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More beauty brands understand that their customers want to support cruelty-free and vegan companies. Brands such as Maybelline are jumping on that trend. Maybelline recently launched a Green line that they say is vegan.
But is Maybelline cruelty-free? Or are they using terms such as “vegan” to better sell their products? I also wondered about this. I love so many Maybelline products, such as their Baby Lips chapstick. I dug to find out if this beauty giant tests on animals or not.
Bottom Line up Front:
Maybelline has a misleading animal testing policy. They don’t test on animals themselves, but they will conduct animal testing if another country requires it. This is the case with China, which still requires animal testing for special cosmetics. Since some Maybelline products contain an SPF, I’m taking a safe precaution and will stop buying from Maybelline.
Maybelline is also owned by L’Oreal, a company that isn’t cruelty-free and sells its products in China. L’Oreal also makes products that require animal testing in China, such as hair dye. Maybelline is making some changes. The company recently released a 100% vegan line, though I’m not reading about any plans to stop selling in China.
Maybelline has one of the most unique stories I ever heard. Founder Mabel Williams had a kitchen accident in 1917, which resulted in her burning off her eyelashes! She saved the ashes and mixed them with Vaseline to create the first mascara. After this, Mabel founded her company in New York City.
Over 100 years later, Maybelline is one of the most popular drugstore makeup brands. You can find their products worldwide and in every major retailer. Maybelline was acquired by L’Oreal in 1996.
Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free?
As with many companies, Maybelline’s animal testing policy is very misleading. On their website, Maybelline says they don’t test on animals. But when researching its market and supply chain, one can find that these claims aren’t as true as you think — especially when they don’t have any cruelty-free certifications.
So, is Maybelline cruelty-free? The short answer is no. The long answer is it depends on China and whether or not they will conduct any tests on Maybelline products. As of now, Maybelline has no cruelty-free certifications.
Maybelline’s Animal Testing Policy
When you go to Maybelline’s FAQ page on their website, you can scroll down and find their animal testing policy. Maybelline explains its brand, L’Oreal, no longer tests its products or ingredients on animals and doesn’t hire third parties to test for them.
However, they also state that the exception is if a governing body requires animal testing, such as China. I will discuss L’Oreal and China more in other sections.
Maybelline’s Parent Company
Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal. I recently wrote a guide about their cruelty-free practices. For years, I thought this brand for cruelty-free because they explain on their website that they don’t test on animals.
Nowhere on that web page mentions selling their products in China or how they lack any cruelty-free certifications. I found out they weren’t cruelty-free after some friends told me that L’Oreal sells in China.
Maybelline and China
As stated previously, Maybelline products are sold in mainland China. Previously, China required all imported cosmetics to undergo animal testing. They changed this law in 2021. While most cosmetics don’t undergo animal testing, sunscreen and hair dye still require animal testing.
Now Maybelline doesn’t sell sunscreen, but it does sell face makeup with SPF. I’m trying to find out if there are exceptions for foundations with SPF, but I can’t find anything. As a precaution, I won’t buy Maybelline products.
Is Maybelline Doing Anything to Ban Animal Testing?
If there’s one thing I will give Maybelline and its parent company, L’Oreal, is that I trust they’re working with Chinese authorities to ban animal testing. L’Oreal says on their website that they manufacture reconstructed human skin and make this product available to different countries, including China.
On Maybelline’s website, they explain that they have a relationship with Cruelty-Free International (even though they don’t have a certification with them) and the two entities work together for regulatory change.
Maybelline and Veganism
Maybelline offers some vegan products, but this isn’t a vegan brand. I recommend avoiding Maybelline products, even if they’re vegan since they’re not cruelty-free.
It’s pretty disappointing to discover that Maybelline isn’t a cruelty-free brand. Fortunately, there are a variety of cruelty-free alternatives out there. Remember that some of these brands may be owned by a parent company that isn’t cruelty-free. I will mention the parent company for each of these brands if they have one.
Covergirl is the main cruelty-free alternative to Maybelline. Like Maybelline, Covergirl is a popular drugstore brand, and you can find its products in nearly every store. In 2018, L’Oreal’s largest competitor, COTY, acquired Covergirl. Now, Covergirl is Leaping Bunny certified and no longer sells its products in China (as you can read on their FAQ).
Covergirl also has its Clean Fresh line which is completely vegan. They’re also introducing more products, such as a skincare line, which they say will be vegan. Keep in mind that COTY isn’t cruelty-free. They sell their products in regions where animal testing is required.
Do I like Covergirl? I have mixed feelings about this brand. Some of its products, such as its lipsticks, are good. Their pigmented and last a long time. Others are meh. I hate their foundation; no matter what Covergirl foundation I use, it breaks my skin out. I don’t think this brand works for everyone and I always avoided Covergirl because of this.
Urban Decay is one of my favorite makeup brands ever! They have such an amazing and diverse product catalog, all of their products are amazing, and nearly everything I use from them is long-wearing. Their eyeliners and eyeshadows have been my favorites for years.
I use their 24/7 Eyeliner and various palettes regularly. While they offer some crazy colors, they also have neutral shades for those who don’t want a makeup look that’s too extravagant. They also offer products that are perfect for both beginners and those experienced with makeup.
I do have to mention that Urban Decay is owned by L’Oreal, a brand that isn’t cruelty-free. I’m only buying my eyeliner from Urban Decay but am trying to find another cruelty-free alternative.
I have a love-hate relationship with NYX. Some of its products, such as its Jumbo Eye Pencils, I love. They go on so smoothly, and NYX has so many pretty colors available. The consistency is also perfect for blending and combining with powder eyeshadow.
Other products, such as their Butter Glosses, I honestly think are overhyped. They don’t stay on for a terribly long time, and they dry out my lips. However, NYX is affordable and is available in nearly every drugstore. I know they have a cult fanbase, so that’s why I’m mentioning them here.
NYX is cruelty-free, but they’re owned by L’Oreal, a company that conducts animal testing when required by certain governments.
The Ulta house brand is cruelty-free. I have no admit that I was never a fan of Ulta — both the brand’s products and the store itself. A friend of mine got me Ulta skincare products as a gift, and I never cared for any of them. Ulta is Sephora’s biggest competitor.
I hate how Sephora Collection isn’t cruelty-free, but I will still shop at Sephora since that company treated me amazing when I worked there. But for cruelty-free beauty, the Ulta brand is affordable and accessible. That is why I’m mentioning them as an alternative to Maybelline.
I am looking around on their website. I will say, their makeup products look great. The eyeshadow and lip colors are gorgeous. Reviewers have good things to say about the performance of the products, that they apply well and last a long time. Still, they don’t seem to be the best products on the market. There are other affordable cosmetic companies that I am mentioning on this list, so I suggest you look into them as well.
Smashbox is one of my favorite brands ever! I will say their products are pricey and not all of them are good. I’m not crazy about Smashbox eyeshadow. I tried one palette, and the colors weren’t pigmented at all and had too much shimmer. I gave the palette to my mom. A family member gave me another Smashbox palette as a gift, and I loved that one. I guess they’re all different.
But their primers and foundations are some of the best I’ve ever used. The foundations never irritated my skin, and the buildable coverage looked natural. The products have excellent staying power, especially the primers. Smashbox also has some of the largest shade ranges I’ve ever seen.
Smashbox is cruelty-free. But they are owned by the Estee Lauder Company, which isn’t cruelty-free. I won’t be buying from Smashbox anymore.
Jane Iredale created her brand 25 years ago, emerging as one of the first clean beauty brands. This company is also cruelty-free. They’re owned by San Francisco Equity Partners. Since this isn’t a beauty company, its cruelty-free status is unknown.
I haven’t tried Jane Iredale products. If I’m not mistaken, I would see this brand at my local spa all the time. The products are expensive, but I’m reading they’re amazing. This brand has a wide range of long-lasting products.
Makeup Geek is a brand I just discovered and I already really want to try their products. Formed by makeup YouTuber Marlena Stell, her brand is now taking the beauty world by storm. Makeup Geek is certified cruelty-free by PETA, and most of its products are vegan.
I’ve been looking around the website, and I see a bunch of products that are sold out. It also seems like she’s always coming out with new products.
From reading reviews, it seems like she has a cult following and so many people are impressed with her products. The pigment in her products is amazing, especially her eyeshadows. I’m drooling over some of the palettes and single shadows I’m seeing. While not every product is amazing, most apply well. Plus, these products are cheap!
I want to note that I read that Makeup Geek is closing in April 2022. However, it’s August 2022, and the website is still up.
I want to try this brand so bad! I mentioned this company in one of my previous reviews. They’re extremely affordable — one product is usually less than $20. Not only are their prices low but their products work really well. This is why this brand attracted a cult following.
I especially love Catrice’s diverse product catalog. They offer everything from foundation to lip gloss. Plus, I also see they have skincare. Catrice Cosmetics is cruelty-free. They’re also owned by Cosnova Beauty, a company that doesn’t conduct animal testing.
There are some downsides. Many customers complain that the foundation shade finder is inaccurate (I have yet to find a brand that does offer a reliable shade finder tool). I’m also reading that their foundations oxidize, so I would go a shade lighter if you want to try Catrice foundation.
This brand isn’t as accessible as Maybelline and some other brands on this list. You can only buy Catrice online, either on their website, Amazon, or Shoppersdrugmart.ca (for Canada only).
Question: Will Maybelline become cruelty-free?
Answer: Just because Maybelline isn’t cruelty-free now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. They already released a vegan makeup line. While there’s no expected change in their China presence, I trust that L’Oreal is working with Chinese authorities to end animal testing.
Question: Is Maybelline environmentally friendly?
Answer: Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal, a company that takes serious strides to reduce its global impact. L’Oreal also requires other brands to follow suit. L’Oreal states that 73% of Maybelline’s production facilities are carbon neutral.
Question: Is Maybelline halal?
Answer: I can only find this article on the topic. If you want to buy halal Maybelline products, it depends on where you buy them, such as which country and which store. It does seem like some Maybelline lipsticks are already halal.
Is Maybelline Cruelty Free: Bottom Line
Maybelline is not cruelty-free. The beauty giant is owned by L’Oreal, a company that doesn’t conduct animal testing unless authorities require it. Both L’Oreal and Maybelline products are sold in China. While China changed its laws last year, they still require animal testing on special cosmetics such as sunscreen.
Maybelline doesn’t sell sunscreen, but they sell makeup with SPF. I’m not sure if these products are required to test on animals, though many consumers don’t purchase beauty products sold in China as a safe precaution. I will also stop buying from Maybelline for this reason.
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