There’s nothing quite as tempting as French beauty products: the chic packing, the high quality, and the amazing results generated by many of the French brands.
However, I’m always stalled by one consideration when shopping for new make-up or skincare products: are they tested on animals?
While some luxury brands can make us look great, if we know they’re not ethical, this can weigh heavy on our conscience.
While quality products are important to me, this is nowhere near as important to me as ensuring all of my beauty and skincare products are cruelty-free and not tested on animals.
As a vegan, cruelty-free beauty blogger, I understand how difficult it can be to find classic, luxury beauty products that are also cruelty-free.
I also care a lot about the environmental aspect of the products I use - ie. are they ethically sourced, are they clean, and where does the packaging come from?
That’s why today I wanted to focus on the popular French brand Caudalie.
But what you really want to know is whether Caudalie’s products are cruelty-free, right?
Well, let’s find out…
Is Caudalie cruelty-free?
This is a bit of a tricky one.
Basically, Caudalie states on its website that...
“Ever since it was founded, Caudalie has been against animal testing. None of our products or the ingredients we use are tested on animals, in accordance with European regulations. We use alternative methods to test our ingredients and finished products.”
This all sounds good and well, but this is a bit of a gray area because Caudalie sells its products in China...
Does Caudalie Sell In China?
Yes, Caudalie sells in China. This matters because China tests products on animals at two stages: pre-market and post-market.
Pre-market tests are carried out before products hit the market, whereas post-market mean testing after products are on the market.
This means that, shockingly, the Chinese government can pull products from shelves and test them on animals at any time and without notifying a brand or asking their permission.
Due to this, a brand implicitly agrees to these terms by agreeing to sell in mainland China, and these brands are aware that access to China’s huge market means accepting the possibility of their products being tested on animals.
“...in China, where our products are distributed, authorities may impose random animal testing. We are of course committed to the abolition of this testing and our philosophy is to take action rather than criticize. This is why we fund the IIVS association, which is currently pressuring the Chinese government to practice alternative methods. IIVS is optimistic about the development of testing in China.”
However, many cruelty-free beauty bloggers feel discomfort towards this, which is pretty common amongst some of the biggest brands who say their products are cruelty-free but actually sell in China where the cosmetics market alone is worth $26 billion USD.
So no, Caudalie is unfortunately not cruelty-free.
Are Caudalie approved by PETA or Leaping Bunny?
No, neither PETA or Leaping Bunny appear to have approved Caudalie.
Are Caudalie Vegan?
They’re also not vegan, as while their products generally don’t use animal-derived ingredients, they do use ‘beehive products such as honey or beeswax’ - so close, yet so far!
- CAUDALIE VINOPERFECT RADIANCE SERUM. Both effective and natural, this skin-tone evening serum contains our patented Viniferine that is 62 times more effective than Vitamin C at boosting radiance and evening the complexion.
- FOR A RADIANT AND EVEN COMPLEXION. Suitable for all skin types, it works to reduce the appearance of dark spots, including pregnancy marks, acne marks, sun pigmentation and age-related dark spots, and prevents them from reappearing.
- BONJOUR, BEAUTIFUL SKIN! Your skin is sure to look healthy, youthful, nourished and glowing with the use of these natural French skin care and beauty products for women. None of the products contain parabens, mineral oils, paraffins or phthalates.
- A UNION OF NATURE AND SCIENCE. All products are created from the wisdom offered by Earth’s natural resources, particularly vine and grape extracts. Products are never tested on animals or created from animal-derived raw materials.
- FRENCH VINEYARDS, IN A BOTTLE. CaudalÍe is born out of the unique and powerful antioxidant benefits of grapevines and grape polyphenols in France. World class researchers continue to explore the skin benefits of new natural ingredients.
Is Caudalie clean?
You might also be wondering whether or not Caudalie is clean.
By ‘clean’ I am referring to products that make the most of science and nature, combining quality results with ethical ingredients.
However, it also refers to cosmetics that are universally responsible, ie. products that are not only safe for us to use but are also environmentally responsible and kind to the planet.
According to Caudalie’s website, since 2012 the brand has been a member of the "1% for the Planet" network, meaning 1% of its worldwide turnover is contributed to organizations working to protect the environment.
Caudalie is the top European contributor and top beauty contributor worldwide, and this year the company will have planted over 8 million trees in 8 countries.
Caudalie makes use of natural active ingredients that are not only kind to your skin, but kind to the environment, too.
Their products contain:
- Vine and grape extracts patented with Harvard Medical School and from French vineyards (Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy)
- Vegetable oils, waxes, butters, and essential oils
- Floral and botanical waters
- Plant and fruit extracts with various cosmetic properties
Caudalie products do not contain the following:
- Potentially endocrine-disrupting preservatives
- Parabens, phenoxyethanol
- Ingredients of animal origin such as lanolin, keratin, cochineal, animal squalane
- Mineral oils (petrochemical derivatives)
- Vaseline, paraffin
- Irritating and polluting agent
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Caudalie also has a commitment to being completely transparent about its ingredients.
For example, they aim to make their products 100% natural without sacrificing effectiveness and sensoriality, therefore, they do use some synthetic ingredients which are listed on their website, including:
- Biotechnological molecules, for their anti-aging effectiveness
- Fragrances, tested and hypoallergenic, for the sensoriality of the products
- Conservateur preservatives, authorized by Organic certification bodies, for optimum preservation of our formulas
- Certain sunscreens, to protect your skin
Caudalie also claims that the search for naturalness and effectiveness involves “constant improvement of our formulas based on new research” - so hopefully, they’ll find new solutions to these synthetic ingredients in the near future.
Overall though, Caudalie is considered a clean company that uses ingredients mainly of natural origin and has a strong environmental campaign.
So, a mixed bag: Caudalie is a clean beauty brand, and, while it doesn’t test on animals outside of China, it does have products on the Chinese market, meaning it is compliant with China’s animal testing laws.
This is pretty frustrating as, on the whole, Caudalie seems like a company with a strong conscience, however, if they test on animals even outside of my country, I personally won’t be using them.
I am hopeful that things will change in the near future, though.
Hopefully, with more pressure from animal rights groups, Caudalie will withdraw their products from China if they truly care about animals, or even better, China will change its animal testing policies…
Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API