Is Mario Badescu Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Mario Badescu has got product names and packaging right out of the 60s – yet it still has a cult following today. The question is – what has it done to keep up with the times? Is it a cruelty-free and vegan brand?  

Is Mario Badescu Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Mario Badescu 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 Mario Badescu does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Mario Badescu wanted to create a simple, gentle yet effective skincare range when he started his company in 1967. As a cosmetic chemist and aesthetician, Badescu used his skills to build a multi million-dollar brand still run by his family today from the USA. 

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

Is Mario Badescu Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Mario Badescu Hills is 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.

Mario Badescu claims to be cruelty-free. The brand says that it does not test on animals, nor does it ask anyone to test on its behalf.

While it does ask all its raw material vendors to sign a certificate stating that they do not conduct any animal testing either – Mario Badescu cannot control the actions of its vendors throughout its supply chain. 

In other words, the vendors might say they are cruelty-free, but there's nothing there to ensure their claims are enforced. 

The only way around this issue is by becoming Leaping Bunny certified (which Mario Badescu is not). 

This brings us to the next point:

Mario Badescu is Not Vegan

Although the brand is not vegan, Mario Badescu does have vegan products. 

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

  • Egg Whites – contain nutrients like lutein, essential fatty acids, and albumin that help with hydration, tissue repair, and elasticity. In saying that – there are some downfalls.

    Beyond the fact that they may also contribute to the cruel egg industry, in their raw form, eggs can cause severe allergic reactions or infections. This is why it's not recommended as a raw beauty ingredient anymore. 
  • Lactic Acid – comes from cow's milk and acts as a really effective chemical exfoliant. It helps with skin cell turnover, allowing it to get thicker, healthier, and firmer.

    Unfortunately, there are pros and cons to everything. Here's what you need to know about how this ingredient impacts the dairy industry: Can Dairy Every Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Lanolin – like honey and beeswax, lanolin is used in skincare and cosmetics because it is incredibly hydrating. It is basically the waxy oil that comes from sheep wool. Lanolin can be cruelty-free – follow this link for more details.

Unfortunately, non of Mario Badescu's vegan products and ranges are clearly marked on its website.

The best way to get information is by reading through a product's Q&A's – you can usually find something, but it's tedious work. 

However, we've done this work for you. So, if you're interested in which products are vegan or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Mario Badescu vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Mario Badescu doesn't delve into a lot of detail around its animal testing history. Since the brand is quite old, we can't say for sure what its policies were from the get-go. We can only look at the recent future. 

Cruelty-Free Status in 2021

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

Mario Badescu Animal Testing Policy and Website claim

Certification

Mario Badescu has got no cruelty-free certification. Although it claims to be cruelty-free – there's no third party there to confirm it. 

It would be nice to see more certification from Mario Badescu. 

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations out there. So having certification from an association like Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty-Free, is ideal.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products it sells.
  • 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 see a bunny stamp at the back of your product bottle – that's a really good sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself. A lot of brands are using fake logos to fool consumers. 

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is Mario Badescu Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

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

While some of Mario Badescu's products are made in China, please note that they are not required to be tested on animals. This law is purely for cosmetics entering the country. 

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 Mario Badescu Products Are Vegan?

Mario Badescu has a good range of products that are suitable for vegans. The thing is, the brand isn't actively trying to be vegan or cater to that market.

And the biggest issue with this is that none of these products are clearly marked on its website. So it's hard to know what has animal-derived ingredients and what doesn't. 

Here are 34 vegan products we could find:

  • A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap (best seller)
  • Acne Facial Cleanser (best seller)
  • Aloe Moisturizer SPF 15
  • Aloe Vera Toner
  • Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion
  • Anti Acne Serum
  • Botanical Exfoliating Scrub (best seller)
  • Botanical Facial Gel
  • Buffering Lotion (best seller)
  • Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream
  • Complex Moisturizer SPF 20
  • Cucumber Cleansing Lotion
  • Drying Lotion (best seller)
  • Enzyme Cleansing Gel (best seller)
  • Facial Spray with Aloe, Chamomile and Lavender
  • Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea (best seller)
  • Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater
  • Facial Spray with Aloe, Sage and Orange Blossom (best seller)
  • Glycolic Acid Toner
  • Glycolic Foaming Cleanser (best seller)
  • Glycolic Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion
  • Hyaluronic Eye Cream (best seller)
  • Hyaluronic Moisturizer SPF 15
  • Herbal Hydrating Serum
  • Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 17
  • Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30
  • Peptide Renewal Cream
  • Peptide Renewal Serum
  • Seaweed Cleansing Lotion
  • Seaweed Cleansing Soap (best seller)
  • Silver Powder (best seller)
  • Special Cucumber Lotion (best seller)
  • Special Hand Cream with Vitamin E
  • Witch Hazel & Rosewater Toner (best seller)

To look at these products in more detail, you can go to the Mario Badescu website: www.mariobadescu.com

Vegan Alternatives to Mario Badescu 

While we appreciate that Mario Badescu is cruelty-free and does offer vegan options – it would be great to see some more certification behind the claims.

Since it's also not actively trying to cater to the vegan market, we understand why it might not be the first brand you choose to support.

If you're looking for vegan brands within the same price range and offer simple yet effective options, you might like these options.


We've tried to find alternatives to cult favorites since this brand is popular for specific products.

  • Drying Lotion –> Indie Lee Blemish Lotion
    (Although Indie Lee has got two non-vegan items made with ethically sourced beeswax – it is the best alternative out there.)
  • Collagen moisturizer SPF15 –> Pacifica Vegan Collagen SPF30 Every Day Lotion
  • Rose Hips Nourishing Oil –> Poppy Austin Pure Rosehip Oil
  • Silver Powder -> KVD Beauty Lock-It Setting Powder
  • Buffering Lotion -> Hero Rescue Balm

Is Mario Badescu Natural and Organic? 

Mario Badescu is not a natural or organic brand, nor does it claim to be. In saying that, it does claim to use safe ingredients.

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, on the other hand, has banned 1,328! 

With skincare, here are some ingredients you want to avoid:

  • Butylated compounds,
  • Benzophenone compounds, 
  • Ethanolamine compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA, etc.),
  • Formaldehyde, and
  • Polyacrylamide.

Does Mario Badescu Use Safe Ingredients?

There's some controversy around Mario Badescu's product safety. In general, Mario Badescu does use safe ingredients.

According to Skin Safe, Mario Badescu usually has a 73% - 91% allergen-free ranking for each product, but some score as high as 100%.

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

The brand is not hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, nor does it claim to be. However, it does have products that are suitable for sensitive skin. 

Its Silver Powder is free of every common allergen listed – it's even listed as safe for babies. So from that aspect, Mario Badescu comes to the party. 

But according to the EWG Skin Deep database, it still has a select number of products with higher toxicity levels. 

For example, its drying powder still uses talc, which was discovered to cause medical issues like cancer or conditions linked to difficulty breathing in children

You might have heard of the ongoing lawsuit with Johnson & Johnson for its famous talcum powder for this very reason. 

Mario Badescu's Steroid Scandal

In 2013, outraged clients filed a lawsuit against Mario Badescu after suffering severe skin reactions to undisclosed steroids that were put inside certain products.

Steroids might give fast and noticeable results – but it doesn't take away from the fact that they're dangerous for your skin and adrenal system. 

Although all these steroids have been removed since this scandal, many people still distrust the brand.

The moral of the story – you need to read the ingredient list and do background research for any beauty product you want to buy. 

Today, it seems most of Mario Badescu's products are free of these harmful ingredients, 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.

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

Is Mario Badescu Sustainable and Ethical? 

Mario Badescu takes mild sustainability initiatives. It's taking steps forward, but it's nothing compared to some other more modern brands like Glossier or Jane Iredale

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, Mario Badescu:

  • Uses minimal packaging as part of its initiative to cut down on waste. 
  • Makes its packaging from recyclable plastic where possible.
  • Eliminated the use of plastic micro-beads in its scrubs.

We love vegan and natural skincare because it has less of an impact on the environment. Either through chemicals released when made or when items are dumped back to the earth through watering systems, etc. 

Mario Badescu's vegan and simple formulas are quite sustainable from this perspective. But it's not an initiative spread throughout the whole brand's skincare ranges. 

Its use of more harmful chemicals or allergens makes it a lot less eco-friendly. 

So while the brand is cruelty-free, has vegan options, it's not considered a pioneer in sustainability at all. 

We'd love to see more effort put into recycling, sourcing less toxic ingredients, and improving supply chain transparency – especially since they use Mica, an ingredient closely linked to child labor and exploitation. 

Final Thoughts

Mario Badescu is confident that its products are cruelty-free – which is a great start towards developing a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

If you love this brand but want to support vegan products, then it will give you a decent selection to choose from. 

Another great thing is that many of its products have clean formulas suitable for sensitive skin. Plus, its minimalistic packaging is better for the environment. 

In saying that, Mario Badescu doesn't have any cruelty-free certification. So it makes it tricky to guarantee its entire production process is cruelty-free.

There's also limited supply chain transparency, a lack of sustainability initiatives, and a certain distrust around product ingredients that the brand needs to work on. 

Since Mario Badescu is not 100% vegan, nor does it centre its products around being vegan – it's not the best brand out there if you want authentically vegan cosmetics.

However, its products' overall quality and delivery are great and should be noted.

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