Is Sally Hansen cruelty free? Here’s what you need to know.

As a consumer, it’s important to be mindful of the companies we support. When you’re buying nail polish, you’re voting with your dollar. So, if you’re looking for a cruelty-free option, is Sally Hansen the best choice? In this post, we’re going to find out is Sally Hansen cruelty-free?

Hopefully, you have time to read this whole post, but if you are in a hurry, here’s the short and fast answer to is Sally Hansen cruelty-free:

Sally Hansen nail products are not currently certified as cruelty-free. However, Sally Hansen claims that they do not test products on animals. As of April 2022, they are in the process of applying for cruelty-free certification from Leaping Bunny.

As you can see, the answer to the question: is Sally Hansen cruelty-free? is complicated.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and I’ll explain.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is cruelty-free beauty?

The words “cruelty-free” are used a lot in the beauty industry.

But what do they mean exactly?

Generally speaking, if a product is cruelty-free, it means that no animals have been harmed while creating and/or testing that product.

The term is used most often in reference to cosmetics, but it can apply to other products as well, like clothing or cleaning supplies.

Cruelty free is a bit different from vegan, but the two terms often overlap.

You see, there are lots of animal-derived substances that are used to make nail polish.

Guanine for example (aka pearl essence) is a substance used to add shimmer that actually comes from fish scales.

Carmine is made by boiling and crushing female cochineal insects and is used to add color, particularly to red nail polish.

If nail polish is labeled as “vegan” it means that the product does not contain any of these animal-derived products.

If it’s labelled as “cruelty-free” it means that no animal testing was involved.

But, as you can tell from the above example a nail polish can be considered “cruelty-free” but still cause harm to living creatures (if carmine is used).

Why do people want cruelty-free nail polish?

People care about cruelty-free beauty for a variety of reasons.

Some people (myself included) feel strongly that animals should not be harmed for the sake of human vanity.

The experiments conducted on animals are often horrific and deadly.

As PETA explains, some of these tests:

“involve dripping substances into their eyes, smearing products onto their shaved or scraped skin, or forcing them to ingest or inhale huge quantities of chemicals.”

Quote is taken from Peta.org – “Vegan nail polish brands that don’t test on animals“.

Others may have environmental concerns, or they may simply prefer to use products with fewer chemicals in them, which is often the case with cruelty-free products.

Whatever the reason, more and more consumers are looking for cruelty-free options when they shop for beauty products.

How can I tell if a product is cruelty-free?

Marketers can sometimes be tricksters. They know that consumers want cruelty-free products and they will use that to their advantage.

So, how can you tell if a product is really cruelty-free?

The easiest way to know for sure is to look for the bunny logo.

Many cruelty-free beauty companies are certified by one of two organizations: Leaping Bunny or PETA.

PETA has 3 logos. They all have the bunny ears and the following words on them to say exactly what each one means:

  • Animal test free
  • Both animal test free and vegan
  • Peta approved (only used in Europe)

The animal test-free logo means that neither the company nor its suppliers condone, conduct, or fund animal testing in any form anywhere in the world.

The animal test-free plus vegan logo means that the brand’s entire product line is also free from animal-derived products.

If a product is Leaping Bunny certified, it means that the company conducts no animal testing anywhere in the world or at any stage of developing the product.

It also means that the brand did not buy any ingredients that were tested on animals.

To be Leaping Bunny certified, companies must also be open to annual audits to check that cruelty-free standards are being maintained.

You can read the whole Leaping Bunny standards here.

Is Sally Hansen cruelty-free?

This is a difficult question to answer.

Here’s what we know.

Sally Hansen is owned by a company called Coty Inc.

Coty Inc was removed from Peta’s Global Beauty without Bunnies Program because they fund deadly animal testing of nail products in China.

It’s confusing because Coty owns several nail brands, including Covergirl – which is Leaping Bunny certified, and OPI, which is sold in China and therefore tested on animals as required by law.

When asked on Instagram, Sally Hansen claimed that they no longer sell or distribute in China (they used to though) and that they are against all forms of animal testing.

They say that they are currently under review by Leaping Bunny, but that the application process can take years.

When Sally Hansen has been asked to clarify whether they currently test on animals, the responses have been vague and unclear.

According to Peta, the parent company (Coty inc) does support animal testing.

So it seems that cruelty-free brands can be owned by a company that is not cruelty-free.

So I guess it’s up to you to decide whether you want to support a company (Sally Hansen) that claims to be cruelty-free but which is owned by another company (Coty inc) that does support animal testing in China and when required to by law.

Does Sally Hansen test on animals?

Sally Hansen claims that they do not condone or endorse animal testing and that they are in partnership with Cruelty-Free international.

However, they currently have no official cruelty-free certification, and given that their parent company does own other brands (like OPI) that do test nail products on animals, it is unclear whether there is any cross-over.

It’s also unclear whether Sally Hansen currently sells and distributes its products in China.

This is important because if they do sell in China, then Sally Hansen nail products are required to be tested on animals by law. This means that they can not be cruelty-free.

Their social media responses indicate that they do not sell in China, however, the wording on their UK website hints that they do. Here’s a direct quote:

“Some governments or agencies stipulate the testing of finished products on animals in accordance with local legal and regulatory requirements. An example is China, where we continue to be involved in the dialogue with the Chinese authorities, including through our active membership of industry groups, to find alternatives to their use of animal testing.”

Quote is taken from the FAQ page on Sally Hansen’s UK website.

So, it’s really hard to tell for sure whether or not they condone or fund animal testing.

Are Sally Hansen nail polishes vegan?

Most of Sally Hansen’s nail polishes are not vegan. But some of them are.

Their Good, Kind, Pure Range which contains 30 colors claims to be 100% vegan, and 16 free.

However, because of the fact that they are owned by Coty inc (a company known to allow animal testing in China), some people and agencies remain skeptical.

Does Sally Hansen fund animal testing?

It is unclear whether Sally Hansen as a company actually funds animal testing.

But their parent company – Coty inc – definitely does.

Does Sally Hansen sell in China?

It appears that they used to sell in China, but that they have stopped doing so.

However, the company is still in communication with Chinese distributors, so the doors are still open so to speak.

Final thoughts

As a consumer, it can be difficult to know which products are cruelty-free. Oftentimes, it seems like every brand is testing on animals in some way or another. It’s hard to keep track of who’s cruelty-free and who’s not, especially when ownership changes hands or when companies merge.

But it’s important to remember that every purchase we make is a vote. So if you’re looking for a cruelty-free option, Sally Hansen might not be the best choice. There are plenty of other great brands out there that don’t test on animals and that are vegan too. Do your research and choose the products that best align with your values.