Bondi Sands is inspired by Australia's beach lovers' lifestyle (and tans). But can we trust this brand’s cruelty-free and vegan claims? Are they doing enough to be an ethical organization?

Bondi Sands 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. While Bondi Sands does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Bondi Sands launched a streak-free, salon-quality, affordable self-tan range in 2012. Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come since using that sickly-sweet orange stuff in the 00s?

Co-founder Blair James saw a massive gap in the market to launch a quality brand like Bondi Sands after he was forced to shut down his sunbed shop in Australia.

Since then, the Melbourne-based company has grown globally and expanded into cosmetics, skincare, SPF, and body care. Much safer than getting a tan from sunbeds!

And for Bondi Sands founders Blair James and Shaun Wilson – it’s been far more profitable.

Bondi Sands uses social media marketing and even has ‘Influencer Essential’ sets. So we know they target skincare fans with… digital aspirations (*eye roll*).

But how much has this brand considered about its millennial customers? Are they delivering the ethical and effective products we didn’t have growing up?

Is Bondi Sands Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Bondi Sands Cruelty-Free self tanning kit

Bondi Sands 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.

Bondi Sands has cruelty-free accreditation from PETA.

With plans to continue expanding throughout the EU, we wonder if it’ll spring for accreditation from Leaping Bunny. That’s the only internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free.

Luckily, Bondi Sands is also privately owned, so there are no concerns about a parent company known to be associated with animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

Bondi Sands is Not Vegan

The Australian Made self-tan, and skincare brand is almost entirely vegan – but it’s not there just yet.

However, it's worth knowing that its entire skincare range is 100% vegan. Almost all of its world-famous self-tanning products are vegan too!

And most of its vegan products are clearly labeled underneath their individual product descriptions.

Bondi Sands Vegan product locator

The only animal-derived ingredients that Bondi Sands uses are:

  • 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?

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

Bondi Sands has been going strong for over 10 years. While it claims to be completely cruelty-free, there are no specifics about its animal testing history.

Unfortunately, PETA doesn’t list the dates companies sign up for their programs and gain certification.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Bondi Sands Website Cruelty Free Claim

In our opinion, this statement is a little gauzy and lacks specifics we’re looking to confirm. But, with PETA certification, we can trust them – right?


Currently, Bondi Sands is PETA-approved, which is not a bad start.

However, it would be nice to see more certification since it’s so proudly cruelty-free.

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

The Leaping Bunny association is very strict and reliable, which ensures that:

  • 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 see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't let the image itself fool you. A lot of brands are using fake logos to deceive 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 Bondi Sands Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Bondi Sands does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law. We emailed and received this response to confirm it.

NB: Bondi Sands is part of TMALL, an online distributor of products imported directly to Chinese customers. This means that products will not be tested on arrival at the Chinese 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 Bondi Sands Products Are Vegan?

The entire Bondi Sands everyday skincare range is now vegan! So you can go as wild as you want with skin care products, and you’ll never have to worry about animal-derived ingredients in its products.

On top of that, its world-famous self-tanners are vegan too. Many pale vegans everywhere can rejoice and prepare to get their gams out this summer.

Or not! If you’re happy with your pale gams – it’s up to you, babes.

To save you some time, here are some of Bondi Sands’ most popular and award-winning products to choose from:

  • Self Tanning Foam Dark
  • Gradual Self Tanning Milk
  • Application Mitt
  • Self Tanning Sheet Protector
  • Aero Self Tanning Foam 1 hour Express

You can find a complete list of Bondi Sand’s vegan products on its website.

Vegan Alternatives to Bondi Sands

Bondi Sands is 100% cruelty-free, almost entirely vegan, affordable, and has over 20 000 "5-star" reviews.

Come on – it’s almost the perfect brand.

But if it’s not easily accessible to you, or if you’d prefer to support a completely vegan brand, then we have some excellent alternatives for you to look at:

Is Bondi Sands Natural and Organic? 

Bondi Sands is not considered natural or organic, nor does it claim to be.

However, it claims to use safe, simple, clean ingredients.

Its goal is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use to glow and get bronzed.

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 egg whites, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin and risk a salmonella infection!

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Bondi Sands is no exception – but it does choose to use 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.

The main ingredients Bondi Sands use to enhance its self-tan are:

  • DHA or, Dihydroxyacetone is a sugar-derived molecule that reacts to amino acids on the skin's surface.

    Higher levels produce a deeper level of color and are carefully balanced with moisturizers for a natural, streak-free look. 
  • Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance in our skin that helps maintain moisture and boost tissue regeneration and wound healing.

    As we age, we produce less hyaluronic acid – making it an essential ingredient in our beauty products.
  • Calendula Extract is soothing to the skin. This ingredient has long been used to treat sunburned skin and other skin conditions that can cause skin dryness and itching.

    It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that are gentler on the most sensitive skin.

Does Bondi Sands Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Bondi Sands has an 82-100% allergen-free ranking across 20 products.

Many Bondi Sands products are free of allergens such as top common preservatives, nickel, gluten, coconut, parabens, soy, fragrance, propylene glycol, and dyes.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Bondi Sands is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

It's also important to note that not all common allergens are harmful ingredients overall. A typical example is lanolin, which also has many benefits to your skin.

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!

Although Bondi Sands prides itself in being a clean brand – it still uses a few chemical ingredients that the FDA deems unsafe due to issues like skin irritation or hormone disruption. These include:

  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Avobenzone

Fortunately, Australia has pretty strict laws, so we wouldn’t worry much about Bondi Sands. However, it’s worth knowing that you want to avoid the following ingredients in skincare, sunscreen, and cosmetics:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Butylated compounds
  • Benzophenone compounds
  • Triclosan
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead or other heavy metals.

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 Bondi Sands Sustainable and Ethical? 

Bondi Sands are trying to become more sustainable and transparent with its customers by matching initiatives with the company’s values.

In 2022, Bondi Sands launched their first sustainable self-tan range, ‘PURE.’ This conscientious line has clean ingredients and comes in ethically sourced, 100% recyclable packaging.

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 Bondi Sands is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Developing reef-friendly sun care formulas.
  • Prohibiting the use of microbeads in its formulas to prevent plastic from polluting our oceans.
  • Having a goal to use 100% recyclable packaging and PCR plastic (post-consumer recycled) by 2025.
  • Reducing its carbon footprint throughout its product manufacturing process.
  • Doing philanthropic work in aid of 2020 Australian bushfires.

But we think Bondi Sands could also look at these environmental and ethical measures:

  • Sourcing Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified) to protect our forests.
  • Using responsibly sourced MICA to prevent any unethical child labor within its supply chain.
  • Having an active recycling program that customers can follow with ease.
  • Offering refillable cosmetics to cut down on consumer waste.
  • Having a net-zero greenhouse gas emission policy or at least start by using more renewable energy sources.
  • Use sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified).

Final Thoughts

Bondi Sands is a well-developed personal care brand that considers some ethical factors.

We love that they’re cruelty-free – it shows that they take the future of sustainable cosmetics seriously.

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

As a decade-old brand that’s only just starting to acknowledge and act on its environmental responsibility – it might not be the best choice for activists who go the extra mile.

It would also be nice to see some further cruelty-free accreditation from other reputable organizations. So, let's push to make that happen!

But let’s keep telling this brand what we want to see from them and the standards we’re willing to accept! 

We can see they’re willing to change, and hopefully, Bondi Sans will listen to your needs as it grows.

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