Is Aveeno Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (We Have REALLY Bad News)

Aveeno claims to be a “holistic” head-to-toe skincare brand that combines science and natural ingredients. Unfortunately, its nature-inspired products are just as questionable as its cruelty-free and vegan policies.

Is Aveeno Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Aveeno is not cruelty-free. It claims not to conduct animal testing on its products but distributes where animal testing is required by law. While Aveeno has products free of animal-derived ingredients, it is not considered a vegan brand.

When Aveeno was founded in 1945 by the two American brothers, Albert and Sidney Musher, who wanted to create a brand that treated various skin conditions.

Whether it’s eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, chickenpox, hives, or sunburn – Aveeno claims to have the most effective formulas.

This self-proclaimed nature-obsessed brand is all about pushing its biggest and most advertised natural ingredient – colloidal oats.

In fact, the brand was even named after the scientific word for common oats, which is “Avena Sativa.”

Oats are highly beneficial as a skincare ingredient, especially if you have sensitive skin. So we can’t deny the Musher brothers were on to something here.

Plus, with current backing from the billion-dollar company Johnson & Johnson and Jennifer Aniston as their spokesperson – you know the brand is highly sought after.

Unfortunately, it seems like Aveeno has some seriously compromised ethics that even Jen can’t cover up! And after some serious digging, we’re not sure you will want to use these products anymore.
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Is Aveeno Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Aveeno Product Range

Aveeno is Not Cruelty-Free

It does not: 

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals.

It might: 

  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain.

It does: 

  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Talk about shady policies – right?

Unfortunately, Aveeno allows its products to be tested on animals when the law or government requires it. The brand is also unclear about whether it allows animal testing within its supply chain.

The bad news just keeps on coming. Aveeno is also owned by Johnson & Johnson, which is not a cruelty-free parent company.

J&J may not conduct animal testing on its cosmetic products. However, it still relies on it for its other special-use products.

But don’t worry (please pick up on our heavily sarcastic tone). The brand proudly claims to have taken steps to ensure the “ethical treatment” of animals used within its animal testing facilities.

What the heck does that mean? Is this meant to be reassuring?  

This brings us to the next point:

Aveeno is Not Vegan

Although Aveeno has some products free of animal-derived ingredients, it’s challenging to consider any of these products vegan because it’s not 100% cruelty-free.

Does it have products that are free of animal-derived ingredients? Yes.

Are these products considered holistically vegan? Not in our opinion.

It claims to use:

  • Collagen – an essential protein that plays an integral role in strengthening your hair as well as firming and strengthening the roots.

    Naturally, collagen can only be found in connective animal tissue. But today, it's possible to make vegan collagen by genetically modifying yeast and bacteria.
  • Honey & beeswax – these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn't vegan, it doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Lanolin – this ingredient, like honey and beeswax, is used in skincare and cosmetics because it is incredibly hydrating. It is basically the waxy oil that comes from sheep wool. Lanolin can be cruelty-free – follow this link for more details.

If you're interested in which products are vegan or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Aveeno vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Aveeno tries to minimize its lack of a cruelty-free policy by hiding behind deliberately deceptive words like “facts,” “rare situation,” and “seeking alternatives.”

The fact is that they test on animals and have no intention to stop.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of Aveeno’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

Aveeeno Cruelty-Free Website Claim

There are many viable alternatives to animal testing that confirm it is not necessary. It is an optional path that brands take when they:

  • Turn a blind eye to what’s happening in their supply chains.
  • Choose to ship to countries where governments require animal testing.

These are choices a brand makes, and they are not forced to do either.

Certification

Aveeno has no cruelty-free certification. While it would be nice to see cruelty-free certification – it cannot happen as long as the brand continues with its current animal-testing policies.

No cruelty-free organization would promote a product that ships directly to a country where the law requires animal testing on cosmetics.

If you look at Leaping Bunny (the only globally recognized cruelty-free association), it will not certify any brands that do not adhere to the following strict criteria:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, are considered and evaluated.

If you want to support a brand that doesn’t conduct animal testing – ensure that they have the cruelty-free symbol at the back of their products, usually marked by a rabbit.

Besides PETA, a far more reputable organization you can trust is Leaping Bunny, which has rigid (but excellent) standards.

Is Aveeno Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Yes, Aveeno distributes its products to China, where animal testing is required on international cosmetics once they arrive at the border.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

If you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes.

Here’s how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

What Aveeno Products Are Vegan?

Aveeno Vegan Shampoo

Taken from https://www.aveeno.com/

It is difficult to consider any of Aveeno’s products vegan when the brand is not 100% cruelty-free.

Only two products are labeled as vegan on their US website.

From our experience – trying to contact them and ask for a list of vegan products has only resulted in them claiming all public information is available on their website.

Maybe you will have better luck!  

But for now, here are the only two products we can guarantee are plant-based according to the Aveeno American site:

  • Strength & Length Plant Protein Blend Shampoo
  • Strength & Length Plant Protein Blend Conditioner

Vegan Alternatives to Aveeno

If you are vegan or are a strong advocate of cruelty-free and vegan skincare products – Aveeno is not the right brand for you.

Whether it’s their questionable supply chain, the fact that they ship to mainland China directly, or the lack of ingredient transparency – it’s just not good.

We know that there are way better alternatives for you if you have sensitive skin – so don’t settle for brands that offer you less.  

Here are some nature-inspired skincare brands within the same price range that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Is Aveeno Natural and Organic? 

The short answer is no. Aveeno’s claims to be ‘natural’ and ‘organic,’ but these words are pretty loaded.

Although the brand uses a lot of clean synthetics (which is normal and safe), we still feel like it’s doing some hardcore greenwashing – here’s why.

Aveeno uses their “natural” active ingredients, especially oat and soy, to distract from their other ingredients that are not so natural.

The bottom line is that using one or two natural active ingredients doesn’t make the product holistically natural.

Generally, a product needs far more natural ingredients than synthetics to earn the “natural” status – which Aveeno does not.

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" is not necessarily good. Just because an ingredient is natural (take lemon juice, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin.

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and Aveeno is no exception – but it can choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it is safe and non-toxic. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

Does Aveeno Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Aveeno has a 73 - 100% allergen-free ranking for each product.

Many Aveeno products are free of allergens such as nickel, dye, soy, topical antibiotics, oil, phthalates, MCI/MI, and lanolin.

But be aware that many of Aveeno’s products have PEGs and Propylene Glycol. Some of their products also contain methylparaben, propylparaben, and ethylparaben.

Aveeno is also not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

However, certain products are specifically for these concerns, so make sure you buy what your skin needs. Aveeno has products specifically labeled for most skin concerns, making them easier to find.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

As a conscientious shopper, you must read up on any brand's ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States.

This is because the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

Aveeno seems to have a decent spread of ingredients, mainly since it markets its products to people with skin sensitivities.

Nonetheless, here are some of the ingredients you really want to avoid with skincare:

  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • DMDM Hydantoin and urea (that often release formaldehyde)
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Triclosan

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you’re worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn’t be as safe as anything tested on animals.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there is no need.

If you’re interested, here’s more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Aveeno Sustainable and Ethical? 

Where it lacks cruelty-free and vegan policies – at least Aveeno does have some sustainability and ethical initiatives.

While its sustainability missions may vary from country to country, it still seems to dedicate a fair amount of time and energy into caring for the environment.

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem, and cosmetic brands only make it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

Some of the ways Aveeno is taking strong environmental accountability is by:
  • Offering refillable packaging for their cleansers, washes, and lotions.
  • Responsibly-Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified) for their products. (Although no palm oil would be the better option.)
  • Using sustainable packaging, with between 80-100% recyclable packaging, including PCR plastic (post-consumer recycled).
  • Sourcing non-GMO, food grade oats from family-owned farms.  

Aveeno has also set goals for 2023 and 2025 to have:

  • Refillable packaging
  • Home compostable, plant-based wipes
  • 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging
  • 100% FSC-certified paper cartons
  • 100% renewable electricity used at its manufacturing site

This is a lot of big talk for a brand, and we’ve often seen failed goal projections hidden like a dead corpse when it isn’t met.

So you bet we’re going to follow up with Aveeno next year and see what’s been implemented and how much of these claims are “talk” to make people happy.  

Final Thoughts

Aveeno is a well-known brand that has been around for over 75 years. They’ve made a real effort to help their customers find products that match their skin concerns.

It’s commendable just how many people use their products for various skin conditions. Aveeno has very loyal customers that believe in their products.

But the brand has a long way to go. It’s impossible to ignore the lack of all the essential aspects of being a earth-conscious and natural brand.

Instead of the ridiculous amount of greenwashing, it would be nice to see a change in their vegan and cruelty-free policies with certifications to match from reputable organizations.

Their attempt at sustainable packaging just isn’t enough. It’s up to us as consumers to make companies accountable and make real changes.

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