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Is MAC Cruelty Free and Vegan? (2022 Update)

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MAC is not cruelty free.

Additionally, although sSome of MAC’s products are vegan, MAC is not 100% vegan as a brand.

Generally, this brand’s cruelty free status is a little questionable and doesn’t fall within my criteria of “cruelty free”.

Read my thorough analysis below and find out why MAC is not cruelty free and vegan. I’ll also share some of my favorite cruelty free and vegan alternatives to MAC’s most popular products.

Is MAC cruelty free? Are MAC products tested on animals?

Yes, MAC products are tested on animals.

The official MAC animal testing policy says:

M·A·C does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally. To this end, we are proud to partner with IIVS (Institute for In Vitro Sciences) to expand the use and acceptance of non-animal testing methods worldwide.

So, MAC is careful with their words here. They do not own animal testing facilities, and they not test on animals themselves, but third parties do test MAC products on animals. Since MAC products are subject of animal testing, this brand is not cruelty free.

For more information, please see MAC’s FAQ regarding animal testing.

Of course, it’s great that they choose to contribute to the development and acceptance of in vitro testing methods to help replace animal testing.

So, in conclusion, although they’re making efforts to stop animal testing, MAC is not cruelty free because third parties do test MAC products on animals.

Let’s take a look at the details.

Is MAC sold in China?

Yes, MAC products are sold in stores in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law.

MAC products sold in stores in mainland China that are special-use products or are not manufactured in China are subject to pre-market animal testing.

Although China has recently relaxed the routine post-market animal testing requirements, non-routine post-market animal testing is still performed. This means that MAC products can be pulled from the shelves and tested on animals at any time – in case of a customer complaint, health concern, etc.

So, MAC products can be subject to pre-market and post-market animal testing in China.

This is another quote from MAC’s animal testing FAQ:

Which countries require animal testing?

China tests on animals as part of its safety assessment of cosmetic products. We love our fans and we never want to exclude them anywhere. 

So, they are aware that animal testing is performed on their product, and they’re still present on the Chinese market. They agree and pay for these animal tests.

I hope that MAC will soon start following their cruelty free competitors’ example and stop selling in stores in mainland China.

As of 2021, there’s no way for brands to circumvent animal testing if they sell their products in physical stores in mainland China. Therefore, MAC is not cruelty free.

Why can’t cruelty free brands sell in mainland China?

Animal testing is still happening for products sold in physical stores in mainland China.

Pre-market animal testing is required for all special-use imported products, and non-routine post-market testing on animals may also be done in cases of customer complaints.

However, please keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to products sold in stores at the airports, or in Hong Kong.

Also, products can be sold online and shipped to mainland China without being tested on animals.

Is MAC owned by a parent brand? If yes, is it cruelty free?

 MAC is owned by Estée Lauder, which is not cruelty free.

Is MAC vegan?

MAC is not vegan.

Some of their products are vegan, but as a brand, MAC is not vegan. None of their products are certified as vegan.

Animal by-products used in some of MAC’s products are: lanolin, carmine, gelatin, beeswax, honey, and similar animal by-products.

Is MAC vegetarian?

No, MAC is not vegetarian.

Some of their products are vegetarian, but as a brand, MAC is not vegetarian. None of their products are certified as vegetarian.

Some MAC products contain gelatin, carmine, lanolin, silk powder and other animal-based ingredients which are not vegetarian-friendly.

Cruelty free and vegan alternatives to MAC

MAC is known for their wide variety of makeup and beauty products. These are brands that offer similar products and are cruelty free:


The Ordinary
Youth to People
Paula’s Choice


Milk Makeup
Urban Decay
IT Cosmetics

Now, I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think about MAC’s cruelty free status? What are your favorite cruelty free and vegan alternatives to MAC products? Tell us in the comments below!

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