Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free? A Reality Check on Your Favorite Brands

In the evolving landscape of beauty and cosmetics, the question of ethical practices, particularly concerning animal testing, has taken center stage. Consumers are increasingly seeking transparency from brands about their cruelty-free status. One such brand under scrutiny is Maybelline. Owned by the global giant L’Oréal, Maybelline’s stance on animal testing has been a topic of debate. Now the big question remains, is Maybelline cruelty-free?

Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free?

Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free

Let’s address the elephant in the room first: Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free?

Well, to many people’s surprise, Maybelline is actually not a cruelty-free brand. Like its parent company L’Oreal, Maybelline operates in Mainland China, where imported makeup and skincare products are legally required to be animal-tested. This means that it cannot be considered cruelty-free as long as it trades in China.

Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free?

Is Maybelline Vegan?

Maybelline may have some vegan products, but many of their products are not suitable for vegans because they include carmine and lanolin. Furthermore, because this company is not cruelty-free, it is advised to avoid any products offered, even if they are vegan. Also, Maybelline is not certified by any cruelty-free or vegan organizations.

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Maybelline’s Animal Testing Policy

Is Maybelline Cruelty-Free? | EcoElsie

Maybelline is owned by L’Oréal and follows its animal testing policy. Not every brand is owned by a company that tests animals and follows the company’s policy. According to Maybelline’s animal testing policy

None of the ingredients or finished product is tested on animals

Unless the law requires no third parties to test animals on their behalf.

There is no indication of their suppliers in this brief policy, but we know from L’Oréal’s animal testing policies make an exception for some ingredients tested on animals by their suppliers. Maybelline cannot be considered a cruelty-free brand because it allows third-party animal testing where legally required. This means that Chinese authorities in mainland China most likely tested Maybelline’s finished products on animals. 

Foreign cosmetics must be tested on animals to be sold in mainland China as part of their pre-market animal testing laws. Maybelline must agree not to have their final products tested on animals, but they must also pay for these animal tests. Because Maybelline is sold in mainland China and clearly states that they test on animals where required by law, we conclude that Maybelline is not a cruelty-free brand and has most likely funded animal testing.

Maybelline’s FAQs

Maybelline’s animal testing policy is listed in the FAQ section of their website. They claim under the “animal testing policy” tab that they do not test their products or ingredients on animals anywhere around the world unless legally required. They also provide a link to L’Oreal’s full animal testing policy, in which L’Oreal claims to “no longer test on animals,” which is false for two reasons. The first reason is apparent: they continue to conduct animal testing where required by law, and their products are distributed throughout mainland China.

The second reason is a small print in their full animal testing policy that states that animal testing may still be used as a last resort for new ingredients under certain conditions. So, even though Maybelline only tests on animals in certain circumstances, they still test on animals.

What can a consumer do to help animals?

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Buy Cruelty-Free Products

Animal testing is a problem all over the world, and cruelty-free products are here to help put an end to it. Even though there is almost no reason for animal testing, huge companies carry out these cruel tests that cause bodily harm and physical pain.

On the other hand, cruelty-free products make use of the 40 tests developed to test items without involving any animal testing. These businesses also use thousands of chemicals and ingredients that have already been proven to be safe, adhering to their mission of leaving animals unharmed and in their natural habitat, where they belong.

Buying Cruelty-free helps spread Word

Major corporations that encourage their cruelty-free products are motivated about what they do – and they aren’t afraid to spread the word about the significance of purchasing these products. Raising awareness of the dangers associated with animal-tested products is an excellent way to fuel the movement toward a cruelty-free world.

Buying Cruelty-free helps give Back

Giving back to organizations that support worthy causes and missions is an excellent way to make a difference on our planet. Many companies that plan to be cruelty-free have a strong interest in issues affecting our planet, like the extinction of animal species and global warming. As a result, they have formed alliances with organizations and have pledged to donate money from every purchase they obtain to such noble and worthwhile causes.

Companies that don’t test on animals

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While Lush is best known for their colorful bath bombs and naked shower gels, they have expanded into the makeup industry. The band released their naked (plastic-free) foundation in 40 shades earlier this year, and they also have a refillable lipstick collection. Everything is cruelty-free and plastic-free, resulting in a truly ethical brand.

Urban Decay

Urban Decay is one of the best and most easily affordable cruelty-free makeup brands. From their iconic Naked Palettes, which break the internet every time they release, to their glitter-filled Moondust Eyeshadows, the brand never tests on animals or uses animal by-products in any of their products. Even their fluffy makeup brushes are free of animal cruelty.


Hourglass does not use animal testing to develop or produce their beauty products, from the picture-perfect Ambient Lighting Blush to the GIRL Lip Stylo Collection introduced to champion women and girls around the world. Furthermore, the brand doesn’t sell its products in regions where animal testing is common.

NYX Cosmetics

NYX thrives on high-coloured products at reasonable prices, which is why both makeup artists and beauty influencers love it. The brand does not use animal testing or ingredients that are not cruelty-free. In 2018, the company announced for the first time that it would begin producing vegan products, the majority of which would cost less than £10.

The Body Shop

The beauty brand not only pioneered the use of sustainably sourced and Fair Trade ingredients, but it was also the first global cosmetics company to advocate for the abolition of animal testing in 1989, even before it was outlawed in the United Kingdom in 1998. The brand collaborated with Cruelty-Free International to create its own Forever Against Animal Testing campaign to fight for the abolition of animal testing worldwide. In 2018, they collected 8 million signatures, allowing them to present their petition to the United Nations.


Illamasqua is well-known for its passionate support of important causes, and the brand, as assumed, doesn’t test on animals, which means that everything from their lipstick to liquid liners is cruelty-free.

‘When it comes to cosmetics, we care not only about the color, texture, price, and performance of the items we use, but also about how they are sourced, manufactured, and tested,’ writes Illamasqua on their website. The brand has a following from bloggers to celebrities, makeup artists to beauty editors, thanks to its long-lasting formulas, bold colors, and new, Instagram-worthy buys that are launched almost every month – proof that cruelty-free is the only way forward.


bareMinerals does not conduct any animal testing. Their makeup is also free of preservatives, oils, fragrances, and potentially harmful chemicals. But that’s not all; in an effort to broaden the brand’s appeal, they launched the Gen Nude collection, which includes 40 (yep, 40) different nude lip shades to suit all skin colors from fair to dark and everything else in between.

When you combine that with their new Power Of Good campaign, which focuses on a commitment to clean beauty, the makeup brand is a pretty safe bet for guaranteed feel-good purchases.


Glossier, the cult brand that probably doesn’t need an introduction, has taken a firm stance on cruelty-free makeup since its launch in the UK in 2017. Its ever-expanding line of makeup (not to mention skincare, body care, and merchandise) is Leaping Bunny certified, which means its products are subject to regular inspections to ensure they meet international cruelty-free certification standards.

We’re committed to being cruelty-free: this means we don’t test on animals at any stage of product development, and we’ll only work with vendors who uphold the same standards, says a statement on their website.


In this article, we’ve answered the question ‘is Maybelline cruelty-free, compiled a list of the best and most economical cruelty-free brands, and made it very clear that Maybelline is not a cruelty-free brand as it sells in Mainland China, where it’s legally required to test on animals.

Passionate about cruelty-free beauty? Dive deeper by exploring trusted beauty blogs that regularly update on the latest cruelty-free brands and products. Stay informed and make beauty choices that align with your values!

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