Is Neutrogena Cruelty-Free in 2021?

In the world of skincare and makeup, there has been a common trend that has emerged in recent years. This trend has been around for a long time but it is only in recent years that it has really caught steam and become something that a lot of people consider when buying any sort of cosmetic product.

This trend is, of course, whether or not makeup is cruelty-free. In recent years, ethics surrounding cosmetics have grown massively, and now a lot of people will refuse to purchase makeup unless they know it has not been tested on animals. 

However, as anyone who refuses to buy animal-tested cosmetics will be aware, it can be very hard to determine whether or not companies test on animals.

In a lot of cases, it can be tricky to understand whether or not products have been animal-tested, and a lot of companies try to keep the details of their testing processes quiet.

One of the companies that do this is Neutrogena, and because of this, the company cannot be classed as cruelty-free. But what exactly does ‘cruelty-free’ mean?

And does this mean that Neutrogena uses animal-testing as part of their production process? We’ll be answering these questions and lots more in this guide. 

Why do companies test on animals?

Unfortunately, animal testing is one of the most common ways of testing products to ensure they are safe for human consumption. Historically, human beings have subjected animals to processes and tests that were simply torture to determine whether something is safe for us to use.

For a company to sell any new product, they have to be able to prove that it has undergone testing so that it can be classed as ‘safe’. It is not only cosmetics that have to complete these tests, new types of medicine and a variety of other things will have to undergo testing too. 

While it is clear that the human race has come a long way since the evil animal testing that was completed in early psychology, the laws in some countries mean that animal testing is necessary.

While the majority of countries do not require products to be tested on animals, there is one major consumer state that requires this, and that is China.

For a product to be ‘fit for sale’ in China, both the finished product and the ingredients within it must be tested on at least 2 different species to observe for any side effects. This is where a major ethical battle occurs for lots of companies. 

China is an incredibly profitable country to trade in but to be able to trade in China, it often means that companies have to go against their ethics. It is partly due to the required animal testing in China that the information surrounding animal testing becomes blurry for companies.

A lot of cosmetic companies will claim to be “cruelty-free” in the countries that they do not test on animals in, despite the fact that they are completing animal testing to trade in China. This leads a lot of people to believe they are buying from a cruelty-free company when in fact they are not. 

As well as animal testing to trade in China, some companies also choose to complete animal testing to collect data that can protect them if a lawsuit was ever filed against them. However, it has become a lot less common for companies to do this in recent years. 

What is the difference between cruelty-free and vegan?

Before we look at whether or not Neutrogena tests on animals, let’s quickly clear up the difference between cruelty-free and vegan products. While vegan products will always be cruelty-free, not all cruelty-free products will be vegan.

Vegan products contain absolutely no ingredients which include animal by-products, and this includes animal testing. But, cruelty-free products will often include animal by-products.

Cruelty-free products are simply products that have not been tested on animals, however, they often include ingredients like bee wax which is not vegan.

So while vegan products are the more ethical option, you can buy cruelty-free products and be reassured that animal testing was not included at any point. 

Does Neutrogena test on animals?

So now let’s answer the question that you have been waiting for, ‘Does Neutrogena test on animals?’. As we have already established, Neutrogena is not a cruelty-free brand.

So let’s take a look at why this is. As well as companies not being cruelty-free due to trading in China, some cannot be classed as cruelty-free as they are owned by a parent company that conducts animal testing.

For example, The Body Shop does not conduct animal testing, however, they are owned by Loreal who do so they cannot be classed as cruelty-free. But Neutrogena is not owned by a parent company so this isn’t the reason why they are not cruelty-free. 

In short, the reason that Neutrogena is not cruelty-free is that they trade in China. Due to trading in China, the company must conduct animal testing and have previously admitted this in its company statement on animal testing.

They state that they only complete animal testing in the countries where the law dictates that they have to. However, they also state that they are actively looking into alternative testing processes and fund research into this.

Related: Is CeraVe cruelty-free?


So even though Neutrogena does not test any of its products on animals when they do not need to, some people may choose not to purchase from them because the animal testing process is unethical.

But the simple fact is that a lot of companies who suggest that they are ‘cruelty-free’ actually trade in China, meaning that they aren’t actually cruelty-free. 

As anyone who actively looks for ethical companies to purchase from will be aware, the list of companies that do not trade in China is slim. This is made even slimmer when you consider the number of companies that are owned by parent companies that sell in China.

But, in short, yes Neutrogena does test either their finished products or the ingredients in their products on animals.

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