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Is Clinique Cruelty-Free: The Short Answer is “No”

Clinique Laboratories LLC is a cosmetics, skincare, fragrances and toiletries brand from New York, US. Created in 1967 by Evelyn Lauder, Estee Lauder’s daughter-in-law. It is considered to be one of the ‘daughters’ of the Lauder Group, next to Aramis and Estee Lauder.

The brand quickly became easily recognized by its trademark white lab coat, which is today worn by all Clinique consultants.

In 2008, the brand announced a partnership with the Irish-domiciled pharmaceutical company Allergan, which was known for its previous partnership with Elizabeth Arden. The two brands created a new line, Clinique Medical, which specializes in creating products for pre-operation and post-operation skincare. Another big step for the company came in 2020 when they announced British actress Emilia Clarke as their new ambassador. Clarke became their first official Global Ambassador and the brand is continuing to expand worldwide.

Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?

Not sold in China? No
PETA Certified No
Leaping Bunny Certified No
Has vegan products Yes(*)
Not owned by a Parent Company that does Animal Testing? No

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The short answer is: No, Clinique isn’t cruelty-free.

Clinique on itself supports the banning of animal testing and they evaluate their finished products on volunteer panels, in clinical tests. However, they continue to ship to countries that require animal tests. This means that Clinique doesn’t test its products nor its ingredients on animals, and doesn’t pay a third-party to conduct animal testing. Their policy is that they are working on funding alternative methods to animal testing and that they are trying to spread awareness of the cause worldwide.

I find these claims to be misleading, especially as they themselves haven’t denied conducting animal testing in countries that are known to test on animals. A company cannot be selective about being ‘cruelty-free’. Additionally, when asked about tests conducted by a third-party, they answered that they ‘do not ask others to test on animals on their behalf’. It’s easy to see that they do not condemn the act and that some of their suppliers might be doing these tests – despite not being required to. A cruelty-free company should be more observant and take action to verify that none of the suppliers are testing their products on animals.

If you love Clinique but want to go cruelty-free, you can always reach out to the brand and respectfully ask them to reconsider their cruelty-free policies and to stop selling on markets that require animal testing. Keep in mind that you should never send hate to anyone or any brand, even if you disagree with their values.

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Are Clinique products sold in China?

Yes, Clinique products are sold in mainland China, which means that they allow third-parties to test their products.

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What is the Deal with China?

Even though animal testing is proven to be an unnecessary and unethical practice, some countries still require it by law. This is the case with the second-biggest market in the world, China.

China requires any beauty product to be tested on animals before allowing importation and being sold in Chinese stores. Any company or brand that makes the decision to sell in China has also decided to test on animals – either by themselves or, usually, by paying a third-party company to test on their behalf. This is the main reason why a lot of brands can’t achieve a true cruelty-free status. After growing public outrage, China did lift some regulations in 2014, which allowed certain beauty products, such as shampoos and other skincare items, to be imported without testing, but this is still a small percentage.

A lot of brands that claim to be cruelty-free are being misleading thanks to these laws. Even if a brand doesn’t conduct animal testing on its own, by deciding to take the opportunity and sell in countries such as China, it is allowing a third-party to test the final product on animals. This is why PETA and the Leaping Bunny Program have forbidden brands that they certify to expand their market in this direction – and rightfully so.

A lot of companies are working with the Chinese government on lifting these regulations, and legislation was proposed in 2019 that should stop mandatory animal testing. However until today, no substantial progress has been made in this regard, we continue to wait patiently.

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Is Clinique Vegan?

Most Clinique goods are not vegan, as they contain animal by-products or animal-derived ingredients(*). They do have some vegan products, though, so it is advised to check for the ingredients of the product that you are interested in.

Who owns Clinique and does the parent company test on animals?

Clinique is owned by Estee Lauder, a prestigious company that manufactures beauty products. Estee Lauder is not cruelty-free and it does conduct animal testing.

What products does Clinique sell?

Clinique is best known for its skincare products that are well-known all across the globe. They only improved after joining forces with Allergan and switching over to professional care. The brand offers various products that target problems such as skin irritation, redness, and discoloration.

Clinique is also known for its high-quality makeup, and their lipsticks and mascaras are used by professional make-up artists all around the world.

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