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Is Neutrogena Cruelty Free: The Important Info You Need to Know

Neutrogena is one of the most well-known drugstore skincare and cosmetics brands. Since its products are readily accessible and affordable, many consumers use some of its most popular products such as eye cream, facial cleanser and lotion.

Because of this, you’re probably asking yourself this question: is Neutrogena a cruelty free brand? Even though this brand isn’t my favorite, I have used some of their products before, so this is also something I wondered. Not surprisingly, Neutrogena is very vague with its cruelty-free stance.

Bottom line up front:

Neutrogena isn’t cruelty-free. They don’t test their products on animals, but they sell their products in countries such as China where animal testing is required by law. China considers some Neutrogena products, such as sunscreen, to be a special cosmetic, so they may test some Neutrogena products on animals.

About Neutrogena

Neutrogena is an American beauty brand. They’re best known for their skin care, makeup remover, makeup products, and hair care products. The brand was originally called Natone and was formed in 1930 by Emmanuel Stolaroff. Before, you could only buy Natone at salons and department stores. Plus, Natone specifically catered to the Hollywood film industry.

The company was independent until powerhouse brand Johnson & Johnson acquired the company in 1994. Ever since then, it’s been a major brand in the beauty and skincare worlds.

Is Neutrogena Cruelty-Free?

Neutrogena is not cruelty-free. Even though they don’t actively test its products on animals, they still sell its products in China. Since Neutrogena makes special cosmetics products, such as sunscreen, Chinese authorities still have to conduct animal cosmetics testing for the brand.

Neutrogena’s Cruelty-Free Statement

Neutrogena's Cruelty-Free Statement

Neutrogena has a statement similar to many major brands. They’re one of the many brands working toward innovative product testing methods and work with a global community of like-minded brands. This means they advocate and conduct research on alternative testing methods.

They also state that they don’t test their products on animals themselves. However, if you scroll down on their product testing web page, they explain they undergo animal testing if authorities require it. This means that Neutrogena isn’t cruelty-free.

Neutrogena’s Parent Company

Johnson & Johnson is the company that owns Neutrogena. J&J may test its products on animals themselves, through a third party, or through any of its suppliers. This means that both Neutrogena and its parent company are not cruelty-free.

Neutrogena and China

Neutrogena does sell its products in China. Even though China lifted the necessary animal testing policy ban, there are exceptions for special cosmetics. “Special cosmetics” include sunscreen and hair dye. Since Neutrogena sells sunscreen, some of its products still need to be tested on animals.

Even if you don’t buy Neutrogena’s sunscreen, the brand still has to register and pay the Chinese government to test its products on animals. Some consumers still refuse to buy products from any brand that tests on animals.

Neutrogena and Veganism

Neutrogena is not a vegan brand because it uses some common animal-derived ingredients in its products, such as lanolin and beeswax. 

Though some of its products may not contain animal-derived ingredients, this doesn’t mean that Neutrogena isn’t a vegan brand. Even if you only use want to use a vegan and cruelty free product, you should avoid Neutrogena since this isn’t a cruelty-free company. Just make sure you check the ingredient list for any beauty product from Neutrogena to make sure it’s vegan, but aren’t as concerned about it being cruelty free. 

Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Neutrogena

If you’re disappointed in Neutrogena’s animal testing policy stance, you’re probably wondering which products you should use instead. Don’t worry, you have many options.

All of these companies are cruelty-free and are owned by a parent company that doesn’t conduct or support any animal testing. Some of these parent companies are general investors, and their cruelty-free stances are unclear.

Nip + Fab

Nip + Fab

The closest Neutrogena alternative I could find is Nip + Fab. Nip + Fab is a UK-based company with a cult global following. Maria Hatzistefanis formed this brand only 10 years ago; but since then, she won over the celebrity crowd. She even has a partnership with Kylie Jenner.

You can get Nip + Fad products nearly anywhere. You can buy these products from its online store, Target, Amazon, Walgreens, and various other retailers throughout the UK and US. Plus, they’re affordable — one product is usually less than $20, putting these products at a similar price point as Neutrogena. Both Nip + Fad and its parent company are cruelty-free.

But enough about the fame and the price. Do these products work as well as Neutrogena’s? According to the reviews, there’s a reason why this is such a cult brand. Its products work and many consumers say these are their favorite products.

I am reading that some products are better than others, but this is still a high-quality brand. I’m curious to try the Dragon’s Blood serum since I’m reading that this is one of its best products.

Yes To

Yes To

Yes To is one of my favorite brands ever! This is another drugstore brand that is affordable and has effective products. I can find these products nearly everywhere — at my local drugstores and grocery stores, Target, Amazon, and more.

Many of its products are formulated with botanicals, so they’re appropriate for consumers of various ages. Yes To was one of the first skincare brands I used as a teenager.

Yes To also makes products for all skin concerns, such as acne, dry skin, texture, and even sensitive skin. They also offer skin care, body care, and even hair care products. Yes To is cruelty-free. They are owned by a parent company, San Francisco Equity Partners. They’re a private equity firm that owns various companies outside the beauty industry, so I can’t find their cruelty-free status.

One thing I do have to say is reviewers commonly complain that Yes To products irritate their products. While rare, some people may be allergic to certain botanicals. It’s also still best to read the ingredients and do a patch test before applying any products to your skin or hair.

Derma E

Derma E

Derma E is a brand that I’ve been wanting to try. In addition to selling affordable skin and body care products, this brand offers many unique products. For example, they sell scar gel to improve the color, texture, and appearance of various scars.

From the reviews I’m reading, this brand isn’t the most effective one on the list. I recommend Nip + Fab over this company. But I’m still willing to give this company a chance because of the unique products they sell. Plus, Derma E and its parent company are cruelty-free.

Andalou Naturals

Andalou Naturals

I first discovered this company on Reddit, looking for a cruelty-free alternative to Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser. A Redditor recommended some of the cleansers from Andalou, stating that the brand and its parent company are cruelty-free.

Even though I don’t think you can use these cleansers on your eyes, I was still curious about the brand. I liked its product catalog, especially how they offer skincare to body and hair care.

They even make products for men. I noticed my local organic grocery store sold this brand. You can also buy Andalou products on its website and at Target, Ulta, and Amazon. Like many of the brands on this list, Andalou products are affordable and in the same price range as Neutrogena.

From reading reviews, many people love this brand. Nearly every product in all categories received exceptional reviews and stated that their products are effective. Some reviewers say they have been using Andalou Naturals for years.

I do suggest buying these products in-store when you can because online customers have complained that their products arrived broken. I’m also reading their customer service isn’t that great.



Pacifica is one of my favorite brands right now! I’m only using their skincare products, but I do want to try their makeup. Their products are amazing — I’m using the Glow Baby Eye Bright Cream, and I notice a difference in my undereye bags.

This will become my go-to eye cream from now on. This company also has beautiful packaging and branding. I buy my Pacifica products at Target, and you can also find them on their website. If you’re in Quebec, I’ve also seen this brand at Pharmaprix.

Pacifica is cruelty-free and is also vegan. From what I’m reading, Pacifica doesn’t have a parent company.

My only complaint is about the Vegan Collagen Overnight Recovery Cream. The moisturizer works great, and I see a difference in my acne scars. But it leaves a white cast on my face and my face feels sticky. I use it at night, so it’s not a huge deal, but it’s still annoying. I can still see myself using this in the future since I think it is effective.



I’ve been mentioning mainly skincare brands here, so I want to promote a cruelty-free drugstore makeup company. Milani has been one of my favorite makeup brands for years. I love some of its products, such as its eyeshadows and blushes.

Their products are so pigmented, and they’re perfect for customers of all skin colors. I’m not the biggest fan of its eyebrow products, but nearly everything else I used is great.

Milani is very affordable, one product rarely exceeding $15 in price. For the value, most of their products are high-quality. I can find their products at CVS, Ulta, Walmart, Target, and on their website. Milani is cruelty-free and has many vegan products. They are owned by the private equity firm Gryphon Investors, and their cruelty-free status is unclear.

I would be wary about trying their foundations. I do hear they work well. I have sensitive and acne-prone skin and am very picky about foundations. Otherwise, they sell nearly every makeup product under the sun, and you can easily create a full face of Milani makeup.



elf is one of my favorite makeup brands. I’m using their Jelly Pop Primer, and I swear by it. It’s honestly better than similar ones I used from big brands like Tarte. Elf is 100% cruelty-free and vegan. They use animal hair-free brushes.

Their products are extremely affordable — one product usually costs less than $10. This is a great brand for those experienced with makeup since their products are effective. But because of the low price, I recommend this brand to those new to makeup and those who want to experiment with new techniques (for example, I would recommend elf over Anastasia to someone new to brows).

Because its products are affordable, I wouldn’t try all of them. As I said in another section, I have sensitive and acne-prone skin, so I’m picky about the foundation I use. But I recommend elf’s other makeup products. From what I can see, they don’t have a parent company.

In addition to makeup, elf also sells skincare and various makeup brushes. I haven’t used any of these products yet, but I want to try them.

Read More: Elf Jelly Pop Primer Review



I never heard of this brand until today, when I was researching for this article. Essence is a German company that makes affordable cosmetics and skincare products. Even with its global domination, this is still a small business that was formed in 2002.

Their products are a lot of fun but are also high-quality. In the US, you can buy Essence products from its website and Ulta, Amazon, Target, and CVS. Its products are very cheap — around $5 per product. Essence is a cruelty-free and vegan brand. Its parent company is also cruelty-free. Because of this, Essence has built up a cult following.

Even for the price, its products work well and are often considered a dupe for more expensive brands like Tarte. I will still continue using brands like Tarte for some products since I have sensitive skin, but Essence may be a good option for products like eyeshadow and lip gloss.

BASD Body Care

BASD Body Care

I want to recommend a cruelty-free body care brand since some of Neutrogena’s most popular products are in their body care line. BASD is a brand I also hadn’t heard of until I was researching for this article. This is a Canadian company that offers organic body products. BASD is vegan and cruelty-free. They are owned by the Canadian supplement company Genuine Health Corporation, and I can’t find their cruelty-free status.

BASD developed a cult following and many customers consider this brand a “game changer” in body care. Their organic ingredients are good for the skin. While some of their products have a fragrance, the ones that do are marked.


Question: Does Neutrogena have good products?

Answer: Everyone will have a different answer for this. Neutrogena isn’t my favorite drugstore brand. As one of the best-known beauty brands in the world, they have a massive fan base.
They sell products for nearly everyone, and this brand is recommended by dermatologists (no my dermatologist never recommended Neutrogena). I recommend you try the alternatives since Neutrogena isn’t cruelty-free.

Question: What skin types do Neutrogena cater to?

Answer: Neutrogena makes products for nearly every skin type. Judging by their bestsellers, it seems like they’re most popular among the dry skin consumer base with their Hydro Boost line. Since a lot of their products are free of common allergens, this is a good brand for those with sensitive skin.

Question: What are Neutrogena’s best-selling products?

Answer: Here are some of Neutrogena’s best-selling products in no order:
• Facial Cleansing Bar
• Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
• Hydro Boost Gel-Cream
• Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Pro+ .5% Power Serum

Is Neutrogena Cruelty Free: Bottom Line

So, is Neutrogena cruelty free? It’s a shame that such an accessible and affordable drugstore beauty brand like Neutrogena isn’t cruelty-free. While Neutrogena doesn’t test its products on animals themselves, they do sell its products in China.

China requires special cosmetics, such as sunscreens, to be tested on animals. Since Neutrogena makes sunscreen, some of its products may require animal testing. Neutrogena is also owned by Johnson & Johnson, which is not a cruelty-free company.

I don’t like how the statement on their website is misleading, and you have to dig through the article to find its cruelty-free stance. That’s why I recommend checking out some of the Neutrogena alternatives I listed.

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