Is Dr.Jart+ Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Can We Trust K-Beauty?)

Dr.Jart+ is the company to thank for bringing BB Cream to the masses! It sells high-performance derma skincare that people love – especially when you combine high-tech innovation with playful packaging. But does yet another k-beauty brand let us down with its cruelty-free and vegan policies?

Is Dr.Jart+ Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Dr.Jart+ is not cruelty-free. It conducts animal testing on its products and distributes its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. While Dr.Jart+ has products free of animal-derived ingredients, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Guess what? Dr.Jart+ is not a doctor!

According to the brand, it’s a philosophy that stands for “doctors join art.”

This includes taking great skincare ingredients and combining them with artful experiences to make high-performing formulas.

When the architect Leoo (Chin Wok) Lee founded Dr.Jart+ in 2005, his goal was to develop transcending skincare, using art and culture to create a ‘lifestyle experience.’

This Seoul-based K-beauty brand has many trademarked blends and skincare ranges and is available in over 40 countries.

Dr.Jart+ had an expected net earning of $500 million in 2019 after it was acquired by Estée Lauder.

With all this excitement in mind – we can’t help but face the harsh reality that Korean skincare and beauty brands don’t have a great reputation regarding animal testing policies.

You can read more about this crazy phenomenon here.

So before you get too excited about buying these innovative products – you need to understand what you’re buying into (and it’s not so pretty).

Is Dr.Jart+ Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Dr.Jart+ Product Range

Dr.Jart+ is Not Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals; or
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain.

It does : 

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

Dr.Jart+ sells in brick-and-mortar stores in mainland China under circumstances that require animal testing. The brand has a considerable presence in the Chinese skincare market.

It's uncertain whether Dr.Jart+ purchases ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain, but it is possible.

Dr.Jart+ is also owned by Estée Lauder – which is definitely not a cruelty-free company.

This brings us to the next point:

Dr.Jart+ is Not Vegan

Dr.Jart+ is not vegan. While it claims to be vegetarian, it would be hard to consider them “vegan” because it’s not 100% cruelty-free.

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

Could these products be considered holistically vegan? Not in our opinion.

Dr.Jart+ claims to only use:

  • 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 learning more about what “vegan” products Dr.Jart+ has or finding brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Dr.Jart+ vegan products.

Animal Testing Policy and History

Dr.Jart+ states that it has a ‘strong belief against animal testing’ and sites Estée Lauder’s efforts to change animal testing laws as proof.

But it still ignores Estée Lauder’s ongoing commitment to selling in regions that require animal testing. What?

It’s clear that Dr.Jart+ and its parent company allow animal testing when required because they ship to countries like China. If you’re confused by this – we will give you all the details further down.  

When it comes to cruelty-free skincare – money speaks louder than words.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Dr.Jart+ Cruelty-free Website Claim

Look, at least the brand is honest about its products being shipped to places where animal testing is required.

But unfortunately, acknowledging the problem isn’t a sign that you have stopped supporting it.

Certification

Dr.Jart+ has no cruelty-free certification.

As much as it would be nice to see cruelty-free certification – it cannot happen as long as the brand continues with its current animal-testing policies.

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

Leaping Bunny is the only internationally recognized certification that ensures a brand adheres 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.

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 Dr.Jart+ Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Yes, Dr.Jart+ 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 Dr.Jart+ Products Are Vegan?

We don't consider any Dr.Jart+ products holistically vegan because the brand is not 100% cruelty-free.

Dr.Jart+ doesn’t indicate whether any of its products are vegan, nor does it have a vegan collection page online.

It’s unclear which products are free of animal-derived ingredients as the brand doesn't label them accordingly.

But if you’d like to know whether a specific ingredient is free of animal-derived ingredients, you can email them personally with your query.

We can’t guarantee they will be able to help you, but it’s worth a shot if you’re dead set on supporting Dr.Jart+.

Unfortunately, brands that don’t care for a vegan’s concerns will just miss out on getting some of their hard-earned cash.

Vegan Alternatives to Dr.Jart+

If you are vegan or strongly advocate cruelty-free cosmetics – Dr.Jart+ is probably not the right 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.

Is Dr.Jart+ Natural and Organic? 

Dr.Jart+ is not a natural and organic brand. It focuses more on innovation and combining dermatological expertise.

While it claims to use safe ingredients, it does not market itself as natural or organic.

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. Dr.Jart+ 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 Dr.Jart+ use to enhance its self-tan are:

  • 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.
  • Tiger Grass (Centella Asiatica or Cica) extract is part of one of Dr.Jart+’as newer, trademarked collections. Proven to reduce swelling, irritation, and redness.

    Tiger Grass gets its name because tigers roll in it to heal scratches or wounds.
  • Ceramides are lipids (or fats) found in skin cells. Ceramides ‘hold together’ the topmost layer of skin and keep any environmental nasties out.

    Including them in your skincare protects and repairs the skin barrier, which boosts hydration, speeds up healing, and improves texture.

Does Dr.Jart+ Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Dr.Jart+ has an 82- 91% allergen-free ranking across 46 products.

Many of Dr.Jart+’s products are free of allergens such as top common preservatives, parabens, lanolin, coconut, topical antibiotics, MI/MCI, nickel, gluten, irritants, and dyes.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Dr.Jart+ is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and it does not claim to be.

It also doesn’t market any products for these concerns, so we advise emailing to find out if anything caters to your needs.

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!

While Dr.Jart+ does have a good spread of ingredients – you can never be too careful. Here are some ingredients you really want to avoid in skincare:

  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • DMDM Hydantoin and urea (that often release formaldehyde)
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Triclosan
  • Butylated compounds
  • 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 Dr.Jart+ Sustainable and Ethical? 

Dr.Jart+ does not mention ethics or sustainability anywhere on its website.

We’re shocked.

The only reference to nature we could find was talking about the importance of clean water and fresh air for healthy skin.

But it’s safe to assume that this Korean-based brand takes its sustainability policies and ethical initiatives from its parent company, Estée Lauder, values.

All of the cosmetic house’s brands follow initiatives that:

  • Are active in social investment.
  • Focus on lessening the impact it has on the planet.
  • Strive to be more inclusive and diverse.

This is not to paint Estée  Lauder as a company going above and beyond. Still, we will always acknowledge what a corporation is doing (even if we aren’t the biggest fans).

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.

We can’t tell you about Dr.Jart+ because the information is not there. But some of the ways Estée Lauder is taking some environmental accountability is by:

  • Prohibiting the use of plastic microbeads that pollute and destroy our oceans.
  • Working towards being 75% refillable, reusable, recyclable, recycled, or recovered packaging.
  • Stopping industrial waste-to-landfill for global manufacturing, distribution, and innovation sites.
  • Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emission in 2020.
  • Having 100% renewable electricity for direct operations is part of the business.

Above that, we believe that Dr.Jart+ could take further environmental responsibility by:

  • Using natural ingredients and biodegradable formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Responsibly sourcing Palm Oil (RSPO certified).
  • Incorporating some sustainably sourced ingredients where possible.
  • Using some recyclable packaging for its product lines.
  • Developing some refillable, long-lasting packaging and reduced plastic refills.
  • Using 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) and FSC certified.
  • Developing a recyclable pump made of one plastic.
  • Having an active recycling program.
  • Using renewable energy sources for manufacturing, transport, and at head offices.

Final Thoughts

Dr.Jart+ might be innovative, fun, and high-performance, but it doesn’t show us that it considers many ethical factors.

… maybe any.

It has a solid presence in the Chinese market that we believe will continue to flourish.

And we also understand that becoming ethical and sustainable will take time for a beauty conglomerate like Estée Lauder.  

But at the same time, finding a successful brand in 2022 that has no supply chain transparency or openness about its eco-efforts is shocking.

The fact that Dr.Jart+ is not cruelty-free means it takes a step in the wrong direction. As much as Dr.Jart+ 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, if any exist, that happen to be free of animal-derived ingredients as holistically vegan either. 

We hope to see a change in this issue, but it is unlikely right now. 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.

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