Is Benefit Cosmetics Cruelty-Free?

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The idea of cruelty-free products may seem self-explanatory, but there's a lot more to it than you might think — there are definitely some things you need to know about greenwashing, for instance. The dictionary defines greenwashing as "a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization." You see it a lot with household products, especially in beauty and skincare. Basically, it's jargon thrown around to make products look better (via The Sustainable Agency).


Unfortunately, one huge way buyers are consistently being misled is with the term "cruelty-free." While several countries have banned cosmetic testing on animals, it's still unregulated in the United States and Canada, per Leaping Bunny. That means companies can claim to be cruelty-free, even if they're actually not. Sometimes, brands use the term if the final product isn't tested on animals but the ingredients are.

As Ethical Elephant explains, the organization itself may not regularly test on animals, but it could hire a third party to do it for them. Essentially, it's an incredibly shady practice that makes it tough to know who we can really trust. It may even call some of our favorite brands into question. Let's find out if Benefit Cosmetics is truly cruelty-free. 


Certain cruelty-free claims can be misleading

A quick peek at the Benefit Cosmetics FAQ page seemingly provides answers on whether the company is cruelty-free. It confirms that they don't test on animals and haven't since 1989. Moreover, the site notes: "All Benefit products undergo very strict tolerance tests using non-animal methods during the development of each product to ensure quality and safety prior to market." Benefit does, however, sell its products in China, which is a red flag if you're looking for completely cruelty-free items.


Up until recently, China was the only country that actually required animal testing for cosmetic products. Thankfully, the law was adjusted in 2021, and now only "special-use" cosmetics are required to undergo testing to be sold in China. Special-use cosmetics are basically any product that claims to do something specific. Think hair dyes, sunscreens, and whitening products (via Ethical Elephant).

Benefit clarified on their site that the vast majority of their products fall under the "general" cosmetics label. However, the Chinese government still requires "special" products to be tested on animals and, worryingly, the company doesn't specify how many of their own items fall under this label, stating simply: "We at Benefit are deeply committed to the elimination of all animal testing and support this crucial step toward a progressive future." 


The truth about Benefit Cosmetics may surprise you

So, is Benefit Cosmetics really cruelty-free? Tashina Combs, the cruelty-free influencer behind Logical Harmony, says no. In a YouTube video, Combs asserted that "Sadly, Benefit is not cruelty-free." She added: "I know that a lot of people think that they are, but unfortunately, they are not. They are on the Logical Harmony list of brands to avoid." The brand has a warning on PETA for animal testing, in fact.


Since Benefit allows for third-party animal testing, it can't be considered truly cruelty-free. They aren't certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or any other cruelty-free verifiers either, per Cruelty-Free Kitty. If you're looking for fully clean or 100% cruelty-free products, Benefit unfortunately won't cut it. There's a lot to chew on when it comes to the truth behind cruelty-free makeup, and it often requires some digging.

You can help the cause by simply doing your homework before buying certain products since voting with your money is what's going to make the biggest difference in the long run. You may even find less expensive alternatives to your favorite makeup brands in the process.