is clinique cruelty free
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Is Clinique Cruelty Free: Should You Use This Legendary Brand?

There are few brands more recognizable than Clinique.  Founded in 1968, Clinique laboratories has always used the latest technology to create innovative makeup and skincare products.

For many of us beauty enthusiasts, our family members used Clinique and passed this brand down to us. My grandma only used Clinique products, and my mom was an avid brand user. Because of this, I became a Clinique enthusiast.

While I used their makeup, their skincare products were my favorite. I’ve reviewed Clinique skincare as a beauty writer and used their products as a consumer, loving everything I’ve tried. Even Clinique’s fragrance Happy is one of my favorite perfumes.

I’m in the process of changing all of my beauty products to support a cruelty free brand. So I had to ask myself, is Clinique cruelty free? I did the digging into this brand, so you don’t have to!

Bottom Line UpFront

Clinique isn’t a cruelty free international brand because they sell their makeup products in China. While Clinique doesn’t do animal tests themselves, some of their makeup products contain SPF that still require animal testing in China. If you’re upset about Clinique testing products on animals, I suggest looking at some of my cruelty free brand alternatives.

About Clinique


As I stated previously, Clinique has been around for over 50 years. The brand was founded by Evelyn Lauder. Does that last name sound familiar? She’s the daughter-in-law of Estee Lauder. Evelyn created Clinique with the idea of building an entire skincare routine.

Today, Clinique is a global beauty brand that sells skincare, makeup, and fragrance. They make products for a variety of different beauty enthusiasts, both the young generation and mature consumers. They’re considered a mid-range beauty brand, meaning their products aren’t considered cheap though they aren’t extremely expensive. You can find Clinique products at Ulta, Sephora, and other retailers worldwide.

Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?

Unfortunately, Clinique isn’t cruelty-free. I know, I was devastated when I found out. While they don’t test their products on animals, they may allow others to test on animals for them. If you only want to support cruelty-free beauty companies, I suggest avoiding this company.

Clinique’s Animal Testing Policy

Clinique's Animal Testing Policy

To read Clinique’s animal testing policy, visit the General Information section of the website and scroll down to the Animal Testing section. They explain that they don’t test on animals or ask others to test on animals for them. Not only that but they are committed to eliminating animal testing.

At the same time, they also state they comply with jurisdictions that require animal testing. Because of this, Clinique is not considered cruelty-free.

Clinique and China

Clinique and China

Clinique sells its products in China. From a simple search, I found Clinique’s Chinese website. I also found articles that prove Clinique’s presence in mainland China.

Why is this so important? For the longest time, China required imported any cosmetics brand to test on animals. While they have changed their policies, Chinese authorities do still require special cosmetics to undergo animal testing. Sunscreen is one of the products required to test on animals, and Clinique sells products with an SPF.

Clinique’s Parent Company

Clinique is owned by Estee Lauder. They have a similar animal testing policy as Clinique and other brands. At first, they say they eliminated animal testing and don’t ask anyone else to test on animals on their behalf. When you read the fine print, Estee Lauder does admit they sell in countries where animal testing is required by law.

Clinique and Veganism

Clinique may offer some vegan products. You may even see Clinique and its retailers promoting the vegan product. But it seems like most of their products contain animal derived ingredients, such as carmine and lanolin. Because of this, Clinique isn’t a vegan brand.

Cruelty-Free Alternatives

It’s unfortunate to know that Clinique isn’t cruelty-free. Luckily, there are many cruelty-free alternatives to Clinique. All of the brands here are cruelty-free.

Some of these brands are owned by a parent company; while I prioritized the ones that are cruelty-free, some of these beauty companies are owned by a general investor, so discovering their cruelty-free status is pretty difficult.  Some of these brands also sell in China, though they don’t fall under the special cosmetics category and aren’t required to undergo pre-market animal testing.

1. Pacifica


Pacifica is one of my favorite beauty brands ever! While I never used their makeup, I can say that their skincare is an excellent alternative to Clinique. I especially love their Eye Bright Cream and Vegan Collagen Overnight Recovery Cream. Thanks to the Eye Bright Cream, I noticed an improvement in my undereye circles. I mainly use collagen moisturizers as an aging preventative, but I do like the Vegan Collagen Recovery Cream.

Like Clinique, Pacifica makes skincare, makeup, and perfume. I also tried their perfume, and it’s okay. Not my favorite fragrance brand ever but I also think I need to experiment with their perfume more. Otherwise, I recommend this brand and plan on buying more products.

My only complaint with their products is the ones I use have a scent. The scent doesn’t break me out, but I know some users are sensitive to fragrance.

Pacifica is cruelty-free and vegan. They’re not owned by a parent company.

2. Derma E

Derma E

Derma E is one of the closest brands to Clinique that I can find. They’re in a similar price range as Clinique, though I think Derma E is slightly cheaper.

Derma E’s products are just as effective as Clinique’s. They also make products for various consumers that target every skin concern. The downside is those with sensitive skin have reported reactions to various products. Still, all of their products are dermatologist recommended, and they don’t use 2,500 questionable ingredients. Plus, this is a vegan and cruelty-free brand. Derma E is owned by Topix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which is a cruelty-free brand.

I want to try Derma E but can never find a product that appeals to me, so I haven’t used this brand yet. I still do recommend them because of the raving reviews and cult following that this brand has received.

3. 100% Pure

100% Pure

100% Pure is a brand that has gained a cult following. As the name suggests, all of its products are completely natural. 100% Pure makes skincare, makeup, hair, and body products. I’ve been wanting to try this brand for the longest time.

Their products all look and sound amazing. The problem is they’re sooooo expensive! For example, this Rose Water Gel Cleanser sounds amazing, but it’s $40 CAD! Even Clinique products are cheaper than this. Honestly, I suggest using Pacifica products over this brand. Pacifica is just as effective and costs a fraction of the price. I suggest using 100% Pure if you truly want a natural skincare product.

Otherwise, 100% Pure is cruelty-free, and most of its products are vegan. They also plan on becoming a fully vegan company. 100% Pure is not owned by a parent company.

4. Andalou Naturals

Andalou Naturals

I actually first discovered Andalou Naturals on a cruelty-free beauty subreddit. I just so happened to be looking for a cruelty-free dupe for Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, and another Redditor recommended the Deep Hydration Nourishing Cleansing Balm.

All of Andalou Naturals’ products are 98% natural. They make products for all skin types, and their products are safe enough for sensitive skin. Andalou Naturals has some of the most diverse product lines I’ve seen from a small brand, offering exfoliators, face masks, toners, serums, and more.

Andalou Naturals is cruelty-free, vegetarian with some vegan options, gluten-free, and certified non-GMO. They’re owned by BWX, a cruelty-free investing company. I read that BWX now sells in China, but they don’t fall within the “special cosmetics” category and are exempt from animal testing. Still, I wanted to mention this for those who are wary about buying beauty products sold in China.

If you’re in the U.S., I found Andalou Naturals at my local organic grocery store. But the downside is I spend half the year in Canada, and Andalou Naturals can’t ship to Canada. However, they say on their shipping and returns page that they do partner with brands that will ship Andalou Naturals products to Canada. I found Andalou Naturals on Amazon.

5. Bossy Cosmetics

Bossy Cosmetics

I always like finding and promoting indie brands for these cruelty-free alternative lists, and Bossy Cosmetics is one that came up in my research.

Bossy Cosmetics was founded by Aishetu Fatima Dozie, a former finance worker and current global beauty brand owner. She worked as a finance executive and investment banker in several different countries. She kept her femininity in a male-dominated workforce by holding her love of makeup close, specifically her passion for wearing lipstick.

After receiving a hypertension diagnosis, she took a one-year sabbatical and moved to California, deciding to make a career change and form a beauty brand. Today, Bossy Cosmetics strives to empower women to be confident and ambitious.

One look at the Bossy Cosmetics website and you’ll see a myriad of different lip products. There are lip glosses and lipsticks, all offering different colors. Some products offer sparkle, and others have plumping capabilities. The glosses are never sticky, and the lipsticks are all hydrating. Bossy Cosmetics also sells a range of other makeup products, such as eyeshadow palettes.

Bossy Cosmetics is cruelty-free, and they don’t have a parent company.

6. Il Makiage

Il Makiage

Il Makiage is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a long time. Their products are really impressive and work extremely well. I also like how Il Makiage makes products for literally everyone — their Woke Up Like This Foundation is available in countless shades and their products appeal to both young and mature customers. Plus, nearly every product I find is long-lasting.

Il Makiage has developed a cult following — and I can’t believe they only formed four years ago! The company was formed by a brother and sister duo. What makes this brand stand out is how they’re tech-driven and innovative. Il Makiage is cruelty-free and owned by Oddity Inc. I can’t find Oddity Inc.’s cruelty-free status.

7. Westman Atelier

Westman Atelier

Westman Atelier is a clean beauty brand that makes luxurious products with cutting-edge science and plant-based ingredient list. What makes this brand stand out is how much effort it puts into its ingredients. They always research the latest ingredients in the beauty industry, delivering the best in clean beauty. Westman Atelier was formed by Gucci Westman, an American makeup artist whose work is renowned globally.

Like Clinique, Westman Atelier makes products for customers of all ages, and their products work well on mature skin. There are some downsides to this brand. First, Westman Atelier is EXPENSIVE — way more expensive than Clinique. One foundation costs nearly $70! I was also told its online tools aren’t as effective.

Regardless, Westman Atelier is cruelty-free and doesn’t have a parent company.

8. Lawless Beauty

Lawless Beauty

Lawless Beauty was formed by Annie Lawless, an entrepreneur who struggled her entire life with Celiac disease. In addition to finding the cold-pressed juice company Suja Juice, Lawless is also a yoga instructor, certified holistic health coach, and wellness blogger. In 2017, she started Lawless Beauty, a company that offers high-performance and pigmented products with clean ingredients.

Reading reviews, it seems her products work. From overnight lip masks to various brow products, Lawless Beauty products combine performance with a big ingredient variety that’s good for the skin. Because of this, her company has already developed a cult following. Lawless opened up about her skin issues in her blog, which is why she makes her products for nearly every skin type.

If you want a trendy and clean beauty company, this is the brand for you. Lawless offers products that appeal to the youth, such as lip plumpers and extravagant mascara. But if you want a good-for-your-skin clean beauty brand without the glitz and glam, then I suggest finding another company. Judging from some of the negative reviews, it seems some clients weren’t expecting crazy pigmented and sparkling products.

Lawless Beauty is cruelty-free and owned by Cult Capital. I can’t find Cult Capital’s cruelty-free status, but they have other cruelty-free and vegan brands on their list.


Question: Does Clinique test on animals in the U.K.?

Answer: It seems that Clinique doesn’t test on animals anywhere except for countries such as China, where animal testing is required by law. Even if Clinique doesn’t test on animals in your country, they’re not cruelty-free because they do let other jurisdictions test on animals for them.

Question: I like Aveeno more than Clinique. Are they cruelty-free?

Answer: Aveeno has a similar animal testing policy as Clinique. They don’t test on animals anywhere, except when required by countries such as China.

Question: I like Maybelline more than Clinique. Are they cruelty-free?

Answer: Maybelline also has a similar animal testing policy. They don’t test on animals except where certain jurisdictions require it, i.e. China.

Is Clinique Cruelty Free: Bottom Line

So, is Clinique cruelty free? It’s a shame that Clinique isn’t cruelty free. The brand has been around for over 50 years and has become one of the most recognizable names in the beauty industry. My mom and even my grandma all used Clinique before, so this is a brand carried down through generations.

While Clinique doesn’t test on animals themselves, they do sell their products in other regions that require animal testing. Clinique may also offer some vegan products; however, most of its products are made with animal-derived ingredients.

Clinique is also owned by Estee Lauder, a company that is also not cruelty-free. If you’re upset about Clinique’s animal testing stance, I suggest checking out some of my alternative brands.

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