Is CeraVe Cruelty Free? Do They Test On Animals Or Not?

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Being vegan doesn’t start and stop with food. Veganism means living your life in a way that doesn’t exploit animals, and that includes avoiding animal ingredients and companies that conduct animal tests.

CeraVe is an affordable dermatological skincare brand that you might have seen online or on the shelves of your grocery store. Is CeraVe cruelty free? Is it tested on animals? Is CeraVe vegan?

Let’s have a look.

Who are CeraVe and Who Owns the Brand?

cerave logo

CeraVe is a new skincare brand that was developed with the help of dermatologists. It’s aimed at people with sensitive skin and eczema.

The name is derived from essential ceramides, which are a kind of waxy lipid molecule used in some kinds of cosmetics.

CeraVe sells no-frills moisturizers and cleansers. They’re non-comedogenic, which means that they don’t clog pores or cause acne. They’re also fragrance free and non-irritating.

CeraVe’s claim to fame is its proprietary MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology (MVE), which, the company says, releases moisturizers evenly over the course of 24 hours.

Is CeraVe owned by another company? Yes. In 2017, the French cosmetics company L’Oréal acquired CeraVe.

But is CeraVe Cruelty Free?

is cerave vegan and cruelty free

This is a complicated question.

In 1989, L’Oréal completely ceased testing their products on animals in most places. In addition, the company has been at the forefront of developing alternative testing methods to ensure consumers’ health without the need for animal testing. (1)

They developed, for example, a technology for reconstructing human skin models. This has allowed them to avoid animal testing when it’s not required by law. L’Oréal was the first and only brand to do this at the time, though other skincare brands have followed.

What’s more, L’Oréal has made these technologies available to governments, individuals and other companies, too, in order to reduce the amount of animal testing around the world.

L’Oréal, CeraVe, and Animal Testing

While L’Oréal doesn’t animal test products sold in the EU (animal testing is against the law in the EU), products sold in mainland China are tested on animals, as animal testing is required by health authorities for products sold there.

This means that CeraVe products sold online may or may not have been tested on animals.

CeraVe’s website is conspicuously silent on the matter of animal testing. L’Oréal, the parent company of CeraVe, also makes no statement about CeraVe’s cruelty free status.

One might assume that CeraVe’s animal welfare policies are the same as those of its parent company. That is, that products are tested on animals in places like mainland China, where animal testing is required under the law, but not tested on animals where testing is not required. 

One might make that assumption, but there is no way to be certain.

In cases such as this, we always look for cruelty free certification from a certifying organization like Leaping Bunny. CeraVe’s products do not carry any such certification. (2)

Animal Ingredients

Several of CeraVe’s offerings boast plant based moisturizers. But that doesn’t mean that all of their products’ ingredients are animal free. Cosmetics contain many other ingredients in addition to moisturizers, and plenty of them are animal derived. (3)

CeraVe’s product labels and website do not offer any other information about the origin of their ingredients. Several CeraVe products contain hyaluronic acid, for example, which can come from either animal or plant sources. 

Is CeraVe cruelty free and / or vegan? The jury is out, but if you’re avoiding animal ingredients, then it’s probably best to be cautious.

Are CeraVe’s Products Cruelty-Free?


CeraVe products tested and sold in mainland China will have been tested on animals, though products manufactured and sold in Europe will not have been tested on animals. And product sold online? That’s anyone’s guess.

Are CeraVe’s Products Vegan?


Some of CeraVe’s products contain ingredients that could be either animal derived or plant derived. The company doesn’t specify.

Moreover, none of CeraVe’s products carry either vegan or cruelty free certifications.

How Can You Be Sure?

vegan logos for cruelty-free products

If you want to be absolutely certain that your cosmetics do not involve animals in any way, it’s important to look for two distinct certifications: cruelty free and vegan. It’s also important to realize that one may or may not include the other.

Vegan Certifications 

Here are a few agencies that certify products to be free of animal products. (4)

  • The Vegan Society
  • VegeCert
  • BeVeg ISO (NSF)
  • Eve Vegan
  • Vegan Action
  • Plamil Vegan Trademark
  • V-Label

Cruelty Free Certifications

These are a few of the agencies certify products to be free from animal testing.

  • Leaping Bunny
  • Beauty Without Bunnies
  • Cruelty Free International

Does CeraVe Produce Sustainable Skincare?

We want to give credit where it’s due.

In addition to being a pioneer in alternative testing methods, CeraVe’s parent brand L’Oréal has committed to wide ranging initiatives in the areas of:

  • Fighting climate change
  • Respecting biodiversity
  • Using water responsibly
  • Preserving natural resources

So in this way, L’Oréal and CeraVe are a step ahead of many mainstream brands, even if CeraVe is not cruelty free or vegan.

Are There Vegan Alternatives to CeraVe?

There are both cruelty free and vegan alternatives to CeraVe products.

CeraVe is a dermatalogical skin care brand that markets itself toward people with sensitive skin. Here are some cruelty free brands that are certified free of animal testing and animal derived ingredients, which address the same customer needs.

Cover F/X

cover fx logo

Cover F/X was a vegan and cruelty free brand before either of these was on most people’s radar. 

This vegan, cruelty free brand makes both cosmetics and skin care products. If you’re looking for vegan products like CeraVe’s hydrating cleanser, you might consider Cover F/X’s Future Perfect Water Optional Cleanser. 

People looking for a great moisturizing cream might consider their Custom Blending Moisturizer.


antipodes logo

Antipodes is a vegan and cruelty free brand from New Zealand that sells skincare products that are certified organic, cruelty free, and contain only vegan ingredients.

In addition, they are an active company working alongside their suppliers and distributors toward a more sustainable and regenerative business model.

Antipodes makes a range of skin and body care products for different skin types and skin care needs.

Users with sensitive skin may enjoy Antipodes’ Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream for moisturizing, and their Ananda Antioxidant Rich Gentle Toner for cleansing.

Earth Harbor

earth harbor logo

Earth Harbor‘s skin care products are good for body, soul, and planet alike.

In addition to being certified cruelty free and vegan, Earth Harbor’s production is carbon neutral. They also give one percent of their profits to support marine life and water conservation causes.

Earth Harbor’s products include moisturizers, cleaners, toners, sunscreen and hair care products.


mun skincare logo

MŪN is a minimalistic skin care brand founded by celebrity makeup artist Munemi Imai. In addition to providing vegan, cruelty free alternatives for skin care, Mun products are certified organic. All of their products are made from natural ingredients, and are sustainably produced, too.

Athar’a Pure

Athar’a Pure Logo

Athar’a Pure is an Ayurvedic skin care brand that uses only vegan ingredients and is certified cruelty free by both Leaping Bunny and PETA. 

Ayurvedic medicine divides people into three different body types: kapha, pitta, and vata. Their skin care products are likewise aimed at skin types based on these categories. (The website has a fun quiz to help you figure out which type you are).


thesis beauty logo

Thesis is a vegan, cruelty free, plastic free skincare and cosmetics brand. They make a wide range of moisturizers, cleansers, deodorants, lotions, and body washes for both men and women.

Many Thesis ingredients are sourced in the USA. The ingredients that are not, are fair trade certified.

If you’re looking for the ultimate in socially conscious cosmetics and body care, this company could be a contender.

The Verdict

Is CeraVe considered cruelty free? No. CeraVe is not cruelty free and not vegan. 

CeraVe products may contain animal based ingredients and ingredients tested on animals. The products themselves may, in some places, have been tested on animals in places where cosmetic regulation requires it.

Fortunately, there are many vegan cosmetic products and vegan and cruelty free brands that produce similar products.

What are your favorite vegan and cruelty free brands? Did they make our list?

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is cerave vegan friendly
About The Author:
Jess Faraday

Jess Faraday is a vegetarian from a family of vegetarians. A recent vegan, she wants to spread the word about the benefits of plant-based eating for health, for animals, and for the planet.

  1. L’Oreal Group | For Beauty Without Animal Testing |
  2. Leaping Bunny | Homepage |
  3. PETA | Animal Derived Ingredients List |
  4. Vegan Labels | Vegan Labels List |


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