Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by Eco Elsie
Clinique is an American skincare and cosmetic company that was founded in 1968 by the daughter of Estee Lauder, Evelyn Lauder. Clinique’s products are typically found in high-end department stores around the world.
To this day, Clinique remains a subsidiary company of the cosmetic giant Estee Lauder but still is a trailblazer in terms of creating simple yet effective skincare products.
Today we’ll be discussing what sort of ingredients are in Clinique’s products and what are the ethics surrounding their products.
Is Clinique cruelty-free?
Unfortunately, Clinique is not a cruelty-free brand that pays for its ingredients and products to be tested on animals in laboratories over in China.
This fact completely opposes Clinique’s animal testing policy who states that they’re ‘committed to eliminating animal testing’ but go on to say that they do test on animals when it is required by law to do so.
However, as Clinique does sell its product over in mainland China they must abide by the country’s laws and regulations and pay for animal testing to be done so they can continue distributing their products.
It’s not certain whether Clinique is performing these tests on animals themselves, or if they’re paying a third party to do the tests, but it’s fair to say that they are not cruelty-free.
Clinique is also owned by the parent company Estee Lauder and they definitely test their ingredients and products on animals so it’s fair to assume that Clinique would be inclined to do so as well.
There is no clarification as to whether Clinique does animal testing on products that are distributed to the US and other parts of the world.
Animal testing is not illegal in the US, so we’re sure that a company like Clinique could find loopholes to misdirect their animal testing policy to seem like they are being ethical.
To clarify, Clinique is not PETA certified, however, this certification does not hold much value anymore as cosmetic brands word their animal testing policies particularly to obtain the so-called highly regard PETA certification.
Is Clinique vegan?
If you’re considering the term vegan as products that are not derived from animal ingredients, then yes, Clinique does have some marketed ‘vegan’ products.
However, they still cannot be considered vegan as a brand as they have products that contain animal-derived ingredients like carmine and lanolin that are used in some of their cosmetic lines.
If you also consider the fact that Clinique does test their products and ingredients on animals, then this contributes to the fact that they are not vegan.
The term vegan should not be limited to the definition of ingredients derived from animals and it should also apply to the product being a contributor to cruelty to animals.
Is Clinique an ethical company?
The corporate statements regarding tax strategies, gender pay reports, human-trafficking, and anti-slavery issues on the parent company Estee Lauder’s website are dated and only go back to 2019.
Their statement on human-trafficking and anti-slavery issues in 2019 declares that Estee Lauder and their subsidiary brands are working to eradicate forced labor and human trafficking from their supply chains.
There are regular audits on new supplies to make sure they meet Clinique’s ethical practices and there is also training given to all employees of the Estee Lauder brands to comply with the code of conduct.
Supplies must hold certain certifications to prove they are ethically sourcing raw materials and partaking in forced labor practices. However, this statement is from 2019 and there are no up-to-date documents available.
Clinique claims that gender pay equality is a strong focus of their company which is backed up by parent company Estee Lauder’s findings that as of 2020 84% of the workforce was made up of females, with 55% in vice president roles or above.
When it comes to animal testing, Clinique u-turns on this ethical stance, as they still continue to test products and ingredients from the Clinique brand on animals.
In terms of environmental issues, Clinique does have some packaging that can be recycled, however limited they may be. Clinique does not use recyclable materials for their packaging and is not plastic-free, as a brand they are also showing no signs of changing this position.
A Fiscal report from 2020 does declare that Estee Lauder (who own Clinique) are committed to responsible sourcing of forest commodities for ingredients and have a 100% net zero carbon emissions
Does Clinique test on animals?
Yes, as previously mentioned, Clinique does test its products and ingredients in mainland China as it is required by law to do so. Clinique claims that brands need to adhere to regulations of particular countries in order to continue distributing their products there.
However, this completely opposes Clinique’s position on animal testing, which claims to be committed to the elimination of animal testing.
You’d think a company that claims to be ‘committed’ would stop distributing their products to a country that requires this testing by law. However, we know profit trumps ethics in today’s age.
Are Clinique products toxic?
Clinique claims that its products are hypoallergenic and approved by doctors, but it seems strange that they manage to do so when their products are not entirely safe. The brand is also fragrance-free and now free from phthalates and parabens.
Some, but not all of Clinique’s products contain toxic ingredients including petrolatum which is not a pure ingredient and causes itchy and redness around the eyes. There is also an ingredient called disodium EDTA with excessive use that can lead to lung problems and even breast cancer.
One of the worst ingredients we found in Clinique’s products is Phenoxyethanol which is a toxic chemical that can lead to problems with the nervous system and also cause upset stomachs.
However, these products would need to be digested to be considered toxic as they cannot penetrate through the skin deep enough to enter the bloodstream when applied to the body.
If you suffer from a gluten allergy then you’ll be happy to know that some products from the Clinique brand are gluten-free, there is no full list to clarify which ones are and which ones are not. There is also a lack of ingredients lists on Clinique products, which does bring up some concerns.