Is Nivea Cruelty-Free or Not?

From sunblocks to moisturizers, Nivea is one of the largest skincare brands in the world. They have over 50 products available in 173 countries, and many consumers can easily recognize their iconic blue tin logo. However, one question that is always asked by many is whether Nivea tests on animals or not. So, is Nivea cruelty-free or not?

The answer is no. 

Many people love the brand due to its gentle and well-formulated products, but we can’t help but stress that the brand tests its products on animals. In this article, we will share an in-depth analysis of why Nivea is not a cruelty-free brand and alternative products you should try. 

But before we discuss why Nivea is not cruelty-free, let’s deep dive into what cruelty-free means.

What Do Cruelty-Free and Vegan Mean in Skincare Products?

When a brand labels its product as cruelty-free and vegan, it means the products were not tested on animals, and it does not contain any animal products. It is possible that a brand can be cruelty-free but not vegan while it can be vegan and not cruelty-free. An example can be Milani and Loreal, who claim to be only cruelty-free or vegan. 

As more and more people shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly practices, brands are forced to reflect on their current practices to make them more ethical. However, the use of this animal-friendly marketing phrase is unrestricted since there are no legal definitions for these terms.

How Can You Ensure That Products Are Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “cruelty-free” doesn’t have a specific meaning. Hence, brands who conducted animal testing on their raw materials/ingredients can label themselves as cruelty-free due to their finished cosmetic products that were not tested on animals. Other brands rely on third-party organizations to test their products, while others test products on animals when required by another country. 

As you can imagine, it can be very misleading for consumers. You may have even seen customers tell their customers these phrases:

“We don’t test our products on animals.”

Keywords are we and products. They may not have tested their final products on animals, but what about their ingredients? Also, they may not test it on animals, but how about third-party organizations whom they hired?

“We don’t test our products on animals unless….”

Keyword: unless

Brands may sell cruelty-free products, but they must undergo animal testing to sell on mainland China. It is a requirement by the state to test skincare products before selling them to consumers.  

“We are cruelty-free.”

Brands may say that you are cruelty-free, but are they certified by third-party organizations? Or did they just create criteria for calling themselves cruelty-free?

Since brands can use the term in whatever ways they want, we must stay informed. If you think that you have no time for that? Don’t worry because there are organizations that certify a brand.

What Are the Organizations That Certify a Brand to Be Cruelty-Free or Vegan?

To ensure that you only purchase from legit cruelty-free brands, these two organizations conducted their own research and certified brands that are genuinely cruelty-free. Simply search the brands on their website, and you can verify if they are cruelty-free or not. Here are the top two organizations you should check out:

1. Leaping Bunny

Leaping Bunny is the gold standard when it comes to cruelty-free certification. 

They conduct independent audits on each brand and follow strict requirements before a company is approved. Instead of only relying on the information given by the brands, Leaping Bunny meticulously checks the supply chain to make sure every process is covered, and no animal testing happens in the company. Hence, many consumers look for Leaping Bunny certifications to ensure they are only purchasing clean and cruelty-free products. 

2. PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies

PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program is the most well-known cruelty-free certification program. They may be based in the United States, but they audit brands across the world. In fact, they have certified over 4,500 brands.

To apply for certification, the brands must fill out a short questionnaire stating that the company and its supplier do not conduct and allow any tests on animals. However, they don’t verify if the brand’s suppliers do not conduct animal testing. 

PETA only relies on the honesty of the brands. Furthermore, they approve of brands that test on animals that are required by law, and there are no reassessments on the approved brands. Hence, not all brands approved by PETA can be trusted. You must still check out other resources to verify if the brand is truly cruelty-free or not. 

Now that we can establish what cruelty-free is and various organizations you can check for certification, it’s time to discuss why Nivea is not cruelty-free based on the definition of cruelty-free. 

Does Nivea Test on Animals?

Beiersdorf is Nivea’s parent company. Based on their website, they did not test their products on animals long before it was regulated in 2004. The company even has a dedicated research team that develops alternative ways to conduct cosmetics testing. 

Here is their statement about animal testing:

Beiersdorf does not use animals to test cosmetic products. This has been our policy long before the directives regulating animal testing in cosmetics went into effect in the European Union in 2004. Beiersdorf has developed a procedure, for example, which will in the future along with other tests be able to assess the allergy potential of substances without the use of animal testing.” 

However, based on PETA and their website, Beiersdorf conducts animal testing on their animals. The tests are conducted by local institutions approved by China.

“Beiersdorf, the organization behind the NIVEA brand, does not test on animals. In China, however, animal testing is mandated by law for the official registration and certification of the safety of certain product categories.”

As we have discussed, many brands label themselves as cruelty-free despite having third parties conduct animal testing on their products. Since Nivea’s products are tested on animals by local authorities in China, we can conclude that Nivea is not a cruelty-free brand. 

This has also been the case for CeraVe and Cetaphil, which have been proven to be brands that test on animals.

Is Nivea Sold in China?

Since Nivea stated that they are required to test their products on animals, we can tell they are selling their products in China. China requires brands to test products on animals before selling them in the market. Nivea may not conduct the tests themselves, but they consent to test their products on animals by the Chinese authorities. 

Many brands are refusing to sell in China due to their animal-testing policy. However, Nivea refuses to do the same. Instead, they consent to China’s policy, thereby making them not cruelty-free.

Is Nivea Certified Cruelty-Free by Organizations?

No. Nivea is not certified by any independent organization.

Is Nivea Vegan?

Nivea is not 100% vegan.

They do sell vegan products, but not all of their products are vegan. Nivea’s vegan products are appropriately packaged and labeled before hitting the stores.

What Are the Cruelty-Free Alternatives to Nivea?


Nivea is a well-known brand that offers several products to its customers. However, there are a lot of cruelty-free and vegan brands that provide the same range of products. Here is a list of the top brands we recommend that offer cruelty-free products:

1. Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice has been in the industry for more than 25 years. Long before brands focused on offering sustainable and clean products, Paula was known for offering products with a safe and well-researched ingredients list. 

Their motto is to offer smart and safe beauty products. They only offer the best natural and synthetic ingredients that will address your skincare needs. Rest assured, their products are backed by science, and their product details page explains the use and benefits of the main ingredient. Most importantly, Paula’s Choice is cruelty-free and vegan.

Here are some of Paula’s Choice best products:

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2. Tatcha

Tatcha was launched in 2009 by Tsai who was a Missouri-born Taiwanese American. Back when she was in her 20s, she suffered from acute dermatitis that left her face with blisters and rashes. She bought geisha-approved products in Japan and learned about Japanese skincare techniques

She also worked with Japanese scientists to provide clean, paraben-free, and cruelty-free products. Their three main products are green tea, rice, and algae. So, if you ever need safe, cruelty-free, and well-formulated ingredients, use Tatcha. 

Here is a list of their best-selling items you should get a hold of!

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3. The Ordinary

The Ordinary is another cult favorite that is proven to be cruelty-free and vegan. Just like Paula’s Choice, their products are well-researched and backed by science. It’s also easier to purchase their products because their names are the names of the main ingredients. 

Here are some of their best selling items:

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Final Thoughts

So, is Nivea cruelty-free or not? The answer is no. Despite stating that they don’t conduct animal testing, Nivea allows authorities in China to test their products on animals in order to sell in China. Don’t worry. There are other brands such as Paula’s Choice, Tatcha, and The Ordinary that you can check out as an alternative. 

We highly suggest No products found. as an alternative for Nivea’s moisturizers. It’s packed with Japanese purple rice that helps give you a dewy and youthful glow. Lastly, it’s filled with anti-aging superfoods such as green tea, rice, and algae.

Always check the brand’s cruelty-free certification from reputable organizations before purchasing one and conduct in-depth research on the ingredients. If you are still unsure whether the products you wish to buy are cruelty-free or not, we have other articles reviewing other brands you can check out!

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