Is Smashbox Cruelty-Free and Vegan in 2023? (Almost)

December 31, 2022

Smashbox brings makeup straight from glossy beauty shoots to the public. However, is this high-fashion brand cruelty-free and vegan?

Smashbox 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.
Tons of beauty lines are launched by makeup artists, but what about cosmetics brands launched by fashion photographers?

Photographers Dean and Davis Factor knew that high-quality products were the secret to their flawless photos.

The brothers saw that the harsh lights on-set really put cosmetics through its paces – and it looked good after shoots wrapped.

In 1996 they released Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation (a best seller to this day) and pioneering the HD Makeup niche.

Smashbox has been around for over 25 years, and in that time, it’s created a legacy. But has it been resting on its laurels regarding cruelty-free, vegan, and environmental policies?

Smashbox cruelty-free lipstick

Smashbox's Ethical Overview

Cruelty-free: Yes

Vegan: No (but it has vegan options)

Clean ingredients: Yes

Sustainable & Ethical: Minimal efforts

Mica Mining Policy: Undetermined

RSPO Palm Oil Certified: No

Smashbox is 100% 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.


Smashbox is owned by Estee Lauder.

Please be aware that this company does allow other brands to sell regions where animal testing is required by law. 

Does Smashbox Test on Animals?

Smashbox has been committed to sharing effective and creative cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been its intention since it was founded.

What Is Smashbox’s Cruelty-Free Status in 2022?

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

Smashbox cruelty-free website claim

Smashbox is PETA Certified

PETA certification is great start but certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal – even more so than PETA – because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

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.

Is Smashbox Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?

Smashbox does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on 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?

Smashbox is Not Vegan

Although the brand is not entirely vegan, Smashbox has an extensive range of vegan products from which to choose.

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that Smashbox uses are beeswaxsqualane, carmine.

What Smashbox Products Are Vegan?

Although Smashbox uses a couple of animal-derived ingredients – quite a few of its products are vegan.

To save you some time, here are some of Smashbox’s most popular and award-winning products to choose from:

  • Studio Skin 24 Hour Wear Hydra Foundation
  • Halo Plumping Dew + Hyaluronic Acid
  • Photo Finish Vitamin Glow Primer
  • Photo Finish Weightless Setting Spray
  • Always On Shimmer Cream Shadow

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

Vegan Alternatives to Smashbox


price range

100% vegan



$10 - $28


PETA, Leaping Bunny

$20 - $50


Leaping Bunny

$15 - $50


Leaping Bunny

$10 - $65


Leaping Bunny

$15 - $100



Smashbox is Not Considered Natural, Or Organic

Smashbox claims to use safe and simple ingredients. 

Its whole ethos is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use.

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Smashbox 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.

Smashbox Has An 91% Allergen-Free Ranking

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

Many of Smashbox’s products are free of allergens such as parabens, topical antibiotics, fragrance, lanolin, coconut, gluten, MCI/MI, nickel, soy, Balsam of Peru, oil, irritants, and SLS.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Smashbox is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

However, certain products are specifically for these concerns, so make sure you buy what your skin needs. 

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!

Smashbox does not call itself a ‘clean’ beauty brand, but with its high allergy-free and safety ranking, you shouldn’t worry about any serious hidden nasties in its products.

But it’s still worth knowing that with makeup, you want to avoid these ingredients:

  • Butylated compounds (BHA, BHT)
  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • Carbon black
  • Coal tar and benzene
  • Untreated mineral oils
  • Lead and other heavy metals
  • PPG, PEG, and polysorbate 

Smashbox Has Some Sustainable & Ethical Initiatives

Some of the ethical causes Smashbox supports are:

  • Combating Rracial injustice with the NAACP Legal Defence and Education Fun.
  • Project Beauty Share - supporting LGBTQ+ youths through the Ali Forney Centre Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Smashbox doesn’t market itself as a sustainable brand. Still, it does take on some of the ethical initiatives of its parent company’s values.

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.

Smashbox takes environmental accountability by:

  • Working on sustainable packaging developments.
  • Incorporating sustainability practices in store design and visual merchandise
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Carbon neutrality for direct business operations.
  • Using renewable energy in its direct operations.
  • Introducing carbon-neutral e-commerce shipping in some regions.
  • Zero industrial waste-to-landfill for global manufacturing, distribution and innovation sites.

Final Thoughts

Smashbox staying cruelty-free is a step in the right direction, and they are developing more new vegan formulas, but we’d love to see them reworking their classics that aren’t vegan. 

The brand doesn’t label itself as sustainable; they have a lot of competitors who are doing more for the planet (without it being part of its marketing). 

Improving on this thing and clarifying their mica and palm oil sourcing would be huge improvements. 

Luckily Smashbox is very responsive to what customers buy and say, so tell them what you want to see change!

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