Self proclaimed ‘Korean holistic skincare’, Sulwhasoo has been a pioneer in Ginseng research for over 50 years and applied what they learnt to the brand.
They have some loved holistic formulas but when it comes to their cruelty-free and vegan policies get ready to be disappointed.
Sulwhasoo is not 100% cruelty-free or vegan as its products are sold where animal testing is required by law. It also cannot be considered vegan as it is not cruelty-free.
They have the iconic 10-step Korean skincare routine products which will give you that dewy, glassy skin but is it actually worth the price tag or more importantly – their outdated cruelty-free and vegan policies?
Sulwhasoo Ethical Overview
Sulwhasoo is Not 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.
Sulwhasoo is not a cruelty-free brand.
The brand is also owned by Amorepacific Corporation which similarly also allows animal testing when it is required by law – so also not cruelty-free.
Does Sulwhasoo Test on Animals?
Sulwhasoo has been around for a long time and have made no steps to consider stopping testing their products on animals.
As they’ve entered the international market they have tried to word their statements carefully. They state that finished products that are sold in North America specifically are not tested on animals.
Of course this means very little when they still allow animal testing in other countries when it’s required by law. They also lack any transparency when it comes to their ingredient suppliers.
What Is Sulwhasoo’s Cruelty-Free Status in 2023?
Here is a screenshot of Sulwhasoo’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:
Sulwhasoo Has No Cruelty-Free Certification
They will never get any certification either when they continue to allow animal testing with the distribution of their products to China.
If they ever decided to update their policies it would be ideal for Sulwhasoo to get Leaping Bunny certified.
While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. Leaping Bunny certification is the gold standard to live up to.
Is Sulwhasoo Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?
Yes, Sulwhasoo distributes its products in China, where animal testing on cosmetics is required as products arrive at the border.
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?
Sulwhasoo is Not Vegan
Sulwhasoo does not claim to have any vegan products. But even if they did, it’s hard to consider any of its products that are free of animal-derived ingredients as “vegan” because it’s not 100% cruelty-free.
If you're interested in finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Sulwhasoo vegan products.
Vegan Alternatives to OGX
Sulwhasoo is Considered Natural and Organic
Sulwhasoo takes pride in their holistic approach to beauty with natural ingredients. Korean herbal medicinal ingredients play an important role in all of their products
All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas.
Sulwhasoo 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.
A few naturally-derived ingredients Sulwhasoo uses to enhance its cosmetics include:
Sulwhasoo Has A 91% Allergen-Free Ranking
According to Skin Safe, Sulwhasoo has a 91% allergen-free ranking for each product.
Many of Sulwhasoo’s products are free of allergens such as gluten, coconut, nickel, top common allergy causing preservatives, lanolin, paraben, topical antibiotic, MCI/MI, soy, propylene glycol, irritant/acid, dye, and SLS.
Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Sulwhasoo 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!
Luckily, Sulwhasoo sets a great example of what true clean beauty is meant to be, and you shouldn’t have to worry about any serious hidden nasties in its products.
With skincare and cosmetics, you want to avoid these ingredients:
Sulwhasoo Is Moderately Sustainable and Ethical
Some of the ethical causes Sulwhasoo supports is cultural preservation and heritage pride.
Donated proceeds to local and global traditional culture preservation activities and donated to Act to Change.
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.
Sulwhasoo takes environmental accountability by:
Sulwhasoo has become a beloved brand since they began almost 40 years ago.
The brand is a luxury when it comes to skincare but some people will gladly hand over the money for their famous ginseng formulas.
Beyond their holistic approach to the popular products, Sulwhasoo could be doing more considering how high end and popular they are worldwide.
Many of the brands policies and initiatives are heavily connected to the parent company, Amorepacific.
It would be nice to see a more transparent and independent approach when it comes to their supply chain, packaging and distribution.
And of course we cannot forget that Sulwhasoo is not in any way cruelty-free or vegan.
They continue to ship to countries that require animal testing by law and there is no sign that they have any interest in stopping.
At this point it seems unlikely that any complaints from their customers will change their policies but we still need to try.