Beauty Edit
Is Kiehl’s Cruelty-Free?

Is Kiehl’s Cruelty-Free?

Kiehl’s is one of today’s most popular skincare brands. Many shoppers are in love with the science and results-based products that the company releases. However, while Kiehl’s products may include carefully selected ingredients, there is a question on whether or not the company is totally cruelty-free. In today’s market, cruelty-free products are a major issue that many consumers need to find the answer to.

Below, we will be giving you a look into Kiehl’s history and its rise to popularity, before discussing whether or not the brand is cruelty-free. We’ll also be answering some of your other pressing questions regarding Kiehl’s vegan and organic status.

What Is Kiehl’s Known For?

With a growing range of skincare items that are designed to treat all manner of skin issues, the Kiehl’s brand has risen to fame over the past decade. The brand is loved by consumers for its science-based approach and the fact that every ingredient in its products is selected to serve a skin-friendly purpose.

Initially founded in 1851 as an apothecary in New York City, Kiehl’s was acquired by mega-company L’Oréal in 2000 after spending 149 years as an independently-owned company. The business move upset many who preferred Kiehl’s small business vibe, but it turned out to be a benefit, as L’Oréal was able to expand the brand’s operations and launch the products to a more global audience.

Kiehl’s products that are most loved by consumers include the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. If there are any complaints about the brand, it is that the products can be on the more expensive side (though this is somewhat expected with such a high-end skincare brand) and that the cruelty-free status of Kiehl’s can be hard to verify.

Is Kiehl’s Cruelty-Free?

On the Kiehl’s website, the brand references its parent company, L’Oréal’s, animal testing policy. It states that the brand does not test on animals, except when required to do so by law. This roughly translates to the fact that Kiehl’s does permit animal testing on certain products. Kiehl’s will pay to have its products tested on animals when necessary to gain clearance to sell the products. The brand also doesn’t offer up any information on whether its ingredient suppliers test on animals.

Additionally, Kiehl’s is not certified as cruelty-free by any of the major cruelty-free activist organizations, such as PETA or Leaping Bunny. As these organizations require written attestations of a cruelty-free status, and Leaping Bunny requires an independent audit, it is safe to say that despite the words on their website, Kiehl’s does not qualify for cruelty-free status and likely engages in some animal testing.

It can be hard to know if it is only specific products that are being animal tested or all of the brand’s products, so consumers who are interested in only purchasing cruelty-free products may want to stay away from Kiehl’s altogether.

Is Kiehl’s Sold in Mainland China?

Kiehl’s is sold in mainland China, which gives it another mark on its record. China can require animal testing for products (with limited exceptions) that are to be sold in the country.  As Kiehl’s does sell many of their products in China, it is safe to say that the brand is not cruelty-free.

Is Kiehl’s Vegan?

While certain Kiehl’s products may be vegan, many of the skincare items the brand sells are not. Kiehl’s frequently uses animal-derived ingredients in their products, and there is no labeling to determine if a product is or isn’t certified vegan, though you can read the individual ingredient list.

Keep in mind that a lack of vegan labeling often means that there are chances of cross-contamination with animal-based ingredients used in other products, so you may want to stay away from Kiehl’s if you value 100 percent vegan items.

Is Kiehl’s Natural or Organic?

On its website, Kiehl’s claims to feature naturally sourced products and carefully selected ingredients that are skin-friendly. However, there are no natural or organic certifications that the brand can show. There is also a lack of information to show where exactly the brand sources its ingredients from. If you are interested in purchasing only natural or organic products, you should be wary of buying from Kiehl’s.

Is Kiehl’s Gluten-Free?

Just as with the brand’s vegan products, there is no explicit labeling stating if products are gluten-free, though there might be some options available. While you can read ingredients labels to determine the presence of gluten in a product, you should remember that the products are likely not produced in an allergy-friendly facility so there could be a chance of cross-contamination between gluten and non-gluten containing products.

Where Can You Buy Kiehl’s Products?

If you would still like to buy some of Kiehl’s popular skincare products, you can purchase directly from the brand’s website, from a beauty store like Sephora, or from Amazon. Just make sure when shopping online that you only purchase from a verified seller to limit your risks of receiving a counterfeited product.

Alternative Brands to Kiehl’s

If you would prefer to stay away from Kiehl’s, these skincare brands below offer completely cruelty-free and vegan options so you can continue to shop ethically.

Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant is similar to Kiehl’s in that it uses carefully selected skin-friendly ingredients and takes a science-based approach to skincare. All of the products produced by Drunk Elephant are cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and many of them are also vegan.

First Aid Beauty

First Aid Beauty is a skincare brand known for its potent skin-repairing products. The brand is 100 percent cruelty-free and PETA certified, and many of its products are also vegan. Plus, the formulas are dermatologist-tested and formulated for even sensitive skin.

Pacifica Beauty

A brand that is 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free, Pacifica Beauty is also certified by PETA. The brand puts sustainability and ethical production at the forefront of their concerns, making it a great choice if you are trying to avoid animal ingredients and testing altogether. In addition to skincare, Pacifica Beauty also produces vegan and cruelty-free makeup. If you’re a budget shopper, they’re a very affordable alternative.

Selecting a Cruelty-Free Brand

Navigating the many products in today’s market to find a cruelty-free option can often seem like an overwhelming task. After all, many companies are not straightforward about this important topic despite the fact that many consumers place a heavy emphasis on cruelty-free products. Unfortunately, Kiehl’s is not a cruelty-free brand, but there are plenty of alternative skincare brands out there that can meet your needs for ethically produced items.