For over 40 years, Paul Mitchell has been at the forefront of hair styling innovation. But does it push boundaries of cruelty-free, vegan, and ethical beauty too?

Paul Mitchell is cruelty-free but not 100% vegan, meaning some products contain animal-derived ingredients. It does not conduct animal testing on its products or distribute cosmetics where animal testing is required by law.

Paul Mitchell was founded by two friends who wanted to create salon-quality products at affordable prices. The brand found massive success in its formulas and cutting club – where they trained other stylists.

Paul Mitchel now has eight other brands under its belt. It calls itself “the first professional beauty company to stand up to animal testing.”

It has many philanthropic ventures. But has this brand’s evolution kept it ethical, sustainable, and kind? Can we still trust its policies?

Paul Mitchell Clean cruelty-free range

Paul Mitchell's Ethical Overview

Cruelty-free: Yes

Vegan: No (Has a wide range of vegan products)

Clean ingredients: Yes

Sustainable & Ethical: High efforts

Mica Mining Policy: Does not use mica 

RSPO Palm Oil Certified: Yes

Paul Mitchell 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.


The brand is also privately owned and available around the world.

Does Paul Mitchell Test on Animals?

Paul Mitchell is committed to creating clean, affordable, and cruelty-free cosmetics. This has been its intention since it was founded. 

What Is Paul Mitchell's Cruelty-Free Status in 2022?

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

Paul Mitchell Cruelty-free status

Paul Mitchell is PETA Certified

Paul Mitchell is PETA certified, which is a decent 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.

The Leaping Bunny association is the gold standard for cruelty-free certification (and the only internationally recognized organization) that all brands would ideally reach towards.

Is Paul Mitchell Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?

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

Please note that while Paul Mitchell hair tools are manufactured in China, the brand does not test on animals at all.

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: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

Paul Mitchell is Not Vegan

As proudly cruelty-free as Paul Mitchell is – it’s not vegan. Luckily, it has a decent range of vegan products that gives you ample choice.

You can easily tell if a product is vegan once you’ve selected its page:

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that Paul Mitchell uses include honey and beeswax.

What Paul Mitchell Products Are Vegan?

Paul Mitchell only uses beeswax and honey in some of its products, making it 100% vegetarian with an extensive range of vegan products.

Fortunately, vegan products are marked clearly on its website, and you’ve got many to pick from.

To save you some time, here is a list of Paul Mitchell’s most popular vegan products:

  • Tea Tress Special Shampoo
  • Tea Tree Body Bar Soap
  • Awaphui Shampoo
  • Super Skinny Serum
  • Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner

You can find a complete list of Paul Mitchell’s vegan products on its website.

Even if Paul Mitchell isn’t completely vegan – it’s a great option for all vegans out there. It has a clean track record and noteworthy transparency with its consumers.

But if you’d prefer to support a completely vegan brand or cannot access Paul Mitchell products easily, here are some alternatives to try:

Vegan Alternatives to Paul Mitchell


price range

100% vegan


$25 - $50



$20 - $50


Cruelty Free International, Leaping Bunny

$30 - $60



$20 - $80


PETA, Leaping Bunny

$5 - $20


Leaping Bunny

$20 - $30



Paul Mitchell Isn't Considered Natural or Organic

Paul Mitchell is not a natural or organic brand. However, it has a range of natural ingredients called Paul Mitchell Clean Beauty.

Although Paul Mitchell 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. Paul Mitchell 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.

Paul Mitchell Has a 73-100% Allergen-free Ranking

According to Skin Safe, Paul Mitchell has a 73- 100% allergen-free ranking across 241 products.

Many Paul Mitchell products are free of allergens such as parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, MCI/MI, nickel, soy, and dyes.

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!

Paul Mitchell claims to only use safe ingredients, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any serious hidden nasties in its products.

With hair care, you want to avoid these ingredients:

  • Benzophenone, oxybenzone, and other related compounds
  • Butylated compounds (BHA, BHT)
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Resorcinol
  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • Ethoxylated ingredients (PEG, PPG, polysorbate)
  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents 

Paul Mitchell Values Sustainability

It’s commendable that Paul Mitchell wants to be transparent with its customers. It spends a lot of time improving its carbon footprint and ensuring its consumers are contentious of this.

One of the main ethical causes Paul Mitchell supports is ReForest’Action,

It is also taking strong environmental accountability by:

  • Developing formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Ensuring that the plastic containers they use are recyclable. 
  • Reducing the use of virgin plastic in their product packaging by 75% by 2025.
  • Using sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified) to create its packaging and promotional material.
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Using Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified).
  • Partnering with Bees for Development to support sustainable beekeeping and reduce poverty in West Africa.
  • Working with TerraPass® and REDD+ to offset carbon emissions from corporate travel, employee commutes, and at the US Corporate Offices.
  • Offsetting carbons from shipping, distribution, and salon and in-house training.
  • Implementing a “Returned Tool Recycling Program,” keeping close to 5 tons of old hair styling tools out of landfills annually.

Final Thoughts

Paul Mitchell is a well-developed hair care brand, and we love what it’s doing.

The fact it is cruelty-free, sustainable, and predominantly vegan is more than we can say for many other hair care brands.

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

We know Paul Mitchell is not 100% vegan and still uses palm oil as an ingredient (even if it's sustainably sourced) – but we wouldn't shut it down so quickly if we were you. 

This brand is developing and listening to your needs, so keep following its movements.

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