Nars Cosmetics is a popular skincare and makeup brand, established in 1994 by French makeup artist and photographer François Nars.
When considering the question, “is Nars cruelty-free,” we need to establish what makes a company cruelty-free — and who makes that call (more on that later).
For Nars to be cruelty-free:
- Nars must not test their ingredients or products on animals
- Nars must not permit others to test their products on animals (third-party testing)
- Nars must not sell their products in regions where animal testing is required by law, e.g., in mainland China
- Nars must not deal with suppliers who test on animals, e.g., Chinese suppliers
- Nars must seek accreditation from an independent and reputable cruelty-free vegan organization, e.g., P.E.T.A.
Under François Nars’ leadership, Nars Cosmetics was one of the best cruelty-free beauty brands.
In fact, the Nars brand grew rapidly due to heavily advertising their cruelty-free policy.
However, on Nars Cosmetics’ purchase by the beauty conglomerate Shiseido Co. Ltd things at Nars took a turn for the worse.
Shiseido — the Parent Company
Shiseido Co., Ltd. — a Japanese company founded in 1872 — bought Nars in 2000 and maintained Nars’ stellar anti-animal testing reputation until 2017.
Much to Nars’ social media followers’ chagrin, in the summer of 2017, Shiseido officially changed Nars’ cruelty-free policy to tap into the lucrative Chinese market.
With its massive population and booming cosmetics market, China was too huge an opportunity for Nars to miss out on.
Consequently, due to their heartbreaking summer decision to start testing on animals, Shiseido — Nars’ parent company — was granted permission to sell in China.
Nars’ Instagram statement on their animal testing policy (seen below) makes their position very clear.
Animal Testing Laws
As a rule of thumb, any beauty company that sells its products in China or has stores in mainland China — is not cruelty-free.
This is because China’s animal testing law makes it compulsory for all foreign cosmetic brands to submit their products for tests.
Therefore, all foreign cosmetic companies are required by law to submit their products to Chinese third parties, who conduct outdated and cruel tests on animals.
In all fairness to Nars, this means that all beauty brands that sell in mainland China aren’t cruelty-free.
We’re sad to say that — with Research and Markets 2019 report projecting a USD $88.14 billion growth in Asia-Pacific’s cosmeceutical market by 2024 — the proverbial cosmetics “gold rush” has only just begun.
Thankfully, the E.U. still has an outright ban on animal testing.
Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan
There is a reasonable amount of overlap between cruelty-free and vegan products, considering accreditation standards.
It isn’t easy to discuss one without reflecting on the other. After all, to be vegan is to avoid animal products and, as a result, to be cruelty-free.
With that said, some cruelty-free vegan cosmetic alternatives pose a whole new set of concerns for consumers. For instance:
- Is the use of harmful synthetic ingredients, e.g., Dimethicone (a polymer) — the solution to cruel testing methods?
- Is using plant-based oils sourced from endangered ecosystems, e.g., palm oil, better than synthetic ingredients?
- Is using a “naturally” occurring ingredient, like petroleum, good for the environment and human health?
For peace of mind, adhere to the recommendations made by the certifying agencies below to ensure that your purchases bring about the greatest good.
Cruelty-Free and Vegan Cosmetic Company Certifications
These six non-profit organizations certify that a company is cruelty-free vegan. In a few instances, however, specific beauty products are certified vegetarian.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A.)
P.E.T.A. has a convenient global program and app — Beauty Without Bunnies — that you can use to find P.E.T.A. accredited cruelty-free cosmetics brands.
Nars Cosmetics isn’t an accredited member of P.E.T.A. and is on P.E.T.A.’s naughty list of animal testers.
The Vegan Society
The oldest vegan charitable organization in the world — The Vegan Society — was started in 1944 by Donald Watson, who also created the moniker “vegan.”
The Vegan Society promotes a vegan lifestyle by holding global clean living campaigns throughout the year.
To obtain the society’s Vegan Trademark certification, a company must pass their stringent tests and meet their high vegan standards.
Nars Cosmetics isn’t an accredited member of the Vegan Society and doesn’t have the Vegan Trademark on its products or website.
Founded in 1995, Vegan Action is a non-profit that’s determined to promote a vegan diet, reduce environmental degradation and eliminate animal tests. Their trademarked logo — the Certified Vegan — indicates that a company doesn’t:
- Use animal products or by-products
- Test on animals
Nars Cosmetics isn’t an accredited member of Vegan Action and doesn’t have the Certified Vegan Logo on their official website or any of their products.
Beauty Without Cruelty
The South African animal rights body (est. 1975) teaches the general population about animal abuse and exploitation.
Beauty Without Cruelty’s (B.W.C.) humane guide lists over 120+ accredited companies that are certified cruelty-free.
Nars Cosmetics doesn’t carry B.W.C.’s logo on its official website or its products. Nars is also not listed in Beauty Without Cruelty‘s (B.W.C.) humane guide of accredited companies.
Choose Cruelty-Free is the only genuinely independent Australian non-profit that advocates for animal rights.
Accreditation is given to successful companies only after C.C.F. conducts thorough surveys, and approved and certified products carry the Not Tested on Animals Rabbit logo.
Unlike the other accreditation bodies on this list, C.C.F. provides certification for both vegetarian and vegan products.
C.C.F., therefore, permits the inclusion of animal-derived ingredients like honey, lanolin, beeswax, and milk products.
Nars Cosmetics isn’t a Choose CrueltyFree accredited member. Nars also doesn’t have the Not Tested on Animals Rabbit Logo on their official website or their products.
Cruelty-Free International, an animal rights advocacy group, owns the famous Leaping Bunny logo.
A beauty company receives accreditation and permission to use the logo through C.F.I.’s Leaping Bunny program.
Nars Cosmetics isn’t a Choose Cruelty-Free accredited member. Nars also doesn’t have the Not Tested on Animals rabbit logo on their official website or their products.
Long story short — Nars isn’t a cruelty-free brand.
Nars is instead a compromised cosmetics brand determined to rake in profits while disregarding cruelty to animals.
Join the Cruelty-Free Vegan Movement
We bet you now want to know what your options are — mercifully, there are a few conscientious cosmetics companies that are certified cruelty-free vegan.
Start by signing P.E.T.A.’s pledge to be cruelty-free, and moving forward, shop conscientiously.
For a cruelty-free world, here are a few tips to guide your shopping —
- Be Purposeful: Buy only from cruelty-free brands whose policies and accreditations prove their aversion to animal testing
- Advocate: Encourage brand new cruelty-free vegan cosmetic brands to get accreditation ASAP
- Avoid: Don’t purchase items from brands claiming to be cruelty-free but don’t have any proof of certification on their product packaging and websites
- Form New Shopping Habits: While shopping, make it a habit to check all your beauty products for the certification logos shown above
Purpose today to live sustainably and cruelty-free vegan! Visit Caring Consumer to find ethical products today.