Benefit Cosmetics is Not Cruelty Free

Benefit Cosmetics is Not Cruelty Free

If there is a company with a public stance on animal testing more confusing than Benefit Cosmetics, I’ve yet to find it. It’s taken me over a year to find a stable and steady stance from this brand. When Logical Harmony first changed to being a vegan beauty blog, I received six different replies from Benefit about their stance on animal testing. Six! That was enough for me to assume that they were not a company I wanted to support, but until I had something stable, I wasn’t comfortable posting about them on Logical Harmony.

When you go to Benefit’s FAQ page, they have a published stance on animal testing there.

Benefit does not test our cosmetic products on animals. When selecting the ingredients to be used in our cosmetic products, Benefit requires raw material suppliers to provide safety information based on scientifically accepted alternative testing methods that meet international safety standards and regulations. Benefit products must meet both consumers’ needs and consumer safety, while respecting animal life. Benefit continues to strongly support & favor alternative testing and is committed to following all animal testing laws and regulations in order to ensure our products’ safety for the end consumer

At first glance, many people assume that the above statement means that Benefit is, in fact, a cruelty free company. They talk about respecting animal life, and start the response by saying that they do not test on animals. They even mention their ingredient suppliers. However, “international safety standards” is what caught my eye and prompted me to do more research.

After a bit of digging, I discovered that Benefit is not a cruelty free brand. Their products are for sale on the Sephora China website. China is one of the few markets that require that beauty products be tested on animals before they can be sold there. You can read more about this by reading Animal Testing and China. By selling in China, Benefit shows that they are not completely doing their part to respect animal life and be cruelty free.

This is a perfect example of how brands often use confusing wording in their statements in order to confuse consumers. Since there is no regulation of the term “cruelty free”, it makes it easy for brands to claim this status when they are still conducting animal testing in some way, or permitting it to be conducted on their behalf. Before I switched to a vegan lifestyle and was not as savvy about checking the cruelty free status of brands, Benefit was my favorite cosmetic brand. I’ve frequently gotten emails from readers asking me to include Benefit in my cruelty free lists, or asking me about their stance on testing. Since I could not get a steady response, I wasn’t comfortable addressing the brand in any way. I am incredibly disappointed that this company would choose to mislead consumers in this way.

I urge you to reach out to Benefit Cosmetics and let them know how you feel about their stance on animal testing. Especially if you were a consumer that, due to the statement on their own website, thought that they were cruelty free.

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24 comments for “Benefit Cosmetics is Not Cruelty Free

  1. Wednesday - October 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

    This makes me so sad. Their stance is so confusing, too. I would have read that paragraph as they were cruelty-free. But I’d put them into my ‘unsure’ pile after talking with you a while back. Thanks for this post.

  2. Thursday - October 18, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Too sad. I used to like them! And they were sold in Sephora, so easy to find. Too bad!

  3. Thursday - October 18, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I couldn’t get a straight answer from them, either, so I stopped using their products. Such a bummer, b/c their mineral veil is a favorite of mine. I really wanted to buy up all their pressed powder products, too! But, it’s not for me until China discontinues this ridiculous requirement.

  4. daisychain
    Thursday - October 18, 2012 at 9:22 am

    wow. the list of cruelty free cosmetic companies is dwindling. thank goodness urban decay put ethics before money and chose not to sell their products in china. so sad about benefit. i know i can trust your site to be up to date and honest about companies’ stances. thank you!

    • Jennyli
      Friday - September 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      But Urban Decay’s parent company is Loreal… so even if they don’t sell in China, being own by a company that is notorious for testing on animals is still NOT cruelty free. =/

  5. Tuesday - October 30, 2012 at 2:19 am

    I boycotted a few months back after going on their UK site and spotting the link to their China site. The first thing I always check when researching brands is whether or not they sell in china – and it was obvious they did given they have a Chinese site.

  6. Monday - March 4, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I know China is a huge market, but it’s not cool that cosmetic companies abandon their cruelty-free stance to sell there.

  7. Emily
    Thursday - May 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I recently emailed Benefit to find out if they were a cruelty free brand and they sent me back the following:

    “Thanks for reaching out! Benefit loves animals and doesn’t test products on them. In addition, our parent company LVMH hasn’t carried out animal testing since 1989, well before the official European Union ban in 2004. Some of our products are vegan, while others may contain animal derived ingredients. If you need to know if a particular item is vegan, please send us a list of any items you’re interested in, and we’ll be happy to research those items for you.”

    Are they just full of shit, or did their stance on testing change?

    • Monday - June 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Emily!

      While Benefit themselves does not test on animals, they do sell their products in markets where testing is required by law. In these cases the brands pay for the products to be tested on animals. This is the loophole that lets them say that they do not do the testing. :-/

    • Elly
      Monday - August 12, 2013 at 8:02 am


      This is a common confusion. While it may be true that their finished ‘products’ aren’t tested on animals, the ingredients and formulas that are in them ARE tested on animals. So, they’re not full of shit, as such, but they are deliberately misleading you. It’s a trick they all use.

  8. Patricia Lanney
    Friday - August 23, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Hi there.

    I am outraged to know they test on animals I was using their panstick as I love the coverage it gives me as I have hyper sensitive skin and always have break outs but I am involved in animal rescue and use all organise skin care not tested on animals so thank you for this information I will not be using their brand again.
    Its so frustrating the way they dont give you a straight answer.

  9. Alyssa
    Sunday - August 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for sparking me to do some research too!
    Benefit’s website has the nerve to say “Benefit’s parent company, LVMH, has always been actively involved in the search for alternative testing methods” LVMH -as in Louis Vuitton; first of all, ‘searching’ for alternatives doesn’t mean they actually USE any alternatives. More importantly, ‘testing’ isn’t an issue for Louis Vuitton since they don’t sell makeup! They just skin animals for purses by the truck load!
    Besides, Dior (who does test on animals) is the primary share holder of LVMH; and both use leather and fur products in nearly all their goods. BOO!! I’m so disappointed! I gave up Dior, I had no idea they owned Benefit too!! BOO! Now I need to find alternatives all over again! :(

    • Sunday - August 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Alyssa,

      I’m so glad that you decided to research them! This statement is similar to the one that L’Oreal and many other brands that test on animals have. It’s very misleading. Benefit used to be my favorite makeup brand, so I know what you’re going through. Thankfully, there are lots of great cruelty free and vegan alternatives out there!

  10. Marie
    Saturday - December 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I am a new vegan. Can you please recommend a makeup line that would be good for a 50 year old skin type/age?

  11. Marie
    Saturday - December 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I am a new vegan. Can you please recommend a makeup line that would be good for a 50 year old skin type/age?

    • Melina
      Friday - December 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Arbonne has great stuff! Also Milani has good bronzers and blushes. both cruelty free. eye shadows and tinted moisturizers I like TooFaced. I use NYX eyeliner, ELF brushes. Lush cosmetics is also good, I use their daily moisturizer.

      • Melina
        Friday - December 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        Actually, I’m not positive about Arbonne being 100% cruelty free. I would do more digging. I’ve read mixed things. But all the others are good!
        Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics I also am looking into trying!

        • Sunday - January 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

          Hi Melina,

          I’ve been unable to get a detailed cruelty free statement from Arbonne. I know that they are PETA and Leaping Bunny certified, but I don’t feel comfortable promoting a brand that will only say, “we are cruelty free” and will not give any details beyond that.

          OCC is a great cruelty free and vegan brand! I love them!

  12. Monica
    Saturday - December 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    I’m so glad I noticed this. I received a sample of Benefit’s They’re Real mascara and it instantly became my favorite. I was excited to see the “does not test on animals” on the back and I was going to go to Sephora to buy a full size tube. I’m pretty naive I guess and believe things I read. I’m so glad I came across your site and learned about the rules/laws, special wording, certain ingredients, selling in China, etc. Now I know how to buy all my cruelty free cosmetics. Thanks again!

    • Sunday - January 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      You aren’t naive! It is just hard to trust a lot of companies since there is no regulation of the term “cruelty free”! Since their animal testing is done required by law and by a 3rd party, they can technically print “not tested on animals” on their products. At least now you know to avoid them going forward. :)

  13. taicraven
    Sunday - January 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you for your work, Tashina.
    This deserves its place on the first page of Google results.
    NYX Doll Eye Volume mascara is a good alternative to Benefit They’re Real.

    • Monica
      Sunday - January 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Hey thanks for the suggestion! Where can you buy that? I think I always get confused with NYX and NYC .

      • taicraven
        Sunday - January 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

        Hi Monica,
        NYX is sold at most of the big stores in the USA, at Target in Australia, at Next in the UK, and at Sephora in Asia.

        An easy way to remember the difference:
        NYX: has an X for Excellence
        NYC: has a C for Cruelty.

        All the best,

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