Is Cetaphil Cruelty-free and 100% Vegan?

Updated: Aug 15

Cetaphil is no newcomer in the beauty and skin care products scene. Dating back to 1947, Cetaphil has had a long run at providing consumers in over 70 countries with affordable and reliable beauty and skin care products.

The brand started when a Texas pharmacist created the Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion and has grown to include moisturizers, sun protection creams, brightening lotions, cleansers and baby products.

Notably, the brand has much success in providing skin care solutions for the demography of individuals with sensitive skin conditions, including eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, etcetera.


vets are cutting rabbit's nails
Ethical consumers abhor animal testing of skin care products

Achieving this feat is majorly responsible for its reputation as a highly rated skincare brand. Dermatologists and other health care providers have also recommended it because of its effective solution for various skin types and conditions.

Despite all these, Cetaphil has come under scrutiny by ethical consumers asking, is Cetaphil cruelty-free? Proponents of veganism also want to know, is Cetaphil vegan? An honest answer to these questions will determine if the vegan populace can patronize this brand in good faith.

If you're looking for an answer to the question, is Cetaphil vegan and cruelty-free? Read to the end to discover the truth!

What Does Cruelty-free Imply?

Over time, companies tested their products on animals to measure their probable safety on humans once it's on the market. This practice harms animals which didn't sit well with individuals who promote veganism.

To curtail this practice, non-animal testing procedures are available to evaluate products before sending them into the market. The presence of these alternative tests ushered in the era of cruelty-free manufacturing and marketing practices.

Cruelty-free testing practices has been around for some years now. Basically, it denotes products and companies that no longer subscribe to animal testing of products.

However, products getting a cruelty-free certification run more profound than this definition. It's also essential to note that certain brands claim to be cruelty-free only as a marketing strategy and not in its true sense.

In addition to not conducting animal testing, a cruelty-free certification queries if companies or their suppliers test ingredients on animals. It demands to know if a brand hires a third party to carry out animal testing.

Also, brands that yield to animal testing because a country's law demands it and brands that sell their products in mainland China aren't considered cruelty-free.

In order to grant a cruelty-free certification, companies must willingly and openly supply sincere answers to the concerns above. Usually, a Leaping Bunny Certification or Choose Cruelty-free certification marks cruelty-free skincare products.


Plant based sign on the table
Vegan products don’t contain animal products or by-products


What Makes a Product Vegan?

Veganism goes beyond abstaining from consuming animal products. Its reach extends to staying off animal by-products and practices that risk animal life and safety.

On this premise, vegan skincare and beauty products don't contain any trace of animal raw material or by-products of animals like beeswax, honey, tallowate, etcetera. Vegan products also differ from vegetarian products, which don't have animal products but can contain some elements derived from animals.

Therefore, a product is 100% vegan if it's devoid of animal products or by-products. However, this status doesn't confer a cruelty-free certification on such products. Finding skin care products that are 100% vegan theoretically yet undertake animal testing is possible.

So, products manufactured without animal products and by-products may not be seen as vegan if they aren't cruelty-free.

To identify vegan skin care products, there are four different types of third-party certification to note, namely,

  • Vegan Action

  • Vegan Society

  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

  • The Vegetarian Society

Is Cetaphil Cruelty-free?

There's a roaring debate over the issue, does Cetaphil test on animals? On one end, Cetaphil maintains that its parent company, Galderma doesn't conduct animal testing with Cetaphil brands. Going on, they claim to partner with the Institue for In Vitro Science (IIVS) and promote non-animal testing alternatives for their cosmetics.

Nevertheless, Cetaphil permits animal testing in regions where the law demands it, such as China. By allowing this, Cetaphil falters in one of the essential demands for cruelty-free certification. Apparently, permeating one of the world's largest beauty markets for profits outweighs eliminating practices that harm animals.

China is well-known for its animal testing law that requires animal testing for beauty and skincare products in the country. This law operates mainly on China's mainland, whereas Hong-kong and certain other regions in China operate under different rules. Products sold online are exempt from this law as well.

However, in 2021 China made some modifications to the law abolishing animal testing for domestic products whilst maintaining animal testing requirements for special use products. In China, hair dyes, anti-hair loss products, brightening lotions and sun protection which Cetaphil has a brand, all fall under the special use products category.

Given these lapses in sticking to cruelty-free standards, Cetaphil certainly can't be considered cruelty-free. Especially seeing how the parent company has a reputation for animal testing on their other product lines.

Is Cetaphil Vegan?

Cetaphil claims it manufactures most of its products without animal products or by-products, such as beeswax, collagen, glycerin, albumin, etcetera. Nonetheless, there are Cetaphil products that have sodium tallowate as a constituent. The presence of such products begs the question, is Cetaphil vegan?

Additionally, the fact that certain ingredients like glycerin have animal, plant and synthetic sources further complicate the issue. The result is that there's no way to prove the production of such products is devoid of animal products. This poses a problem in classifying Cetaphil products as vegan.

Furthermore, Cetaphil's compromise towards its claim of cruelty-free practices doesn't yield to practices upheld by veganism. Seeing as the brand permits animal testing where the law requires it and because they sell products in mainland China, it's challenging to exonerate it from animal testing.

This situation diminishes the cruelty-free claim as a mere marketing stunt. You might also want to know that Cetaphil doesn't have either a Leaping Bunny or PETA certification. So, individuals who support animal safety may have valid reservations about patronizing the brand.


A kid with skin problems
Gluten-sensitive individuals react to gluten-containing skin care products

Is Cetaphil Gluten Free?

Besides causing celiac diseases when consumed orally, gluten equally has undesirable implications when specific individuals use gluten-containing beauty or skin care products.

Gluten-sensitive individuals are prone to developing certain skin conditions when using gluten-containing products. The common conditions include Dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis, urticaria, rosacea, eczema, and acne.

Staying clear of gluten in any form is associated with improving vitiligo; hence contact with gluten may hinder a favorable development.

Therefore, there's a tangible reason for consumers to ask, is Cetaphil gluten-free? Cetaphil, the brand's website FAQ section, holds that its products aren't known gluten sources.

However, it also states that the parent company doesn't conduct any test for trace amounts of gluten in the ingredients or introduced through the manufacturing process. Hence, it advises gluten-sensitive consumers to seek expert opinion before utilizing its products.

While putting up this response on its FAQ is commendable, it's not enough to include Cetaphil as a gluten-free brand. The implication is that consumers might be wary of gluten presence if they want to use the product.

Is Cetaphil Natural?

Ethical consumers are querying, is Cetaphil vegan? However, some consumers want to know if the products are 100% natural. Certain benefits trail the use of natural products, giving them an edge over synthetic counterparts. Natural products are known to soothe and nourish the skin, are harmless to users and the environment and trigger no allergic response.

In the light of these benefits, it isn't out of place to ask, is Cetaphil natural? Cetaphil manufactures its products by incorporating some key ingredients. These ingredients include niacinamide, panthenol, aloe vera, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, glycerin, tocopherol, shea butter, bisabolol, etcetera. All of these ingredients are known natural products.

Nevertheless, certain Cetaphil products contain parabens and other synthetic ingredients that could have damaging effects in the long run.

Therefore, we can only say Cetaphil has natural products, but this doesn't make it an all-natural brand. Checking the ingredients is an excellent guide to selecting natural Cetaphil products while leaving out the rest.

Final Words

At a closer glance, Cetaphil doesn't meet all the requirements for cruelty-free certification. Although the brand doesn't personally carry out animal testing, it permits animal testing where the law requires it. It also sells its products in mainland China which goes against certain aspects of what cruelty-free upholds.

In addition, Cetaphil not having a Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty-free certification reduces its cruelty-free claim to a mere marketing stunt.

Also, Cetaphil makes a range of products that are 100% vegan. However, certain of their products contain the animal by-product, tallowate. Due to this, the brand isn't entirely vegan. It equally lacks a PETA certification.

Gluten-sensitive consumers might also be wary of using Cetaphil products. As much as Cetaphil proposes that its products don't contain known sources of gluten, testing is absent for possible traces of gluten in their products. This development makes it unlikely to categorize them as gluten-free.

Additionally, particular Cetaphil products aren't entirely natural and may be unsuitable for consumers who want natural products.

Therefore, Cetaphil's sketchy stance on the issues raised above makes it hard for consumers who are vegans to use the brand without compromising their fight.