, MAC Cosmetics is not a brand that has committed 100% to eliminating all animal testing across their supply chain, or alternatively, providing more explicit disclosure on this controversial topic.
Is Mac Vegan Friendly?
MAC 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
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.
If a product is not advertised and labelled as 100% vegan you should assume it contains animal-derived ingredients.
We also want to understand if the entire brand is vegan… or just select products.
For ethical reasons many people now only use vegan products from a brand that is 100% vegan and free of animal ingredients.
Who owns Mac Cosmetics?
MAC 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 MAC Cosmetics Cruelty-Free FAQS
Is MAC Cosmetics Made in China?
No, MAC Cosmetics and Estee Lauder (parent company) make their formulations in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada
Is MAC cruelty free in the US?
No, as they do not verify if ingredient suppliers test on animals.
Is MAC on Peta’s Cruelty Free List?
No, MAC has not certified with Peta as either cruelty-free or vegan.
Is MAC on Leaping Bunny Approved cruelty-free list?
No, MAC has not certified with Leaping Bunny as either cruelty-free or vegan.
Is MAC Animal Friendly?
No, MAC Cosmetics is not animal friendly as it tests on animals in China and may use animal-derived ingredients in its formulations.
Is MAC Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
No, MAC 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 MAC Cosmetics cruelty-free?
Here is a summary of MAC’s cruelty-free assessment. MAC is not a cruelty-free brand at this time. To become cruelty-free MAC 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?||No|
|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 MAC 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 MAC to be cruelty-free because they allow their products to be tested 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
MAC 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 MAC Cosmetics 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.