Is Innisfree Cruelty-Free and Vegan in 2023?

January 31, 2023

Innisfree bought a natural and clean focus to clean K-beauty long before any other brands on the scene. So, their products are cruelty-free and vegan? Not so fast.

Innisfree is not 100% cruelty-free or vegan, as its products are sold where animal testing is required by law. It also cannot be considered vegan as it is not cruelty-free.
What sets Innisfree apart are the natural benefits of rare ingredients sourced from Jeju Island (off the coast of Korea), their efficacy, and affordability.

Online reviews show that these products are powerful, bu it’s not all good news.

Before you trust Innisfree’s cruelty-free and vegan policies- or how sustainable they claim to be let’s find out more about their practices.
Innisfree Beauty Cruelty-Free

Innisfree Ethical Overview

Cruelty-free: No

Vegan: No (Innisfree cannot be considered vegan if it is not cruelty-free)

Clean ingredients: Yes

Sustainable & Ethical: Moderate efforts

Mica Mining Policy: Undetermined

RSPO Palm Oil Certified: Undetermined

Innisfree is Not Cruelty-Free

Test any of its products or ingredients on animals


Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain


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


Innisfree is owned by Amore Pacific, a company with other brands who also allow animal testing where required by law.

Does Innisfree Test on Animals?

Innisfree has been clear that it conducts animal testing when required by law and does ship to countries like China. However, they still have a stance on cruelty-free cosmetics.

What Is Innisfree’s Cruelty-Free Status in 2023?

We searched the Innisfree website for an official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products but couldn’t find one. We reached out for an official statement, and unfortunately, we did not receive a response.

Innisfree Has No Cruelty-Free Certification

Ideally, all brands that consider themselves cruelty-free should be Leaping Bunny certified.

As long as Innisfree sells in areas where animal testing is required by law, this won’t happen. 

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. Leaping Bunny certification is the gold standard to live up to.

Did you know that in the US, most animal testing is regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (1966)? If you did know this, did you know that this act does not include birds, rats, and mice which make up 95% of animals used in research?

Is Innisfree Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?

Yes, Innisfree 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.

Please note that while some Innisfree products may be manufactured in China, that does not mean those items are tested on animals.

This law is purely enforced on international cosmetic products entering China and not on products being made within the country itself. 

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

Innisfree is Not Vegan

Innisfree claims to be expanding its vegan range. However, 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.

The only animal-derived ingredient that Innisfree uses is honey.

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

Vegan Alternatives to Innisfree


price range

100% vegan


$9 - $30


Leaping Bunny

$20 - $50


Leaping Bunny

$20 - $50


PETA, Leaping Bunny

$5 - $20


Leaping Bunny

$5 - $70


Leaping Bunny

Innisfree is Considered Natural but not Organic

Innisfree is a natural brand. It claims to use a minimum of 70% natural ingredients in each product.

Although Innisfree might use some organic ingredients, it is not certified organic, nor does it advertise itself as an organic cosmetics brand.

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Innisfree 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.

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

  • Bija, also known as Torreya, yields a precious and rare fruit that reportedly takes 20 years to come to maturity.

    Its anti-bacterial properties have made it prized for medicinal uses for centuries. With protective and smoothing qualities that make it gentle, bija is ideal for acne prone skin.
  • Lingzhi mushrooms have recently been proven to improve skin quality and even treat skin diseases.

    Some of the mushroom’s bioactive extracts have been shown to assist with photoaging and skin healing due to antioxidants and its anti-inflammatory nature.
  • Hallabong is a winter citrus fruit with high amounts of Vitamin C. Innisfree researched and developed a special extraction method to get the full properties of bioflavonoids.

    This antioxidant skin brightens but getting it from hallabong’s extra thick skin was not possible before.

Innisfree Has A 91% Allergen-Free Ranking

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

Many of Innisfree’s products are free of allergens such as parabens, lanolin, coconut, topical antibiotics, MCI/MI, nickel, gluten, irritant, dye, and SLS.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Innisfree 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. 

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!

Innisfree calls itself clean beauty. Sadly, the website doesn’t have a clear list of ingredients they don’t allow in products making it hard to figure out the brand's definition of clean beauty.

With skincare and cosmetics, you want to avoid these ingredients:

  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • Ethoxylated ingredients (PEG, PPG, polysorbate)
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, aka teflon®)
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Triclosan

Has Innisfree had any Scandals? 

We all love doing our bit for the environment and voting with our dollars- but being misled when we try?

We don’t love.

In April 2021, an Innisfree customer noticed that a bottle of serum with a label reading “Hello, I’m a Paper Bottle!” was actually plastic.

Many people were outraged to see side-by-side photos showing that a paper sleeve simply covered a plastic bottle underneath.

The brand's response was to apologize for “failing to deliver information in a precise way” and explain that the “paper bottle” was to describe the paper label.

Innisfree also stressed that the bottle was recyclable and used up to 51.8% less plastic than conventional plastic bottles – which makes it totally eco-friendly.

Understandably, many customers felt this was greenwashing, and the original complaint poster felt that Innisfree’s response was “insufficient.”

Innisfree Is Moderately Sustainable and Ethical 

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.

Innisfree takes environmental accountability by:

  • Developing formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Working on sustainable packaging developments.
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Having a Recycling Programme, active since 2003
  • Encouraging customers to change their behavior by switching to handkerchiefs over paper tissues, recycling water bottles, using bicycles, and carrying reusable mugs and reusable bags.
  • Planting over 190,00 trees in the regions they sell in under their Green Forest Campaign.

Final Thoughts

While Innisfree claims to be eco-friendly and increasingly vegan, they chose to sell in China. Not only does this mean they can’t be cruelty-free, but they also can’t have any vegan products.

While Innisfree has a handful of environmental initiatives, this ethical conundrum and a lack of transparency about ingredient sourcing is a huge problem. 

Innisfree doesn’t confirm if their palm oil is RSPO certified. For a brand that trades off of a sustainable and clean reputation, they don’t do enough to earn it. 

This isn’t something we can accept. While we’ve seen Innisfree attempt to resolve other issues- like the ‘paper bottle’- we don’t know if their sales from China are something the brand would ever give up. 

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