By: Nina Hudson

Over the past few years, there has been a big push to end cosmetic testing on animals. Even though many countries such as Brazil and some U.S states have passed some form of a  prohibition against cosmetic testing on nonhuman animals. Yet a lot more needs to be done to end the unnecessary cruelty of animal testing.

Why do brands continue to test? The testing of cosmetics is used to determine how toxic a product is, seeing if their products (skincare and makeup) cause irritation or any type of reaction.

Who is affected? Mainly rabbits, as well as mice, guinea pigs, and rats. As a result of testing, these animals can be left injured or are left with a severe reaction that triggers death. 

How? What are some common methods? Depending on the animal, the methods vary. Guinea pigs are commonly get skinned and then covered in cosmetics, testing for reactions. On the other hand, rats and mice are forced to inhale or eat active cosmetic ingredients to test how safe it is and are sometimes smothered in cosmetics, similar to guinea pigs. Rabbits are also exposed to similar forms of abuse but are forced to withstand it longer since they are bigger and stronger than the other animals. If the animals are pregnant, their offspring and themselves are euthanized after testing.

Some popular brands that still test on animals: (as of November 2022)


Cetaphil is a skincare brand that is widely used all over the world. They offer facial cleansers, moisturizers, and more.  Cetaphil is available for sale in countries with mandatory animal testing, such as China, so ultimately their products are tested on animals. Cetaphil is owned by a parent company that tests on animals, Galderma. Not only is Cetaphil not cruelty-free, but neither is their parent company.


Neutrogena is another brand that continues to test on animals. They sell makeup, skincare, moisturizers, and toners. Their stated animal testing policy says they do not test on animals and do not use outside parties to test their products. Unfortunately, they decide to offer their goods on China’s mainland, where they test on animals. Neutrogena prioritizes increasing sales rather than the well-being of animals.

Sephora Brand

Sephora is a popular beauty retailer that sells a variety of products globally. They also have their own brand called “Sephora Collection,” which offers makeup and beauty products. Though Sephora stores around the world do have cruelty-free products sold in their stores, their brand does not model similar ethics. They market their products in mainland China, similar to the brands mentioned above, where many products must be subjected to animal testing in order to be sold. 

Herbal Essence

A popular hair care and body care brand, Herbal Essences, is also a brand that is not cruelty-free. They show their PETA cruelty-free certifications to their customers but do not consider animal testing after their products are made. They, too, market their products to mainland China, where they require animal testing for many products. Furthermore, their products contain harsh chemicals linked to allergic reactions and carcinogens linked to cancer.


Benefit, a brand that sells makeup, popularly eyebrow products, is not cruelty-free. Though they do not directly test on animals, they engage in animal testing as they allow their products to be tested by third-party companies. Following the same theme as the other brands mentioned above, they market their products in mainland China where it is legally required to test their products on animals.


The road toward a solution: The brands I‘ve mentioned, among others, have been working to become cruelty-free but ultimately need to stop marketing their products to countries that still require testing by law, such as China or Russia. This way, we can take a large step to terminate animal testing globally. As these brands continue to stand by and allow third-party animal abuse, it shows where there priorities lie: profiting off products, even if the cost of animal cruelty.