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Who else grew up with Bath and Body Works? We all had that favorite scent (Moonlit Path for me) and that scent you couldn’t stand (Warm Vanilla Sugar *gag*).
I stopped shopping at Bath and Body Works years ago. I loved their products when I was younger, but I think they took a dip in quality over the last 10 years. But this brand generated nearly $8 billion in sales last year, so they still have a devoted following.
If you shop at Bath and Body Works, you may wonder about their ethical values, such as whether or not they test on animals. So, is Bath & Body Works cruelty free?
I will answer all of your questions.
Bottom LineUp Front
Bath and Body Works has an unclear cruelty-free status. They don’t test on animals and only sell their products in Macau, an independent Chinese nation that doesn’t require animal testing. However, Bath and Body Works isn’t open about its suppliers and other third parties that may potentially test on animals.
Is Bath and Body Works Cruelty-Free?
Bath and Body Works’ cruelty-free status is confusing, to say the least. I remember they were on PETA’s cruelty-free list years ago. But when I started researching this article, I saw numerous websites saying they’re not cruelty-free because they sell in China. I also can’t find Bath and Body Works on PETA’s current cruelty-free list. However, Bath and Body Works’ website says nothing about selling in Mainland China.
Bath and Body Works says they don’t conduct any animal testing during the product production process. They also say they make their products in North America, Europe, and South Korea.
Sounds good, right? Well, there are some concerns:
- Bath and Body Works doesn’t say if their suppliers or any other third parties conduct animal testing for them
- They don’t say whether or not they sell their products in countries where animal testing is required
I also can’t find any Bath and Body Works cruelty-free certifications. There’s a lot of misleading and confusing information out there. Instead of definitely saying whether or not they’re cruelty-free, I will say their animal testing policy is unclear.
I’m just giving the information I can find to the reader. If you still don’t feel comfortable supporting Bath and Body Works, I suggest avoiding this brand.
What Other Cruelty-Free Sources Are Saying
When you search “Bath and Body Works cruelty-free” you’ll immediately see many websites saying they’re not cruelty-free, and for good reason. There was a time when Bath and Body Works sold their products in Mainland China when pre-market animal testing was required for imported cosmetics.
There also was a time when Bath and Body Works was cruelty-free. I actually found a Tweet from PETA in 2017 where they included Bath and Body Works in their cruelty-free guide. However, I can’t find Bath and Body Works listed on PETA’s website.
In regard to the blogs, I notice a lot of them are outdated. Some state that they aren’t cruelty-free, even with updated information. When I write these cruelty-free blogs, I always visit the company’s website to get the most recent updates.
The website states that other blogs were quoting are not what I read on Bath and Body Works’ website, specifically in regard to their stance on selling in China.
Bath and Body Works and China
In case you aren’t familiar with China’s animal testing laws, they ended the required pre-market testing for imported cosmetics but still test on special cosmetics (sunscreen, hair dye, etc.).
Bath and Body Works doesn’t sell special cosmetics, but China may still conduct post-market testing on animals if there are complaints about allergies and other dangers. In other words, if a brand sells its products in China, that usually means they’re not cruelty-free.
While Bath and Body Works technically sells its products in China, there is an exception. On their Global Locations page, if you click the Asia section, only Macau appears. I was just reading a memoir from a lady who grew up in Macau, so I already knew some of its politics thanks to that book.
Macau is a city in China. It was a Portuguese territory up until 1999. It’s now a part of Mainland China. However, it’s considered a quasi-dependent territory, meaning it still has a separate economic system from Mainland China. And because of this, they don’t have to abide by China’s animal testing laws.
Bath and Body Works’ Parent Company and Ethics
Woo! This article is a lot of fun to write. In this section, I usually answer whether or not a brand is owned by a parent company and explain its cruelty-free status. But Bath and Body Works even has some drama in this department!
Bath and Body Works Is Now An Independently Owned Brand.
If you want to dive into the drama, read on!
Bath and Body Works was formerly owned by L Brands, a company that owned some of the biggest retail giants in the country. Victoria’s Secret was its other famous brand, in addition to Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, The Limited, and so many more. The man behind the conglomerate was Les Wexner. His wife, Abigail Wexner, was also part of the board.
In 2020, Les Wexner stepped down as CEO, and in 2021, he and his wife were not set for board reelection. This occurred for many reasons. He was accused of sexism, specifically in Victoria’s Secret’s marketing. Transphobic comments and ties to Jeffrey Epstein have also been reported.
As a result, Bath and Body Works became its own independent brand.
I’m also noting these L Brands details for two reasons:
- In addition to cruelty-free and vegan stances, I also like highlighting a brand’s other ethical (and not-so-ethical) practices.
- As I stated previously, I found many outdated cruelty-free blogs that covered Bath and Body Works. Many say that Bath and Body Works is still owned by L Brands, which isn’t true.
Bath and Body Works and Veganism
Bath and Body Works isn’t a vegan brand, though they may offer some vegan products. I suggest deciding for yourself whether or not you will be supporting Bath and Body Works before buying their vegan products.
Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Bath and Body Works
I don’t want to say Bath and Body Works isn’t cruelty-free since they say they don’t test on animals and don’t sell their products in Mainland China. My biggest complaint about their statement is they’re not open about third parties and suppliers. That’s why I will say Bath and Body Works’ cruelty-free status is unclear.
If you still don’t feel comfortable supporting Bath and Body Works, here are a few of my favorite cruelty-free alternatives. Keep in mind that some of these parent companies have unclear animal testing practices.
1. Kiss My Face
The main alternative to Bath and Body Works that I recommend is Kiss My Face. Kiss My Face sells various body care products, such as soaps and lotions. Like Bath and Body Works, Kiss My Face has so many amazing scents.
What I like about Kiss My Face is their products actually work. I have dry and sensitive skin. I never used Bath and Body Works lotions; though they smell good, they would break out my sensitive skin. Plus, Kiss My Face lotions leave my skin feeling so soft and smooth!
As I said, I have sensitive skin and prefer using unscented lotion. Kiss My Face does have an unscented lotion, but they also offer various lotion scents if that’s what you prefer. Plus, you only need a small amount of lotion. Kiss My Face products are more affordable than Bath and Body Works — you can find most products for under $10.
I do have some complaints about Kiss My Face. While I do appreciate how they secure their products, the plastic wrapper is always so difficult to take off. Plus, the dispenser is difficult to use.
Kiss My Face is a cruelty-free brand. They’re owned by Aliph Brands, and I can’t find their cruelty-free status.
2. Pretty Frank
Formerly called Primal Paste, Pretty Frank is a woman-owned company formed in 2012. The founder couldn’t find natural and safe deodorant, so she made her own. Pretty Frank sells different deodorant products in various scents. They also include ones with and without baking soda. In addition to its staple deodorant, Pretty Frank also sells body oils, lip balms, and more.
There are some downsides to this brand. First, they’re expensive. $14 for deodorant is pretty crazy, especially since there are cheaper and natural alternatives on the market that work really well. Some customers also said their products didn’t work well.
Pretty Frank is cruelty-free, and I can’t find a parent company.
I love Alba Botanica! I stumbled upon this brand by mistake. I had some bad acne breakouts on my legs and shoulders and was finding a body acne wash. I randomly saw their exfoliating acne wash at my local grocery store and purchased it on a whim. Now, this is one of my favorite brands!
Alba Botanica sells more than skincare products. Like Bath and Body Works, they sell various body washes and lotions in so many amazing scents. Alba Botanica’s acne wash worked really well for me, and this is also a good brand to use if you have sensitive skin.
They’re also more affordable than Bath and Body Works — you’ll rarely spend more than $10 on one product. I can find Alba Botanica products pretty much anywhere. They’re available at my local grocery store, and I also see them at Target, various drugstores, and Amazon. Alba Botanica is cruelty-free and is certified by PETA.
They are owned by The Hain Celestial Group. While they don’t test on animals themselves, they own other beauty brands that conduct animal testing, and they even have investments in a meat company. If you don’t feel comfortable buying from Alba Botanica, I suggest choosing another brand from this list.
4. Yes To
I love Yes To! I used to have terrible acne as a teenager and would use their Tomato and Charcoal lines. I still use this brand to this day.
I’ve used numerous products from this brand and always liked everything that I used. They offer various products for the face and body. Yes To uses botanicals in their products, so they’re not as perfumey as Bath and Body Works. Their products still smell nice, they’re just not overwhelming.
The main problem with this brand is they use botanicals, which can irritate sensitive skin types. I’ve also never been a big fan of their packaging, especially the flimsy plastic for the makeup-removing wipes. They are a little pricey for a drugstore brand but are still cheaper than Bath and Body Works. Their products do last me a long time, which is a big plus.
Yes To is cruelty-free. They’re owned by San Francisco Equity Partners, and I can’t find their cruelty-free status.
Pacifica has become one of my favorite brands of all time! I use several of their skincare products, and I noticed an improvement in my skin. I have to say, their Eye Bright Cream is comparable to a lot of expensive and prestigious brands.
In addition to skincare and makeup products, Pacifica also sells body care and fragrance. As I stated, Bath and Body Works’ Moonlit Path was my favorite fragrance growing up. It’s a floral-forward mysterious yet romantic fragrance, combining the notes of jasmine and violet. Pacifica has various comparable scents, such as Flower Moon and Moonray Bloom.
Pacifica also offers various other fragrances and different perfume products, from traditional spray perfume all the way to hair and body mist.
There are some downsides to Pacifica. Nearly all of their products, including their skincare, are made with fragrance. Those with sensitive skin have complained about their products. Though they are cheaper than Bath and Body Works, they may still be pricey for some people.
Pacifica is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. I can’t find a parent company for this brand.
SpaRitual is a beauty brand that makes various products. They’re most famous for their nail polishes, but they also sell hand and body products. They offer various scents, but they’re most natural-focused instead of perfumey. I can only find this brand online, and I see them occasionally on HSN. I wish they had more of a presence. This brand is also pretty expensive, similar to Bath and Body Works’ price range. SpaRitual is cruelty-free, and I can’t find a parent company for this brand.
Question: Are there Bath and Body Works stores in China?
Answer: Just in Macau. Though it’s a city in Mainland China, they were once a Portuguese nation and today operates independently. This means that foreign brands don’t need to test on animals in Macau.
Question: Does Bath and Body Works test on animals in my country?
Answer: From their statement, it doesn’t seem like Bath and Body Works tests on animals in any country. But remember that Bath and Body Works lost its PETA cruelty-free status and have no other certifications. Bath and Body Works could work with suppliers and other third parties that conduct animal testing.
Question: Do these alternatives also sell bath products?
Answer: Yes! Alba Botanica, Pacifica, Yes To, and Kiss My Face all sell bath products.
Is Bath & Body Works Cruelty Free: Bottom Line
Bath and Body Works’ cruelty-free status is unclear. While they don’t test on animals themselves and only sell products in Macau, which is an independent nation in China and doesn’t require animal testing, they don’t have any cruelty-free certifications and may work with suppliers and other third parties that test on animals.
On the topic of supporting Bath and Body Works, I suggest making this decision for yourself. I’m sure most won’t buy from Bath and Body Works. However, Bath and Body Works stores are located throughout the country, they have so many amazing scents, and their products are semi-affordable.
It may be difficult for some to avoid Bath and Body Works, which is why I mentioned some cruelty-free alternatives that are more affordable and just as accessible.