Without getting into the controversial topic of animal testings, here is a list of Japanese cosmetic manufacturers that have eliminated animal-testing (including outsourcing) for their finished products and new ingredients (except when required by law).
It’s important to note that the information is specifically for cosmetics that are developed, produced, and sold within Japan only. It does not apply to products that are made for export (if the destined country requires it by law). This might seem like a hair-splitting distinction, but it’s still a big step in the right direction — especially for top influential companies.
If you’re in Japan and you want to get involved with an animal rights organisation (or simply want more information about animal testings in Japan), I’d highly suggest checking out Japan Anti-vivisection Association (JAVA). They’re Japan’s longest-operating group that aims to abolish animal testing — and very well-known and respected in Japan. Their previous campaigns have directly led many top Japanese cosmetic companies (e.g. Shiseido and Rohto) to abolish animal testing within Japan.
For simplicity’s sake, only company names are listed. Most companies below own myriads of Japan-only cosmetic brands — it’s a futile task for me to try to list them all below. Please search within the site or check the company’s site to find out what brands are under what companies.
Companies’ policies and practices are subjected to change. Please direct any related questions or concerns you may have to the company in question.
No hate to you, because putting this list together is hard, but I agree with the others: You lead readers into thinking these brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not sell in China etc., when they are not. At least update your titles and say Japanese cosmtics not tested on animals in Japan. Otherwise 90% assume that they do not test animals anywhere. Everyone, who wants to buy non-tested products on animals, also includes in their definition that it should not be tested anywhere on animals and not that it is only tested in a few countries.
While I do appreciate the effort you put in, this kind of post actually harms more the purpose to protect and support non-testing brands, because most will google this article and not read everything quickly and definitley will not read the comments and assume these brands do not test at all on animals worldwide, when in fact a lot of them do, and will buy from them
Thanks for taking the time to leave your honest opinion.
I understand your reasoning even though I strongly disagree that this article misleads readers. Important notes have been made explicitly clear right at the beginning (i.e. bold text, the section is emphasised in a different colour, and a big warning symbol). It’s out of my hands if people still can’t be bothered to take an extra 10 seconds to read that bit.
The sole purpose of this article is to present the current information on each Japanese company’s position and their official statement on cosmetics animal testing. It’s not about supporting certain brands — in fact, this article doesn’t even list brands.
Also FYI, China has ended mandatory animal testing for imported general cosmetics and personal-care products as of May 2021. China’s previous animal testing laws only required imported cosmetics that are sold in physical stores in Mainland China. Brands could sell their products to the mainland Chinese market online without having their products tested on animals. It also wasn’t required for cosmetics (except sunscreens) that are made in China. Lots of major companies have established subsidiaries in China that produce their mass-market products domestically for the local market.
do you have an updated list with brands that do not sell in mainland china? (even with changes in policy, post-market animal testing is done). I am only interested in products that do not sell in china and do not conduct animal testing (certified by leaping bunny, ethical elephant, peta organization is major plus)
I’m afraid you’ll have to do that research yourself since there’re thousands of cosmetic brands in Japan and I just don’t have the time, energy, nor interest to do a detailed check on each.
Also like the post said, a lot of Japanese cosmetic companies don’t just strictly produce cosmetics — they also produce things like drugs, household chemicals, and dietary supplements, which require animal safety testings like most parts of the world. If you eliminate them as well, there wouldn’t be much of a list left. It’s just going to be a small handful of relatively obscure brands (from tiny companies) that are inaccessible for everyone living outside of Japan.
oh well, guess i won’t buy japanese skincare/makeup anymore; it was a huge love of mine for the past few months but anytime i try to research the animal testing aspect, i run into a language barrier. I do not have any one that speaks japanese or mandarin nearby to help decipher the distribution practices of these brands. on the whole, i think I will opt to just use western brands that are certified by leaping bunny or ethical elephant and are vegan. I am sorry if my question irritated you; i thought that since you wrote this article, you may be a good person to ask on this matter for some help as i could not get any help elsewhere.
As an aside, I think you’re misconstruing the intent of buying non-animal tested cosmetic products: I know that these brands are probably subsidiaries of larger parent companies that probably do animal testing for non-cosmetic products. BUT there is something really gross that animals may have been harmed to produce a moisturizer or mascara, vanity products that are not life-preserving meds or sanitation products; the whole point of cruelty free certifications is that animal testing for unnecessary cosmetic means is unethical. Even in europe, where I am, standards for when animal tests should be conducted have excluded cosmetics completely. and new advances in testing and biological human cell lines mean we will one day not need to test most household chems and even medications on animals.
I understand where you’re coming from but Japanese cosmetic brands do not use any logos and symbols for animal testings. The only way to find out is to do some digging for each brand in both Japanese and Chinese. The “updated list” you’re hoping for is not feasible for me to compile because there’re thousands of cosmetic brands in Japan, which is why this is a list of companies and not individual brands.
What I always see is people asking for brands/companies that are “truly cruelty-free”, so I don’t think I’m misconstruing anything since cruelty certainly isn’t limited to testing beauty products on animals. Animal testing is cruel regardless of whether it’s necessary or not for certain fields. It’s cruel to abuse workers. The production of certain ingredients in beauty products has devastating environmental impacts and is also directly linked to animal abuse. If animal testing on cosmetics is the primary issue people are concerned with, then I think people should be upfront with themselves.
Thank you for getting back to me though. It’s ok, I understand; it is really difficult and would probably take years of work. 🙂
Thanks for understanding. It’s a lot easier and quicker to name cosmetic brands that are available in stores in China than the other way around.
I agree with you Annie
Love you posts. Do you have any information on Kiku Masamune Sake Brewing and if they test on animals?
Kiku-Masamune actually only produce alcoholic beverages. They don’t produce any cosmetic products at all — everything is outsourced to various cosmetic contract manufacturing companies. They use different OEM companies for different products so it really depends on which product you’re looking at.
Oh wow. I see now on your post on the Rice Made Mild Milk Peeling Senil Laboratories. They produce ‘quasi-drugs’, so probably do test on animals then?
Not necessarily but they do develop (in addition to producing) new raw material ingredients for cosmetics and quasi-drugs which require safety test data. Although validated alternative methods can be used, animal testing is inevitable.
they use placenta from pig. i avoid that brand like the plague
I contacted Meishoku. They confirmed to me that they don’t conduct animal testing on their products that are sold in Japan. However, they can not confirm that none of their ingredient suppliers do not conduct animal testing. They also confirmed that they do export to main land China and carry out the legally required animal testing in China. I know everyone has their own standard for what they deem acceptable, but in my opinion it can not be said that Meishoku does not conduct animal testing.
I keep getting conflicting answers on whether KOSE is cruelty-free. Where can I find current info.
From Kose’s official Japanese website (linked in the post)!
I assume you’re specifically concerned about animal-testing (vivisection) because “cruelty-free” is nothing but a meaningless marketing term — it (and its translated equivalent term) isn’t used in Japan at all. The production of many raw materials used in beauty products is directly linked to animal cruelty and human rights abuse amongst other issues.
Thank you for this list.
I’ve looked everywhere and have found no information on whether Candydoll is cruelty free.
Is there a way to find this out?
Sorry, I meant whether they do animal testing or not.
The company behind CandyDoll (T-Garden) is a fashion and marketing company. They don’t produce cosmetic products — everything is outsourced to various OEM companies. Every single CandyDoll product is manufactured by a different OEM company so it really depends on which exact product you’re looking at.
Thank you for this helpful response! The product in question I was looking at was the CandyDoll Bright Pure Base (in colors Mint Green, Lavender, and Pearl Pink). I found some sources on the product like this: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fda/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?setid=48878bce-cdf3-70db-e054-00144ff8d46c
I’m new to using Japanese makeup products and I was curious if there was a simple way to find out which OEM company a product is manufactured by. I don’t buy a product unless I’m certain the product has not been tested on animals, but was very interested in buying the CandyDoll Bright Pure Base. Thank you again for your helpful response!
That product you linked has been discontinued in Japan for years! It’s so old that even its replacement product launched back in 2016 has been reformulated already.
Simple way to find out? Read the back of the outer packaging. It’s printed (in Japanese) right on there!
Ah! Thank you. I had no idea! I was watching Japanese beauty youtubers and I saw this was a product that she would use a lot. So I had no clue it was discontinued haha!
I can’t actually read Japanese so I suppose I won’t be able to figure this one out. Thank you for all your help!
Hello there! Thank you for the list, however as far as I’m concerned, MUJI still has branches in mainland China where requires animal testing. Although I am not sure if they sell any cosmetics or skin care products there, but they do have shops there… so they may not be eligible to call themselves ‘cruelty free’ anyway thank you for listing such useful information 🙂
Deciding which products to use is a very personal decision. Unfortunately, beauty products that are truly cruelty-free don’t exist (I deliberately avoided using this marketing term in my post). In my view, any brand that uses palm oil-derived ingredients (and realistically, they all do!) has no rights calling itself “cruelty-free” since the production is directly linked to deforestation, climate change, indigenous rights abuses, and animal cruelty. And what about cruelty to humans, ie. abuse in the workplace?
Muji Japan don’t call themselves “cruelty-free”. They state they do not conduct animal-testing in the development and production of their cosmetics, except when it is required by law.
Do you have a list of cruelty free cosmetic list that are truly (meaning does not sell in china, dont export to china) cruelty free and not just in japan?
“Truly cruelty-free”? That doesn’t exist — there is a specific reason why I avoided using this non-regulated marketing term in the post.
Products that contain palm oil (or any of its derivatives) aren’t cruelty-free regardless of animal-testing. Industrial palm oil production is directly linked to deforestation, climate change, indigenous rights abuses, and animal cruelty! If a brand uses palm oil-derived ingredients (and realistically, they all do!), it has no rights calling itself “cruelty-free”. It’s near impossible to avoid palm oil and its derivatives since they’re hidden under alternative names (e.g. glycerin, etc).
Keep in mind that some of these companies don’t just produce cosmetics. They also develop and produce food additives and/or drugs which have government-required animal tests. A few conduct medical research as well.
There is a difference between selling to China and selling in China. China’s animal testing laws only require imported cosmetics that are sold in a physical store in Mainland China. Brands can sell their products to the Mainland Chinese market online without having their products tested on animals. It is also not required for products that are made domestically in China. Some major Japanese companies (e.g. Rohto) have subsidiary companies in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. that develop and produce their mass-market products specifically for the local market.
I meant animal testing wise. or they do not physically sell in china (online sales do not require testing some loop hole huh).
Thank you so much for this list.
I was wondering if WORLD Co. would be relevant to this check? They own It’s Demo, a popular beauty shop in Shibuya that sells a lot of products directly under the brand name It’s Demo (as well as other brands).
I love the concept of It’s Demo but don’t want to shop there if they can’t confirm no in-Japan animal testing.
No, since World Co. is a clothing company. They don’t product cosmetics at all. It’s Demo isn’t a beauty brand — it’s a fashion store chain that sells time-limited collaborative items manufactured by various unrelated companies.
Thank you for the super helpful information! Very much appreciated, because it was very confusing trying to figure out what they were. I will keep researching.
Hi thank you for this list! I am going to Japan this summer and I wanted to know where these products can be found (which stores)? Thank you!
These are companies not products! There’re thousands of brands here in the widest possible price range.
Apologies! do you know then if they label their products with something clear to indicate they are cruelty-free/not animal tested?
There’s no labels. “Cruelty-Free”/”Not Tested on Animals” are like “Dermatologist-Tested” and “Non-Comedogenic” — they’re meaningless claims since there’re no legal definitions for these terms in any countries. Companies have unrestricted use of these labels.