Is Burt’s Bees cruelty-free as of 2021?
Short answer- yes…but only about 99.9% so.
What’s the deal with that last .01%?
Read on to learn about their animal testing policies, parent company and more to find out.
Burt’s Bees Animal Testing Policies
Let’s start with our top question: Does Burt’s Bees test on animals. The short answer? No, the brand does not test on animals AT ALL.
In fact, that’s what drew me to them so many years ago when I first discovered them.
Back then (I know, that makes me sound old), there were literally like two CF beauty brands- Beauty Without Cruelty and Kiss My Face.
So when any new brand came on the market, I did the dance of joy!
Today, all these years later, the brand still stands by their “against animal testing” roots.
They’re also as passionate about using high-quality natural ingredients in their products today as they were 20+ years ago.
Overall, they’re an AMAZING brand! That said, there’s one thing that holds me back from calling them 100% best cruelty-free beauty brand.
We’ll get to that in one moment, but I want to tell you why that 0.01% has NOTHING to do with them selling their products in China. Bear with me, it’s important.
Wait, if Burt’s sells in China, doesn’t that automatically make them NOT cruelty-free?
If you read ANY of our posts on this topic, you know that selling in China almost always knocks a brand out of running for CF beauty brands.
However, in Burt’s case, they’re only selling direct-to-consumer. China’s newest laws let consumers buy non-animal-tested products online, such as through a brand’s website.
As of right now, products sold in physical stores throughout China are still tested on animals by law. However, that’s supposed to change by the end of 2021.
Pre-market testing will no longer be required. Unfortunately, if someone complains about a product, China could require animal testing post-market. So it’s not a total win, but it’s progress!
In Burt’s Bees’ case, though, it’s moot. As of now, they only sell direct-to-consumer, so they retain their cruelty-free status even though they sell in China.
So why aren’t they 100% cruelty-free, then???
The main reason why Burt’s loses its CF status in my book has nothing to do with the brand itself and everything to do with the parent company.
Back in 2007, Clorox bought Burt’s Bees. Yes Clorox, as in the same company that cleaning products (and NOT the happy earth-friendly natural kind).
Clorox actually owns quite a few rather surprising brands, including a few vitamin and supplement lines, and- perhaps the most shocking- Hidden Valley (the people who make salad dressing).
I digress, though. Let’s look at Clorox’s animal testing policies to get a better understanding of how it cost Burt’s it’s former “100% cruelty-free status” in my book.
Clorox, Burt’s Bees Parent Company is NOT Cruelty-Free (but they are trying)
I have to give Clorox credit, they really are trying to put their animal-testing days behind them.
I remember when Burt’s first sold out to them, I was SO disappointed because Clorox was at the top of “not kind to animals” list.
That’s changed quite a bit over the years. Today, I’d go so far as to call them “industry giants who lead the mission to stop animal testing.”
However, according to their policy statement, they still test on animals “where required by law” when no other alternatives exist.
Here’s a snippet from their statement (I bolded an important point that we’ll discuss in a moment).
Clorox does not conduct — or cause a third party to conduct on its behalf — any animal testing on products or formula ingredients that Clorox develops internally, unless the testing is required by law and there is no viable alternative to such testing. When the law requires such tests, Clorox only selects highly qualified contract research facilities that comply with all applicable animal welfare standards. Additionally, for our Burt’s Bees cosmetics and personal care products, we have a zero tolerance for animal testing for both formulation and ingredients.
I know I’ve said before (and I’ll probably say it again)- there’s no “but” or “except” when it comes to animal testing. You either do or you don’t.
If we were talking about any other parent company, I’d cross Burt’s off my cruelty-free list and move on.
However, let’s discuss that bolded section, because it’s pretty important.
Clorox has ZERO tolerance policy for Burt’s Bees
While some Clorox products are tested on animals (when required by law), they do have a zero-tolerance policy for Burt’s Bees.
This means that there are NO exceptions, no ifs, ands or buts. To me, that’s enough to make them “cruelty-free enough” in my book.
Burt’s Bees Cruelty-Free FAQs
We covered some of these above, but I like to do a very quick summary, especially for all you skimmers out there.
Is Burt’s Bees vegan-friendly brand?
No, as the many of their products contain beeswax and other bee-centric ingredients.
What Parent Company Owns Burt’s Bees
Clorox, which is NOT cruelty-free
Is Burt’s Bees Certified by Leaping Bunny?
Yes, but with a note that their parent company is NOT cruelty-free
Final Words About Burt’s Bees Cruelty-Free Status
I usually close with a few cruelty-free alternatives, but given all that we’ve learned, I feel like Burt’s Bees deserves our hard-earned money.
Typically, I hold parent companies against brands. If said parent has even the loosest connection to animal testing, it’s usually enough to knock ALL of their “children” off my cruelty-free shopping list.
However, Clorox goes farther than some of the other parent companies that we’ve discussed.
For example, when we talked about whether or not Neutrogena is cruelty-free, we saw that their parent company is Johnson & Johnson, a company that does an excruciating amount of animal testing in their pharmaceutical brand.
So, between Clorox’s zero-tolerance policy Burt’s and the company’s overall dedication to putting an end to animal testing, I feel comfortable continuing to purchase Burt’s Bees products.
I feel like if we say, “Sorry, Burt’s, but since your parent company is only 99% cruelty-free, you’re off our shopping list,” we’re sending a message that their efforts don’t matter, and they may think “why bother?”
Does that make sense? What do you think?
Related: Is Aveeno a 100% Cruelty-Free Brand?