Is Biossance Cruelty-Free and Vegan in 2022?

April 6, 2022

Biossance is not your average beauty brand – it's got a badass background in biotechnology. But does it harm our planet in the process? Read on to find out if Biossance shares the same cruelty-free and vegan values as you.

Biossance is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. Biossance is also 100% vegan – it doesn't use any animal-derived ingredients.

Biossance launched in 2016 with an effective and safe cosmetics range sold directly to consumers online. But its history began in 2003 at a research facility at Berkeley by a synthetic biotech company called Amyris.

After years of using innovative biotechnology to help the world (like making an accessible cure for malaria), Amyris decided to enter the beauty industry and make a difference in modern skincare.

Enter Biossance. Today, the brand is most famous for its signature plant-derived squalane oil (an ingredient that usually comes from sharks).

Biossance saves about 2 million sharks a year from being killed for the cosmetics industry by going plant-based.

Amyris see themselves as the future "L'Oréal of clean beauty." The brand had an estimated revenue of $61 million in 2021, so they sure are on their way.

Before deciding on whether to spend your cash on Biossance, here's what you need to know about their current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Is Biossance Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Biossance Cruelty-Free and Vegan products

Biossance is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Biossance has a solid cruelty-free message, and it shows. It is accredited by PETA, Cruelty-Free International, AND Leaping Bunny – the only internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free. A round of applause, please.

Its parent company, Amyris, is also completely cruelty-free and manufactures sustainable ingredients in an environmentally friendly way.

This brings us to our next point:

Biossance is Vegan

It gives so much pleasure to declare that Biossance is 100% vegan. It does not use any animal-derived ingredients in any of its products.

If a biotech-inspired skincare company can be completely cruelty-free and vegan – there's no excuse for anyone else.

Unfortunately, the world isn't quite there yet. Biossance is the exception and not the rule.

Most mainstream skincare brands are not 100% vegan. These are certain animal-derived ingredients to look out for in general:

  • Squalane ­­– is a cosmetic ingredient predominantly harvested from sharks' livers which has been used in medicine and cosmetics for centuries. Before the ingredient is hydrogenated and made safe for personal use, it is called squalene.

    Squalane is a great ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, and non-comedogenic.
  • 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: Best Biossance vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Biossance has been cruelty-free from inception and is committed to ensuring that every part of production stays that way from concept to development and market.

All Biossance products are formulated in My Green Lab certified laboratories – which is the gold standard for sustainable and energy-efficient lab practices.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Biossance Cruelty-Free statement


Biossance can take a bow right now! It is Leaping Bunny, Cruelty-Free International, and PETA certified.


While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations out there. It seems to only require a brand's written consent that abides by the PETA code of conduct.

So good on Biossance for stepping up their game.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products it sells.
  • 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 see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself. A lot of brands are using fake logos to mislead consumers.

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is Biossance Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Biossance does sell its products to mainland China – but only through online purchases as a business-to-consumer model.

Biossance has partnered with SuperOrdinary, which imports many cruelty-free brands directly to consumers in mainland China. A single package going to someone's home will never be opened or tested at customs.

This way, ethically-minded brands like Biossance can keep their cruelty-free accreditation.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most amount of 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?

The Best Vegan Biossance Products

Biossance has a great range of vegan products that continues to expand. It prides itself in developing a product with you (the consumer) and the planet in mind.

Not only is Biossance vegan, but it created a highly sustainable and dependable source of plant-based squalene that they derive from sugarcane.

To save you some time, here are some of its best-selling, award-winning, and Instagram recommended skincare products:

  • Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil
  • Squalene + Omega Repair Cream
  • Squalene + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum
  • Squalene + Marine Algae Eye Cream
  • Squalene + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

For a full list of Biossance's vegan products, you can find them listed on the Biossance website. 

Vegan Alternatives to Biossance

Biossance is an excellent option for vegans and provides vegan products that other brands haven't cared to try yet.

They have a clean track record and noteworthy transparency with their consumers. For such a big company – it's commendable that they value consumer trust.

If you find Biossance a bit pricey, or maybe it's just not available in your area – here are some 100% vegan cosmetics that are either in the same price range or more affordable:

Is Biossance Natural and Organic? 

Biossance prides itself on being the best in clean skincare. While the brand is very transparent about their ingredients, they do not market their products as natural or organic.

The emphasis at Biossance is on high-quality, safe, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly, and vegan skincare.

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 always good. Just because an ingredient is natural doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin. Poison ivy is natural – but we wouldn't recommend rolling in a field of that stuff!

Most products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and Biossance 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 for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

A few non-toxic ingredients Biossance uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Squalane is found in all Biossance products. It was developed in labs in 2003 and became the hallmark of their brand. Squalane is prized for its protective, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties.
  • Vegan Lactic Acid is also commonly found in sugars and is an excellent chemical exfoliator that boosts skin cell turnover.
  • Marine Algae Peptides minimize the appearance of fine lines. It also protects and supports your skin's repair process while feeding it many valuable vitamins and minerals.

Does Biossance Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Biossance has an average 91% allergen-free ranking for each product, with some products ranking as high as 100%.

This brand has an exceptional ranking because it has personally banned over 2000 ingredients known to be toxic for you or the environment from their products.

Some of the main ingredients that Biossance will not use are phthalates, toluene, parabens, triclosan, propylene glycol, and formaldehyde.

You'll also find that Biossance stays clear of common allergens like lanoline, MCI/ MI, nickel, soy, coconut, dye, and gluten.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Biossance is 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.

One good thing is that their signature squalene oil is 100% non-comedogenic.

Just remember that not all common allergens are harmful ingredients overall. For example, while coconut may not be suitable for everyone, it still has many skin health benefits you can't ignore.

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, has banned 1,328!

Biossance is a US brand that has chosen to follow similar regulations to the UK/EU and has banned over 2000 harmful ingredients – so you don't need to worry too much.

For good measure, here are some of the ingredients you 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 that are not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn't be just as safe, if not safer, than anything tested on an animal.

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 really is no need.

Here's more on the subject if you're interested: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Biossance Sustainable and Ethical? 

All beauty brands out there – take note, please! The amount of transparency Biossance has with customers is commendable, and we wish it would be the standard approach everyone took.  

The brand has spent time and resources improving its carbon footprint, lowering energy usage in labs, and ensuring its consumers are aware of the environmental policies.

Biossance is pro-sustainable and ethical business practices. It goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that consumers trust its values. This means that the brand:

  • Does not use toxic or allergen-triggering ingredients that could harm your overall health.
  • Is environmentally conscious – ensuring it is respectful of the natural resources and ensuring its carbon footprint is minimal.
  • Has a carbon-neutral shipping policy.
  • Supporting suppliers of palm-derived material from the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) manufacturers.
  • Having responsible MICA mining policies.
  • Supports its communities and charitable initiatives where possible.
  • Has philanthropic partnerships with organizations such as Oceana, Direct Relief, Black Lives Matter, and The Breast Cancer Prevention Partnership. By July 2020, Biossance had raised $143 million.
  • Has complete supply chain transparency.
  • Is certified by My Green Lab – this holds the golden standard for sustainable laboratory practices that work with energy, water, and waste responsibly.

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

Some of the ways Biossance is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Only using 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper packaging to ensure it's not contributing to further deforestation.
  • Using fully recyclable glass packaging.
  • Using paperboard packaging made from sugar cane is 100% tree-free, dye-free, and bleach-free.
  • Having a product refill system prevents copious amounts of packaging from being thrown out unnecessarily.

Final Thoughts

Creating a 100% vegan brand that is safe for your skin and the environment is no easy task – but Biossance shows that it's possible.

It might sound lofty to say that Biossance puts the planet at the heart of what they do. However,, when a brand is created because an alternative to an inhumane practice is found lab ­– the statement is true.

They've put their money where their mouth is by investing in accreditation from multiple cruelty-free organizations that are internationally recognized.

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

This young brand goes from strength to strength and listens to your needs, so keep following its movements.

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