• Make-up

    Cosmetics and Animal Testing

    When talking about animal testing in the cosmetics industry, the main focus is mostly on the EU. In recent years, the focus area has been expanded to China after the media wrote about it more regularly and some cosmetics companies withdrew from China due to legally required animal experiments. Today I would like to think outside the box with you by looking at some other countries in the world and looking at their animal testing policies.

    Unfortunately, animal testing in most countries is not yet regulated at all or is very vague. The different countries also have different definitions of “cosmetics”. For example, sunscreens are called cosmetics in Europe and parts of South-East Asia. In other parts of Asia and North America, however, sunscreens are referred to as medicines, medical cosmetics or so-called “special use” cosmetics, which often means extensive animal testing. The situation is very similar, for example, with hair dyes.

    In many countries, cosmetic raw materials are covered by the Chemicals Act. Just because the laws for cosmetic products in some countries do not require animal testing, the cosmetic ingredients can or must still be tested in animal testing.

    European Union

    Since March 11, 2013, the sale and import of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals, as well as raw materials used in the production of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals, have been prohibited in the EU. However, testing of ingredients and components is still permitted with exceptions. (see Chemicals Act).

    In 2018, the EU Parliament passed a resolution to ban animal testing worldwide. The goal is to achieve this through a diplomatic initiative by 2023.


    The Chinese government mandates animal testing for some cosmetic products. This can even be done at random after a company has entered the Chinese market. For this reason, some cosmetic brands have withdrawn from the Chinese market in the past and now sell there, for example, via online mail order or in the Chinese Hong Kong special administrative region.


    The Minister of Health of Ukraine announced in August 2019 that the cosmetics regulation will be adapted to that of the EU. This means the end of animal testing for cosmetics in Ukraine and is a great success. At the same time, cosmetic products are becoming safer since only 400 substances were previously legally prohibited for use in cosmetic products. With the new cosmetics regulation, the number increases to 1383. The manufacturers are given 18 months to convert their production. This step is one of the conditions of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine of 2014. The goal of Ukraine is to become a full member of the EU by about 2025.


    Testing of finished cosmetic products (including household cleaning products and toiletries) in animal experiments has been prohibited in Israel since 2007. Since January 2013 there has also been a ban on sales within Israel if products from abroad have been tested in animal experiments. The ban does not yet apply to raw materials, but only to the finished product.

    United States

    The United States introduced the Humane Cosmetics Act in 2015 to ban animal testing for cosmetics, but unfortunately has not yet implemented it. Testing cosmetic products is not required by law, but is still done for new ingredients and for medical products like sunscreen. The Cosmetics Regulation has been under discussion since 2017.

    Animal testing for cosmetics (import and sale) is now banned in the following 5 US states: Illinois, California, New York, Virginia and New Jersey.

    For example, California: On August 31, California MPs unanimously voted to ban animal testing for cosmetics. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act prohibits cosmetics manufacturers from importing and selling cosmetic products that have been produced through animal testing. The new law will enter into force on January 1, 2020.


    The Turkish Cosmetics Ordinance was extended by an article on January 15, 2016. Since then, animal testing for cosmetic ingredients or end products has been banned provided there is instead an alternative method that is recognized at EU or OECD level. It should be seen as an approximation of the strict EU law. For example, the ban does not apply to products that have been tested on animals outside of Turkey.

    Cruelty Free Cosmetics

    If you are looking for cosmetics products that are not tested on animals, you can find an up-to-date list on Switch Life Blog.