How did a beauty brand with an origin story involving making an exotic dancer’s nipples look rosier become a global phenomenon? Here is the good, bad, and the ugly of Benefit. Unfortunately – you’re not going to like its cruelty-free and vegan status.
Benefit is not cruelty-free as it distributes its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. While Benefit has products free of animal-derived ingredients, it is not considered a vegan brand.
Founded by twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford in 1976, Benefit’s first product was developed to give a private dancer a little more oomph. This became the iconic and much-copied Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain.
Since then, the product line has expanded to a full-color cosmetics range, accessories, and brow bars.
But fun branding doesn’t make a product ethical, sustainable or kind.
Here’s what you need to know about Benefit’s business structure, animal testing policies, and vegan status.
By the end of this article, you’ll see whether you can confidently spend your money knowing animal welfare and the environment are considered.
Is Benefit Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
Benefit 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.
Benefit is owned by LVMH, which is not a cruelty-free company. Still, it does have two brands that stood up against animal testing (Fenty Beauty and STELLA by Stella McCartney).
It's uncertain whether Benefit also purchases ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain, but it is possible.
This brings us to the next point:
Benefit is Not Vegan
Benefit claims to have vegan products. However, it’s hard to consider any of its products free of animal-derived ingredients as “vegan” because the brand is not 100% cruelty-free.
It claims to only use:
If you're interested in the best plant-based Benefit’s products or finding brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Benefit's Plant-Based products.
Animal Testing Policy and History
Benefit is clear that it conducts animal testing when required by law and that it does ship to countries like China. However, they still have a stance on cruelty-free cosmetics.
Cruelty-Free Status in 2022
Here is a screenshot of Benefit’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:
Benefit has no cruelty-free certification.
And it’s unlikely we’ll see any as long as the brand continues with its current animal-testing policies.
If you want to support a brand that doesn’t conduct animal testing – you can always look for a cruelty-free symbol at the back of their products, usually marked by a rabbit.
Anything supported by Cruelty-Free International, or the Leaping Bunny association, are our top options!
Is Benefit Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?
Yes, Benefit distributes its products in China, where animal testing on cosmetics is required as products 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.
However, 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 Benefit Products Are Vegan?
We don't consider Benefit vegan ranges holistically vegan because the brand is not 100% cruelty-free anymore.
However, it does have some plant-based products. Here are some of the most popular ones that come highly recommended:
Unfortunately, Benefit does not have a dedicated page for its vegan products, nor does it identify vegan items on its product pages.
So if you find it exhausting or confusing to read extensive ingredient labels (understandable), you can always email customer service and ask them about their plant-based products.
Vegan Alternatives to Benefit
Benefit’s “cruelty-free statement” blames China for its current animal testing laws and doesn’t acknowledge that it actively chooses to support these practices by selling to the country.
We can say with certainty that this is not the brand for cruelty-free advocates or anyone that follows a vegan lifestyle.
Luckily, there are many alternatives to choose from.
Is Benefit Natural and Organic?
Benefit isn’t considered natural or organic.
However, it does claim to use safe, simple, and clean ingredients.
Its whole ethos is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use.
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.
Does Benefit Use Safe Ingredients?
According to Skin Safe, Benefit has an 82- 100% allergen-free ranking across 210 products.
Benefit does avoid allergens such as topical antibiotics, parabens, gluten, MCI/MI, nickel, lanolin, propylene glycol, and SLS.
The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations
We don’t want to scare you, but you HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within 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!
Luckily, Benefit sets a great example of what true clean beauty is meant to be.
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 Benefit Sustainable and Ethical?
Some ethical causes Benefit supports include:
Unfortunately, Benefit tells us NOTHING about their environmental programs or sustainability goals.
We looked into their parent company LVHM, and some way they are taking environmental accountability is by:
The CPD (Carbon Disclosure Project) scores assess a company’s awareness, monitoring, strategy, management, leadership, and disclosure of their negative impact on:
But it still would be nice to see more initiatives taken from the brand like:
Benefit is a highly effective and loved cosmetics brand. But the hard truth is that it’s not cruelty-free or vegan.
As much as Benefit claims to be actively against animal testing, they choose to distribute to China, which is a direct conflict of interest.
On the plus side, we appreciate that it has some supply chain transparency and openness to the public about its policies.
But is it really enough?
We hope to see a change in this issue, but it is unlikely unless we join to share what we feel and think.
As consumers, it is up to us to stand for what we will and won't accept from our cosmetics. So if you feel like Benefit could do more – share your thoughts!