My new perspective on certified CF brands in Mainland China

New Perspective on certified CF brands in Mainland China

After a long discussion with popular fellow cruelty-free blogger, I got convinced to start recognising Leaping Bunny or PETA-certified brands that sell in Mainland China as cruelty-free.


Since over a year ago Mainland Chinese authorities have changed their requirements. In Mainland China, cosmetics are categorised into two categories. On one side you have non-special use cosmetics (let’s call it general use cosmetics to simplify things) which include hair care, nail care, skincare, perfumes, and makeup, and on the other side, you have special use cosmetics which include products with claims for hair growth, hair dye, hair perm, hair removal, breast shaping, fitness, deodorizing, spot removal, whitening and sunblock.

There are also two stages of cosmetics testing in Mainland China. One is pre-market testing which requires animal testing, the second one is post-market testing which no longer requires animal testing.

When the general use cosmetics are produced in China, they don’t need to go through pre-market testing, so animal testing is avoided. Imported general use cosmetics can also avoid pre-market testing as long as proof for safety is provided. However, special use cosmetics still need to go through pre-market testing whether or not they are produced in China. So a brand to sell cosmetics in Mainland China and remain/become cruelty-free, it needs to sell only general use cosmetics.

What about non-routine post-market tests?

In case you did not read my blog post about animal testing in Mainland China, the post-market testing is split into two. There is the routine post-market testing which is required but does not require animal testing. Then there is the non-routine post-market testing, which happens when a customer files a safety report about a particular product. There is a high risk that animal testing is used for non-routine post-market testing. So due to non-routine post-market tests, I was listing every brand that sells cosmetics in Mainland China as not cruelty-free. However, it seems that even in EU these non-routine post-market test could make use of animal testing.

At first, I did not believe it since in EU there is a ban on animal-tested cosmetics. However, since Summer 2020, I have discovered that the EU was testing some ingredients that are found in sunblocks. I kept it quiet till now to see how it evolves. Recently I have read that the EU is considering to scrap the ban on animal-tested cosmetics. That is why I no longer kept it quiet.

What are my next steps?

So with this reasoning, I went through my brands that test on animals list and removed any brand that is PETA-certified cruelty-free like Dove and Wet N Wild. For the ones that are not yet certified, I have a questionnaire which I will email to the companies after the holidays. I wish to start sending now. However, it is most likely to be lost in a crowd of emails since companies go on Christmas Shutdown. According to their reply, I will decide whether they are cruelty-free or not.

I am usually a person of few words and not the type who writes long texts. However, a complex and delicate issue as this cannot be explained in one short paragraph. I hope I used the right words to help you understand it. If you need more detail, please do not hesitate to ask further.


(a.k.a. Fiona Henschel) Malta-born blogger. I have been blogging during these last 6 years on my cruelty-free lifestyle including recipes, beauty and makeup products that I discover, receive, buy and try.