30/01/18 Why You Shouldn’t Trust Beauty Brands That Sell In China

Remember your favourite hair care brand adverts of the past? With Amazonian goddesses with long, luscious manes, strolling under waterfalls, surrounded by nature and tropical fruit and birds of paradise. You, like us, could have been fooled into thinking these products were animal-friendly and made from natural fruit. But, in reality, they were neither natural nor cruelty-free.

Much like the growing attention currently placed on natural beauty products, for a period of time cruelty-free beauty products were high on the agenda and brands wanted to be a part of this movement. There is an assumption that these brands are still committed to cruelty-free, however that’s just not the case if they sell in China.

In China, animal testing is mandatory for all cosmetics companies. That means that if a brand says they are committed to cruelty-free but sell in China, they most certainly are not.




Pai Skincare is a natural, organic and cruelty-free skincare brand, who refuses to sell in China because of their animal-testing policy.

“Nobody seems to be talking about or challenging it while all these brands are literally getting away with murder and trying to act like they’re in the beauty business — I don’t find anything beautiful about testing on animals. We don’t sell into China and I hope the world will head that way,” explains Stella McCartney.


“All these brands are literally getting away with murder and trying to act like they’re in the beauty business…”

– Stella McCartney –


The designer has relaunched the Stella Peony fragrance, with sustainability in mind. Instead of using organic and natural ingredients, which can be harmful to the environment in terms of land and water usage, they mimick scents in the lab. The fragrance comes in recyclable outer packaging, an unheard of in the luxury beauty market. (Most brands use foil printing for high shine, but this is much more environmentally unfriendly.)


stella mccartney eco-friendly fragrance

Image courtesy: Stella McCartney’s eco-overhaul of the Stella Peony fragrance


According to a US report, “China is projected to become the largest market for personal care and cosmetics products globally in the next five to ten years”, with well-known brands L’Oreal, Benefit, Rimmel London and Shiseido – which owns Nars – among its biggest sellers.

When cruelty free makeup brands put profits before ethics and decide to sell in China, it’s up to us to make smart beauty choices.