Ethical, cruelty free skincare is soaring to prominent heights, with more countries across the world outlawing cosmetics animal testing and global brands implementing expansive sustainable initiatives.

Hot on the heels of Australia’s ban on cosmetic animal testing last year, China have partially lifted their mandatory cosmetics animal testing requirement. Effective from January 1st 2021, ordinary cosmetics are no longer subject to animal testing. Ordinary cosmetics refers to everyday items including lipstick, eyeliner, cleanser, shampoo, and perfume. Special use cosmetics, however, must still undergo animal testing. This category is reserved for products with specific and more complex functions such as hair dye, hair perm, sunblock, and deodorants, as well as products for hair and spot removal, hair growth, and whitening.

China once required all cosmetics products to undergo ‘pre-market’ and ‘post-market’ animal testing. Before products could officially launch in China, they were subject to extensive safety analysis, including animal testing. After the initial approval, Chinese authorities randomly selected products for animal testing to ensure product safety.

Australia passed legislation prohibiting animal testing on domestic and imported cosmetic products in 2017, with the legislation officially enforced on 1 July 2020.  The scope of Australia’s anti-cosmetic animal testing legislation does not extend to cosmetics already available on the market. The legislation only affects new cosmetic chemicals being introduced.

There are exceptions to the ban on cosmetics animal testing. Multi-purpose ingredients used in both cosmetic ingredients and cleaning products are exempt from this legislation. While the legislation bars cosmetics companies from using animal testing as a baseline strategy, if there are no viable methods to test safety, cosmetics animal testing is allowed. These standards are in line with the European Union’s animal testing protocols.

Australia and China join a growing list of countries that have banned cosmetic animal testing, including Switzerland, Guatemala, Taiwan, India, Israel, Turkey, Taiwan, Korea, Norway, New Zealand, certain regions of Brazil and the state of California. The European Union also effectively banned cosmetic animal testing in 2013, promptly launching a global campaign to encourage other nations to halt this practice.


In line with the move towards beauty that doesn’t compromise animal welfare, all of Garnier’s products have been officially certified as cruelty free from the gold-standard organisation, the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny Programme. To obtain the prestigious tick of approval, Garnier underwent meticulous inspections and secured cruelty free declarations (ingredients are produced ethically and free from cosmetics animal testing) from 500 suppliers who source over 3000 of their ingredients.

Companies can often make misleading ‘cruelty free’ claims, but the globally recognised company demands adherence to stringent requirements, including no cosmetics animal testing. To receive the seal of consent from Leaping Bunny, companies must ensure all their products, right down to supply-chain protocol and individual ingredient manufacturers, align with strict cruelty free standards. Audits are conducted on a frequent basis and strict supply-chain monitoring is implemented to ensure ongoing adherence.

Along with ethical beauty, Garnier have expanded their mission to build a more environmentally friendly planet, with their 2020 Green Beauty Initiative. Objectives include stopping production of all non-recyclable plastic, ensuring all ingredients are sourced sustainably, implementing renewable energy resources within their supply chains, and producing 100% reusable, recyclable, or degradable packaging. A portion of Garnier’s profits will also go towards improving the living conditions of 800 communities in need.

“Consumers today are savvy and are looking for honest brands. At L’Oréal Australia we are committed to creating a transparent consumer journey, to build ongoing trust. This certification is a great milestone for the Garnier brand and is just another step forward for the brands commitment to Green Beauty,” Christine Burke,  L’Oréal’s Communications Director said.

Story by Kristina Zhou. Holding shot via Pinterest.

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