Is GLAMGLOW Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (No – Here’s Why)

May 13, 2022

GLAMGLOW has glitzy packaging and fun-to-use skincare that gives instant results – it’s no wonder they have thousands of 5-star reviews. But the brand’s cruelty-free and vegan policies might shock you when you look beyond the pretty jars of colorful products. Here’s why.

GLAMGLOW is not cruelty-free. It distributes its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law and allows others to conduct animal testing on its behalf. While GLAMGLOW has products free of animal-derived ingredients, it is not considered a vegan brand.

GLAMGLOW was founded by Glenn and Shannon Dellimore in 2010 after they had an interesting chat with Mr. Keanu Reeves (Oh yes!) at a Hollywood Hills party back in 2008.  

The story sounds almost too good to be true, but we really can’t make this stuff up.

“Keanu was talking about getting older and being up late reading scripts, and how to make his skin camera ready,” Shannon said in an interview with LA Mag.

“It was this all-in-one thing: ‘I have 10 minutes, and I want to look like I just had a facial.’” 

There was nothing affordable on the market that reaped these results back then. So Dellimore got to work and developed the over-indulgent and effective brand GLAMGLOW.

Within a year, demand has soared and they realize the retail appeal of their mud masks. GLAMGLOW is now internationally recognized and award-winning for its immediate results.

The brand had an estimated net worth of $200 million back in 2015 when it was bought by Estee Lauder, and it has only grown since then.  

Before deciding on whether to buy, here's what you need to know about GLAMGLOW’s current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Is GLAMGLOW Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

GLAMGLOW Glitter Face Maks

GLAMGLOW is Not Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals.

But, it does:

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

It is unclear whether it:

  • Purchases any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain.

While GLAMGLOW asks its suppliers not to test on animals, the brand doesn’t make it a requirement. So certain ingredients throughout the supply chain may be tested on animals.

Beyond this, GLAMGLOW is also owned by Estée Lauder – which is definitely not a cruelty-free parent company either.

Like GLAMGLOW, Estée Lauder also allows animal testing where it is required by law.

This brings us to the next point:

GLAMGLOW is Not Vegan

Although GLAMGLOW claims to have vegetarian and vegan ranges, 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.

While the US GLAMGLOW website doesn’t have a page dedicated to its “vegan” products, its UK website is far more detailed.  

It even has a sub-category under skincare specifically for vegan products. Each one has a stamp on the top left-hand corner in pink. It looks like this:

GLAMGLOW Vegan Products

The most common animal-derived ingredients that GLAMGLOW uses include:

  • 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?
  • Glucosamine – is a natural compound found in cartilage (the tough tissue that cushions joints).

    In supplement form, glucosamine is harvested from shellfish shells or made in a lab. When produced synthetically, it is vegan. However, when sourced organically, it is animal-derived.
  • Collagen – is 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 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.

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

Although GLAMGLOW doesn’t conduct any animal testing itself and claims to be against the practice. They admit to shipping their products where animal testing is required by law on cosmetics.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2021

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

GLAMGLOW Cruelty-Free Website Claim


GLAMGLOW 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, the most reputable organization you can trust is Leaping Bunny – it has strict (but excellent) standards.

Any Leaping Bunny certified brand needs to 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, 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.

Is GLAMGLOW Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Yes, GLAMGLOW 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 GLAMGLOW Products Are Vegan?

We don't consider GLAMGLOW's vegan ranges holistically vegan because the brand is not 100% cruelty-free.

Veganism isn’t just about eating or using products free of animal-derived ingredients. It’s a means to holistically live without exploiting animals.

In saying that, GLAMGLOW does have some products free of animal-derived ingredients that it labels “vegan.”

To save you some time, we’ve listed some of its most popular and award-winning products to choose from:

  • SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment
  • YOUTHMUD Glow Stimulating Treatment
  • BUBBLESHEET oxygenating deep cleanse mask
  • SUPERGLOW exfoliating acid solution
  • SUPERCLEANSER cream-to-foam cleanser

We recommend visiting the brand's UK website for a complete list of GLAMGLOW’S “vegan” products, we recommend visiting the brand’s UK website as it has far more vegan information.

Vegan Alternatives to GLAMGLOW

If you are vegan or a strong advocate of cruelty-free cosmetics, GLAMGLOW is not the right brand.

We know the iridescent silky masks, and instant results are compelling – but there are far more animal-friendly brands for you to love.

Here are some nature-inspired skincare brands within the same price range that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

If you're looking for 100% vegan cosmetics that are in the same price range, here are some similar alternatives within the same price range:

Is GLAMGLOW Natural and Organic? 

GLAMGLOW claims to use safe and simple ingredients (many of which are natural); however, it is not considered a natural or organic brand, nor does it market itself as one.

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!

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it is safe and non-toxic. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

Does GLAMGLOW Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, GLAMGLOW has an 82- 91% allergen-free ranking across 26 products.

Many of GLAMGLOW’s products are free of allergens such as common preservatives, parabens, gluten, nickel, MI/MCI, lanolin, coconut, soy, propylene glycol, and dye. 

However, they still use all these ingredients where necessary, and their product formulas are subject to change.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because GLAMGLOW 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 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, have banned 1,328!

Although GLAMGLOW has quite a good history of using healthy ingredients – you always need to be careful.

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 just 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 really is no need.

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

Is GLAMGLOW Sustainable and Ethical? 

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.

While GLAMGLOW doesn’t address many sustainability, social or ethical initiatives online, it shares how packaging items are recycled or recyclable.

It also explains how the brand has introduced carbon-neutral shipping. However, we can only see these initiatives on their US website.

Some of the ways GLAMGLOW is taking environmental accountability are by:

  • Acknowledging where packaging is made of post-consumer recycled materials.
  • Using palm oil certified by the RSPO sustainable palm oil system. Considering how much harvesting palm oil is contributing to deforestation.
  • Offering carbon-neutral shipping in the US promotes the improvement of infrastructures in third world nations. For example, their ceramic water filter project in Cambodia.
  • Using sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified) where possible.

Additionally, GLAMGLOW must follow specific sustainable protocols as a brand under the Estée Lauder umbrella.

This includes:

  • Engaging in lawful and ethical business practices.
  • Promoting a respectful, fair, and diverse workplace.
  • Providing a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Protecting the environment and community.
  • Actively working towards closing the gender pay gap. Their detailed report shows the percentage of female employees at the company and part of their financial plan.

Final Thoughts

GLAMGLOW is an OTT Hollywood-made brand. It’s got a cult following led by many loyal A-list celebrities who swear by their product’s instant efficacy.

However, when we look beyond the glitz and glamor – we notice that GLAMGLOW only considers one or two ethical factors.

We would appreciate more public transparency in their supply chain. The policies and eco-efforts of its parent company are good, but more could be done.

The fact that it is not cruelty-free means it takes a step in the wrong direction.

As much as GLAMGLOW claims to be actively against animal testing, they choose to distribute to China, which is a direct conflict of interest.

For this reason, we cannot consider its products that are 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 skincare. This is something we cannot accept.

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