Clinical-grade cosmeceuticals are booming in the skincare industry, and iS Clinical is at the forefront. But does combining biochemistry with botanicals necessarily make it cruelty-free and vegan?
iS Clinical 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 iS Clinical does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.
Biochemist Bryan Johns and business authority Alec Call launched iS Clinical, or Innovative Skincare, in 2002.
While iS Clinical does push the boundaries of aesthetic skincare – it also pushes the limits of our wallets. Its hefty price tags can go upward of US$120. Yeesh! Even if it’s cruelty-free – is it worth it?
We are about to look at how safe the brand's ingredient choices are, what to avoid, and whether you can confidently spend your money knowing animal welfare and the environment are considered too.
In the end, you'll know whether to click "add to cart" for your next iS Clinical purchase or if you need to fill out a feedback form with the words, " we think you can do better."
Is iS Clinical Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
iS Clinical is 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.
iS Clinical claims to be cruelty-free but has no certification to prove it.
Luckily, the brand is privately owned. So you don’t have to worry about a parent company with dodgy animal testing policies being involved.
This brings us to our next point:
iS Clinical is Not Vegan
iS Clinical is not vegan. But it has an extensive range of vegan products you can choose from.
The only animal-derived ingredient it uses is honey – which iS Clinical claims to source ethically.
Honey has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with essential vitamins – making it a dream ingredient for your skin.
But can you really source ethical honey? We get into this touchy subject here: Can Honey Be Cruelty-Free?
iS Clinical doesn’t indicate if a product is vegan because it only uses honey in one item.
It’s the Warming Honey Cleanser.
If you want to find out which iS Clinical products, we rate the highest, click here: iS Clinical Vegan Products.
Animal Testing Policy and History
iS Clinical has been a clean, effective, and cruelty-free brand since it launched 20 years ago.
Cruelty-Free Status in 2022
Here is a screenshot of iS Clinical official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:
iS Clinical has no cruelty-free certification.
And when a multi-million dollar brand that could easily be certified chooses not to be – we have to ask ourselves why?
Ideally, all brands that consider themselves cruelty-free should be Leaping Bunny certified.
While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. Leaping Bunny certification is the global standard to meet.
Is iS Clinical Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?
iS Clinical does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.
In our research, we only found Hong Kong-based retailer selling iS Clinical. Luckily, Hong Kong does not require animal testing by law.
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 iS Clinical Products Are Vegan?
iS Clinical is 100% vegetarian and about 99% vegan.
To save you some time sifting through countless products, here are some of iS Clinical’s award-winning vegan products to choose from:
To explore this brand’s full range, you can visit its website.
Vegan Alternatives to iS Clinical
iS Clinical is cruelty-free, almost entirely vegan, and highly effective, making it a good product option!
But if you don’t like that iS Clinical is not cruelty-free certified. If it’s out of your budget or just inaccessible in your area – there are great alternatives to try instead.
$15 - $80
$20 - $60
No, vegan- friendly
$30 - $80
PETA, Leaping Bunny
$20 - $80
$20 - $50
$20 - $70
PETA, Leaping Bunny
Is iS Clinical Natural and Organic?
iS Clinical isn’t considered natural or organic.
Medical-grade skincare seldom is natural but iS Clinical claims to be at least 95% botanical. The brand does use some organic ingredients when it's best for the formula.
It also claims to use safe, simple, and clean ingredients.
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. iS Clinical 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.
Does iS Clinical Use Safe Ingredients?
According to Skin Safe, iS Clinical has a 91- 100% allergen-free ranking across its range.
Many iS Clinical products are free of allergens such as topical antibiotics, parabens, lanolin, coconut, MCI/MI, nickel, gluten, soy, oil, and dyes.
iS Clinical has also leveled up its game by being completely hypoallergenic.
However, we recommend reading a product’s ingredient list before making your purchase, as formulas can be subject to change.
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 you’re pretty safe choosing iS Clinical.
But if a brand claims that it's "clean", it will always avoid the following ingredients:
Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?
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 iS Clinical Sustainable and Ethical?
One of the ethical causes iS Clinical supports is Cancer patient dignity. Its Cancer Care program assists patients through the physical and emotional toll of cancer.
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 iS Clinical is taking strong environmental accountability is:
iS Clinical is a reliable cosmeceutical brand that makes a relatively ethical product at a medical grade level.
We love that they’re cruelty-free and almost entirely vegan too. It’s a step towards a sustainable future in cosmetics.
However, it would be nice to see some cruelty-free accreditation and more supply chain transparency with its consumers.
While iS Clinical is not 100% vegan and might not be the best choice for any activists who go the extra mile – we wouldn’t knock it down so quickly.
Reach out to the brand if you have any queries or concerns. The more people share what they’d like to see from its developments, the more likely they are to happen.