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Animal Testing Facts 

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Speculating on the possible legal position of imported cosmetics tested on animals by non-EU countries post-Brexit is not helpful.  Both the UK cosmetics industry and the public at large does not see the need to test cosmetics on animals and implying Brexit might somehow change that is quite wrong.  Read more...


Cosmetic products sold in Europe are not tested on animals. This is true whether or not the product makes an ‘animal friendly’ claim.

Animal testing of cosmetic products is banned in Europe

Fact - No cosmetic product may be tested on animals anywhere in the EU.

The ban on animal testing of cosmetic products in the EU came into effect in September 2004. It has been illegal to test cosmetic product on animals in Europe since that time. In the UK, testing of cosmetic products was banned in 1997 after a voluntary initiative by industry which led to all licences for testing cosmetic products to be withdrawn.

Animal testing of cosmetic ingredients is banned in Europe

Fact – No ingredients used in cosmetics may be tested for that reason anywhere in the EU.

The ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients in the EU came fully into effect in July 2013. It has been illegal to test cosmetic ingredients for that purpose on animals in Europe since that time. However, many cosmetic ingredients are also used by other industries some of which still require animal testing. Therefore, most if not all cosmetics contain one or more ingredients tested on animals by someone at some time.

Selling cosmetic products tested on animals is banned in Europe

Fact – No cosmetic product tested on animals anywhere in the world to comply with European cosmetics law may be sold in Europe.

However, some countries still require animal testing of cosmetics under their own laws. Such products may still be sold in Europe. Companies, individually and through Cosmetics Europe, along with the European Commission are working with those countries to explain why animal testing of such products in not necessary to ensure safety.

Selling cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals is banned in Europe

Fact – No cosmetic product containing ingredients tested on animals anywhere in the world to comply with European cosmetic laws may be sold in Europe.

However, many cosmetic ingredients are used by many other industries and may be tested on animals to comply with the laws of those countries. Therefore, most if not all cosmetics contain one or more ingredients tested on animals by someone at some time.

‘Not tested on animals’ claims

Fact – All cosmetics sold in Europe could make the same claim now.

The common criteria for cosmetic claims, which are now part of European cosmetics law, prohibit claims that are no more than claiming compliance with legal requirements.  Since the ban on animal testing applies equally to all cosmetic products on the EU market, it would appear that claims relating to avoidance of animal testing would not be permitted.  That law covers claims in the form of text, illustrations, logos or pictorial forms and similar depictions. The European Commission is expected to confirm that such broad ‘animal-friendly’ claims are prohibited when it reviews guidance.  However, explicit statements relating to a company’s philosophy regarding animal testing ought to remain acceptable under the common criteria.