Is Essie Cruelty-Free: Essie is Committed to Financing Alternative Testing Methods

Essie Cosmetics Ltd. is a cosmetics brand founded by Essie Weingarten in 1981 in Las Vegas, California, USA. Essie first launched a nail polish line with 12 different colors.

In 1983, the brand became more popular after Joan Rivers, actress and the “Tonight Show” announced that her new favorite nail polish color is Essie’s ‘jelly apple’. Two years later, the brand changed its original bottle design into a new, squared one, for which it is known today.

Essie quickly became one of the leading nail polish designers. In 1989, even the Queen of England was wearing it’s ‘ballet slippers’ shade! In 1996, the brand was awarded the Best Nail Polish Colors Worldwide by Allure Magazine. Essie collaborated with several other companies and organizations, such as Universal Studios, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and J Crew, in creating unique and personalized nail colors.

The brand didn’t officially expand into Europe until 2012, but it quickly became best-selling there, as well.

Is Essie Cruelty-Free?

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

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No, Essie is not a cruelty-free brand.

Essie doesn’t test its finished products or formulations on animals. Also, its ingredients are cruelty-free. The brand claims that they are committed to financing alternative testing methods and supporting animal-free beauty. However, the brand does pay for third-party testing when required by law. This means Essie doesn’t really have any issues with animal testing when it gives the brand profit.

If you like Essie, but you don’t want to support a brand that tests on animals. If this is the case, you can always choose to contact the brand’s representatives and ask them to change their animal testing policies. Keep in mind that you have to stay respectful, as hate speech never accomplished anything.

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Are Essie products sold in China?

Yes, Essie sells its products in mainland China.

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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.


Is Essie Vegan?

No, Essie is not a vegan brand. Most, if not all, of its products, use some form of animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products. Even if it has some vegan-friendly lines, we wouldn’t consider anything from a non-cruelty-free brand vegan.

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

Essie is owned by L’Oreal, a personal care company that isn’t cruelty-free. L’Oreal does, however, allow the brands it owns to choose their own animal testing policy. In other words, the decision not to go cruelty-free was on the Essie alone.

What products does Essie sell?

Essie sells nail products, mostly nail polishes. Some of its timeless colors, such as ‘blanc’, ‘baby’s breath’, and ‘bordeaux’, were part of the brand ever since its founding. It also has a well-known top coat and base coat, both of which were first introduced in 1982.

In 1999, the brand expanded into professional spa nail care, and it started manufacturing nail care systems and treatment lotions. In 2016, the brand introduced its gel couture collection, including longwear shades in many colors and a topcoat.

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