Is Clinique Cruelty-Free and Vegan-Friendly?

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Is Clinique cruelty-free?

Beauty consumers have become more mindful of a brand’s social responsibility and animal testing policies and whether they manufacture cruelty-free products or not.

Consumers today want to know where a company stands before patronizing its products. They shop smarter now and ask questions before making purchases. 

One of the brands that often comes into question is Clinique, owned by Estee Lauder.

A variety of beauty products are arranged on a gray surface.

Clinique is a favorite high-end cosmetic brand among beauty enthusiasts. 

The brand has been offering high-quality skincare products, fragrances, and cosmetics since 1968.

However, despite people loving their beauty products, consumers still want to know if the world-famous makeup brand tests on animals.

Is Clinique certified cruelty-free?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. Clinique is not certified cruelty-free.

Even though the brand claims that they do not test on animals, they make an exception for third parties in other countries where animal testing is required by law. 

Moreover, Clinique is under the Estée Lauder Companies Inc. — a company that has historically paid money to non-cruelty-free facilities to test their products for safety reasons. 

Let’s look deeper to discover more. 

Looking Closer at Clinique

If you’re unfamiliar with Clinique, let’s look a little closer at the world-renowned makeup brand.

Clinique was established by the Estée Lauder Companies in 1968.

It has made a name for itself as a luxury cosmetics company and manufacturer of high-end cosmetics, skin care products, fragrances, and toiletries.

Clinique is also one of the first brands to include a dermatological approach to skincare and makeup products. 

This brand stands out because it promises to avoid any ingredients that may cause allergies or irritation on the skin, such as fragrances and other harsh ingredients, in their skincare products and cosmetics. 

Clinique produces well-formulated products that claim to be free from fragrances, phthalates, and parabens. 

This is so important to consumers with sensitive skin. 

And because of this, Clinique products are loved by beauty lovers worldwide.

Some of their best-selling items include facial serums and anti-aging creams like Clinique Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum

However, despite their gentle products and contribution to skin care, the critical question remains: Is Clinique vegan and cruelty-free?

asian girl holding make-up brushes and make up on face with cosmetics set at home

Are Clinique Products Cruelty Free?

Unfortunately, Clinique products are not 100% cruelty-free.

According to their company website’s FAQs about animal testing, Clinique claims their products are not tested on animals. 

However, they also shared that they did not conduct animal testing on their products or ingredients, or ask others to test on the company’s behalf, except when required by law.

Remember, in terms of cruelty-free statements, the use of words like “but,” “if,” and “except” are clear red flags. 

And since Clinique products are sold in mainland China, their ingredients or finished products may be subjected to animal testing. 

Before changing and updating their animal testing laws in 2020, Chinese law required companies to pay for mandatory animal testing for all their products.

Today, companies may apply for an exemption on animal testing for general cosmetics. If they don’t meet the requirements, they will still be required to have all products tested.

Companies that manufacture special products will still be required to follow animal-testing mandates. 

For a better understanding, here are the types of cosmetics that fall under each category:

  • General products include most makeup, fragrances, and skin and haircare products.
  • Special products include those that make functional claims, like “freckle or spot remover,” “whitening,” or “hair dyes.”

Additionally, Clinique is not a cruelty-free brand because they:

  • Don’t have Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free certifications; 
  • Allow suppliers to test products and ingredients on animals where animal testing is mandated by law; and
  • Sell their products in countries with animal testing regulations, like China. 

Finally, Estée Lauder — Clinique’s mother company — doesn’t have a permanent and comprehensive no-animal-testing policy. 

A beautiful long haired woman is looking at her skincare products in front of the mirror

Is Clinique Vegan?

If you are a vegan cosmetic lover, unfortunately, Clinique is not a vegan brand either.

Even though Clinique claims that some of its products don’t contain animal by-product ingredients, that’s not true for all of its products.

Clinique still uses animal-derived ingredients like carmine, lanoline, and more.

Plus, not being certified cruelty-free is another main reason the brand is not classified as vegan.

So Does Clinique Actually Test on Animals?

Clinique is not certified cruelty-free or vegan-friendly, but the answer to animal testing may still seem fuzzy to some.

At this point, you may ask, “Does Clinique actually test their makeup on animals?”

They claim not to. However, as mentioned previously, they allow for exceptions for third parties in countries where animal testing is required by law.

So while they may not do it themselves, they still allow it to be done. 

One specific location example is that Clinique is manufactured in mainland China. And in China, animal testing is required for safety.

Brands often follow China’s animal testing policy because the country is a big beauty market. And to penetrate the Chinese beauty buying market, brands must adhere to Chinese-mandated laws. 

Clinique also provides funding to facilities that perform animal experiments to ensure the safety of products before manufacturing them.

On top of that, The Estée Lauder Companies opened its newest Innovation Hub in Tokyo, Japan where testing cosmetics on animals is both legal and mandatory.

So, if you prefer products that are from certified cruelty-free brands, Clinique is not the brand for you.

Why Can’t Cruelty-Free Companies Sell Products in China?

different skin care, make up, and hair care products laid in a orange back drop with autumn leaves

One of the provisions of the Chinese government is that they require imported general cosmetics to undergo animal testing before distribution for safety reasons. 

Non-routine post-market animal testing may also be required if there are customer complaints. 

However, some brands can sell their products in China without being tested on animals, but this is only okay if purchases are made online and not in physical stores.

Recently, China’s new regulation stated that animal testing would no longer be required for certain types of cosmetics. 

Thanks to the efforts and work of PETA, the China National Medical Products Administration passed new cosmetics testing sub-regulations under the CSAR that took effect on May 1, 2021. 

The new regulations allow companies to market most imported general personal-care cosmetics like body lotion, body washes, and makeup without being tested on animals, provided they take the required steps to qualify for an exemption.

That may be true now, but Clinique products have been exported and sold in mainland China since 1993.

This means the company has allowed animal testing on its products in China for years. 

Why Choose Cruelty-Free Brands?

You may wonder why it’s important to choose cruelty-free brands. 

Choosing cruelty-free products is one way to stand against the inhumane and cruel animal-testing policies that still exist today.

Besides making a stand, buying cruelty-free products also comes with other great perks. 

One of the best things about cruelty-free beauty products is that they are much better for your skin as they often contain simpler and healthier ingredients. 

Cruelty-free skincare and beauty products are often your best bet if you have mature, acne-prone, or sensitive skin. 

Patronizing cruelty-free brands and products is a win-win situation — a win for animals and better, healthier skin for you!

Cruelty-Free Alternatives

Now that we’ve mentioned the importance of opting for cruelty-free brands, here are some of the leading PETA Certified brands that you can use try:

A young asian woman wearing white tank top is sitting in front of a mirror with skin care set at the table


Is Clinique PETA Certified?

According to the PETA list, Clinique is not PETA certified. This reinforces that Clinique is a company that conducts or allows animal testing. 

Does Clinique sell in China?

Yes. Clinique products are easily accessible in high-end makeup and skincare sections of cosmetic shops in China. 

Aside from that, Clinique has a dedicated shopping website for Chinese customers. 

Does Clinique manufacture in China?

No. Clinique does not manufacture its products in mainland China. They export cosmetics products to China. 

Because of that, Clinique must have its products tested on animals according to the Chinese law on imported cosmetics. 

Bottom Line: Clinique is Not Cruelty-Free and Vegan

Clinique has been around for over 50 years and is a well-known brand in the beauty industry. 

In terms of quality, Clinique is undeniably fantastic. The brand has several products that work. However, the truth is that the company is not cruelty-free or vegan-friendly.

Knowing that a brand allows animal testing is often a non-negotiable for socially responsible beauty lovers, especially vegan cosmetic users. 

If you are one, it’s best to skip Clinique and look for cruelty-free alternatives instead.

You can do your part and be a responsible cosmetic user and protect animals by choosing certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly products.

Do you prefer cruelty-free beauty products? What are some of your favorites?

Want to learn more about beauty products? 

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  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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