Estée Lauder, Mary Kay, Avon Resume Testing on Live Animals

Expanding their brand in China means these cosmetic giants must resume painful animal tests.


Rabbits held in a laboratory
Millions of rats, dogs, rabbits and other animals die every year in laboratory tests that are not required by law. (Photo: Siqi Sanchez/Getty Images)

Stop us when you're sufficiently disgusted.

The grim underside of the so-called beauty industry is exemplified by the draize test. Endless rows of white albino rabbits (although other species, including dogs, are used) are restrained and fully conscious as so-called "technicians" pour test substances into their eyes, or apply them to raw, shaved skin. These chemicals are left in the eyes or on the skin for a set amount of time and then rinsed or removed. The animals, however, remain imprisoned for up to two weeks as their reactions are recorded. Hemorrhaging? Adema? Blindness? Ulcers? It's all in the name of perfume, mascara, and other products of human vanity.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is animal testing—a practice that Estée Lauder, Avon, and Mary Kay Cosmetics have announced they will resume, reports Scripps News

The companies insist that they remain opposed to animal testing and don't use them in the U.S., but are paying for them to be done in Chinese government labs as required by that country's State Food and Drug Administration.

Mary Kay representative Clayton Webb claims that China is the only country where Mary Kay does business that requires such tests.

PETA’s vice president of laboratory investigation, Katy Guillermo, notes that out of the three companies, Mary Kay is the only one that has tried to work with government officials to promote alternatives to animal testing.

Avon publicly abandoned testing in 1989, after PETA launched a confrontational "Avon Killing" campaign. Mary Kay, dogged by a storyline featuring "Mary Kay Commandos" in Berkeley's Breathead's "Bloom County" cartoons, eliminated the tests the same year. The Estée Lauder companies followed in 1990.

“Mary Kay had taken some steps to work with officials in China, and at our urging, promised to continue this effort. But Avon and Estée Lauder appear to have gone along with the painful animal tests without objection," she said.

On a positive note, The Institute for In Vitro Sciences—which receives funds from Avon, Mary Kay and PETA—is working on an international consortium to represent companies in countries that require animal testing. It will also work with scientists in China to train them in using non-animal methods.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know uses Mary Kay, Avon or Estée Lauder, there are many superior brands of makeup and skincare that do not test on animals, including Dr. Hauschka and Suki Cosmetics. 

For a complete list of brands that do not test on animals, click here

(Note: MAC, previously a cruelty-free brand is now owned by Estee Lauder and has been deleted from the original blog post as a cruelty-free alternative). 


I was wondering where you got this information from. I was a Mary Kay rep for many years and I was informed many times that products are not tested on animals. You can also follow this link for more information.
I was an Avon rep but that has ended. I will not buy cosmetics that are tested on animals. I find it a joke that China requires products tested by animals however it has had baby formula with melamine in it and dog treats that have killed dogs in the USA because they contained poison.
Eeewwww. WTF?!?! No ordering from those companies for me. Screw expanding into China if this is what it costs. Because you're going to cost yourself customers in the rest of the world. Just lost one here.
I just learned this last week, when I was trying to figure out if Clinique and Origins tested on animals. They have to now that they're selling in China. Lame.