Is Mary Kay cruelty-free?

This is a good question that I found on Twitter the other day. I was curious myself and decided to look online for some information. I went on  and read under company’s ‘Values’ that they do not support animal testing:

Mary Kay is committed to the elimination of animal testing and is a strong advocate of utilizing alternative methods to substantiate the safety of our ingredients and products. We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor do we ask others to do so on our behalf except when absolutely required by law. For more than two decades, we have been a global leader in helping to develop alternative testing methods for product safety. This commitment continues today, in partnership with global regulatory agencies that manage cosmetic safety, with animal advocacy groups and with leading animal alternative researchers.

From Mary Kay’s website, you can see a list of countries where the products are sold and you can also see that China is amongst them. Read about animal testing policy in China here.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

According to one of Mary Kay’s press releases, they say they realize that China requires animal testing, but they still chose to be a part of the Chinese market:

There is only one country where the company operates – among more than 35 around the world – where that is the case and where the company is required by law to submit products for testing – China.

Read the full press release here.

According to Wikipedia, Mary Kay has maintained their cruelty-free status since 1989:

In 1989 the company announced a moratorium on animal testing of its products, after pressure from animal rights groups. They were among the first in their industry to do so and to sign the PETA pledge.

Among those activists was a cartoonist, Berkeley Breathed, who addressed and mocked Mary Kay’s cruelty towards animals in one of his comic book series ‘The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos‘. 

Image source:
Image source:

According to Wikipedia, here is what the story is about:

Opus reads that his mother is alive, and has been taken to a cosmetics lab. Opus infiltrates the Mary Kay animal testing lab and witnesses the horrors of animal testing. Before he can reunite with his mother, he is caught in a firefight between the Mary Kay Commandos (“Even their Uzis are pink!”) and the Animal Liberation Guerrilla Front. Opus is liberated to his natural habitat, a 7-Eleven ice machine. According to the author, this sequence was at least partly responsible for Mary Kay’s 1989 moratorium on animal testing. (p68, 19 strips)

However, in 2012 Mary Kay decided to return to animal testing as they entered the Chinese market, where animal testing is required by law. The company has been removed from PETA’s ‘Don’t Test On Animals List’.

According to it is not fully correct to say that Mary Kay ‘resumed animal testing’, as they do not test their products in the United States but they sell to China where the products are tested on animals.

Image source:
Image source:

This still caused disappointment and consumer distrust. Some people would rather see Mary Kay not selling their product to countries that require animal testing.



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