Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?

April 3, 2023
Clinique product

Are you looking to add 100% cruelty-free products to your makeup, haircare or skincare routine? Want to know if Clinique matches your requirements? 

If you answered yes, we’ve got you covered. 

Clinique cosmetics brand is popular for having the best products for makeup, skincare, hair and nails, and has products for all skin types. 

As far as cruelty-free goes, Clinique claims their products and ingredients are not tested on animals. They’re committed to the elimination of animal testing, except when required by law. 

So how deep does Clinique’s animal testing policy go? While they may claim to not test on animals, some of their suppliers in other countries do. 

For Clinique to be classified as cruelty-free, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Must not test their ingredients, formulations, or finished products on animals.
  • Must not permit suppliers or manufacturers to test their ingredients or  finished products on animals.
  • Must not pay third-party companies to test their ingredients or finished products on animals.
  • Must not be sold in any place where animal testing is required by law.
  • Must not contain animal products.
  • Products must bear a cruelty-free certificate from PeTa, Choose Cruelty Free, or Leaping Bunny.

So is Clinique cruelty-free based on the above cruelty-free requirements? 

Is Clinique Certified Cruelty-Free?

No. Clinique is not cruelty-free. Clinique was founded in 1968 with the aim of making their customer’s skin great with safe and effective formulations. However, Clinique products are not certified as cruelty-free by either Choose Cruelty Free, PeTA, or Leaping Bunny

Looking at any product, Clinique packaging does not have a cruelty-free certification logo from any of the aforementioned cruelty-free organizations.

Cruelty-Free BunnyOrganizationLocationLogo
Choose Cruelty-Free
Choose Cruelty FreeAustraliaCCF Rabbit
Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Brands
PeTaUSABeauty without Bunnies
cruelty free international logo
Cruelty Free InternationalInternational OrganizationLeaping Bunny

Clinique cannot be classified as cruelty-free due to the following reasons:

  • Clinique’s parent company, Estée Lauder, does not have a permanent no animal testing policy.
  • Clinique claims to be committed to elimination of animal testing, but adheres to applicable animal testing regulations in other countries, including mainland China.
  • Clinique allows suppliers to test ingredients and products where animal testing is required by law.
  • Clinique pays third-party companies to test their ingredients and finished products.Clinique does not have PeTa, Leaping Bunny, or Choose Cruelty Free certifications.

Animal Testing Regulations in Other Countries 

In 2013, the European Union prohibited beauty brands from selling products and ingredients that have been tested on animals. This ban applies to finished products and ingredients from EU countries, and outside the EU. 

Other countries that have banned animal testing include Israel, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and India. 

In the United States, animal tests are not a legal requirement. However, cosmetic companies are prohibited from selling adulterated or unlabeled products. 

In China, it is mandatory for cosmetics to be tested on animals before they are sold. 

Is Clinique Sold in China?

Just like most subsidiaries under the parent company Estée Lauder, Clinque also sells products in China where animal testing is a legal requirement.

They even have a Clinique China website.

Clinique China website

With regard to Estée Lauder, Clinique’s parent company, the company has been collaborating with Cruelty Free International in their fight to end the practice of testing products on animals since 2019.

Estée Lauder’s animal testing policy states they eliminated animal testing over 30 years ago, but are still not certified cruelty-free.

The company’s products are sold in China and other countries where testing products and ingredients on animals is required by law.

Therefore, Clinique and their parent company are not cruelty-free. 

However, China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) confirmed that as of 1st May 2021, they may exempt some cosmetics brands from their compulsory animal testing requirements. 

We’ll have to wait and see if Clinique and Estée Lauder will be exempted from China’s animal testing regulations.

Does Clinique Test on Animals?

On Clinique’s FAQ section, there’s an animal testing policy that states:

“Clinique Laboratories, LLC. is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety, and bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which our products are sold.

We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. We evaluate our finished products in clinical tests on volunteer panels.

Clinique Laboratories, LLC. fully supports the development and global acceptance of non-animal testing alternatives. To this end, the Company works extensively with the industry at large and the global scientific community to research and fund these alternatives.”

That said, Clinique products are still sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law. 

In addition, where required by law, their ingredients and finished products may be subjected to animal testing by suppliers in other countries to determine their safety.

According to PeTA, Clinique is one of the cosmetics brands that pays for tests on animals in China.

Beauty Brands That Pay for Animal Tests

Is Clinique Vegan?

Besides the fact that Clinique sells their products in countries where mandatory animal testing policies exist, they also use animal-derived ingredients and by-products. 

If you prefer to use strictly cruelty free vegan cosmetics and body care products, you will want to check your ingredients panel for animal by-products like carmine (crushed bugs or cochineal insects), lanolin (sheep wool), and beeswax. 

  • Carmine is the pigment or red dye found in makeup products like lipsticks and blushes. 
  • Beeswax is natural wax derived from the honeycomb of honeybees.
  • Lanolin is an oil produced from a sheep’s wool.

You can also look for a “certified vegan” logo on the product’s packaging.

Understanding Cruelty-free and Vegan logos

If a product contains any ingredients that are animal-derived, it is not vegan. 

This list from Caring Consumer on animal-derived ingredients will help you analyze Clinique ingredients before making your next purchase. 

Best Cruelty-Free Alternatives

Having concluded that Clinique is not cruelty-free or vegan-friendly, there are thousands of drugstore and high-end cruelty-free alternatives you can try out including Pacifica, the Ordinary, and Simple, among others.

You can also search through our list of the best cruelty-free mascara, as well as these cruelty-free makeup brushes made from synthetic material instead of hair.

Lifting & Volumizing Mascara

Looking for More Cruelty-Free Information? 

It’s good to be conscious of what you put on your face, body, and hair. Having answered your question—is Clinique cruelty-free—we believe you’ll be able to make the right decision with regard to Clinique beauty products. 

The goal of Caring Consumer is to promote beauty brands that are developed consciously, sustainably and ethically. 

We advocate for vegan and cruelty-free brands because we believe no animal should be afflicted in the process of producing lotions, shampoo, moisturizer, or fragrances.

If China exempts Clinique from animal tests, Caring Consumer will update you via our list of companies that do or don’t test on animals as to whether the organization is certified cruelty-free.

Photo by Pxhere / CC BY