You don’t have to be a skincare enthusiast to know about Olay.
The American skincare brand, owned by Procter & Gamble, has been trusted by millions of women worldwide for over 68 years now. But is it cruelty-free? Has the brand responded to the increasing demands for cruelty-free skincare products? Or does Olay still use animal testing?
Let’s find out!
Is Olay a Cruelty-Free Brand?
Olay isn’t classified as a cruelty-free brand. However, the brand’s parent company, P&G, claims that they do not test Olay products on animals.
Wondering why the brand is not classified as cruelty-free, then?
There’s more to the story!
Why Olay Isn’t Considered a Cruelty-Free Brand?
Many people believe that if a company isn’t doing animal testing itself, it can be considered as cruelty-free. However, that’s only half the picture.
To be classified as a cruelty-free and ethical brand, a company has to disengage from animal testing completely. This includes inhibiting third-party animal testing as well, something which Olay is engaged in.
While the brand itself doesn’t test the products on animals, its products are sold in countries where animal testing is required by law for skincare and/or cosmetic products, such as mainland China. This means that the company is indirectly involved in animal testing.
When asked – “does Olay test on animals?” – the company provided the following detailed response:
As confirmed by P&G’s official statement, Olay products are tested on animals in some countries. For this to happen, the company must agree and pay for their products to be tested on animals. So, even though Olay isn’t performing animal testing on its own, the company agrees with other countries’ cruelty procedures.
In case you’re not fully aware of what’s involved in the animal testing of beauty products, check out the following video to know what goes behind the closed doors of labs where many of your favorite skincare products or cosmetics are prepared…
In What Countries Are Olay Products Tested on Animals?
I couldn’t find a comprehensive list of countries where Olay products are tested on animals. But we know that it’s done in China.
Despite a few amendments in Chinese laws regulating the cosmetic industry in the past few years, they still require animal testing for most imported beauty products. Olay products are sold in mainland China, which means they fulfill the country’s animal testing requirement.
Is Olay an Ethical Brand?
Sadly, Olay cannot be categorized as an ethical brand because of its indirect contributions towards sustaining—if not promoting—cruelty practices towards animals in laboratories.
The company also doesn’t provide any details regarding the testing of individual ingredients used in their products. Whether they are tested on animals or not, we don’t know, and this provides a loophole in the company’s official statement. In such a scenario, one needs to assess each of their products separately to see if they contain any ingredient that is generally tested on animals.
To sum it all up, it comes as a disappointment that the multi-billion-dollar company isn’t playing its part in bringing an end to animal cruelty in the beauty and skincare industry. Although the company says that it is working to end animal cruelty in the beauty industry, its actions do not comply with its claims.
Will they be able to live up to their claim of going cruelty-free by 2023? Only time will tell!
Is Olay Vegan-Friendly?
Olay cannot be classified as a vegan brand, on the whole, for two reasons.
First, many of its products contain animal-derived ingredients, such as retinol and collagen. For those who do not know, retinol is a form of vitamin A derived from animal fats, whereas collagen is taken from animals’ connective tissues.
Second, its involvement in animal cruelty is against the basic principles of veganism. Hence, the brand cannot be considered vegan. None of the Olay products are certified as vegan.
If you’re a vegan who has whole-heartedly committed to playing your part in bringing animal cruelty to an end, you should refrain from using Olay products, even the ones that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.
Are Olay Products Vegetarian-Friendly?
While Olay cannot be considered a vegetarian-friendly brand, some of its products are free from animal ingredients. However, there is no comprehensive list of Olay’s vegetarian-friendly products available.
This means that you need to evaluate each product to figure out if it is made of 100% plant-based ingredients or not. You can refer to PETA’s list of animal-derived ingredients as a reference guide when assessing the status of an Olay product or any other skincare product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some of the common questions people ask about Olay and its products to get a clear idea of where the brand stands with reference to animal cruelty and veganism:
§ Are Olay products made in China?
Olay products are not made in China. However, they are sold in mainland China, which means they are tested on animals.
As mentioned above, Chinese law requires imported beauty products to be lab-tested on animals before being sold to the public.
§ Is Olay cruelty-free–certified?
Despite the company’s claims that it doesn’t test its products on animals, Olay isn’t certified by PETA or Leaping Bunny, the two leading cruelty-free certification authorities in the U.S. And it will not receive any certification as long as the company is selling its products in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law.
§ What’s the difference between vegan and cruelty-free products?
People often use the terms vegan and cruelty-free interchangeably. While working to eliminate animal cruelty is a part of veganism, the two terms have different meanings in general.
A vegan product is free from animal or animal-derived ingredients. A cruelty-free product, on the other hand, means that neither the product nor its ingredients are tested on animals.
This is where many companies deceive their customers by saying that their products are not tested on animals. However, they do not talk about the ingredients used in their products (just what Olay does). Many products that are claimed to be cruelty-free contain ingredients that are tested on animals.
Having said that, a product cannot be classified as vegan, in the strictest sense of the word, if it’s tested on animals, even if it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients. Similarly, not every product labeled as a vegan is cruelty-free.
§ How to choose a cruelty-free or vegan product?
To make sure no animals were harmed, in any way, in the manufacturing of a product, look for brands or items that are certified as both vegan and cruelty-free.
Cruelty-Free & Vegan Alternatives of Olay
Disappointed that your favorite skincare brand doesn’t fit your lifestyle ideology? Don’t lose heart! Many skincare or beauty brands still share your ideology of eliminating animal cruelty from the cosmetic industry and offer 100% plant-based products.
Here are some amazing cruelty-free skincare brands that also offer vegan products:
Brands That Are Cruelty-Free and 100% Vegan
- The Ordinary
- Youth to People
- Skyn Iceland
- Derma E
- ELF Cosmetics
- Fourth Ray Beauty
Cruelty-Free Skincare Brands With Some Vegan Options
- Paula’s Choice
- Mario Badescu
- Andalou Naturals
- Alba Botanica
- Desert Essence
- Every Man Jack
- Formula 10.0.6
- Nourish Organics
- Makeup Revolution
- St. Ives
- The Inkey List
- The Body Shop
- Yes To
Did you find this cruelty-free review useful? Do you want to learn more about the cruelty-free and vegan status of other leading brands, too? Read my article Is Dove Cruelty-Free for a similarly detailed analysis of the leading personal care brand.