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Is Mary Kay Cruelty-Free: They Were One of the Cruelty-Free Pioneers…

Mary Kay Inc. is a cosmetics and multi-level marketing company from Texas, USA. It was founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash, the famous American businesswoman, and millionaire. The company sells cosmetics using a multi-level marketing model. In other words, its distributors make income by selling people in their community directly. They can recruit people to the company, which will enable them to have a commission on their recruit’s income.

By 1991, the company was selling internationally, and its sales exceeded $500 million.

In 2017 and 2018, Mary Kay was one of the most significant network marketing company, according to Direct Selling News. Its cosmetics are being sold worldwide, and it is one of the most famous cosmetics companies that work using the multi-level marketing strategy in the world.

Is Mary Kay 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, Mary Kay is not cruelty-free.

Mary Kay announced that it stopped animal testing back in 1989, after immense pressure from various animal rights groups. It was one of the first companies in the cosmetics industry to become part of PETA’s list of cruelty-free brands. Since then, Mary Kay is not conducting animal testing of its finished products or ingredients. However, in 2012 the company lost its PETA membership when it expanded to China.

Today, Mary Kay is not approved by PETA, and it doesn’t have the Leaping Bunny label. However, the brand claims to be dedicated to animal protection. As it is one of the cruelty-free pioneers, it is sad to see that they regressed to animal testing at a certain point.

If you like Mary Kay’s products but can’t support a cruelty-free brand, you can always try to contact the company and respectfully change their animal testing policies. Just make sure that you are remaining polite, even if you disagree with their way of operating.

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Are Mary Kay products sold in China?

Yes, ever since 2012, Mary Kay products are sold in China.

Mary Kay is one of the leading brands that is advocating China to change its animal testing policies. It has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the various centers for the research of alternative testing methods. However, it still can’t be considered cruelty-free.

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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 Mary Kay Vegan?

No, Mary Kay’s products are not vegan. The brand never claimed that it produced vegan items. Most of its products use animal-derived ingredients as well as animal by-products. At the same time, Mary Kay is not organic and natural, and some of its cosmetics contain parabens. If you are looking for a vegan cosmetics brand, Mary Kay is not for you.

Who owns Mary Kay and does the parent company test on animals?

Mary Kay is not owned by a parent company.

What products does Mary Kay sell?

Mary Kay sells all sorts of beauty products. It is famous for its skincare lines and sells anti-aging and anti-cellulite creams, as well as serums for most usual skin conditions. It also has a makeup line and sells regular, everyday makeup products, such as foundation, concealers, and lipsticks.

You can’t find Mary Kay’s products in stores such as Sephora or Ulta, as it sells exclusively via its distributors and website.

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