• Ellie Stennett

M.A.C Cosmetics: Are they really cruelty free?

So, let's talk about everyones day one brand. The OG. A brand that people keep coming up to me and insisting are cruelty-free: M.A.C Cosmetics. Now, I have my doubts about M.A.C Cosmetics, as anyone would when trying to shop cruelty free and vegan friendly (we have to be sceptical so we don't fool for vegan-washing marketing techniques.)

Well, in this blog post we’re going to uncover the truth and give you a definitive answer to the question: ‘Are M.A.C Cosmetics really cruelty free and vegan-friendly?’ Let's find out!

M.A.C Cosmetics

M.A.C has a separate section in their FAQ titled 'WORKING TOWARD A CRUELTY-FREE WORLD' where they go on to explain that:

M.A.C seem rather transparent about having to comply with some governments and their animal testing laws, while also taking a strong standpoint that they themselves do not test on animals… but does this make them cruelty-free? It does not.

Does M.A.C have a parent company? Does that parent company test on animals?

M.A.C Cosmetics is a Canadian cosmetics company that were purchased by Esteé Lauder in 1998 and have been a part of their family ever since.

Esteé Lauder does test on animals because they sell in main land China.

In 2012, Esteé Lauder changed their animal testing policies when they expanded into the Chinese market where it is required by law to test any outside products on animals.

This statement clearly confirms that Esteé Lauder products are tested on animals before being sold in main land China.

So YES M.A.C does have a parent company and YES, that parent company does test on animals, making M.A.C not cruelty-free!

Do M.A.C Cosmetics sell in China?

As already explored, Esteé Lauder started selling in China in 2012. Annoyingly, they took M.A.C with them, along with other brands.

It states on the M.A.C website:

We have to keep in mind that when a company sells in China, the company themselves, or their parent company, funds the governments procedures to test on animals where required by law. So in this case, either M.A.C Cosmetics or Esteé Lauder are funding their animal testing in China. They could very easily pull out of China and invest more of their time, money, effort and resources into funding what M.A.C Cosmetics believes is making a difference in the world of animal testing -

The Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS).

However, I wanted to know if M.A.C have ever considered not selling in main land China, so I sent them an email... ANNNNND here is the first response I received:

Which, funnily enough, looks super similar to that on the M.A.C Cosmetics website... oh wait, they're exactly the same:

M.A.C Cosmetics is a big company, I get that they are not going to respond to every single email they receive, but to send me the same information that is on the M.A.C website that I'm literally asking you to expand on is going to get us both stuck in a little bit of a loop, don't you think? Can't say I'm impressed to be honest.

So, I sent M.A.C Cosmetics (both UK and US) a direct message on Instagram asking the same question (just a little more casually), but I received no response.

THEN, by magic, I got another email from M.A.C Cosmetics replying to my original email. Here's what it said:

"We believe in changing the system from within."... so M.A.C want to 'change the system' of animal testing by still selling in a country that tests on animals? I can see where they're coming from and their logic behind this... BUT I think evidence from other larger cruelty free brands prove that you can be successful, cruelty free AND not sell in China, such as Anastasia Beverley Hills, Makeup Revolution and Jeffree Star Cosmetics!

MAC believes that working with Chinese regulators is the key to ending animal testing, but after doing a little more research, I found this quote on TeenVogue from Kathleen Conlee, vice president of Animal Research Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, which states: “At this time, there is no way for a company to simultaneously maintain a cruelty-free commitment and sell in China.

"Cosmetic brands entering China, including MAC, know that their products will undergo some animal testing.... Cosmetics companies [that sell in China] are choosing to overlook animal testing for the opportunity to sell in the Chinese market."

"Once a company starts selling in China, all leverage to end animal testing in the country is lost."

If M.A.C really wanted to make a change, they would stop selling in China until the Chinese law on animal testing is abolish this practice.

So, basically, YES M.A.C does sell in China, they are not hiding it, and they won't be pulling out of China anytime soon.

Does M.A.C conduct/fund any third-party testing?

On the M.A.C website it states:

This statement seems pretty straight to the point and pretty open, right? However, even if M.A.C Cosmetics do not own any animal testing facilities, it does not mean they do not conduct any third-party testing through other companies, other facilities or other ingredients.

As already discussed, M.A.C does sells in China where animal testing is required by law and must be paid for by the brand, or the brands parent company. It’s not that they aren’t making truthful statements by stating that they do not own any animal testing facilities anywhere in the world, it’s that M.A.C Cosmetics are lying by omitting other key bits of information (that they have to agree to and pay for third party testing).

So YES M.A.C Cosmetics does conduct/fund third-party testing.

Does MAC have any certifications?

M.A.C does not have any certifications from Leaping Bunny or PETA.

Although, apparently PETA does support M.A.C Cosmetics work with IIVS. An Online source states that: “Both PETA and the Humane Society have provided financial support with IIVS (e.g. sponsored trainings, research, etc.)” yet neither group feels M.A.C needs to sell products in China.

Final thoughts

All in all, M.A.C Cosmetics are not a cruelty-free or vegan company. If you’re looking to swap to a more animal-friendly make up bag then I would avoid M.A.C Cosmetics.

The good thing is, there are so many alternatives to your favourite M.A.C cosmetics products, such as Charlotte Tilbury, ELF Cosmetics,PIXI beauty, Nabla, Colourpop and Sigma Brushes!

What can you do?

Support cruelty-free and vegan brands! Look out for cruelty-free logos, do your research and let brands know that being cruelty-free and vegan friendly means a lot to you! Brands can’t do this if we don’t give the feedback! Let M.A.C Cosmetics know you won't be supporting or buying their brand anymore until they become completely cruelty-free and stop selling in China, whether this is by tweet, email, letter, Instagram, phone, ect!

Share this post to let others know the truth!

Thank you so much for reading,

Let me know your thoughts below!

Have a lovely day! Ellie x