Is CeraVe Cruelty-Free? The Answer is Surprising

Finding the right skincare products is often challenging for people with sensitive skin, and there are very few brands you can trust blindly. CeraVe is one of them. Known for its gentle yet effective products, CeraVe isn’t as old as many other skincare brands. However, it has won the trust of both consumers and dermatologists all over the world.

But while an average consumer can turn to CeraVe for all their skincare concerns, what about people who avoid non-cruelty-free brands? Can they trust CeraVe too? Does CeraVe test on animals, or is the brand cruelty-free?

Let’s find out!

Is CeraVe Cruelty-Free?

Unfortunately, the skincare brand cannot be classified as cruelty-free, although it claims that it does not test on animals.

Here’s what the company says in the FAQs section on its website:

Why Is CeraVe Not Cruelty-Free Then?

Unless you have transitioned to cruelty-free life only recently, you would know that not testing products on animals isn’t the only requirement for brands to qualify as cruelty-free. Companies have to meet a couple of other requirements as well. These include the following:

  • None of the ingredients used should be tested on animals.
  • Brands shouldn’t be working with third parties or suppliers that test on animals.
  • Brands shouldn’t sell in countries with animal testing laws.

CeraVe doesn’t provide any information about the first two conditions on its website. Even if we give it the benefit of the doubt, the brand still fails to qualify as a cruelty-free skincare brand because it doesn’t meet the third condition.

When a Twitter user highlighted this dichotomy between its policy and practice, CeraVe didn’t have anything to say in its defense…

Does CeraVe Sell in China?


After the world’s largest beauty company, L’Oréal, bought the skincare brand in 2017, it brought CeraVe products to the Chinese market.

CeraVe products are now sold in China, which means the company has agreed to China’s pre-market and post-market animal testing policies.

For those who weren’t aware, Chinese law requires all imported cosmetics and beauty products to go through mandatory animal testing before they are allowed to be sold in physical stores. Companies selling in China should also agree to its post-market animal testing policy.

Over the years, post-market animal testing has significantly reduced in China. However, the law still exists, which means the authorities can do it whenever they deem necessary.

Even if a company’s products are not subject to post-market testing, the fact that the brand agreed to the policy is already enough to determine its stance on animal testing. Refer to my article “Is Dove Cruelty-Free?” for a more detailed discussion on China’s post-market testing policy.

But, China Is About to End Mandatory Animal Testing – Will CeraVe Become Cruelty-Free Then?

China’s decision to end mandatory pre-market animal testing has been highly appreciated in the cruelty-free community worldwide.

However, the new rule doesn’t apply to all imported cosmetics and beauty products. Starting May 1, 2021, only imported “general cosmetic” products will get exempted from animal testing, and there are certain conditions to meet for that, too. You can check out my article “Is Cetaphil Cruelty-Free?” to learn about the conditions that products need to meet to qualify for this exemption.

Items that fall under the “general cosmetics” category include non-special use products and/or products that do not make claims. Items like sunscreens, skin whitening products, anti-aging products, and anti-acne products do not fall under the “general cosmetics” category. Hence, they aren’t exempt from pre-market animal testing in China.

CeraVe offers many special-use products and products for babies, both of which will continue to be subjected to animal testing in China (at least for now).

Is CeraVe vegan

Is CeraVe Vegan?

CeraVe is not a vegan skincare brand. It does, however, offer some products that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Many online sources state that the company’s entire product range in the U.K. is vegan-friendly. However, I couldn’t find the information on the company’s U.K. website. When I dug a little deeper, I found a Reddit thread where a user shared his correspondence with CeraVe’s U.S. customer service. Here’s the bit of relevant information from that:

Also, as reported by Allure, the skincare brand vowed to get more than 90% vegan-friendly in the U.S. and Canada by 2021.

If CeraVe is still pursuing the same path, and its progress hasn’t stopped or slowed down due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most of its products will become vegan-friendly by the end of this year.


It’s important to note here that even if CeraVe eliminates animal-derived ingredients from all its products, it can’t be considered a true vegan brand as long as it’s involved in animal cruelty, whether directly or indirectly.

Those who have converted to veganism just for health purposes may not mind using CeraVe products. Still, those who have whole-heartedly committed to the philosophy of veganism might prefer to avoid the brand altogether.

To Sum Up – Is CeraVe a Cruelty-Free and Vegan Brand?

CeraVe isn’t a cruelty-free brand. For this very reason, it cannot be considered a vegan-friendly brand either, even though it offers many vegan products.

CeraVe Cruelty-Free Alternatives

Looking for cruelty-free CeraVe alternatives? Here are some brand suggestions for you:

  • The Ordinary
  • e.l.f Cosmetics
  • Paula’s Choice
  • Pacifica
  • Yes To
  • Glossier
  • Ole Henriksen
  • Dermalogica
  • Acure
  • Alba Botanica

Want to know more about cruelty-free CeraVe dupes? Check out the following video to get cruelty-free recommendations for some of the best-selling CeraVe products:

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s end this discussion by answering some common questions people ask about CeraVe’s cruelty-free and vegan status:

§ Does CeraVe do animal testing?

According to CeraVe’s official website, the company doesn’t perform animal testing. However, the skincare brand doesn’t provide any information regarding its suppliers and third-party animal testing. CeraVe also sells its products in China.

§ Is CeraVe made in China?

No. CeraVe products are not manufactured in China; they are imported from the U.S. This means they are subjected to animal testing, as per Chinese law.

§ Will CeraVe become cruelty-free?

CeraVe will not become cruelty-free, in the true sense of the term, until it stops selling in mainland China.

§ Is CeraVe vegan?

CeraVe is vegan in the U.K. However, it is not 100% vegan in the U.S. and Canada. It does offer many vegan products, though.

Please refer to the “Is CeraVe Vegan? section above for a detailed discussion on why CeraVe cannot be considered a true vegan brand.

§ What non-vegan ingredients are found in CeraVe products?

The company doesn’t provide any separate list of animal-derived ingredients on its website. However, its representative highlighted the non-vegan ingredients the company uses in response to a consumer’s query.

Did you find this cruelty-free and vegan breakdown of CeraVe useful? Check out my Cruelty-Free Category blogs for a similar analysis of other beauty brands.

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Author Bio
Im Emma and I’m the creator of Vegan Calm. When I became a vegan seven years ago, I mainly did it for health and ethical reasons. To my surprise, it had another amazing benefit; I became a much calmer and peaceful person. This change inspired me to create Vegan Calm. Whether you’ve been a vegan for a long time or just want to learn more, this website will have something for you!

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