Is Foreo Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Can We Trust Them?)

Foreo is a self-proclaimed “Swedish beauty-teach powerhouse.” But are their expensive products worth it once you consider their cruelty-free and vegan policies? We’re not so sure you’ll like what you find.

Is Foreo Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Foreo is not cruelty-free. It claims not to conduct animal testing on its products but distributes where animal testing is required by law. While Foreo has products free of animal-derived ingredients, it is not considered a vegan brand.

If you enjoy beauty vlogs, you’ve probably seen one of Foreo’s devices in action. The gadgets merge tech with beauty, promising better skin through deep cleansing from their T-sonic pulsation technology.

Foreo has multiple devices, and some are even integrated with apps. The device range has grown to include facial massagers, men’s grooming, and toothbrushes. They’ve also expanded into skin products like serums, masks, and cleansers.

Since the 2013 launch, Foreo has sold over 20 million units of its original device,  the Luna. It makes sense that their estimated annual revenue is just over $1 billion.  

Before deciding if it’s worth the splurge (seriously, these gadgets are north of $300 each). There are a few things to know about Foreo’s controversial animal testing policies, vegan ranges, and sustainability.
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Is Foreo Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Foreo Skin Cleansing Devices

Foreo 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.

It's uncertain whether Foreo also purchases ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain – but it is possible.

We’ve also got to ask, would Foreo have tested devices on humans only before expanding into skincare..?

…we can’t find enough information to answer that.

China is one of this beauty-tech giant's biggest retail markets. On one day alone, more than 1 million yuan in sales took place to give Foreo the number 1 spot in Beauty Devices. This happened on Singles Day (11/11) in 2021.

We’ll talk about how this could impact their cruelty-free certification efforts later.

This brings us to the next point:

Foreo is Not Vegan

Foreo claims to have vegetarian and vegan products. But it’s hard to consider any of its products free of animal-derived ingredients as “vegan” because it’s not 100% cruelty-free.

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

Are these products considered holistically vegan? Not in our opinion.

It 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?
  • Pearl extract – this ingredient’s incredibly healing properties can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and freckles. It also helps heal acne.

    But pearls are no longer extracted from oysters in the wild as you might expect. Find out why pearls are not cruelty-free here.
  • Collagen – an essential protein that plays an integral role in strengthening your hair as well as firming and strengthening the roots.

    Naturally, collagen can only be found in connective animal tissue. But today, it's possible to make vegan collagen by genetically modifying yeast and bacteria.
  • Squalane- is a cosmetic ingredient predominantly harvested from sharks' livers but can also be derived from plant sources.

    Squalane is an excellent ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, and non-comedogenic.

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

Since Foreo is formulated in Europe, where it is illegal to conduct animal testing for cosmetic products, you can rest assured that the products are not made in a cruel manner. But that’s not where the problem lies.

Foreo ships directly to mainland China where animal testing is required by law on all international cosmetics entering the country. This is why the brand cannot be considered holistically cruelty-free.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

We trawled the Foreo website – and blog- for an official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products… 

…none could be found.

Seriously, it was like sad post-break-up-style stalking, but to no avail.

We could only find self-created ‘cruelty-free’ logos alongside skincare product pages. But these hold no meaning – we’ll look at why this is below.

Certification

Foreo has no cruelty-free certification. As much as it would be nice to see something from it – this cannot happen as long as the brand continues with its current animal-testing policies.

No cruelty-free organization would promote a product that ships directly to a country where the law requires animal testing on cosmetics. 

If you look at Leaping Bunny (the only globally recognized cruelty-free association), it will not certify any brands that do not adhere 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, is 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.

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

Is Foreo Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Yes, Foreo distributes its products (skincare and beauty tools) to China, where animal testing is required on international cosmetics once they 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.

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 Foreo Products Are Vegan?

Foreo has a small range of products, including cleansers, masks, and a serum that are supposedly vegan

We don't consider these items holistically vegan because the brand is not 100% cruelty-free.

To save you some time, here are some of Foreo’s most popular and award-winning ‘vegan’ products to choose from:

  • Imagination DIY Mask Base
  • Mirco Foam Cleanser
  • Call It A Night UFO Activated Mask
  • Make My Day UFO Activated Mask
  • Acai Berry UFO Activated Mask
  • Green Tea UFO Activated Mask

Foreo does not list its vegan products, but some are marked on its website.

Vegan Alternatives to Foreo

If you are vegan or are a strong advocate of cruelty-free cosmetics – Foreo is probably not the right brand for you.

The fact that it ships to China and allows animal testing is a big “hell no,” in our opinion.

Luckily you don’t have to settle for less as a cruelty-free advocate!

Countless certified cruelty-free and vegan cosmetic brands don’t ship directly to countries where animal testing is required.

Foreo talks a big talk about innovation in their skincare formulation. But for years before they introduced that line, people used their devices with other skincare brands and still had great results.

One of our more highly recommended appliances is the PMD Clean facial cleansing device. It is vegan by default, and the brand is 100% cruelty-free too.  

Is Foreo Natural and Organic? 

Foreo is not considered natural or organic. However, it claims to use safe, simple, and clean ingredients.

The brand’s ethos is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use.

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 lemon juice, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin.

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Foreo is no exception – but it can 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.

A few naturally-derived Foreo uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Ginseng is popular in K-beauty because it’s packed with bioactives, antioxidants, and vitamins. These help reduce inflammation, counteract the appearance of fine lines, and boost collagen production.

    The kicker is that it’s also suitable for most skin types, including sensitive skin.
  • Propylene Glycol is a moisturizing humectant (i.e., it draws water into the skin and keeps it there). While it keeps skin supple, it's used in small amounts because it is highly reactive.
  • Vitamin E is also naturally found in the skin and is an excellent addition to any cosmetic product. It’s been found to act like an antioxidant, which naturally protects the skin barrier by reinforcing its structure and keeping moisture locked in.

Does Foreo Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Foreo has a 91% allergen-free ranking for each product.

Foreo’s skincare products are free from phthalates, paraben, alcohol, sulfate, mineral oil, allergens, and fragrances.

We know they’re not cruelty-free or vegan – but we’ll give them this one!

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

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

As a conscientious shopper, you must read up on any brand's ingredient list before making a purchase – especially if you live in 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!

Given Foreo is an EU-based brand with strict ingredient policies – you don't need to worry too much.

But for good measure, here are some of the ingredients you really 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 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 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 is no need.

If you’re interested, here’s more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Foreo Sustainable and Ethical? 

Foreo has a “Built to Last” campaign explaining how the devices are made to have a long lifespan. This high-quality ethos does benefit the environment.

Most Foreo devices are rechargeable with long battery life, which would also cut down on tech and batteries going to landfills.

This is a win! But is it enough?

The Mysa blog, connected to Foreo’s website, has posts about eco-friendly skincare, greenwashing, and recycling. However, the posts don’t explain how Foreo is helping beyond their gadgets' longevity.

However, one of its initiative, which we do respect, is its collaboration with SEA LIFE and Greenwave in 2015-2016. Foreo generously donated a portion of its sales from limited edition Luna sets.

Other than that, Foreo doesn’t provide information on more recent climate-conscious collaborations, ethical policies, worker conditions, or environmental goals on their website or blog.

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 Foreo could START TAKING strong environmental accountability are:
  • Using more natural ingredients and biodegradable formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Developing more sustainable products, shipping boxes, and recyclable bags.
  • Using Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified) and ethically mined MICA. (Ideally, we’d like none of either ingredient, but we’ll settle for ethical sourcing.)
  • Introducing as many refillable makeup options as possible.Switching from virgin plastic to PCR where possible for all new launches.
  • Having green initiatives like net-zero greenhouse gas emission policy, carbon-neutral shipping, or renewable energy use in manufacturing.
  • Having an active recycling program where customers are encouraged to waste fewer product containers.

Final Thoughts

Foreo is a reliable beauty-tech brand that makes products with staying power.

We would like to see a more transparent supply chain open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies when it comes to their skincare.

If they were to stop distributing to mainland China – we would know that their cruelty-free claims were true!

Since Foreo is not also 100% vegan – it might not be the best choice for any activists who go the extra mile. Especially since the brand uses unsustainable packaging.

Finally, it would be nice to see some cruelty-free accreditation from reputable organizations. Not just lip service.

So let's push to make that happen by opening up conversations with Foreo!

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