Earlier this week, the news broke that Wet N Wild have been selling their products in mainland China, more specifically Watson's Health and Beauty store in Shanghai. Since the news broke, it has got a lot of people wondering 'what other cruelty free brands are lying to us?' and they have every right to think this (even I'm thinking it!)
I have had this blog post (actually a whole blog series) for a while, exploring individual brands to unveil if they really are cruelty free and vegan. I think now is the perfect time to start this mini blog series in the hope it makes those looking to make an ethical beauty switch a tiny bit easier!
So let's dive in and explore if Wet N Wild is really cruelty free.
(It's best to read this post until the end, it has a lot of twists and turns haha)
Wet N Wild
Wet N Wild is an American, PETA-Certified drugstore cosmetic brand that sells everything from primers to setting powders. Over the years, Wet N Wild have embraced their cruelty free status by displaying PETA's 'Beauty Without Bunnies' logo across their website, social media pages and product packaging, even extending as far to label 'V' on all their vegan-friendly products. Not only this, but almost all of their social media posts include the hashtag #crueltyfree and #vegan and they have collaborated with cruelty-free and vegan beauty influencers using #ad.
In fact, Wet N Wild have a separate section on their website dedicated to their cruelty-free status.
In this statement, Wet N Wild claim that “we believe in beauty without cruelty first!” and that they “NEVER tests on animals, and we are super proud of this. We never have, and we never will.”
Keep note: No where in this statement does it mention whether or not they sell in countries where animal testing is required by law.
But since the recent news, we’re all starting to have some doubts about the brands ethics and this statement in general.
Does Wet N Wild have a parent company? Does that parent company test on animals?
Wet N Wild are owned by Markwins International. Markwins is the largest privately owned cosmetics company in the U.S and was previously Leaping Bunny Certified.
Leaping Bunny removed Markwins from their website several years ago because they did not recommit. However, this does not mean that Markwins is automatically not cruelty-free and are testing on animals willynilly. Other brands have left Leaping Bunny, or are not certificated at all, and are still cruelty free.
In this case, it is important to remember that Leaping Bunny removed Markwins, not vice-versa. Perhaps with Wet N Wild planning to expand into the Chinese market might have something to do with their refusal to recommit to Leaping Bunny.
So, YES Wet N Wild do have a parent company, but it is unclear if Markwins is cruelty free or not.
Does Wet N Wild sell in China?
As we all know, Wet N Wild have been caught in mainland China leaving the cruelty free beauty community (including me) shocked and jumping on social media to ask Wet N Wild 'what the heck is going on?'
I popped a little question on my story, tagging Wet'N'Wild, and this was their reply (it can also be found on their Instagram page in their 'HIGHLIGHTS' titled 'CRUELTY FREE' (the cheek of it... am I right?)
This is the reply statement from Wet'N'Wild:
Wet N Wild sent out a statement saying that they had been selling in China as part of a pilot program and were exempt from animal testing. Animal testing is required by law in China for all foreign cosmetics companies, making those companies not cruelty-free if sold in china. China did announce that it has now approved nine alternative methods that do not involve animals. Still, these new laws do not go into effect until 2020. This means that animal testing is still a requirement until then.
Although, this law does have loop holes for PRE-MARKET sales (brands can only sell in certain provinces, brands would have to have their own manufacturing facility in China and brands can’t use any special-use ingredients). If Wet N Wild followed all these procedures (and more) to avoid pre-market animal testing, my guess is it would have taken a lot longer than one year to set all of this up and show the Chinese government they should be exempt from pre-market testing. This (for me anyway) makes it hard to believe that Wet N Wild were not already planning to expand into the Chinese market when Watson's proposed this pilot program in 2018, just my thoughts though.
There is also evidence to suggest that Wet N Wild have been selling in China since 2017! See FreeTheBunnies (lovely blogger, big support to her) here.
Even if Wet N Wild avoided any pre-market tests, they are not exempt from any POST-MARKET tests. Chinese officials can literally pull items from shelves (without the brands permission or even telling the brand at all) and conduct animal testing and the Wet N Wild could have no idea until months and months later.
So YES, Wet N Wild DO sell in China.
Does Wet N Wild Conduct/fund any third-party testing?
I found this statement in Wet N Wild's FAQ section that addresses third-party testing:
Wet N Wild claim that “we also make it a point to work with cruelty-free, third-party vendors.” However, I've searched high and low to find which 'third-party vendors' these are and I've come up with nothing. If you know, please share! It would be super helpful!
As already discussed Wet N Wild were caught selling in China. Chinese law requires the testing on animals for cosmetic items, and this, more often than not, is funded by the brand and/or brands parent company when they decide to sell within China.
This can be slightly 50/50. On one hand, Wet N Wild could be the ones funding third-party testing of their products as they are the brand being sold in China. On the other hand, Markwins could be the ones funding third-party testing as they are Wet N Wild's parent company. This would technically (and very annoyingly) make Wet N Wilds original animal testing statement (We Are 100% Cruelty Free) true as they are not the ones conducting the testing, nor does it address animal testing where required by law.
(See how shady some brands can be when it comes to animal testing? They're clever, no transparency at all, and I don't like it.)
So YES. Wet N Wild does conduct third-party testing whether this is done to a cruety-free standard or not; And YES Wet N Wild (or Markwins) ARE funding third-party testing as they sell in mainland China.
Does Wet N Wild have any certifications?
As already mentioned, Wet N Wild is PETA certified, but something shady is going on with this.
In 2012, PETA posted a statement regarding Wet N Wild's parent company, Markwins, and their certifications.
This could suggest that Markwins had been removed from PETA's cruelty-free list before 2012, and had to ‘restore’ it to regain their PETA logo back. It is still unconfirmed what Markwins did to lose this certification. Markwins were then added to Leaping Bunny's list in 2015, but were removed shortly after in 2016 for not reaching Leaping Bunny standards.
In 2016, Wet N Wild then became PETA certified. I'm assuming this is because they could not (or did not want to) recommit to Leaping Bunny standards and PETA is more lenient with their animal testing policies. PETA has a strong history of certifying brands as 'cruelty free', even if they are being sold in China (Dove & Herbal Essences) which is just misleading for cruelty free and vegan shoppers.
Wet N Wild are currently still PETA certified. Sadly, PETA has not commented on the recent breaking news regarding Wet N Wild on any social media platforms.
So YES, Wet N Wild is still PETA certified, but NOT Leaping Bunny approved.
All In All - Are Wet N Wild cruelty free?
No. Wet N Wild are not a cruelty free company as they have been selling in China where it is unavoidable to escape post-marketing animal testing.
What can you do?
Support real cruelty-free and vegan brands, big or small! Look out for cruelty-free logos (maybe not PETA anymore haha), do your research and let brands know that being cruelty-free, not selling in China and having vegan-friendly options means a lot to you! Brands can’t make changes if we don’t give the feedback!
Let Wet N Wild know you wont be supporting or buying their products anymore until they become completely cruelty-free and stop selling in China, whether this is by tweet, email, letter, Instagram, phone, ect! If what Wet N Wild have posted on their 'About Us' section, then hopefully they should read them!
Share this blog post and let others know the truth!
Thank you so much for reading I know was a long journey! Hopefully Wet N Wild can pull out of the Chinese market and really start working on their cruelty free ethics.
So, let me know guys... are you still going to be shopping with Wet N Wild? Could you trust them again after this scandal?