Is Etude House Cruelty-Free?

There’s a revolutionary movement making cosmetic products cruelty-free all around the world, which means that cosmetic brands are becoming aware of their responsibility towards the world by selling much healthier products that do not attempt to harm any form of life. However, it is up to consumers to also learn about which brands are joining the movement and therefore support the ones who are really cruelty-free. Today’s brand to discuss is one of the Asian market’s favorites for its popular princess’ style and tender image: Etude House. Let us learn ‘Is Etude House Cruelty-Free?’.

Is Etude House Cruelty-Free?

Is Etude House Cruelty-Free? 

It might be certainly sad for a lot of people to discover that Etude House is not cruelty-free. Nevertheless, this does not directly imply that Etude House tests its products on animals, but the brand neither denies avoiding to do so when required by law, as it occurs in China. 

About Etude House

Etude House was founded in 1985 and the first store opened in 2005 in Seoul, South Korea. The essence of the brand relies on believing that makeup should be fun instead of a routine and invites young women to find their inner princess with the help of its products. Etude House has nowadays a huge presence as much nationally as internationally, with more than a hundred stores overseas (in Singapore, Philippines, Japan, China, Thailand, Middle East and India). The brand’s products are also sold in many retail beauty shops as well as online shops in the United States; although until a few years ago it was hard to obtain the brand’s products in this country. 

What are Etude House’s testing policies?

The truth about Etude House´s testing policies is that the brand often pays a third party to do its animal testing under legal circumstances. Likewise neither the brand nor its parent company, Amore Pacific, are certified as cruelty-free by any organization, and Etude House´s products generally avoid specifying this information. As for the Amore Pacific Corporation; it has stated that its values are aligned with the cruelty-free practices, however, it also accepts to conduct animal testing when certain laws require it. 

Is Etude House Vegan?

Although some products aim to be “vegan friendly”, Etude House shouldn’t be trusted as a vegan brand, specially taking into account that, in order to enter the market in China, the brand allows the testing of its products on animals. Besides that, Etude House’s products presumably always contain animal or animal-derived ingredients. 

China’s Regulations About Animal Testing 

In 2021 new regulations were made to exempt some products from doing animal testing in this country, but certainly not all products apply to this exemption, since the problem relies not much on their brand as in the type of products they are. China divides the cosmetics it sells in the categories of Special-Use and Non Special-Use, being animal testing mandatory for the first type. In the case that an ordinary or Non Special-Use product includes a new cosmetic ingredient or is designed for children, it will also have to be tested before being available for the public. 

Are all the products sold in China Non Cruelty-Free?

Animal testing is mandatory for products physically sold in mainland China, not for those sold online or in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. In regards of the political status of Taiwan’s sovereignty; Taiwan is considered as an independent country and it banned animal testing in 2019. 

The key to spot a Cruelty-Free brand:

  • Make sure that the brand does NOT practice Pre-market nor Post-market animal testing for its product nor ingredients. 
  • Check if the brand sells its products in mainland China’s stores; if it does, there’s a high chance that those products are not cruelty-free.
  • The brand must not pay third parties to conduct animal testing on its products.
  • The brand’s suppliers are also required to follow a cruelty-free policy.


As stated, Etude House is not a cruelty-free brand, but not all of it is bad news for Korean skin-care enthusiasts, since there are other South Korean cosmetic brands that can keep getting support from the community. What need to be remembered is that the more consumers choose to support only cruelty-free products, the more brands and countries like China will start to look in the direction of a world where no single human life is harmed in the name of beauty.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Which South Korean cosmetic brands are cruelty-free?

Some of them are Klairs, COSRX, Purito and iUNIK.

How to know who a brand’s suppliers are?

Most brands report them in conference calls and press releases, which can be consulted on the brand’s website.

What are Pre-market and Post-market testing?

Some products are required by law to be tested before they can be sold (Pre-market) and sometimes products are tested after they are already available in the stores (Post-market).

What are the cruelty-free certifications? 

They are granted by organizations that endorse that a product’s elaboration didn’t involve any type of animal harm. The most recognized certifications are “Cruelty Free International” and “PETA Cruelty Free”. 

Is Etude House Cruelty-Free?

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