While Avène may be a famous skincare brand amongst those with sensitive skin – we’re not so sure it’s as kind to animals as it is to people. Here are its cruelty-free and vegan facts you need to know about.
Avène is not cruelty-free. It distributes its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. While Avène may have products that are free of animal-derived ingredients, it is not considered a vegan brand.
Avène skincare hails from the small village of Avène, France, which has been known for its thermal water’s unique healing properties since the 1700s.
These waters have been a haven for patients needing treatment for centuries. And the springs were even declared a public interest, and a treatment center was opened.
It was only in 1990 that products were developed in the Avène Dermal Laboratories to reach people who could not travel to the spring.
Avène is proud to be a trusted presence not just in France but globally, with recognition in the US and Japan, and has pioneered in the Chinese market.
But its fascinating historical background doesn’t make a product ethical, sustainable or kind. So, can we trust them?
Is Avène Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
Avène is Not Cruelty-Free
Test any of its products or ingredients on animals
Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain
Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.
Although it’s excellent that Avène has decided to distribute its products worldwide, the brand has opted into the Chinese market, which means it’s agreed to animal testing.
This brings us to the next point:
Avène is Not Vegan
Although most Avène formulas are free from animal-based ingredients, it’s hard to consider any of these “vegan” because the brand is not cruelty-free.
And Avène does not market any of its products as vegetarian or vegan either.
However, the only animal-derived ingredient it uses is beeswax, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with essential vitamins.
And just because beeswax isn't vegan doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
If you're interested in brand alternatives to Avène – keep reading or click on this link: Avène vegan alternatives.
Animal Testing Policy and History
Avène is clear that it does ship to China, where animal testing is required by law.
And that it was previously tested on animals before EU cosmetics regulation banned the practice.
None of this is great… yet they still have a stance on cruelty-free cosmetics.
Cruelty-Free Status in 2022
Here is a screenshot of Avène’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:
This statement completely sidesteps the facts that Avène ‘pioneered’ entering a market with animal testing by law. While they are necessarily lying, they also don’t share the truth.
Avène has no cruelty-free certification, and it’s unlikely we’ll see any changes with its current animal-testing policies.
Anything supported by Cruelty-Free International, or the Leaping Bunny association, are our top options!
Is Avène Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?
Yes, Avène distributes its products in China, where animal testing on cosmetics is required as products arrive at the border.
Did you know China has the most animal testing globally? It uses and kills over 20 million animals used per year.
So, 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 Avène Products Are Vegan?
We don't consider Avène products holistically vegan because the brand is not 100% cruelty-free.
It has some plant-based products available, but it does not advertise these products as vegan (rightly so).
Avène’s most popular and award-winning plant-based product is its Thermal Spring Water Spray.
We wish it were cruelty-free because it’s a practical and refreshing product!
Vegan Alternatives to Avène
Avène doesn’t have the best cruelty-free or vegan track record. So if you want something kinder to the animals – this is not the brand for you.
Luckily, there are many alternatives you can find that are certified cruelty-free and vegan to choose from.
Here are some nature-inspired skincare brands within the same price range that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
$10 - $30
$20 - $50
$30 - $80
PETA, Leaping Bunny
$15 - $50
$5 - $20
$20 - $70
PETA, Leaping Bunny
Is Avène Natural and Organic?
Avène isn’t considered natural or organic.
However, it does claim to use safe and simple ingredients.
Its whole ethos is to make formulas and products that anyone can use.
All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Avène is no exception – but it often chooses better or clean synthetics.
If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it means it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.
Avène’s most prized ingredient is its Thermal Spring Water, which has a high mineral content and helps with various therapeutic skincare treatments.
Avene’s has health-promoting properties that have been officially recognized. It’s suitable for sensitive skin types, with soothing, nourishing properties.
Does Avène Use Safe Ingredients?
According to Skin Safe, Avène has an 82- 100% allergen-free ranking across 28 products.
Many Avène products are free of allergens such as topical antibiotics, parabens, lanoline, gluten, MCI/MI, nickel, coconut, soy, dyes, propylene glycol, oil, and dyes.
Avène has also leveled up its game by being completely hypoallergenic, with 100% non-comedogenic facial products.
The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations
You HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live in the United States. The reason why will shock you.
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!
Avène does not market itself as a clean beauty brand; we do see some mineral oil and petroleum-based ingredients in its formulas.
But since it’s a UK/EU-based brand with strict ingredient policies – you don't need to worry too much.
Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?
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 Avène Sustainable and Ethical?
Some ethical causes Avène supports are allergy prevention and awareness, skin cancer awareness, and Atopic Dermatitis research and education.
Avène is also taking environmental accountability by:
All in all, Avène is a well-developed skincare brand. We love its origin story and how many people with skin conditions it’s been able to help.
However, just because it's effective – doesn’t make it kind.
The fact that Avène is not cruelty-free means it took a step in the wrong direction. And as much as Avène claims to be actively against animal testing, it chooses to distribute to China, which is a direct conflict of interest.
For this reason, we cannot consider its products free of animal-derived ingredients as holistically vegan either.
We hope to see a change in this issue, but it is unlikely. As consumers, it is up to us to stand for what we will and won't accept from our cosmetics. This is something we cannot accept.