China Stops Animal Testing on Imported Cosmetics

By Rakini Bergundy, April 28, 2021

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Starting May 1, the China National Medical Products Administration will exempt imported ‘ordinary cosmetics’ from animal testing. Ordinary cosmetics refers to shampoo, shower gel, blush, mascara, perfume, etc. Products like sunscreen, hair dyes and children’s products will still need to be tested on animals.

In 1938, the US’s ‘Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act’ was formally signed, requiring cosmetics to provide certification to ensure safety. Since then, beauty companies have conducted animal testing. In 1944, the Draize Test was born. This test exposes the eyes and skin of animals directly to chemical substances and is still used today.

However, towards the end of the century, animal rights groups started to object to these practices. As a result, many places (the UK, European Union, Norway, India, Israel) have now completely banned animal testing. 

In 2014, China no longer mandated animal testing for domestically-produced ‘non-professional’ daily chemicals and cosmetics. ‘Non-professional’ products include shampoo, soap, nail polish and some skin care products. 

British brand Bulldog used the loophole above in order to remain ‘cruelty-free’ while entering the Chinese market in 2019. Bulldog prepared the formula in the UK and then finished production in Shanghai to ensure its products wouldn’t need to be tested on animals. The brand still maintains its Leaping Bunny certification when sold in China.

Below is a list of some companies that oppose animal testing: 


Anastasia Beverly Hills, Ardell, Ardency Inn, Becca, BH Cosmetics, Butter London, Charlotte Tillbury, China Glaze, ColourPop, DuWop, ELF, Essence, Flower, Hard Candy, Hourglass, Illamasqua, IT Cosmetics, Jordana, Josie Maran, Kat Von D, Makeup Geek, Milani, OCC, Physicians Formula, Pur Minerals, Sonia Kashuk, The Balm, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Wet N Wild.

Skin Care

Aesop, Alba, The Body Shop, Botanica, Blissoma, Desert Essence, Dr. Bronner, First Aid Beauty, Glossier, Juice Beauty, Lush, Pacifica, SuperGoop!, Trader Joe’s, Yes To.

China was the second largest beauty market last year, just behind the US who took the top spot. Large corporations like Natura & C are taking notice and its subsidaries Aesop and The Body Shop will soon open on the Chinese mainland. Aesop is looking to open its first store in Shanghai in late 2021, and The Body Shop in 2022. 

[Cover image via Unsplash]

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