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Is CeraVe Cruelty-Free? The Truth + Full List of Alternatives

With its reputation for affordable, dermatologist-recommended skincare products, CeraVe has gained a loyal following among skincare enthusiasts. But as we become more attuned to the horrors of animal testing, we have to ask — Is CeraVe cruelty-free?

To answer this question, we’ll explore the brand’s animal testing policies, their parent company, and their presence in markets with questionable regulations. We’ll also explore the bigger picture of cruelty-free skincare and give you a complete list of alternatives to consider. 

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether CeraVe products deserve a place on your shelf. 

What Does Cruelty-Free Mean in the Cosmetics Industry?

The phrase “cruelty-free” is not just a catchy marketing term. It shows a big commitment to animal welfare. In the cosmetics industry, a product is considered cruelty-free when it hasn’t been tested on animals at any stage of its development. This includes not only the final product but also the individual ingredients used.

The aim of cruelty-free products is to ensure that no animals, such as rabbits, mice, or guinea pigs, suffer from harm or discomfort due to cosmetic testing. Cruelty-free brands opt for alternative testing methods, like in vitro studies or human volunteer trials, to determine the safety and efficacy of their products. And if you’re an animal lover, choosing cruelty-free products is a way to align your values with your purchases. In other words, it’s a way to put your money where your mouth is.

Common Misconceptions

Before we answer the main question, we must understand what cruelty-free is and isn’t. Let’s debunk some common misconceptions:

  • All Natural Products Are Cruelty-Free: “Natural ingredients” doesn’t mean cruelty-free. Even natural products may go through animal testing if a brand or manufacturer chooses to do so. That’s why you should always check the brand’s policies on this matter.
  • Cruelty-Free Products Are Less Effective: Many cruelty-free brands offer high-quality, effective products that are on par with, or even better than, their animal-tested alternatives. Thanks to our scientific and technological progress, cruelty-free testing methods are increasingly reliable.
  • Cruelty-Free Means Vegan: While cruelty-free products don’t involve animal testing, they may still contain animal-derived ingredients. If you want to use products that are both cruelty-free and vegan, you should research the brand more carefully.

So, how can you make sure that a skincare brand is cruelty-free? Enter cruelty-free certifications.

Cruelty-Free Certifications

These certifications are a reliable way to find products that meet cruelty-free standards. Some of the most well-known cruelty-free certification organizations include Leaping Bunny and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies. You can check both websites to find certified cruelty-free beauty companies. 

Brands with such certifications go through rigorous audits to confirm their commitment to cruelty-free practices.

Now, let’s tackle the big question. 

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Is CeraVe Cruelty-Free?

CeraVe is not cruelty-free. The main evidence for this statement is the following:

  1. The brand has no cruelty-free certification. Check the links in the previous section. 
  2. While CeraVe claims that its products are not tested on animals, cosmetics can go through animal testing during different stages, often for individual ingredients. Usually, third parties conduct this testing and not the cosmetic company itself.
  3. CeraVe’s parent company, L’Oréal, conducts animal testing on its products when required by law in certain countries. The main country in question here is China where animal testing is mandatory for cosmetics sold there. 

For these reasons, we cannot claim that CeraVe products are cruelty-free. 

Is CeraBe Cruelty-Free in the US?

CeraVe is not cruelty-free in the US. The company lacks cruelty-free certification, and its products are sold in China, where animal testing is legally required for cosmetics. And while 10 states have bans on selling animal-tested cosmetics, a nationwide ban is yet to come.

CeraVe’s Parent Company and Animal Testing

CeraVe is owned by L’Oréal, one of the largest and most popular cosmetics and beauty companies worldwide. And their stance on animal testing is ambiguous, to say the least. 

While L’Oréal publicly claims to be committed to reducing and eventually eliminating animal testing, the company also sells products in countries like China, where animal testing for cosmetics is required by law. The fact that the company complies with local laws and regulations, means that it continues to conduct animal testing on products when necessary to meet legal requirements.

Where Is CeraVe Manufactured?

CeraVe products are manufactured in numerous countries around the world. The specific manufacturing location can vary depending on the product and where it’s intended to be sold.

If you want to know where your local CeraVe products are manufactured, check the packaging. If the product is manufactured within the EU, you can rest assured that it hasn’t been tested on animals. The EU banned animal testing for cosmetics back in 2013. This ban prohibited the testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals within the EU. The ban extends to the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals in other parts of the world and requires that products and ingredients be tested using alternative methods.

The Complete List of Alternatives to CeraVe

If you don’t wish to support brands like CeraVe that are not cruelty-free, you still have numerous options, no matter your skin type. Here are some popular skincare brands to consider as CeraVe cruelty-free alternatives (no affiliate links):

  • The Ordinary: Probably the most budget-friendly and cruelty-free alternative. The brand offers a range of products that have truly brought our skincare game to the next level.
  • Paula’s Choice: If you’re looking for cruelty-free cosmetics, value high-quality formulations, and are ready to give a few extra bucks, Paula’s Choice is truly the best choice you can make. 
  • Youth To The People: The brand uses clean and sustainable ingredients in their products. They emphasize the use of superfood ingredients like kale, spinach, and green tea in their formulations. Their products are free from harmful chemicals, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances.
  • Versed: Their focus is on using safe and non-toxic ingredients. Also, they aim to provide high-quality skincare products that are also affordable.
  • Skyn Iceland: The brand is focused on clean and sustainable beauty. Their products are cruelty-free and formulated without harmful chemicals, parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances.
  • Tatcha: The brand is known for its luxurious and Japanese-inspired beauty products. They also have PETA’s cruelty-free certification.
  • Glow Recipe: It’s a popular skincare brand known for its fruit-based and clean beauty products. The brand is also cruelty-free, meaning they do not test their products on animals.
  • Skinfix: They provide gentle and effective skincare solutions for sensitive and problematic skin. The products are not tested on animals and are often recommended by dermatologists and healthcare professionals.
  • Bliss: Their goal is to bring the experience of a spa to your daily skincare routine. It’s a cruelty-free skincare brand with accessible pricing, designed to cater to various needs.
  • Acure: The brand focuses on natural and organic ingredients, clean beauty, and environmentally responsible practices. It’s vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Derma E: Aside from being a vegan and cruelty-free brand, Derma E is environmentally conscious and engages in sustainable practices. They use recyclable packaging materials and prioritize eco-friendly sourcing and manufacturing.
  • First Aid Beauty: Many First Aid Beauty products are recommended by dermatologists and healthcare professionals. The brand is committed to being cruelty-free, meaning they do not test their products on animals.
  • Pacifica: It’s a vegan and cruelty-free brand, with PETA certification. Pacifica is also committed to eco-friendly and sustainable practices, including responsible sourcing and manufacturing.
  • 100% Pure: Their products don’t contain animal-derived ingredients, and they do not test on animals. The brand is also environmentally conscious and engages in sustainable practices.

When choosing skincare products, always consider your skin type, specific concerns (e.g., acne, dryness, sensitivity), and any personal preferences regarding ingredients.


Why isn’t CeraVe cruelty-free?

CeraVe isn’t cruelty-free because it has no cruelty-free certification and distributes its products in China, where animal testing is required.

Is CeraVe vegan?

CeraVe is not a fully vegan brand. While some of their products are vegan and don’t contain animal-derived ingredients, others may contain animal-derived components like beeswax and cholesterol.

Is CeraVe a clean brand?

CeraVe is not a “clean” beauty brand. While it focuses on developing gentle and non-irritating skincare products, some formulations may contain synthetic ingredients, which are typically excluded from clean beauty standards.

Is CeraVe a good brand?

CeraVe is a reputable, effective, and budget-friendly skincare brand. Dermatologists often recommend their products and the brand focuses on gentle, non-irritating formulations suitable for sensitive skin. That said, CeraVe is neither cruelty-free nor vegan.

Is CeraVe face wash cruelty-free?

If the CeraVe face wash has been produced in the EU, chances are it’s cruelty-free. 

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