Is Shea Moisture Cruelty-Free And Vegan?

Each year, more and more companies are making the switch to ethical, sustainable practices. There are currently plenty of cruelty-free and vegan skincare products to choose from, but they’re not always easy to decipher from other brands that falsely claim to have animals’ best interests in mind.

Shea Moisture is a shea butter-based skincare, haircare, and body care brand known for using natural ingredients in their products. Is Shea Moisture cruelty-free? Are they vegan? 

Is Shea Moisture Cruelty-Free And Vegan?

Because Shea Moisture doesn’t test their products on animals, buy ingredients from suppliers who do, or sell their items where animal testing is a legal requirement, they are a genuinely cruelty-free brand. However, they are not entirely vegan, as some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients.

I​n this post, we’ll discuss why Shea Moisture is cruelty-free but not vegan.

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Is Shea Moisture Cruelty-Free?

Shea Moisture is fully committed to only using non-animal testing practices and testing for their products. As a result, Shea Moisture can be considered a cruelty-free brand.

Shea Moisture products and ingredients are never tested on animals. They don’t ask any third parties to do the testing for them or purchase ingredients from suppliers who test on animals.

In addition, they refuse to sell their products in mainland China, where they would be required to test all of their cosmetics on animals before placing them on the market.

As a result, Shea Moisture can be considered a cruelty-free brand.

SheaMoisture 100% Raw Shea Butter

Is Shea Moisture Owned By A Parent Company That Tests On Animals?

Shea Moisture is owned by Unilever, a large conglomerate that owns many companies. Unilever doesn’t test their products on animals where it’s not legally required. Unfortunately, they do test their products on animals where laws require them to do so. 

Even after being acquired by Unilever in 2017, Shea Moisture has not started to test their products on animals. Hopefully, they will maintain their position and continue to be cruelty-free. 

Is Shea Moisture Certified Cruelty-Free?

I​t’s easy for companies to claim to be cruelty-free while still testing their products on animals where it’s required by law. To help combat this, several third-party companies offer cruelty-free certifications to companies that meet specific criteria.

The Leaping Bunny organization has the most requirements among the major certification organizations, and because of this, it’s much more challenging to gain the use of the Leaping Bunny logo. Here is a summary of the qualifications a company must meet to be Leaping Bunny certified:

  • None of their products or ingredients can be tested on animals.
  • T​hey can’t pay other companies to test their products on animals for them. 
  • T​hey aren’t allowed to buy supplies from suppliers who participate in animal testing.
  • T​hey are required to monitor their suppliers to verify they aren’t ever testing products on animals.
  • T​hey can’t sell their products in places where it’s legally required to test on animals.
  • T​hey have to recommit to the regulations each year.

P​ETA, on the other hand, has fewer regulations. This makes it easier for companies to qualify for certification and use the Beauty Without Bunnies logo. Here are the requirements companies must adhere to:

  • T​hey can’t test their products on animals.
  • T​heir suppliers can’t test any ingredients or products on animals.
  • Because they can’t test on animals, they can’t sell their products in places where they legally need to test on animals.

While Shea Moisture isn’t Leaping Bunny certified, they are certified cruelty-free through PETA. They are authorized to place the Beauty Without Bunnies logo on their products. It’s unclear why they aren’t certified by Leaping Bunny.

Is Shea Moisture Vegan?

Shea Moisture is not a vegan brand. They formulate many of their products with ingredients derived from animals. 

For example, take into consideration Shea Moisture’s skincare line. Allantoin, panthenol, glycerin, and L-proline are just a few ingredients in Shea Moisture Papaya & Vitamin C Brighter Days Ahead Night Cream.

These ingredients in the moisturizer can be derived from plants, but they can also come from animals. Since Shea Moisture doesn’t list where these ingredients come from, it’s hard to know whether these active ingredients in their skincare products are derived from plants or animals.

Another example of a non-vegan Shea Moisture product is from their hair care line. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Split End Balm contains honey and yogurt. Both yogurt and honey are always derived from animals. 

Do Shea Moisture Products Contain Animal-Derived Ingredients?

Though most of Shea Moisture’s products contain plant-based shea butter, they also contain animal-derived ingredients.

Examples of non-vegan ingredients in their products include pearl protein, honey, yogurt, beeswax, conchiolin protein, keratin, lanolin, milk, and lactose.

However, Shea Moisture does offer a few vegan options. On their website, they have four products (lip balm and salve) listed as “vegan”:

  • Fruit Fusion Vegan Lip Butterstick
  • 1​00% Virgin Coconut Oil Vegan Lip Butterstick
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Vegan Lip Butterstick
  • 1​00% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Vegan Salve

Because Shea Moisture doesn’t offer a complete list of which products are vegan and which are not, it’s necessary to read the ingredient label for each product. While this is laborious, it’s the only way to determine if the product you’re interested in is vegan. 

Is Shea Moisture Sold In China?

Shea Moisture does not sell any of their products in China, one of the few places in the world that still legally requires cosmetics to be tested on animals.

While their laws regarding animal testing have relaxed in recent years, the majority of cosmetics must be tested on animals before they’re allowed to be on the market in China.

Though China is a potentially huge market for Shea Moisture to sell their skin and hair products, their commitment to humane testing practices outweighs their desire to grow profits.

Instead of giving in and adhering to Chinese laws, they choose to only sell their products where animal testing isn’t required.

Final Thoughts: Is Shea Moisture Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

While it’s fantastic that Shea Moisture refuses to test any of their on animals, they are still a non-vegan brand because they use animal-derived ingredients in many of their formulas.

They do have a few vegan options, but if you’d prefer to only buy from entirely vegan companies, you’ll have to look at 100% vegan brands. 

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