Kate Somerville is known for its Skin Health Experts clinics and reputable skincare range. We have to wonder, though, does this clinical skincare brand understand the importance of cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics?

Kate Somerville 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 Kate Somerville does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Kate Somerville was a tenacious clinical aesthetician who opened a Skin Health Experts Clinic in Melrose Place, Hollywood.

But eventually, Kate started putting together her own products for clients to take home between treatments. So, she started working with a chemist to generate her own range, and word spread globally.

Since then, the brand has partnered with Unilever to increase its global reach, always intending to help people feel comfortable in their skin.

But before you get too excited about buying these innovative products – you need to understand what you’re buying. And why the truth isn’t always as pretty as the packaging.

Our Cruelty-Free Beauty Standards: Kate Somerville

Cruelty-free: Yes

Vegan: No

Clean ingredients: Yes

Sustainable & Ethical: Minimal public information

Mica Mining Policy: Undetermined

RSPO Palm Oil Certified: Undetermined

Is Kate Somerville Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Kate Somerville cruelty-free

Kate Somerville 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.


Kate Somerville is certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program.

However, it’s also owned by Unilever, a parent company associated with animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

Kate Somerville is Not Vegan

Kate Somerville states its products contain plant-based ingredients but are not vegan.

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that Kate Somerville uses are:

  • Manuka honey poses many health benefits to your skin and well-being. With antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s loaded with essential vitamins.

    Speaking of honey, just because it isn’t vegan doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Honey Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Goat Milk claims to soothe dry and sensitive skin with natural milk proteins. The fatty acids in goat’s milk are said to nourish and soften skin too. 
  • Squalane is predominantly harvested from sharks' livers but can also be derived from plant sources. (Find the best vegan squalane products here.)

    Squalane is an excellent ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, and non-comedogenic.
  • Silk Powder contains amino acids, the essential protein chains from which our bodies (and skin) are built.

    Using pearl proteins has reported benefits, including increased collagen production, reduced scaring, evened skin tone, and tightened fine lines.

    But can you harvest pearls from oysters without killing them? Read this before you buy pearl-based products: Are Pearls Cruelty-Free (Including 4 Alternatives You Need to Try)?

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

Kate Somerville does not disclose when it went cruelty-free or if this was its intention since it was founded.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Kate Somerville cruelty-free website statement


Kate Somerville is PETA certified, which is not a bad start.

However, it would be nice to see more certification since it’s so proudly cruelty-free.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It seems only to require a brand's written consent that abides by the PETA code of conduct.

Certification from the Leaping Bunny association is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

Is Kate Somerville Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Kate Somerville does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

The brand only sells in Hong Kong and at cross-border sites like Tmall, which exempts it from animal testing.

China has the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used annually.

What Kate Somerville Products Are Vegan?

Kate Somerville doesn’t label any plant-based products, making it very difficult to confirm what’s suitable for vegans.

Honey and goat's milk are the most prominent ingredients to look out for. – as they’re often not labeled using these terms.

And to save you some time, we thought we’d share some of its most popular plant-based products to keep an eye out for:

  • EradiKate AcneTreatment
  • ExfoliKate Glow Moisturize
  • Wrinkle Warrior 2-in-1 Plumping Moisturizer & Serum
  • Kateceuticals Firming Serum
  • Kateceuticals lifting Eye Cream

Kate Somerville does not have a dedicated page for its vegan products. But you can always email customer service, and they will provide you with the necessary information.

Vegan Alternatives to Kate Somerville

Since Kate Somerville makes it difficult for vegans to know what they’re buying – we can understand if you’d prefer to look at a brand alternative with clearer labeling.

Luckily there are many options out there for you. Here are some of our favorites:


price range

100% vegan


$10 - $30


Leaping Bunny

$20 - $50


Leaping Bunny

$30 - $80


PETA, Leaping Bunny

$5 - $20


Leaping Bunny

$20 - $70


PETA, Leaping Bunny

Is Kate Somerville Natural and Organic? 

Kate Somerville doesn’t market itself as natural or organic.

It does claim to use safe, simple ingredients – sometimes that includes natural botanicals.

Its whole ethos is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use, no matter their skin concerns.

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 Kate Somerville Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Kate Somerville has a 91- 100% allergen-free ranking across 40 products.

Kate Somerville formulations never use parabens, phthalates, or sulfates.

However, you should still be checking every ingredient list. Kate Somerville is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

It does make certain products specifically for these concerns – so make sure you buy what your skin needs.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

You HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live in 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!

Kate Somerville has done away with some ingredients that we consider serious hidden nasties in its products.

Some skincare ingredients to avoid include: 

  • PPG, PEG, and polysorbate
  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, aka teflon®)
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Formaldehyde

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 Kate Somerville Sustainable and Ethical? 

One of the ethical causes Kate Somerville supports is foster kids who age out of the foster system. This is done through mentorships, scholarships, and donation pledges to Foster Nation (a charity focussing on this issue).

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.

Sadly, Kate Somerville doesn’t talk about their sustainability measures on its website. Here’s what we do know:

  • In 2018, Kate Somerville partnered with Plastic Oceans Foundation to announce that by 2022 their packaging would be 100% recycled.
  • It’s now 2022, and no announcement has been made to confirm and celebrate this development.
  • The product pages and FAQ say nothing about the recyclability of their packaging either.

We’d love to see a little bit more from the brand around the following:

  • Making formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Avoiding extra packaging and only using sustainable or recycled materials (paper) when needed.
  • Using Responsibly Sourced ingredients like Palm Oil (RSPO certified).
  • Developing some refillable, long-lasting packaging and reduced plastic refills.

Final Thoughts

Kate Somerville is a beloved clinical skincare brand that considers certain ethical factors.

We love that it's PETA-certified cruelty-free. It’s a step towards a more sustainable future in the beauty industry.

Of course, since Kate Somerville won’t disclose which formulas are plant-based – it might not be the best choice for vegans. Just going through lengthy ingredient lists is a lot of work.

The brand also uses palm oil as an ingredient – and doesn’t confirm if it's sustainably sourced. Which unfortunately takes off another point in its favor.

But we wouldn't shut it down so quickly if we were you. This brand is developing and listening to your needs, so if you want more from Kate Somerville – share your thoughts with them.

The more we speak up, the more likely they will listen to us.

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