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Does Shiseido Test on Animals? The Ugly Truth

by Yu-Jun Park 13 Jun 2024

Welcome, beauty enthusiasts! 

So, you're loving your skincare routine and just hit that next-level glow, but wait—have you ever wondered what your beloved products went through before hitting your bathroom shelf?

You're about to take a deep dive into the truth about Shiseido and animal testing. 

Grab a comfy seat, your favorite matcha latte, and let’s unravel this together!

The Burning Question: Does Shiseido Test on Animals?

Drum roll, please... 

Yes, Shiseido does, in fact, test on animals.

Yup, you read that right. 

While a lot of companies are now stepping up and going cruelty-free, Shiseido hasn't fully committed to dropping animal testing worldwide. 

Let's look at the specifics and why this matters in our beauty routines.

The Debate: Why Animal Testing?

Here’s the scoop: Some countries legally require animal testing for cosmetic products to hit their markets. 

Yep, it's a harsh reality, but true.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

The Global Perspective: Market Regulations

Understanding the global landscape is crucial when it comes to grasping why cosmetics companies like Shiseido engage in animal testing.

  • China: China remains one of the most significant markets enforcing mandatory animal testing for imported cosmetics. Given its immense consumer base and market potential, many luxury brands, including Shiseido, aim to capture this lucrative market. Consequently, compliance with local regulations is mandatory, meaning products are often tested on animals to meet these legal standards. This is not necessarily a reflection of the company's overall philosophy but a move to adhere to strict local laws.
  • European Union: Contrasting China's stringent policies, the EU presents a vastly different scenario. The European market has made rigorous advancements in beauty standards by prohibiting animal testing for cosmetics. Both commendable and consumer-driven, these regulations mean any products sold within these borders are crafted without animal suffering.

What Does This Mean for You?

You might be asking yourself, "Okay, what now?" 

If ethics in beauty matter to you, you might be on the lookout for alternatives. But let’s understand the broader picture.

Should you continue using Shiseido? It depends on your ethical standpoint. 

Supporting brands that engage in animal testing—regardless of where it occurs—can be a deal-breaker for some. 

Alternatively, some may choose to support the brand if it pushes back against such practices through innovation and advocacy for change.

Educate Yourself: The Impact of Animal Testing

Animal testing isn’t just a buzzword to make you cringe. It's legit distressing stuff.

Here’s why it's a big deal: 

  • Pain and Suffering: Animals in labs undergo serious distress. Think skin irritation tests, lethal dose tests—all causing potential pain and suffering. Laboratory animals like mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs endure these procedures without the comforts of a natural life.
  • Alternatives Exist: Technological advancements have brought forth highly effective and humane alternatives. Methods like in-vitro testing (using human cells and tissues) and sophisticated computer models now provide companies with reliable ways to ensure product safety. These alternatives also tend to be faster and more cost-effective.
  • Market Pressure Works: Brands notice when consumers demand cruelty-free options. When a significant portion of a consumer base insists on cruelty-free products, brands tend to pivot to meet those expectations. The beauty industry has witnessed a tremendous shift as a result of consumer advocacy, pushing several brands to reconsider their practices.

What Can You Do?

Feeling empowered to make a change? Here’s your action plan:

  1. Vote with Your Wallet: Opt for cruelty-free brands. Your purchasing power sends a clear message to companies about your stance on animal testing. And just to be clear? We are proudly 100% cruelty-free — in every country our products appear in. And yes, that includes our snail mucin
  1. Spread the Word: Educating friends and family influences wider market practices. Share your knowledge through conversations, social media, or even a blog. Collective awareness can culminate in collective action.
  1. Get Involved: Support organizations and campaigns committed to ending animal testing. Through donations or volunteer work, you can contribute to efforts aimed at policy change and promoting alternative testing methods.

Diving Deeper: Shiseido's Policies & Efforts

Now, we’re not calling Shiseido totally evil. They’ve made efforts to mitigate their involvement in animal testing. 

While they do comply with the testing requirements of certain markets, we’re told they are also actively working to develop and promote alternative testing methods.

  • Alternatives Research: Shiseido is investing significantly in research to develop non-animal testing methods. By exploring in-vitro approaches and utilizing advanced computational models, they aim to chart a cruelty-free future. Just lip service? We’ll leave that up to you to judge.
  • Collaborations with Institutions: Partnering with prestigious research institutions and animal welfare organizations, Shiseido focuses on enhancing test methods that do not harm animals. Such collaborations are essential for driving industry-wide changes and encouraging regulatory bodies to accept alternative testing methods.

Yet, the reality is that Shiseido still tests on animals.

So, it’s a mixed bag. Your choice to either continue supporting Shiseido or to switch to entirely cruelty-free brands depends on your personal ethics and values.

Keep the Conversation Going

Discussions around ethical beauty are hotter than ever. Whether it’s your book club or an Instagram post, keep talking! Awareness sparks change.

Corporations are influenced by market demand, and consistent, vocal advocacy will push for shifts in their policies. 

By discussing and sharing, you help broaden awareness and champion the cause for a cruelty-free world. 

Whether sparking a debate at a friendly gathering or creating informative content on social platforms, every little bit helps propel the movement forward.

In summary, while Shiseido does engage in animal testing under specific circumstances, we will give them some credit: they are making strides toward developing alternative methods. Or that’s what they say at least.

For the ethically-minded shopper, the decision lies in weighing immediate practices against long-term commitments. 

So next time you reach for that high-end serum, consider where it came from and the journey it took to grace your shelf.

Cruelty-Free Options: Reinvent Your Beauty Routine

Alright, beauty enthusiasts, it’s time to hit refresh on that beauty regime! 

Cruelty-free isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a lifestyle that ensures your pursuit of glam doesn’t come at the expense of our furry friends. 

But don’t worry, we've got some stellar alternatives to shake up your routine—ethically.

Skincare Swaps: Glow Without Guilt

Let’s face it, we’re not getting rid of our skincare routines any time soon. Your skin deserves uncompromised love, without shadows of cruelty hanging over it. 

Here are some detailed tips to help you transition effortlessly into a cruelty-free skincare routine.

  • Read Labels: Reading labels is an art. Keep an eye out for logos like “Leaping Bunny Certified” and “PETA Cruelty-Free.” These certifications are like gold standards that guarantee no animals were harmed.


  • Know Your Brands: Dive deep into beauty brands and differentiate the good from the bad. It's all about swapping without sacrificing quality.
  • Trust Resources: Websites like Cruelty-Free Kitty and Ethical Elephant contain comprehensive lists of verified cruelty-free brands. These platforms don't just scratch the surface; they provide in-depth reviews and handy tips to guide your choices.

Lifestyle Integration: Beyond Beauty Products

Your commitment to cruelty-free living can extend far beyond your vanity. 

Let’s dig into other everyday areas where you can infuse kindness and empathy.

Fashion Forward

  • Look for Ethically Sourced Materials: Elevate your wardrobe with fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, and recycled textiles. These not only reduce your carbon footprint but also ensure no animals were harmed for the sake of fashion.
  • Second-Hand Swagger: Thrift shopping is the ultimate act of love for both the planet and your wallet. Breathe new life into pre-loved clothing and accessories. Platforms like Depop and local thrift stores are treasure chests waiting to be explored.

Food for Thought

  • Diet Choices: Jump on the plant-based wagon! Integrate plant-based meals into your diet with the help of delicious recipes from influencers like Plant-Based Pete. It’s not just about salads—think hearty stews, mouthwatering burgers, and delectable desserts.
  • Shopping Smart: Nutritional supplements need scrutiny too. Opt for brands that are clearly labeled with cruelty-free certifications. Future Kind and Garden of Life are excellent choices.

Join the Movement: You’re Not Alone

Opting for a cruelty-free lifestyle? High five! Your actions amplify a global movement that champions ethical living. 

Here’s how you can further immerse yourself and find support.

Community Groups

Surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded individuals can be incredibly empowering:

  • Facebook Groups: Numerous groups like “Cruelty-Free Beauty” and “Ethical Living” offer advice, support, and camaraderie.
  • Reddit Threads: Engage in Reddit communities such as r/crueltyfree or r/veganbeauty, where members share their experiences, product recommendations, and lifestyle tips.

Support A Cause

Supporting organizations that advocate for animal rights elevates your voice and extends your impact:

  • Leaping Bunny Program: Renowned for its rigorous standards, the Leaping Bunny Program ensures brands adhere to strict cruelty-free practices globally.

Your Role in a Cruelty-Free World

The transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle is more than just a trend; it’s a profound statement of empathy and responsibility. 

Shiseido's recent stance highlights the importance of making informed, conscious choices. 

Every item you purchase, from a luscious red lipstick to a nourishing serum, is a vote. It’s a vote for a world that’s kind, conscious, and cruelty-free. 

And remember, you're not flying solo. As you stroll down the beauty aisle or click through online stores, every choice you make sends ripples of change.

Stay fabulous, stay ethical, and let’s champion cruelty-free living as the new standard!

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