Are Mac Cosmetics Cruelty Free?

Whether you are vegan or not, more and more people are researching cosmetics businesses to see if they align with their beliefs. These beliefs can range from equal pay and worker’s rights to whether the company tests its products on animals. 

Are Mac Cosmetics Cruelty Free

Unfortunately, animal testing has been a huge component in the makeup industry. Companies will defend themselves by stating that testing on animals is to ensure the safety of the product, when in reality, it’s just a faster way to churn out makeup. 

Countless makeup brands are making huge changes to the industry by avoiding this harmful process. However, figuring out which brands test on animals is often tricky. After all, no makeup brand wants to tarnish their own reputation by openly admitting that they aren’t cruelty-free. 

So, what about Mac Cosmetics? Mac might be one of the leading makeup brands, but are Mac Cosmetics cruelty-free? Here’s everything you need to know. 

Are Mac Cosmetics Cruelty-Free?

Let’s set the record straight – no, Mac Cosmetics are not cruelty-free. 

Despite what their website might state about having never tested on animals, this is an unfortunate loophole that many brands will use when talking about animal testing.

This is because there is no law that forces brands to confirm or deny their history or association with animal testing, which can be misleading for many customers. 

It’s not actually clear how much animal testing Mac Cosmetics is responsible for.

While their website and other reputable sources claim that the brand does not test on animals, you’ve also got to consider countries that they sell their products in which require animal testing by law.

There’s also the issues of third-parties and parent companies. 

What Countries Test On Animals? 

The only country in the world that requires the testing of cosmetic products on animals by law is China. However, this only counts for products that are not produced in China, as the pre-market animal testing law is no longer a requirement for products produced within the country. 

However, there are other countries where animal testing is somewhat of a gray area, such as Russia. It’s not clear whether animal testing is legal across large countries or continents like Russia. 

Considering China is one of the leading countries for Mac Cosmetics, then Mac technically tests their products on animals. Just because it’s not happening in the United States doesn’t mean it’s not happening elsewhere in the world. 

So, this means that whatever products Mac Cosmetics sells in China have been through rigorous lab tests on animals before being stocked on the shelves. As a result, Mac Cosmetics is responsible for contributing to the animal testing industry. 

This might seem slightly misleading given the statement on Mac’s website that blatantly says the brand never tests on animals, nor does the brand ever ask countries to test on animals.

This is a clever ploy that a lot of brands will use to brush over the fact that they continue to sell products in countries that require all international cosmetics to be tested on animals. 

Post-Market Animal Testing 

Not only will China test cosmetics products on animals before they are put on the shelves, but they also have a law that allows them to pull products from the shelves to test on animals.

This is known as post-market animal testing and counts for products both made within China and internationally. 

The reason that post-market animal testing exists is purely under the guise of safety concerns. Prior to 2019, officials could perform routine and non-routine tests on products that had already been sold in stores.

However, routine tests no longer include animal testing, but the same cannot be said for non-routine tests. 

While it’s fairly uncommon nowadays, non-routine tests that include animal testing can still be performed by officials. The only reason that it’s less common now is that animal testing costs a lot of money and takes far more time than other forms of product testing. 

Does Mac Cosmetics’ Parent Company Test On Animals?

Something else that determines whether a brand is cruelty-free or not is looking at the ethics of the brand’s parent company. Mac Cosmetics’ parent company is Estée Lauder, which (like Mac) claims to be cruelty-free, but this is unfortunately false advertising. 

Estée Lauder is not cruelty-free in the same way that Mac Cosmetics isn’t cruelty-free. \

While Estée Lauder states that they don’t test on animals, this doesn’t count for countries they sell their products to, third-parties, and the countless other brands they own that still test on animals. 

Are Mac Cosmetics Cruelty Free (1)

As you can see, determining whether a brand or company is cruelty-free is a nuanced and complicated conversation.

Sure, the foundation you’re wearing might not have been tested on animals, but you’re still giving money to a company that inadvertently supports animal testing in other forms. 

So, because Estée Lauder still commits to animal testing in various forms, this is another reason why Mac Cosmetics cannot be considered cruelty-free. 

Is Mac Cosmetics Vegan?

When a makeup brand is considered vegan, this means that their products do not contain any animal by-products, which include dairy or honey. Sadly, Mac Cosmetics is not a vegan brand, despite the popularity of vegan cosmetics. 

There are several reasons why Mac Cosmetics is not a vegan brand. Firstly, Mac continues to use animal by-products in their formulas, such as lanolin, which is a waxy substance from the wool of sheep. 

Secondly, as confirmed in this guide, Mac Cosmetics is not a cruelty-free brand. As a result, it cannot be considered a vegan brand, even if some of their products don’t contain animal by-products.

This is because your money will still be going towards a brand that tests on animals and uses animal by-products in its formula. 


So, there you have it! Unfortunately, Mac Cosmetics is not a cruelty-free brand, despite what their website says.

This is due to the brand’s association with their non-cruelty-free parent company, and the fact that they continue to sell their products in China, a country which requires animal testing on international products by law.

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