is burt's bees cruelty free

Is Burt’s Bees Cruelty Free: Should You Continue Supporting This Popular Brand?

Burt’s Bees is a favorite brand among so many, including myself. I have extremely dry skin. One time, I was staying with my brother in Texas. My lips were SO DRY they hurt. My chapstick wasn’t cutting it, so I picked up the Burt’s Bees lip balm from HEB. This product saved my lips.

I use Burt’s Bees products regularly. I try to buy from cruelty-free brands as much as possible, so I often wonder if Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free. So, is Burt’s Bees cruelty-free? There has been some confusion and speculation about Burt’s Bees’ cruelty-free status, so I’m here to answer all your questions!

Bottom Line up Front

Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free. However, they’re owned by The Clorox Company, a brand that isn’t cruelty-free.

About Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees - Go to the Homepage

Since its formation in 1984, Burt’s Bees has believed that the self-care products we use should come from nature. That has always been the goal of Burt Shavitz, the company’s co-founder and beekeeper. Burt was a former photojournalist who left the busy city life for a quieter life in Maine, where he started beekeeping.

It was here that he met his future business partner, Roxanne Quimby, who would make candles and lip balm with his beeswax. The company grew from here.

The ethics that Burt and Roxanne had during the first days of their business still define the brand today: staying connected to nature, environmental consciousness, living a low-impact lifestyle, and staying socially ethical. One of these major ethics is not conducting any animal testing.

Burt passed away in 2015. Roxanne has since sold her stakes in the company. She purchased 87,000 acres of Maine woodland that she donated to the National Park Service. She continues living a philanthropic lifestyle, starting her own foundation and donating $90 million to charity.

Cruelty-Free Criteria We Use

Animal testing is more complex than many people think. Companies may use animal testing throughout the entire production process. To determine whether a brand is cruelty-free, it’s essential to look at every step of the supply chain to ensure there is no animal testing. This is the criteria I use to ensure a brand is cruelty-free, including Burt’s Bees.

Ingredients

The company’s individual ingredients, including the formulations made before the finished product, could be tested on animals for safety. Companies usually buy their ingredients from different manufacturers or suppliers, and the company could conduct animal testing after purchasing these ingredients.

Finished Products

This is the most common step when a company or other party conducts animal testing. Before a finished product is made available to the masses, companies may conduct animal testing to ensure it’s safe. Fortunately, testing finished products on animals is becoming rarer except in certain circumstances.

Third Parties

The company may not conduct animal testing themselves, but they may ask a third party to test their products on animals for them. A third party can be any entity, but most businesses outsource a lab, their parent company, another subsidiary, or a government agency.

Suppliers

Packing

Suppliers are companies that provide items essential to the brand’s products. This can include individual ingredients, packaging, and more. The company may not test on animals and may not ask suppliers to conduct animal testing. However, the suppliers may test its products on animals before selling their final product to the brand.

Jurisdictions

Some countries require imported cosmetic products to be tested on animals. This is a regulatory requirement to ensure the product is safe for use. China is the only country that requires animal testing, but only for special cosmetics like sunscreen and hair dye. Russia may also require cosmetic animal testing, but it’s unclear why they require this and which products they test.

Is Burt’s Bees Cruelty-Free?

As of now, Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free. As a cruelty-free brand, Burt’s Bees doesn’t test its ingredients and finished products on animals. Third parties and suppliers also don’t conduct animal testing for them. There has been speculation about whether or not Burt’s Bees sells its products in China, as I will explain later.

Cruelty-Free Certifications

Certification

Burt’s Bees is certified by PETA, and the certification is listed on its website. Leaping Bunny also certified Burt’s Bees as cruelty-free in 2008. There was some confusion about Burt’s Bees’ cruelty-free status because its products are sold in China, but this issue has been cleared. I will discuss this more in another section.

Burt’s Bees Parent Company

Burt’s Bees is owned by The Clorox Company, a company that isn’t cruelty-free. The Clorox Company has made a statement regarding their animal testing practices, explaining that they only test on animals when certain countries require it. I’m not finding any sources that state The Clorox Company sells its products in China, though they did stop selling their products in Russia.

What does this all mean? The Clorox Company won’t test Burt’s Bees products on animals, but they may test other products on animals themselves or through a third party. Some people avoid buying from cruelty-free brands that are owned by a parent company that may still test on animals.

Burt’s Bees and China

As I was researching for this article, I came across this page. Cruelty-Free Kitty received an email saying Burt’s Bees sells their products in Mainland China.

Since then, Burt’s Bees stated on their website that they only sell to Chinese customers online, avoiding the mandatory animal testing for products sold in stores in mainland China. Cruelty-Free Kitty did confirm the change on the web page.

This did freak me out since the title on the web page hasn’t changed. I just wanted to clarify this in my article in case you came across that page from your own research.

Burt’s Bees and Veganism

Burt’s Bees isn’t 100% vegan. That’s because its staple ingredient is beeswax, an ingredient derived from bees (hence the brand’s name). As stated in the “About” section, Burt was a beekeeper, and his business partner made self-care products with the leftover beeswax. Beeswax acts as a binding agent in cosmetics. Some Burt’s Bees products may contain other animal-derived ingredients, such as honey, carmine, milk, and lanolin.

You may find some Burt’s Bees products that are vegan. For example, their toothpaste is usually vegan. However, Burt’s Bees doesn’t state its products are vegan. All of its products are made on the same production line. There’s a chance that animal byproducts may end up in finished products. I suggest reading the ingredients for every product.

Remember that just because a company isn’t vegan doesn’t mean they test on animals. Even though Burt’s Bees makes their products with animal ingredients, they’re still cruelty-free.

Burt’s Bees Ethics

Animal testing isn’t the only ethical concern that consumers need to know. It’s essential that brands are sustainable and source their ingredients responsibly. You can read more information about Burt’s Bees ethics here.

Mission Statement

Burt and Roxanne were both nature lovers. Roxanne still gives back to the planet and to various other charities. Burt’s Bees still holds onto these ethics.

This company protects the planet by limiting its impact on the planet, giving back to charities, volunteering in local communities, and supporting communities that source its ingredients. The Burt’s Bees Foundation also supports the health of honeybees, and the Foundation has donated $3.5 million in grants.

Ingredients

All of their products are at least 95% natural, aiming for as close to 100% natural as possible. The natural ingredients they use contain nutrients that improve and strengthen the skin’s barrier. None of the products they use contain parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and petrolatum.

Responsible Sourcing

To get ingredients for its products, Burt’s Bees has to source them from the environment. Responsible sourcing is when a company supports the environment and surrounding communities that may be impacted when a brand sources its natural ingredients.

Burt’s Bees invests in various local communities around the world. This ensures that these communities have access to clean water, promotes the well-being of the local communities, and supports biodiversity. The company also travels to these areas to trace where their raw materials come from and monitor their quality.

Burt’s Bees also participates in several organizations, such as the Responsible Mica Initiative, Global Shea Alliance, Sedex, National Resources Stewardship Council, and AIM-Progress.

Sustainability

All of Burt’s Bees’ product packaging are recyclable. Over half of their products are packaged with over 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. Some of the materials used in their product packaging includes steel, aluminum, glass, paper, and recyclable plastic. Its products are also made of recyclable materials; for example, Burt’s Bees towelettes are made of repurposed cotton.
 
There are other ways that Burt’s Bees reduces their global impact. They’re CarbonNeutral certified, have landfill-free operations, host watershed restoration projects, and their employees volunteer with local communities.

My Favorite Burt’s Bees Products

Are you relieved to discover that Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free? So am I! If you never used Burt’s Bees products, here are some of my favorites.

1. Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm With Kokum Butter

Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm With Kokum Butter

Remember how I mentioned a Burt’s Bees chapstick saved my dry lips from the Texas weather? This is the chapstick I’m talking about!

I don’t care for the traditional Burt’s Bees chapstick. This one is much better. Just one application made my sore and cracked lips feel so much better. I continued using this as a night treatment before bed and always kept some in my purse.

This product just feels so hydrating on your lips. I also love how affordable these chapsticks are and how you can find them anywhere. I will say they look and feel glossy, and I know not everyone likes that feeling.

2. Baby Shampoo & Wash Original – Calming

Shampoo & Wash Original - Calming

Because of my sensitive skin, I use a lot of baby products. Burt’s Bees has long been a baby brand I buy. Even my brother loves Burt’s Bees baby line for his son.

Burt’s Bees offers many baby shampoos and washes, but I recommend this one since it has high reviews among baby and adult users. This baby wash leaves your hair and body feeling soft. And you get all of these benefits for an affordable price.

I do believe this product is vegan. There are a few ingredients that I’m unsure about, but this product doesn’t contain the most common animal-derived ingredients. I recommend looking at the ingredients list and contacting Burt’s Bees if you have any questions.

It does have a scent — a cross between vanilla and lavender — but it’s nice and relaxing. I’m also reading that this shampoo and wash contains Phenoxyethanol, a preservative with a nice scent. While it does have a low toxicity rating, it is an allergen for some.

3. Mama Bee Leg and Foot Cream

Mama Bee Leg and Foot Cream

Swelling of the legs and feet is a common pregnancy symptom. Many pregnant reviewers are saying this cream helped soothe their sore legs and feet. However, some reviewers with sensitive skin mentioned that this product gave them a rash. I suggest reading the ingredients and doing a patch test before using this product.

4. Eyeshadow Trio

Eye Shadow Trio

I’ve tried Burt’s Bees makeup before and wasn’t impressed. I’m more of a fan of their skincare and body products.

However, I am interested in their eye products, specifically these eyeshadow trios. There are six palette varieties: Shimmering Nudes, Blooming Dessert, Countryside Lavender, Dusky Woods, Rose Garden, and Evergreen Forest. I like these palettes, though I can’t see myself wearing the Evergreen Forest palette. Keep in mind that Dusky Woods is the only palette that’s available to purchase on their website.

Reviewers say the eyeshadow applies smoothly, though I’m reading the texture is very grainy. As long as you use an eyeshadow primer, it lasts all day. Since many Burt’s Bees products are natural, this is good makeup for young adults and teenagers who are new to makeup.

Keep in mind that these shadows don’t include an applicator, which isn’t a problem for me since I have my own eyeshadow brushes. I recommend wearing these with an eyeshadow primer to ensure the color stays.

5. Naturally Clean Hand Cream

Naturally Clean Hand Cream

Burt’s Bees has some nice hand creams. This one does smooth dry and rough hands, especially since my eczema flares up during the winter. This hand cream is 99% natural, so it’s perfect for those with sensitive skin. Keep in mind that it does have a strong scent.

This is only one ounce in size, making it perfect to put in your purse. But this isn’t a good option for those who need to apply hand cream throughout the day. If your hands aren’t extremely dry, this cream may feel greasy.

6. Lavender & Honey Body Wash

Lavender & Honey Body Wash

This is a great body wash if you’re like me and have dry skin. It gives your skin the clean it needs while not leaving it feeling dry and cracked. This body wash is also good for those with sensitive skin. I love the smell of lavender, so this body wash would be perfect for me.

I know some people don’t like body washes with a scent, so I suggest also looking at Burt’s Bees’ unscented body washes. I’m also reading that Burt’s Bees tends to discontinue fragrances, but as of now, this scent is available on their website.

7. Baby Nourishing Oil

Baby Nourishing Oil

I never used Burt’s Bees’ Baby Oil, but I want to mention this product since there aren’t as many cruelty-free baby oil options. Both baby and parent can use this oil since it has a delicate texture while nourishing your skin. I was never a fan of body oils, but I may try this one.

This product contains no common allergens and is reasonably priced. It does have a scent, but I’m reading the scent is relaxing and won’t irritate your baby’s skin. I also think this oil is vegan. I’m not seeing any of the most common animal-derived ingredients in the ingredients list. I still suggest you read the ingredients and reach out to Burt’s Bees if you have any questions.

8. Ultimate Care Sensitive Healing Body Lotion

Ultimate Care Sensitive Healing Body Lotion

If you have sensitive and dry skin like me, this is the perfect lotion for you. It’s gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.

Thanks to the rice milk and aloe, your skin will feel silky smooth without feeling greasy. This lotion is natural and unscented, which is a plus for me because I hate scented lotions. Burt’s Bees did have a similar formula with Baobab oil that has since been discontinued. I’m reading that lotion was better than this one.

9. Renewal Fragrance-Free Firming Moisturizing Cream

Renewal Fragrance-Free Firming Moisturizing Cream

If you’re looking for an anti-aging moisturizer suitable for sensitive skin, I recommend this product. This product doesn’t feel harsh on the skin but is still effective, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Some reviewers say they apply this moisturizer around their eyes, but I don’t recommend doing that. Burt’s Bees also sells eye creams, so make sure you buy those instead. The only downside is it has a greasy texture, and many users say they have to use a small amount. I also don’t suggest wearing this product under makeup. This moisturizer says it’s fragrance-free, but some reviews say it has a strong scent.

Where to Buy Burt’s Bees

Here are the most popular places to buy Burt’s Bees:

  • Company website
  • Target
  • Ulta
  • Amazon

I also find Burt’s Bees at my local pharmacy and grocery stores. I’ve also seen Burt’s Bees products in various stores throughout the US and Canada.

Alternatives

Burt’s Bees is a favorite among so many consumers. However, Burt’s Bees is owned by a parent company that tests on animals, so I suggest looking into some of these alternatives.

1. Badger

Badger

Badger is the closest alternative to Burt’s Bees that I can find. Like Burt’s Bees, Badger uses beeswax in many of its products and makes similar balms. What I like about this brand is how they’re family-owned and operated. Badger is cruelty-free. Since they’re second-generation family-owned, they don’t have a parent company.

In addition to these benefits, Badger products are very affordable — one product is usually less than $20. While some of their products, such as their balms and sunscreen, received complaints for being sticky, this brand has still developed a cult following.

You can buy their products at Walgreens, Sprouts, Walmart, and Amazon. You can also buy their products from their website.

2. Weleda

Weleda

Okay, it’s more difficult to find an alternative to Burt’s Bees’ famous lip balm than I expected. I would find the perfect alternative, and I realized that the company wasn’t cruelty-free. Or if the company was cruelty-free, the balm would be so expensive (I found one for $30!), and I wanted to recommend an affordable cruelty-free dupe.

Weleda’s Skin Food Lip Butter is the closest dupe I could find that fits all of these points. It does have a more oily texture compared to Burt’s Bees lip balms. You only need a little bit, so be careful about applying the product. It does have a chamomile taste/scent, which some reviewers didn’t like, but I would like.

That said, reviewers said this lip balm left their lips soft. It’s colorless, though it does make your lips look plumper (this isn’t a lip-plumping product, just the effect of the balm). The balm lasts a long time and is perfect to use during the day and as an overnight treatment.

Weleda is a cruelty-free brand and has vegan options. The structure of this company is weird; they have two parent companies, and I can’t find their cruelty-free status.

3. Babo Botanicals

Babo

If you want an alternative to Burt’s Bees’ baby products, I suggest trying Babo Botanicals. Their products are perfect for babies and adults, especially adults with sensitive and problematic skin. While their products are slightly more expensive than Burt’s Bees and even main brands like Johnson’s and Johnson’s, Babo Botanicals is a great alternative for baby products that are natural and cruelty-free.

Babo Botanicals doesn’t test their products on animals, and they’re certified cruelty-free by PETA. They also offer a generous vegan product line. They are owned by a parent company, and I can’t find their cruelty-free status.

You can buy Babo Botanicals products on their website and at other retailers like Ulta, Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath and Beyond. I see Babo Botanical listings on Amazon and eBay, but I don’t suggest buying these products from these stores. I’m reading reviews where customers said they received another product in Babo Botanicals packaging.

4. Thinkbaby

Thinkbaby

Thinkbaby is a company I discovered when researching this blog. They’re best known for their sunscreens that are suitable for babies and don’t contain ingredients that damage coral reefs. I live in a sunny state and am vigilant about wearing sunscreen, so this is a brand I want to try.

From reading reviews, its zinc-based sunscreen goes on clear. I used so many that left an annoying white cast on my skin, so I’m glad brands are making better quality sunscreens. Their sunscreens are also moisturizing and are suitable for babies and toddlers. Even pregnant and nursing mothers have reported they used these products with no issues.

In addition to sunscreen, Thinkbaby makes a variety of skin, hair, and body care products for adults and even some self-care products for athletes.

All of Thinkbaby’s products use clean ingredients that are verified by the EWG. Keep in mind that because it’s natural, the product will separate. Shake the bottle before applying your sunscreen. Thinkbaby is cruelty-free. They’re owned by Topix Brands/Topix Pharmaceuticals, a company that is also cruelty-free.

FAQs

Question: I like Dove better than Burt’s Bees. Are they cruelty-free?

Answer: Dove is cruelty-free and is certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. However, Dove is owned by Unilever, a company that isn’t cruelty-free.

Question: I like Aveeno better than Burt’s Bees. Are they cruelty-free?

Answer: Aveeno doesn’t conduct animal testing but will allow others to test their final products on animals when certain jurisdictions require it. This doesn’t make Aveeno cruelty-free.

Question: A lot of the major toothpaste brands aren’t cruelty-free. Does Burt’s Bees sell toothpaste?

Answer: They do! They sell a variety of toothpaste flavors, and they even have kids’ toothpaste. I do see they’re sold out of toothpaste on their website, but Burt’s Bees toothpaste is available at CVS, Walmart, Target, Amazon, and a ton of other retailers.

Is Burt’s Bees Cruelty Free: Bottom Line

I’m happy to say that Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free! This means they don’t conduct animal testing themselves or seek assistance from a third party. Burt’s Bees also doesn’t sell their products where animal testing is required by law. They’re certified by PETA and Leaping Bunny, carrying these logos on their products and website. This is great because their Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm saved my lips.

They are owned by the Clorox Company, which isn’t cruelty-free, so I will only buy their lip balm when I need to. Because many Burt’s Bees products contain beeswax, this isn’t a vegan brand. I suggest looking at some of the alternatives I mentioned if you want to shop for a vegan brand with a cruelty-free parent company.

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