Is Kiko Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

November 27, 2021

KIKO Milano is an Italian-born cosmetics company known for developing trendy, high-quality makeup at entry-level prices. It's got strict ingredients regulations and is working on sustainability. So, why then are they not Leaping Bunny certified? 

KIKO Milano 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 KIKO does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

KIKO Milano was founded in 1997 by the Percasso family. By 2017 (20 years later), it was bringing in a revenue of €610 million. Today, it has over 950 stores across 32 different countries, and it just keeps growing. People love this brand, and we can see why. 

Before deciding on whether to support the brand, here's what you need to know about KIKO's current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Is KIKO Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

KIKO is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

However, there are two things to consider. 

Firstly, it does have a set of makeup brushes made with a blend of natural fibers (i.e., animal hair) that it allegedly sources from goats.

The brand still claims to be cruelty-free, regardless of this. But sourcing natural animal fibers may infringe on cruelty-free policies.

This is because things like animal hair are sourced from countries with few animal welfare policies and are also hard to trace within the supply chain.

Secondly, KIKO claims to have rigorous cruelty-free standards – but it doesn't have any accreditation from a third-party organization like Leaping Bunny. 

However, KIKO is an Italian cosmetics company that makes all of its products within the EU, where it is illegal to test and sell cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients on animals. But there are limits to these laws. 

Yes, we can verify these products are cruelty-free. Still, the company needs to take its own initiative to ensure it considers worker and environmental safety, and we'll tell you why shortly. 

But, first:

KIKO is Not Vegan

Although the brand is not entirely vegan, KIKO has come out with a vegan range and will develop more formulas as the demand rises.

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that KIKO uses include:

  • Honey & beeswax both these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.
  • Carmine – this ingredient is the red pigment made from the crushed female cochineal insect. A little gross, no? But it is completely harmless and is used in makeup to get those rouge tones.
  • Squalene – this ingredient can be derived from plants, but it can also be sourced from shark livers. It's a great ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's also packed with antioxidants and is non-comedogenic.

If you're interested in vegan products or find vegan brand alternatives, keep reading or click on this link: KIKO vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Kiko has been committed to creating modern, exciting and innovative cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been their intention since it was founded 24 years ago.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2021

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

Kiko Cruelty-Free Website Policy


It would be nice to see some certification from KIKO since it’s a proudly cruelty-free brand.

The brand is currently covered by the EU & UK legislature, which is a great start. However, certain loopholes in the law make it far more reliable if a third party were to get involved. 

Why Leaping Bunny Certification is Better

Here are its requirements: 

  • 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 know more about Leaping Bunny and cruelty-free labels you can trust – you need to read this article: What Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is KIKO Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

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

In saying this, KIKO does sell to mainland China through their online store. This is not an issue as these packages are shipped to a customer's door. The country is not held liable should anything happen.  

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most amount of 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 to be aware of. Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

What KIKO Products Are Vegan?

Right now, KIKO's vegan range is still quite limited, but it is likely to expand with consumer demand. 

Currently, it has one range that is both vegan and eco-friendly called "Konscious". It's got five main products:  

  • Eyeshadow Palette
  • Bb Mousse
  • Matte Powder
  • Volume Mascara
  • Lipstick

What we like: The color choices available for the lipstick and eyeshadow palette are lovely. It's much harder to get any red-pink tones right with vegan ingredients, and they've done a good job. 

What we don't like: For such a big brand with hundreds of products – it's underwhelming when you see a measly five items for the vegan collection. Not to mention that each product only has one color selection. (So if you're looking for lipstick, it comes in red, and that's all!) 

KIKO's Vegan Brushes

Luckily, KIKO has a wider selection of vegan brushes to choose from.

Although some brushes are made with animal hair, you will know which ones are vegan by looking at the description.

  • Brushes that use animal hair are made from natural fibers; whereas
  • Vegan brushes are made from synthetic fibers.   

To save you some time, here are the numbers for all of KIKO's vegan brushes:

  • Lips (brushes 80; 81) 
  • Eyes (51; 55; 58; 60; 61; 62; 65; 66)
  • Face (06; 07)
  • Smart Brushes
    (Smoky 200; Blending 201; Shading 202; Eyeliner 203; Lip 300)
  • Green Me (Double Eye Brush; Powder Brush)

To see KIKO's vegan products, you can find them listed here: KIKO's Vegan Product List 

Vegan Alternatives to KIKO 

Overall, KIKO has a good track record and noteworthy transparency with its consumers. For a multi-million dollar brand – it's commendable.

While we love that it is cruelty-free and offers vegan options. 

The vegan options leave a lot to be desired. And if you will not support a brand that isn't entirely vegan – KIKO might not be your first choice.

Luckily, if you're looking for 100% vegan brands that are sustainable, there are great options out there.

Some great cosmetics (mainly makeup) companies that are in the same price range include:

  • E.L.F. Cosmetics,
  • Pacifica Beauty, 
  • Emani Vegan Cosmetics,
  • Makeup Academy (MUA), and
  • Barry M.

Is KIKO Natural and Organic? 

KIKO is not a natural or organic brand, nor do they claim to be. However, they do use safe ingredients, as by European law. 

Most brands will use synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and KIKO is no exception – but they aim to use clean synthetics. 

Clean synthetic ingredients are safe and non-toxic, which actually preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

What's exciting is that KIKO has also come out with an eco-friendly collection called "Green Me". All 24 products are made with up to 100% of ingredients in their natural form in this range. 

Does Kiko Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, KIKO usually has an 82% - 91% allergen-free ranking for each product, but some score as high as 100%. This is incredibly high, especially for makeup at an entry-level price. 

Many of KIKO's products are free of allergens such as common preservatives, irritants, gluten, nickel, fragrance, parabens, soy, propylene glycol, MCI, and lanolin.

They have one of the best types of mascara and eyebrow gel available for highly sensitive skin.

You will be happy to know that a lot of KIKO products are hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic – from foundations, creams, and masks. But it's still important to read any product ingredient list as it's susceptible to change. 

Certain products still do contain ingredients like gluten and parabens. However, since KIKO is produced within the EU, it cannot use common allergens or toxic ingredients available in other countries.  

The UK & EU Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

Besides the fact that animal testing on cosmetics is against the law in the EU and UK, the cosmetic ingredient regulations are far stricter than in the US. 

The FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe, on the other hand, has banned 1,328!

Some common skincare ingredients that are banned in the EU and UK but not in the USA include:

  • Butylated compounds,
  • Benzophenone compounds, 
  • Carbon black,
  • Formaldehyde, and
  • Lead or other heavy metals.

Luckily, most of KIKO's products are free of these harmful ingredients altogether, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check. All ingredients are subject to change so keep your eyes open.

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you're worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics that are 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, if not safer, than 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.

Here's more on the subject if you're interested: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is KIKO Sustainable and Ethical? 

Something commendable about KIKO is that they want to be transparent with their customers and improve their sustainability efforts.

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.

As it stands, the brand has got two sustainable makeup ranges:

Konscious (vegan) that uses:

  • Up to 30% post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR);  
  • Bio-based plastic; and 
  • Biodegradable and compostable packaging.

Green Me that uses: 

  • Paper boxes 30% derived from organic waste (citrus & kiwi);
  • Bioplastics from maize fermentation – used for their compacts;
  • Recyclable wooden & paper; and
  • Brushes made recycled coconut shell fibers.

In saying this, KIKO does not share a lot about its ethical efforts.

So while the brand is cruelty-free and has vegan/sustainable options  – there are still some things that they need to improve on.

They are still missing:

  • A company code of conduct and supply chain transparency act available on their website.
  • A clear ethical MICA mining policy.
  • Certification stating that they source palm oil sustainably. 

We know that the brand uses palm oil, and one of the biggest problems with this is that it is a huge deforestation contributor.

Why is an Ethical Mica Mining Policy Important 

Mica is a natural mineral that is highly sought after in the makeup biz. Its luminescent qualities make it the perfect ingredient for a highlighter or sparkly eyeshadow.

So, what's the problem?

Most of the world's Mica is found in India. And like any third-world country rich in natural resources – locals are often exploited and live impoverished lives because of political and corporate greed.

Every day, Indian children mine Mica illegally so they can earn enough money to survive. Never mind having the money to go to school – these kids just want a guaranteed meal every day.

Mica can be mined ethically, and companies with proper transparent supply chains are quick to show this. 

At this point, KIKO does not have any clear Mica mining or child labor policy available to the public to prove it sources its ingredients ethically. 

This is actually an issue that Fenty Beauty is having at the moment. Find out why the National Commission for the Protection of Child's rights is knocking on their door for answers: Is Fenty Cruelty-Free and Vegan? 

The most important thing to do is make it heard as a concerned customer that you want to know exactly how your products are being made and where ingredients are sourced from. It's the only way to initiate change. 

Final Thoughts

All in all, KIKO Milano is a well-developed cosmetics brand that takes various ethical factors into consideration. We love the fact that they are developing fully sustainable ranges and want to see more!

The biggest thing we'd like to see the brand improve on is a more transparent supply chain that is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies. 

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

And as much as their vegan cosmetics may be high quality and good value for money – the variety is also limited right now that another fully dedicated vegan brand may be able to give you more choice. 

Finally, it would also be nice to see some further cruelty-free accreditation from Leaping Bunny. So let's push to make that happen! 

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