Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by Eco Elsie
NARS is a French cosmetics and skincare company founded in 1994. Identified as a luxury brand, NARS has an edgy appeal with sleekly housed products sold in their matte black packaging.
It is now becoming increasingly popular for consumers to opt for cruelty-free products from brands with a good ethical background.
Although many brands are now taking the step in supporting the production of cruelty-free products, this is not the case for all cosmetic and skincare brands, particularly those who market their products overseas.
So is NARS cruelty-free? Unfortunately, NARS is not a cruelty-free brand although this has not always been the case. They were previously recognized as a cruelty-free cosmetics brand whose products were a staple in the collection of many makeup enthusiasts.
However, the brand lost its cruelty-free status when it decided to begin selling its products on the Chinese market in 2017. Chinese law states that brands must partake in post-production animal testing before their items can be sold in any stores on the mainland.
Although the brand doesn’t test on animals themselves, they will allow it when the legislation in other countries requires them to do so.
It is also worth noting that NARS is owned by Shiseido, a personal care company that also allows for their products to be tested on animals when mandated by law.
At the time when NARS first began marketing their products in China, post-production testing was mandatory, however, China has recently announced their plans to end pre-market testing, although post-market testing can still occur in response to any consumer complaints about the product.
Is NARS Vegan?
In order for cosmetics and skincare to be vegan, they must not be made with any animal by-products or ingredients that have derived from an animal.
For example, lipsticks are often made using beeswax because it is very moisturizing but as this is derived from a bee, it is not animal friendly.
As a brand, NARS is not considered to be 100% vegan as they allow their products to be tested on animals when required by law.
Despite this, steps are being taken to replace the animal-derived ingredients inside their products with vegan alternatives, although you will still find that some animal-derived ingredients remain.
Upon browsing the website you will find that several products are made with the ingredient ‘glycerin’, something that can derive from animal or plant-based fats.
Because of this, unless stated that the ingredient is made from plant-based fats it cannot be considered vegan as its source is unknown. Many of their products also contain lanolin which is an animal-derived ingredient.
You will find that some of their products are labeled as vegan friendly but to eradicate any uncertainties that you may have, it is worth thoroughly checking the ingredients or you may wish to contact the brand to ask them directly which products are vegan.
Is NARS an ethical company?
Unfortunately, the NARS website offers very little information regarding the ethics of the brand and its policies surrounding animal testing and the production of cruelty-free products.
The company came under a great deal of scrutiny from what were once loyal customers when they made the decision to lose their cruelty-free status so that they could begin selling their products to the Chinese market.
For these reasons, many would not consider the company to be ethical.
Does NARS test on animals?
As we have mentioned previously, NARS themselves do not test on animals but allow it when it is required by law. They are also owned by a parent company that follows the same approach; while the brand itself does not test in animals, testing does occur when mandated by law.
At the time when they decided to sell their products in China, Nars lost their cruelty-free label because the country required imported cosmetics to undergo mandatory testing before they could be sold in shops in mainland China. This caused upset amongst many consumers with the brand receiving backlash for their decision.
Despite this, NARS has previously used its social media platforms to voice its commitment against animal testing, although it was in this same post that the brand announced its decision to begin selling in China – rather contradictory as many would suggest.
In the post, NARS states that ‘’global elimination of animal testing needs to happen’’ before later going on to say that ‘’NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods’’.
So although NARS themselves do not test on animals by entering markets that require them to do so, it is not a cruelty-free brand.
It is possible that a recent change in Chinese laws may pave the way for the complete abolishment of any animal testing practices in the country which may see the brand regain its cruelty-free status in the future. However, this is not yet a step that is guaranteed.
Are NARS products toxic?
There are many toxic ingredients used in some makeup products and these can cause allergies and adverse reactions.
On their website, the brand states that they use a high level of natural ingredients in their product formulations. They also state that their products contain preservatives because they would otherwise need to be refrigerated and used within a limited amount of time.
They use US FDA-approved parabens in order to prevent bacterial or fungal contamination. Those that are approved by the FDA aren’t thought to present any reason for concern to consumers. NARS’ products are also allergy and dermatologically tested.
To check whether a product is toxic you can thoroughly check the ingredient content and also check for any warning or caution signs on the product packaging. This will indicate that the product is hazardous in some way. Those that do not contain this label aren’t considered to be hazardous.
As you can see, NARS unfortunately is neither a cruelty-free nor vegan-friendly brand due to their product availability in China and the ingredients content of their products.