Is QV Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Maybe – But Do they Even Care?)

June 7, 2022

QV is a trusted range of gentle, specialized personal care products from Australia. Although they claim to make scientifically-backed products – have their cruelty-free and vegan ethics been compromised in the process?

QV is cruelty-free but not 100% vegan. Meaning that while some products contain animal-derived ingredients, none are tested on animals or sold where it's required by law.

In 1953, Australia’s Queen Victoria hospital requested a sensitive skin product for patients healing from burns wound and reconstructive surgery from chemist Gerald Oppenheim.

Oppenheim and his wife Rae, a nurse, went to work on creating what is now known as QV bath oil. The oil was released for retail three years later.

QV has 50 years of heritage as a trusted, gentle, family-owned brand. QV’s current net worth is not readily available, but an estimated revenue for its parent company is $158.64 million.

But with so much confusion around its vegan status – what can you really trust? We've done all the research so that you don't have to. Read on to decide if QV measures up to your cruelty-free and vegan expectations. 

Is QV Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

QV Product Line

QV 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.

QV is cruelty-free, but we wouldn’t call them loud and proud about it.

The QV website FAQ page doesn’t include an animal-testing answer. It was only from checking their parent company, Ego Pharmaceuticals’ website, that we could find a statement on testing policies.

Ego Pharmaceuticals is a personal care company that claims not to test any products on animals.

According to their website, all Ego Pharmaceuticals products undergo in vitro testing or are trialled human volunteers.

This brings us to our next point:

QV is Not Vegan

There’s a lot of confusing information about QV’s vegan status, and we’re here to clear it up.

We decided to go through every product page to clear up our confusion (and so you wouldn’t have to), and we’ve found almost the entire QV range is vegan-friendly with no animal-derived ingredients!

If you’re based in the UK – all five QV cosmetics distributed there are entirely vegan. That’s why you’ll see QV UK say that they’re proudly vegan.

However, QV Australia is NOT.

While QV Australia claims to only have three guaranteed vegan ranges, we found that all their current products, except for their Dermacare selection, are 100% vegan.  

QBV Beauty Vegan Products

But product ingredients are subject to change, so you can always check if something is vegan by looking at its individual page under “benefits.”

Here's an example of where to find essential information:

QV Skincare Vegan Product Finder

However, it’s worth knowing that QV is the exception and not the rule.

Most mainstream skincare brands are not 100% vegan. These are certain animal-derived ingredients to look out for in general:
  • Honey & beeswax these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn’t vegan, it doesn’t mean it can’t be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Collagen – is an essential protein that plays an integral role in strengthening your hair as well as firming and strengthening the roots.

    Naturally, collagen can only be found in connective animal tissue. But today, it's possible to make vegan collagen by genetically modifying yeast and bacteria.
  • Lanolin – this ingredient, like honey and beeswax, 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.

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

QV doesn’t have an animal testing policy readily available on its website. Their parent company, Ego Pharmaceuticals, backs them up.

It's difficult to know the company's animal testing policy in the 50s. But, at least we can rest assured that no animals are harmed in making the products now.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of Ego Pharmaceutical’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from their website, which would apply to QV:

QV Vegan Website Claim


QV has no cruelty-free certification.

It is currently covered by the Australian legislature, which banned animal testing on all cosmetic ingredients as of July 2020.

These Australian laws align with the EU cosmetic animal testing ban. This is great; however, certain loopholes in the legislature make it far more reliable if a third party were to get involved.

And while you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations out there. Certification from an association like Leaping Bunny is ideal.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • 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, is considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent 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 QV Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

QV does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on any cosmetics 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 QV Products Are Vegan?

Although QV is almost entirely vegan, a few products still don’t make the cut. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they adopt a strictly vegan policy soon (they’re just so close!)

Nonetheless, their vegan range is extensive and seems to keep growing. To save you some time, here are some of its most popular skincare products:

  • QV Bath Oil
  • QV Skin Lotion
  • QV Face Gentle Cleanser
  • QV Face Moisturising Day Cream SPF 30
  • QV Feet Heel Balm

For a complete list of QV’s vegan products, you can find everything on their website.

Vegan Alternatives to QV

QV has a lot of things going for it – it uses clean formulas that are mainly vegan to offer effective products at entry-level prices.

Unfortunately, it’s still not 100% vegan, nor does it have any clear sustainability initiatives. 

It’s also not a brand that calls itself a proud cruelty-free entity.

So if you are vegan or a strong advocate of cruelty-free cosmetics, QV may not be the right brand.

Luckily, there are alternatives you can find that are certified cruelty-free and vegan.

Is QV Natural and Organic? 

QV is not considered natural or organic. However, it claims to use safe and simple ingredients with as few irritants as possible in all its formulas.

Its whole ethos is to make gentle products for sensitive skin.

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 chili peppers, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin.

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and QV is no exception – but it can choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

A few ingredients QV uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids that support the skin barrier and help keep moisture in the skin. It helps decrease dryness with long-term use.
  • Lactic acid is a mild exfoliant that helps to remove dead skin cells and increase the skin's renewal and regeneration process. Lactic acid is a form of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that decreases dry and flaky skin.

    If you’re vegan, please don’t worry about the word ‘lactic’ being related to lactose or milk. Lactic acid can come from plant-based sources too!
  • Vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide, reduces sensitivity, increases skin barrier function, and increases moisture levels.

    It also helps skin tone by reducing photodamage and hyperpigmentation caused by the sun.

Does QV Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, QV has a 91-100% allergen-free ranking for each product.

For a brand whose whole ethos is centered around helping people with sensitive skin – these are the exact results we expected.  

All QV products are free from SLS (sodium laurel sulfate), fragrance, color or dye, lanolin, and propylene glycol. Surprisingly – many of their formulas do contain petroleum-based ingredients, and certain ones still use parabens.  

You’re in luck if you struggle with skin sensitivities because QV is one of the few easily accessible brands that are 100% hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

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 and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

Unfortunately, much like the USA, Australia doesn’t have the strictest ingredient laws.

Even if QV follows strict ingredient guidelines and is highly transparent, here are some of the ingredients you really want to avoid for good measure:

  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • DMDM
  • Hydantoin and urea (that often release formaldehyde)
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Triclosan

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you’re worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

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 really is no need. 

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

Is QV Sustainable and Ethical? 

QV does not mention any sustainability or ethical initiatives on the website. It's disappointing to see this from a family-owned brand with company values of scientific innovation, quality, simplicity, and trust.

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.

QV’s parent company, Ego Pharmaceuticals, has partnered with various organizations to improve the recyclability of its products.  

They also like to include the Australian Recycling Label (ARL) on as many products as possible to indicate what can be recycled and what can’t.

While we see a lot of talk about ethical initiatives such as committing to “no poverty” and “zero hunger,” – there’s little evidence to show what they’ve done to achieve these goals.

Ego’s ethical and sustainable initiatives seem to end there from what we can see.

Some of the ways QV could begin to take solid environmental accountability is by:

  • Raise more awareness for eczema and skin conditions that the brand is renowned for treating. 
  • Using more natural ingredients and biodegradable formulas that are kinder to the environment.
  • Developing more sustainable products, shipping boxes, and bags that are all recyclable.
  • Introducing as many refillable makeup options as possible.
  • Switching from virgin plastic to PCR where possible for all new launches.
  • Having green initiatives like net-zero greenhouse gas emission policy, carbon-neutral shipping, or renewable energy use in manufacturing.
  • Having an active recycling program where customers are encouraged to waste fewer product containers.

Final Thoughts

QV is a brand made for sensitive skin sufferers and may be just right for someone with allergies. They carefully research ingredients and formulas to help heal mild cases of eczema and chronic sensitivities.

The fact that they are cruelty-free is a step towards a more sustainable future in the personal care industry.

At this stage – we’d like to see more from QV. This includes:

  • A more transparent supply chain, and transparent testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.
  • A better approach to sustainable and ethical initiatives, especially when it comes to recycling.
  • A more proactive approach to cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics. While they’re cruelty-free by default – certification does help clearly define what that means to consumers.

So if you’re vegan and acutely aware of how cosmetic waste contributes to our enormous environmental issues, then QV might not be the best brand for you.

However, if you love this brand and want to see more from them – it doesn’t hurt to reach out and share your thoughts with them. The more people voice their opinions, the more likely we are to witness the change we want to see.

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