Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by Eco Elsie
Kiehl’s is an American cosmetic brand that was founded by John Kiehl in 1851 in New York’s East Village.
What started as a small pharmacy in Manhattan has grown into a multi-billion dollar business that specializes in skincare, hair, and body care products.
Since its founding over 150 years ago, Kiehl’s has accumulated a loyal customer base and some of its products have become cult favorites amongst beauty lovers across the globe.
In 2000, the brand was bought by L’Oreal as a result of Kiehl’s struggling to keep up with the increasing volume of orders as their products were growing in popularity.
Since then, Kieh’s has distinguished itself to be marketed at both male and female consumers and has an unconventional large male-based following.
Is Kiehl’s cruelty-free?
No, Kiehl’s is not a cruelty-free brand. As Kiehl’s is owned by the parent company L’Oreal, they follow the same policies on animal testing as they do.
In 1989, L’Oreal completely stopped testing their products on animals, which is 14 years before regulations required brands to do so.
L’Oreal also states that they are committed to finding alternative ways to assess the safety of their products without the involvement of animals.
So as of right now, L’Oreal and its subsidiary brands like Kiehl’s do not test their ingredients or finished products on animals.
However, they cannot be considered cruelty-free as they fail to adopt their policy against testing on animals to expand across the whole company.
Kiehl’s do choose to sell their products in China, a country where animal testing for cosmetics is required by law. It’s uncertain whether it is the Chinese health authorities who fund these animal tests on their products or if it is Kiehl’s who pays a commission for these tests to be conducted in order to sell them in China.
For this reason, Kiehl’s cannot be considered cruelty-free and should not be considered so until they withdraw from the Chinese market. However, parent brand L’Oreal has maintained a considerable presence in advocating for the dismissal of animal testing in China.
Is Kiehl’s vegan?
Kiehl’s does offer some vegan products in their cosmetic lines, but they also do not market themselves as a vegan company. They also do not provide labeling of their vegan products so it’s difficult to know which ones are vegan just from reading the ingredients list.
Some Kiehl’s products that don’t contain ingredients derived from animals are:
● Amino Acid Shampoo & Conditioner
● Creme de Corps
● Midnight Recovery Face Oil
● Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Kiehl’s has an ongoing initiative with their laboratories to try and create entire product lines that are vegan from the get-go and to also help convert their non-vegan products into vegan ones.
However, they do say they will only convert these non-vegan products if there are high-quality plant-based or synthetic alternatives available to replace them.
However, Kiehl’s could not be considered a vegan brand anyway because they allow their products and ingredients to be tested on animals in China.
Is Kiehl’s an ethical company?
When it comes to the environment, Kiehl’s is pretty hot on trying to strive to establish itself as a more responsible and sustainable brand.
They also declare that they work hand in hand with farmers and local communities to source their ingredients in an environmentally conscientious manner.
Since 2005, the brand has reduced CO2 emissions by 82%, waste generation by 36%, and water consumption by 21% and is endeavoring to better these numbers as the years go on.
The brand offers a full recycling service for customer’s empty Kiehl’s products and also uses recycled materials in their packaging whenever possible.
Their Recycle & Be Rewarded program has seen more than 11 million products be recycled and also 82% of their products are made with post-consumer recycled plastic.
The recycling service rewards its customers with 5% or 10% discounts on products when they recycle a certain number of Kiehl’s containers
Kiehl’s also has partnerships with environmental charities to raise awareness and to encourage consumers to take practical actions every day that will make a difference.
Kiehl’s as a brand is very passionate about supporting LGBTQ+ communities and collaborates with charities and other organizations to donate a percentage of their sales of limited edition products to support these communities.
Since 2015, Kiehl’s has raised nearly $18 million for causes that support children’s welfare, AIDS research, and LGBQT+ communities.
So when it comes to philanthropy, Kiehl’s is exceeding expectations.
L’Oreal, the parent company of Kiehl’s is ranked one of the most gender-balanced companies in the world and has been fighting for diversity and inclusion in the workplace for many years now.
There is little information or definitive numbers regarding Kiehl’s, however, we presume they follow the same values and ethics.
However, even though Kiehl’s is striving to find alternative ways to test its products in China, they continue to adhere to the animal testing regulations so cannot be considered fully ethical.
Does Kiehl’s test on animals?
Kiehl’s state that they do not conduct animal testing for their products or ingredients nor require others to test on the companies’ behalf unless required by law in places like China. So yes, Kiehl’s does test on animals in China.
Are Kiehl’s products toxic?
Yes, some of Kiehl’s products are toxic. Kiehl’s market their products as being natural, however, this is not entirely true as many of their products contain harmful chemicals and ingredients which is overlooked when the brand pushes the ‘natural ingredients and dermatologically tested’ marketing strategies.
Take one of their most popular products, for instance, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which contains a chemical called phenoxyethanol which is a skin irritant.
When you take the time to go through their long list of products, you’ll see that many contain parabens and chemicals (some of which are restricted in certain countries).
However, these toxic chemicals are present in extremely low dosages otherwise health and safety regulators across the world would not let Kiehl’s distribute them.