If you’re conscious about animal welfare and giving money to brands that you ethically align yourself with, it’s important to check whether specific cosmetic companies are cruelty-free or not.
Unfortunately, simply Googling this isn’t an option, because while the brand might tell you one thing, the truth is a whole different story.
Herbal Essences is a popular hair care brand that specializes in shampoo and conditioner. Founded in 1971, Herbal Essences has become one of the leading hair care brands, selling in countries across the globe.
No brand wants to openly admit that they test their products on animals, because it would tarnish their reputation. So, what about Herbal Essences? Does Herbal Essences test on animals, or do you need to find another cruelty-free alternative?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Does Herbal Essences Test On Animals?
Let’s set the record straight. Herbal Essences is a PETA-certified brand, meaning that they do not test on animals. However, this does not necessarily mean that the brand is 100% cruelty-free.
For a brand to be 100% cruelty-free, there needs to be no ties or history with testing on animals. This includes suppliers, third-parties, the parent company, and the countries that they sell their products too.
If the parent company or supplier has previously tested or continues to test ingredients on animals, then the brand cannot be 100% cruelty-free.
While Herbal Essences is a PETA-certified brand, it isn’t actually a 100% cruelty-free haircare brand. This is because of their parent company, and the fact that they sell their products in a country that requires animal testing – China.
China And Animal Testing
It is a legal requirement for all international cosmetic, skincare, and haircare products to be tested on animals prior to being sold in stores across China. This law used to include products produced in China, but has since only accounted for international products.
This means that any product that is sold in China has to undergo rigorous animal testing, which is enforced under the guise of safety concerns. So, Herbal Essences products are tested on animals before being sold in China.
In some cases, Herbal Essences will be tested on animals even while they are being sold in China.
This is thanks to a post-market testing rule, wherein officials have the right to pull products from the shelves in order to test them for the sake of safety concerns and to ensure public satisfaction.
There are two forms of post-market testing in China – routine and non-routine. While it used to be that animal testing was a part of both routine and non-routine post-market testing, it has since been banned for routine testing.
However, in some cases, non-routine post-marketing testing will include testing the products on animals.
Either way, Herbal Essences will continue to be tested on animals in China every time they sell new products in the country.
Some people may feel uncomfortable with this knowledge, because buying that bottle of shampoo is inadvertently supporting the testing of animals on a global scale.
While Herbal Essences have made statements about their relationship with China and how they are working to build a cruelty-free relationship, it’s still a largely gray area.
Herbal Essences Parent Company
When considering how cruelty-free a brand is, you also have to look at the brand’s parent company. The parent company of Herbal Essences is Procter & Gamble, also known as P&G.
So, is Procter & Gamble cruelty-free? Unfortunately, just like Herbal Essences and a range of other brands, the website for P&G states that the company does not test their products on animals unless required by law.
This means that any P&G product sold in countries (such as China) will undergo animal testing prior to being sold.
As a result, P&G is not a 100% cruelty-free brand. While they don’t test their products directly on animals themselves, this doesn’t mean that they don’t support animal testing in China.
So, whether or not you consider P&G (and therefore Herbal Essences) a cruelty-free company is entirely up to you.
Does PETA-Certified Mean Cruelty-Free?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA for short, is an internationally known organization that supports the welfare of animals.
When a product is certified by PETA, as marked by a small rabbit logo on the back of the product, it means that the specific product has not undergone animal testing.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is 100% cruelty-free. Unfortunately, PETA does not have any control over the legal testing of products on animals in China.
This means that even PETA-certified products that are sold in China are technically not 100% cruelty-free, despite the certification.
Are Herbal Essences Vegan?
When people look into whether a brand is cruelty-free or not, they will also often look into the ingredients used in the products. So, is Herbal Essences vegan?
Unfortunately, no, Herbal Essences is not a vegan brand. While Herbal Essences has produced a vegan line of products that don’t contain animal by-products, the vast majority of their other products do contain such ingredients.
These ingredients include honey and lanolin, which is the wax from sheep’s wool.
Some vegans don’t mind buying from the Herbal Essences vegan line, while others don’t feel comfortable doing so.
This is because they feel that their money is still going towards a brand that uses animal by-products in their products, meaning that they are inadvertently supporting a non-vegan brand.
Not only this, but considering Herbal Essences’ stance on being not 100% cruelty-free, some vegans may not want to associate themselves with the brand at all.
However, this isn’t the case for a lot of vegans and animal rights activists, who don’t feel uncomfortable buying one or two products from time to time.
So, there you have it! Herbal Essences is a PETA-certified brand, meaning that it does not actively test their products on animals. However, considering the fact that they sell their products in China, Herbal Essences technically isn’t a 100% cruelty-free brand.