Are Korean Cosmetics Cruelty-Free? Animal Testing Policies By Korean Cosmetic Brands


Hello all!

A while ago I wrote a blog post called Are Korean Cosmetic Brands Cruelty-Free or Free from Harsh Chemicals? I've received a lot of comments on this topic and a lot of people are reading this post. I decided that it's time to make things a bit more clear since it seems that there might be some confusion around the topic. I also wanted to write about what's been happening in terms of cosmetic brands being cruelty-free, new animal testing bans/laws etc.





I want to start off by saying that it is extremely hard to find reliable information about all of the Korean Cosmetic Brands in English. Therefore, I cannot confirm whether some of the statements that I have found are 100% true. I have tried my best to find information about the company policies and transparency towards being against animal testing but unfortunately this can be very tricky.

Fist of all as most of you may know at the moment China is the only country where animal testing is still required by the law! Countries that have banned animal testing are: European Union, Israel, India, Sao Paolo (Brazil), New Zealand, Turkey, UK and Norway. Countries that are currently considering prohibitions are: Brazil, Australia, USA, South Korea and Taiwan. In countries such as Russia, Hong Kong and Japan the law doesn't require cosmetics to be tested on animals but they do not prohibit it either. 

Great news for Korean cosmetics!! First of all that Korea has put a bill forward that will phase out animal testing for cosmetics by 2018! Another news is that there is a Korean cosmetic company that has received a Leaping Bunny certificate for being completely cruelty free! The company is called Outin Futures which has cosmetic brands called RE:P, NEOGEN and Code9. 

There has been some thoughts on Hong Kong putting out a bill to ban animal testing on cosmetics which would in turn affect China to ban it, but to my knowledge, such bill has not been put forward yet. 


Here is Korean Animal Rights Advocates Page for their list of cruelty-free companies:http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
They list companies based on whether the brand is cruelty-free, does not contain animal ingredients and whether they export to China. They have more companies than what I have listed here so I do recommend checking them out. I have listed mainly the more popular K-brands but I do take requests on other brands to research on and adding them to the list.

Last Updated: 15 August 2017








AMORE PACIFIC
Do not test on animals in Korea and have expanded the policy to their suppliers.
AMOREPACIFIC products are exported to China

http://www.funggroup.com/eng/knowledge/research/industry_series24.pdf
http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/good-product/researches-on-alternative-for-animal-testing.html

http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
Aritaum
Do not test on animals in Korea.
Aritaum products are exported to China

http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/good-product/researches-on-alternativeforanimal-testing.html
http://www.funggroup.com/eng/knowledge/research/industry_series24.pdf

http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
Banila Co.
No information about their policies in English.
Parent Family F&F Group conducts animal testing in China.
Banila Co products are sold in China.
http://www.funggroup.com/eng/knowledge/research/industry_series24.pdf
BEYOND
Do not test on animals in Korea.
Not being sold in China.
Parent Family LG   Household and Health Care conducts animal testing in China.
BEYOND itself imposes the ban and is on the list on KARA for against animal testing.
http://www.funggroup.com/eng/knowledge/research/industry_series24.pdf
http://www.beyond.co.kr/en/beyond/eco_beauty_beyond.jsp
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/common/printpreview.asp?categoryCode=116&newsIdx=1dr.34366

http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
Clio
No information about animal testing policies.
Dr. Jart+
Does not test on animals in Korea.

Products are being exported to China.
http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
Etude House

Does not test on animals in Korea.
Etude House products are currently sold and exported to China.
http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/good-product/researches-on-alternative-for-animal-testing.html
HolikaHolika
No information.
Owned by ENPRANI Co. Ltd founded by CJ Group.
Not being sold in China.
Innisfree
Do not test on animals in Korea.
Innisfree products are currently sold and exported to China
http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/good-product/researches-on-alternative-for-animal-testing.html
IOPE
Do not test on animals Korea.
IOPE products are exported to China
http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/
good-product/researches-on-alternative-for-animal-testing.html

http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
It's Skin
No information about animal testing policies.
Products are not sold in China.
Laneige
Do not test on animals in Korea.
Laneige products are exported to China
http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/good-product/researches-on-alternative-for-animal-testing.html

http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
Lioele
No information about animal testing policies.
Products are not sold in China.
On Lioele Texas webpage it states that Lioele does not test on animals but this has not been stated anywhere else.
http://www.lioeletexas.com/Lioele_FAQ_s/1826.htm
Missha
Are against animal testing in Korea. 
Missha products are exported to China.
Did not make it to KARA’s list of cruelty-free brands.
Mamonde
Do not test on animals in Korea.
Mamonde products are exported to China
http://group.amorepacific.com/content/company/global/sustainability/good-product/researches-on-alternative-for-animal-testing.html

http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/
Mizon
Not sold in China

No other reliable information
Nature Republic
No information about animal testing policies.
Products are being sold and tested on animals in China.
PERIPERA
No information.
Owned by Clio Professional.
Skinfood
No information about animal testing policies. 
Products are being tested on animals and being sold in China.
http://www.funggroup.com/eng/knowledge/research/industry_series24.pdf
Skin79
No information about animal testing policies.
Products are being tested on animals and being   sold in China.
http://www.skin79.com/chn
The Face Shop
No information.
Products are being tested on animals and being  sold in China. 
Owned by LG Household and Health Care that sells brands in China.
http://www.funggroup.com/eng/knowledge/research/industry_series24.pdf
The Saem
No information about animal testing policies.
Products are being sold and tested on animals in China.
TonyMoly
No information about animal testing policies.
Products are being sold and tested on animals in China.
http://eng.etonymoly.com/ext/bbs/board.php?bo_table=shop
Too Cool For School
Vague/Unreliable information about animal testing policieshttps://dandelionwhiskers.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/haul-too-cool-for-school/
NEOGEN

Does not conduct animal testing, Leaping bunny certified.
Does not use export to China.
https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/tags/korea

Klairs
Kuvahaun tulos haulle klairs logo
Does not conduct animal testing. 
Does not use animal ingredients or export to China.

Has been regocognised as Animal friendly by KARA

Commited to become 100% vegan in the future
http://www.klairscosmetics.com/klairs-recognized-as-cruelty-free-brand/

http://www.klairscosmetics.com/about-klairs/

http://www.klairscosmetics.com/klairs-to-become-vegan-cosmetic-brand/


I literally see red on this list...Unfortunately this is the sad truth about K-brands at the moment. There are many companies that do not test on animals but they export to China. 

Outin Futures has definitely taken the first step forward for being a cruelty-free Korean company.

You can find brands on that are completely cruelty-free Here 

I will continue to update this list as the time goes by and we shall hope that things will change for the better soon! If anyone has any new information that I have missed, please let me know asap!

Take care xx

Riina

There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion. - Edgar Allan Poe.

53 comments:

  1. Very nice article and helpful too. I've also been looking for more information regarding cruelty-free korean brands but it seems they still have a long way to go. On the other hand I dont know if you already know but KARA changed their website and they reuploaded their list here http://www.ekara.org/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/ If the list has't changed since the previous website the fisrt tick goes for brands that do not test on animals, the second for vegan brands or that not include animal ingredients, and the third for brands that do not sell in China. If someone with knowledge in korean could confirm this it would be great.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks a lot Ines! I have included the new link for KARA's cruelty-free list. I think you are right in terms of what the ticks mean since I don't think they have changed.

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  3. I just wanted to THANK YOU for your considerable effort in researching and posting your findings. I hope that your site will help many others like you did me in deciding what to buy. If only there are more animal rights advocates like you in the world!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your support Misou! :)

      Delete
  4. Doesn't IOPE sell in China, though? They have a website dedicated to Chinese consumers: http://www.iope.com.cn/cn/zh/skincare_makeup.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you know whether IOPE is sold in shops in China? Because I don't think the laws comply if the products are bought online from Korea.

      Delete
  5. does etude house test? im asking becuz i dont know how recent this is

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Etude House tests on animals in China but not in Korea.

      On top of the list it says "Last Updated: 13 Nov 15" so that should be able to tell you the last time I updated the list.

      Delete
    2. I am really confused by that. Could you like open up on what that means? If I buy straight from them would it be cruelty free or no or what?

      Delete
    3. It means that the company isn't cruelty-free as their products are still being tested on animals. So you may argue that you're not buying it in China and hence it would be okay, but the bottom line would be, you're still supporting a company that ISN'T cruelty-free.

      Delete
  6. Hi this is the updated list http://www.withanimal.net/cosmeticsanimaltestingfree/

    btw if you are concerend with ethical cosmetic brands in general, 이솔 and 시드물 are worth checking out; sadly they only concentrate on skincare products but they are cheap, effective, cruelty free and regularly donate for good causes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for this article! It's so hard to find decent information on Korean cosmetics. I'm so dissapointed that most of these brands are not fully cruelty free!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for this resource! I was wondering if you have any information on Too Cool For School?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kei!

      Glad you found it useful :) I have added Too Cool For School on the list. Unfortunately there is very limited information about their animal testing policies and therefore there are no guarantees :(

      Delete
  9. Hello! This is really useful, it's not easy finding info about cruelty free Korean brands!

    I'm a bit confused about AMOREPACIFIC and the other brands they own. For example about Etude House, Mamonde, Innisfree and Laneige you say that their parent brand tests in China, but about AMOREPACIFIC you say that they don't test and on their website they say that they are against animal testing as well. Is the information about testing in China from another source?

    I realize that AMOREPACIFIC doesn't sell in China but their "child" brands do so is it the only difference?

    Thanks! I hope my block of text wasn't too confusing >_<

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Genevieve,
      I have been in the process of updating the list as I received your comment. You are right, AMOREPACIFIC as a brand and parent company does not conduct any animal testing in Korea or in China and this is mistake on my behalf. Some of the brands that AMOREPACIFIC owns or is affiliated with (Laneige, Etude House and Innisfree) export to China. Therefore, I have made a mistake when it comes to brands that AMOREPACIFIC owns and do not export to China (IOPE, Aritaum, AMOREPACIFIC) and these brands could be seen as cruelty-free. I have made these changes to my table.

      The whole cruelty-free concept can be very confusing if you start to look beyond the actual brand and find out what their parent company stands for. A good example of this is The Body Shop which has always stood out for animal cruelty but it is now owned by Lóreal, that is a big animal testing company. People view the Body Shop now as not completely cruelty-free since the company that owns The Body Shop does not stand for the same values.

      I do think that people might be taking the cruelty-free concept a bit too far. If you're not a massive animal right activist, I would recommend looking into the actual brand and see whether they test on animals or export to China because then you know whether the products that you buy from that particular brand have not been subject to animal cruelty.

      I have included the parent companies in my blog because I do think that it is important to see the bigger picture when it comes to the values that the brand and the company stand for. I do realise that most people probably don't care about this but to those who do, it is there to be used as a guide.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much for your detailed reply!

      Delete
  10. Hello! Does anyone knows whether iammeme actually test on animals? I cant seem to find information online!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It sometimes could be frustrating. We know the product is against animal-testing/cruelty but then they are being sold to China and tested to animal due to respective law. If we may say so, at least when the product sold to the market means the brand kind of sure with its safety so it won't affect too badly to the animals. But........I don't think my skin and the rabbit's made with same 'structure'.

    Nicest post in your blog. Will keep read and read your every post :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Danastri!
      I agree with you 100%! And thank you :)
      I am currently writing a lot of reviews on brand called BEYOND that is current one of the only Korean cosmetic brands that is cruelty-free. I am trying to bring more awareness of this brand and how good their products are.

      Delete
  12. Aldís Amah Hamilton15 July 2016 at 16:15

    Thank you, this is brilliant! As a South-Korea enthusiast and flight attendant I often find myself in S-Korean beauty stores abroad cause of curiosity. I never dared shop as I understood NOTHING on the packaging and the store clerks didn't understand me neither haha. But now I can look for Beyond cosmetics, that makes me very happy. Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aldís!
      I'm glad you found this blog post useful. I really recommend trying out Beyond products. Their skincare products always impress me and I will continue writing reviews.
      Good luck with finding products that suit you the best! :)

      Delete
  13. So I was trying to find out whether It's Skin is cruelty-free (and having a lot of difficulty) when I came across this.

    https://globalcosmeticsnews.com/asia-australasia/2694/it-s-skin-plans-to-expand-in-india-and-china-with-widened-distribution-and-new-brand-launch

    I'm not sure if that's automatically bad news, though, because back in 2014, the Chinese FDA stopped requiring animal testing for certain products produced IN CHINA (so not products imported in, but made there) and allows companies to choose available alternatives to assess dangers.

    So if the products are going to made in China, they may not need to be tested on animals. But this article doesn't specify where the products will be made.

    Do you happen to know anything about this, by any chance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Violet!

      I wasn't aware of the situation with It's Skin before now. I'm not too sure how the expansion will affect the company's cruelty-free status as they don't really have one. So far they have not made it on the list for cruelty-free companies on KARA so I would assume they're not cruelty-free. I thing I do know is that It's Skin uses a lot of preservatives in their products.
      Thanks for the information though :) sorry I couldn't be much of a help.

      Delete
    2. Hi Riina,

      Trying to sort the status of Korean brands is so frustrating! Did you know that earlier this year, the first-ever Korean company was awarded Leaping Bunny certification by Cruelty Free International? Yep. But not only have none of the cruelty-free sites picked up on it, the brands aren't on KARA's list or the LeapingBunny.org website, either, which is what clued me in to the fact that the lists on those sites aren't always up-to-date and that the various official organizations that we believe are keeping track of this stuff don't actually seem to be staying in close contact with each other or working together efficiently. Why this news isn't being more heavily promoted is beyond me, because this is huge for the cruelty-free community, especially those of us into K-Beauty! But the only places I've seen it mentioned are on the CFI site and SokoGlam, so it took a lot of digging to turn up.

      The company is Outin Futures and its brands [so far] are Neogen, RE:P, and Code9. Here's the CFI announcement from January:

      https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/breaking-news/outin-futures-leaping-bunny-certified

      I have some Neogen (aka Neogen Dermology) products and the Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine is OMFG amazeballs. I got it via Amazon, because it was $7 less than the popular K-beauty shop where I first came across it. I'm sad it's only for use twice a week, because I want to use it all day, every day! It's my current Holy Grail. The quilted side of the pads are soft as a cloud and it smells so yummy, it takes all my willpower not to stuff the pad in my mouth and suck all the juice out. LOL But that would be naughty and probably not taste real great. I highly recommend giving them a go, though. I bet you'll love them. (But stay away from the lemon ones; citrus is harmful when applied to skin.)

      Neogen's Real Fresh Foam is popular with a lot of people. I have a bottle of the Green Tea on the way. Real green tea leaves steeping at the bottom! I want to try them all (there's also Cranberry, Blueberry, and Cereal, each with their respective goodies in the bottom of the bottles). I also want to try their Real Flower Cleansing Water, because real flower petals steeping inside, ooooooh. I definitely am a sucker for pretty gimmicks! Life is short.

      Sephora US recently started carrying a few Neogen products on their website (not sure about in-store). I haven't seen any on their China website, so that's good. But the prices for Neogen is much cheaper on Amazon and there's a much bigger selection (including RE:P and Code9 products, as well).

      Delete
    3. Thanks a lot of this information Violet. I have looked into this and it is as you have said, Outin Future has been Leaping bunny certified which is great news! I have updated the list and added NEOGEN to it. I didn't add the other two brands since I find that they aren't as easily available as NEOGEN at the moment.
      Thanks for your help Violet :)

      Delete
  14. This was very helpful. It is such a shame that so many K-brands test on animals/export to China, as I'd really love to get into them :(

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just found this out the other day: http://www.cosmeticsdesign-asia.com/Regulation-Safety/PETA-statement-on-China-s-non-animal-cosmetics-test

    http://www.popsugar.com/beauty/China-Alternative-Beauty-Animal-Testing-2016-42659238

    Hopefully this will end the need for animal testing in China. It should be noted that China did not have an alternative method of testing before this, and that Chinese consumers also want cruelty-free options.

    Also, Alicia Yoon from Peach & Lily stated in the comments here: https://intothegloss.com/2015/08/korean-skin-care-tips/
    "I can't speak to all the brands coming out of Korea, but the brands on our site that don't animal test and have cruelty-free guarantees are Aromatica, Caolion, Cremorlab, May Coop, Mizon, and Shangpree." Maybe they would be a good source for understanding some of this.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Can you also put some information regarding Cosrx and Klairs please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes please! I've read an interview on Cosrx and apparently they don't test on animals and only sell online.

      Delete
    2. Hiya!

      I have added Klairs to the list but I am a bit reluctant to add COSRX still. This is only because I have not been able to find a confirmation of them being cruelty free. There are comments online stating that they are cruelty free but COSRX does not officially state anywhere that they don't test on animals. They only sell online and do not export to China so I think it is safe to say that they are cruelty free but once I find a confirmation I will add them :)

      Delete
  17. helloooo just wanted to let you know that i live in Beijing and the korean store by my house that stocks imported korean goods def sells holika holika :/ i just saw their new Dodocat line there the other day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (same author) also just to confirm for anyone else looking for info, i've seen innisfree, skinfood, etude house, peripera, and tonymoly here too :(

      Delete
  18. Hi, do you know if "Caolion" is cruelty free? it's a korean line,
    thanks~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiya! It seems like people are sill waiting to hear back from the brand Caolion and their cruelty free status so it cannot be confirmed yet

      Delete
  19. hey do you know anything about, skinwatchers and aromatica? are they ok to use? thank you for the list ^-^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I know that skinwatchers and aromatica don't do any animal testing and don't export to China according to KARA.

      Delete
  20. Kimberly Miller19 March 2017 at 07:32

    Thank you so much for this list! and it's updates :)

    ReplyDelete

  21. thank you Riina for this post
    please , always update it <3

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi, do you know if Heimish sells in China? or it's completely cruelty-free?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Sorry I really don't know about their cruelty-free status or whether they sell their products in China. There is very little information about the company in English

      Delete
  23. Hi,

    Could you explain the distinction between being exported and being sold in China please? I'm a little confused on whether exported would still require animal testing to take place on products.

    Also, just to let you know, I've contacted SKINFOOD about their animal testing policies. I specifically asked whether they test on animals, for any reason, in any country (I also mentioned being tested by law). This is the reply I received:

    "Hi Kyla,

    All of our products are cruelty free. SKINFOOD does not test its ingredients or products on animals. Additionally, no animals were harmed in the making of our products.

    Regards,

    Lynn Kim Overseas Business Division /Sales & Marketing Manager
    SKINFOOD CO., LTD.
    서울특별시 서초구 강남대로 327 대륭서초타워 5,8,9층
    5,8,9 Fl., Dearyung Seocho Tower Bldg., 327 Gangnamdaero, Seocho-Gu, Seoul, 06627, Korea
    T. 02 - 3487-8887 / F. 02 - 312- 1011 / E. lynncute99@theskinfood.com"

    It's a bit vague for my liking so I'm definitely going go email them for some clarification and specifics about china and whether animal testing takes place by a third party or outside source (I'm also going through their products and creating a list of possibly animal-derived products to ask about the origins, which will help determine whether any of their products are vegan friendly). I'll see what they say.

    Another thing, on the TonyMoly website under the FAQs they are claiming to be against animal testing. I've emailed them about this and I'll get back to you if I hear from them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kyla! Thanks for sharing this information! Keep us posted.

      Unfortunately even if a company exports their products to China the Chinese law still requires animal testing on most cosmetics that are manufactured outside of China. Here's a post that demonstrated the Chinese animal testing law really well:
      http://ethicalelephant.com/understanding-china-animal-testing-laws/

      Delete
  24. How about precious brand and secretkey? Can u give the information?
    http://preciousbeauty.co.kr/

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks so much for this list! I've been transitioning to cruelty-free and have been very actively trying not to purchase any new products unless they're CF. I love the idea of Korean skincare and beauty and really hope to see this list turn all green in the future! ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hello! I really like the page. But the table shows that Neogen does not use animal derived components. But for example, Neogen has collagen and black caviar masks. Collagen and caviar are ingredients of animal origin. :( I really want a korean cosmetics brand that is vegan, cruel and chemical free. Does that exist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Sorry that's my bad, I will fix that. Neogen isn't vegan yet but they're committed to be in the future.

      Delete
  27. Hello

    I couldn't help but notice in your list that skinfood do test on animals. However skinfood New Zealand claim s that they do not test on animals.

    Is it true?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!
      skinfood is sold in China. It sounds suspicious to me when a company tests on animals in one country but not in another. If you buy your skinfood products in New Zealand they're probably not tested on animals if they say so but they company doesn't stand for being cruelty-free.

      Delete
  28. i have been a big fan of korean cosmetics since i visited there 2 years ago and the products really are cruelty free there from what i seen. i am not so sure about uk companies as surely some of them are just using the name and have little to do with these companies. a great way to try them is on sites like www.gratisfaction.co.uk as they offer up free samples and you can ask plenty of questions regarding the cruelty element. fanny x

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think that Neogen is no longer 'no animal ingredients'. They have a black caviar product. :-(

    ReplyDelete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete