Are Dove and Herbal Essences Cruelty-free?

Recently, you may have heard of a couple of big skincare giant brands going becoming “Cruelty-free”. As of today, Feb 27, 2019, both Dove(Owned by Unilever) and Herbal Essences(Owned by Proctor & Gamble) have been certified Cruelty-free by PETA. But are they truly 100% Cruelty-free!?


To understand this better, let’s deep dive into PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies certification requirements. Below is the exact quote from PETA’s website:

Company representatives interested in having their company’s name added to our cruelty-free list(s) must complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance verifying that they do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future. PETA will then add qualifying companies to our pocket-sized Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide, our Shopping Guide brochure, and our online searchable database of cruelty-free companies.


As you can see, all PETA asks the companies is to just fill a short questionnaire and take a pledge! I mean, really!?? How can you even call this legit?

  • PETA currently doesn’t have any audits like Leaping Bunny to ensure that the companies are actually abiding by the pledge that they took.
  • Their certifications DO NOT even guarantee that brands are not selling in markets where animal testing is required by law ie, these brands can still sell in Mainland China where post-market animal testing is mandatory!
  • Last but not least, this pledge is only taken by the company filing for PETA’s BWE certification. PETA doesn’t require the third party companies associated with this company to take the pledge ie, the primary company can take the pledge based on their knowledge of their suppliers. This doesn’t guarantee that the suppliers are 100% Cruelty-free!
  • In Conclusion, there are so loopholes in PETA’s certification that their list CANNOT be a truly trusted source.

To understand this in-depth, you can read my post on the differences between both Leaping Bunny Vs. PETA’s certifications.


To understand this lets deep dive into answering the below questions.

Do they sell their products in markets where animal testing is required by law?

Yes, both Dove and Herbal Essences still sell their products in Mainland China (animal testing is required by law) and will continue to do so. Both these brands claim that the products they sell in China are/will be manufactured and produced in China and that those products are not required to be tested on animals. This is true, as per China’s pre-market testing laws, they if the products are manufactured in China, they DO NOT need to be tested on animals. However, all brands regardless of where they are manufactured, are subjected to POST_MARKET testing on animals ie, cosmetic products can be chosen at random and removed from shelves for “confirmatory” animal testing to ensure that the product on sale to customers is same as formulation approved for sale. This is often done without a company’s knowledge or consent and is impossible for any brand to get exempted from this particular law.

Are they owned by parent companies that test on Animals?

Yes, both these companies are owned by parent companies that test on animals.

  • Dove is owned by UNILEVER which still tests on animals.
  • Herbal Essences is owned by PROCTOR & GAMBLE which still tests on animals.


Based on the above-disclosed facts, both DOVE and HERBAL ESSENCES are NOT TRULY 100% CRUELTY-FREE!

Most disheartening aspect in all this is PETA has once again proven to NOT be the most trustworthy source. PETA definitely has great intentions. But their certifications have a lot of loopholes. So, when a brand is solely PETA certified, I would recommend you to do your research to understand if the brand is truly 100% Cruelty-free.

I want to provide this information so you can make the right choice. You can comment below if you have any questions. You can also let me know if you are confused about any other brands. I am happy to research and provide you with the right information.

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