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Is K-Beauty Cruelty-Free?
elena lezhneva
Is K-Beauty Cruelty-Free?

One of the most common questions we receive is about the cruelty-free status of Korean skincare and makeup products. Let's talk about it in this article.

First of all, good news! In 2018, technology is at such a level that in fact there is no need for animal tests. There are many alternative testing methods that are recognized as more accurate and effective - for example, artificial organs and skin, computer modeling, testing on volunteers. In addition, many ingredients have long been researched and no longer need additional study.

In 2013, EU countries banned the sale of cosmetics that were tested on animals or contained ingredients that were tested in this way. This applies to cosmetics, which were produced in the EU, and also imported. The same laws have been adopted in Norway, Israel, India, and Canada. 

As of 2018 animal testing for cosmetics in Korea will be prohibited. Many brands have already discontinued the practice, including as the Amore Pacific brands.

The most ruthless legislation in relation to animals is in China. All cosmetics, which are imported for sale and sold in the territory of this country, should be tested on animals. The exceptions are online shops, sales in Hong Kong and Taiwan (for these, animal tests are not required). China is a huge market, so many brands that don't do animal testing in their home country, in the pursuit of profit agree to animal testing conditions. By the way, the products that were manufactured in China aren't necessarily unethical. If the manufacturer makes cosmetics for sale overseas, and the goods aren't delivered to the Chinese counters, it's not required to test on animals.

What cosmetics has the right to be called ethical or "cruelty-free"?

We think that most of us would prefer to use cosmetics in the manufacture of which no living being was harmed. In addition, alternative methods give much more accurate results (the skin of animals is not identical to human skin), so the products tested by alternative methods are safer for ourselves. 

It is important to note that ethical products are not necessarily natural or organic, and natural and organic is not always ethical, so it is better not to confuse these concepts. 

There're several criteria of ethical cosmetics: 

  • Finished cosmetic products aren't tested on animals. 
  • The ingredients aren't tested on animals by either the manufacturer or the suppliers. 
  • The position of the "parent company" of the brand - the brand itself may be ethical, but its parent company is not. In this case, there are two approaches: someone considers it right to buy products of such a brand, encouraging a policy of refusal from testing on animals, and someone refuses to purchase because, in the end, some of the funds will still go to the parent company, which is not ethical. 

K-Beauty cruelty-free

Brands that don't test on animals and don't sell in China: 



Beauty Recipe,




Blossom Jeju,


11 Village Factory,

Eleven Huesday




Pyungkang Yul,



Thank You Farmer 

Brands that don't test on animals but sell in China: 

Amore Pacific,


Dr. Jart+,


Etude House,








Pony Effect,




We all contribute to the existing state of things through our actions. Every time we spend money on unethical products, producers think that consumers are satisfied with everything and don't need to change their processes. But if more people preferred ethical products, unethical producers would have to reconsider their policies, and new brands would be motivated to initially make a choice in favor of humane methods. China, having lost a large share of goods, would reconsider its laws and the situation in the world would improve.

Do you opt for cruelty-free brands if you have a choice? Do you know a cruelty-free brand that we forgot? Let us know in the comments below! 

- Korean Kiwi Beauty 

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