Beauty & Cosmetics

Is Bath & Body Works Cruelty-Free?

Is Bath & Body Works Cruelty-Free?

Recently I posted that Bath & Body Works had changed their animal testing stance and was no longer a cruelty-free company. The brand had been able to answer my detailed questions about their animal testing stance for several years and, on the most recent outreach, they stated that they did test on animals when required by law.

Earlier this week I had a call with the Vice President of External Communications for Limited Brands about the Bath & Body Works stance on animal testing. It helped to clarify the situation and give me a bit more background into things. Now, before you start reading this hoping that it means the brand is still cruelty-free – they are still stating that they test as required by law.

Update on January 24, 2016 – While some Bath & Body Works customers are being told that the brand is now cruelty-free, they still maintain that they do test on animals when required by law. From the FAQ on their website – “

What is your policy regarding animal testing?
Bath & Body Works policy prohibits the testing of our branded products, formulations and ingredients on animals except in rare cases when required by government regulations. Through our involvement in the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, we are supporting research to develop additional non-animal alternative methods which we believe will ultimately result in the elimination of animal testing worldwide.”

A lot of confusion was caused after the post here on Logical Harmony when the Bath & Body Works customer service team began telling people that they had not changed their stance on animal testing. As you can see in the response that Phyrra received, the brand was replying to some stating, “Thank you for reaching out to us.  Despite the recent report on Logical Harmony, we have not changed our policy.”

Many consumers believed that this was Bath & Body Works stating that they did not change to a required by law animal testing stance. Many people took this to mean that the brand was still cruelty-free.

What I learned after talked to a representative of the company is that Bath & Body Works was supposed to have switched to a required by law animal testing stance some time ago. When they state that they have not changed their policy, what they meant was that required by law testing was not a new addition to the policy. They stated that they were not aware that the FAQ page did not include this statement, nor were they aware that customer service reps were not telling consumers this.

The Bath & Body Works representative also stated that while they currently do not sell in markets that require animal testing by law, if a market they are in now, or in the future, required animal testing they would allow this testing to occur. Bath & Body Works’ sister company, Victoria’s Secret, will be expanding into China in 2015. The rep told me that there is no official announcement at this time to move Bath & Body Works into China, but that this may or may not change in the future.

Bath & Body Works themselves does not test their ingredients, products, or finished products on animals. They are unsure if their ingredient suppliers take part in any testing that may be required by law. If they were selling, now or in the future, in a market that required animal testing they would allow animal testing on Bath & Body Works products. They also stated that they cannot say that they will never test on animals in any way because of this.

Due to all of this, Logical Harmony will be leaving Bath & Body Works on the list of Brands to Avoid.

I appreciate that they reached out to me and wanted to talk about this. Bath & Body Works was very professional in this conversation and I appreciate that they answered my questions to best of their ability. No matter what a brands animal testing stance is, I always appreciate when they want to communicate.

That being said, I personally find it surprising that their internal communication about their animal testing policy was so poor. I was told, as far back as three years ago and as recently as a couple of months ago, that Bath & Body Works ingredients, products during production, and finished products were not tested on animals. Nor did they test when required by law. A required by law statement was not included in any communication that I received. Their FAQ page does not say that they will test when required by law and I am surprised that if this has been the companies policy for some time, that this was not updated to reflect those changes. I have dealt with a few companies who did have internal miscommunication about their stance on animal testing, but it never appeared to be a long-term issue as it appears to be with Bath & Body Works.

I am also surprised by the brands lack of response on social media. My personal Facebook account is still blocked from the brands page, but I can view it when I am signed out. So many people have posted on their Facebook wall about this issue, and so many people have tweeted at the brand. I see on Facebook that they are replying to some people saying they have been sent a message about things (likely similar to the one Phyrra received), but there is no public response.

I hope that Bath & Body Works will soon issue a clear and direct public statement about this matter. If their animal testing stance is that they do or will test when required by law, the company should be transparent about that. Especially if, as I was told, this is not a new policy for Bath & Body Works. If this was not being effectively communicated to consumers earlier on, than instead of saying that their stance has not changed, Bath & Body Works should just apologize for the internal miscommunication that caused their correct required by law testing stance to not be going to consumers.

Throughout this, it’s been truly amazing to see how many people care about the welfare of animals and realize that animal testing is completely unnecessary. Thank you to everyone who has brought this up in conversation, on social media or in person, and spread awareness to this issue. Thank you for caring about our furry friends!

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37 Comments

  • Reply Eden Garrett Sunday - February 5, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    I looked on B&BW’s site and China isn’t listed under their “Global Locations” tab! So that means they are technically cruelty free until they start selling in China… Correct?

    • Reply Tashina Combs Sunday - February 5, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Eden,

      Unfortunately, required by law testing can happen in a lot of places other than China. It could also mean that even though they don’t have stores there yet, they have started the process (which is what they have indicated to me), are testing there, and have just not announced it yet.

  • Reply Diane Tuesday - January 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I would suggest that we all go to their facebook page and register our unhappiness with B&B Works new – old policy. I find that FACEBOOK is the fastest way to get attention from any company. I’ve accomplished quite a bit of change by using it – respectfully – but strongly by making honest statements.

  • Reply Sofia Monday - July 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    If the brand is not cruelty free how can they label their products as cruelty free ? I just got a Diamond shimmer mist from them and i ask in the store if it was cruelty free and the lady said “oh yes i couldn’t work here if the weren’t cruelty free I feel you” and show me the label they have in their products and it says NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS.

    • Reply Tashina Combs Sunday - September 11, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      There is no regulation on the term and no legal definition, so brands are able to decide what they think it means and then add the term to their packaging or FAQ pages. It’s very misleading.

  • Reply Danielle Thursday - June 30, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Thank you for clearing this up. I was on the point of purchasing a couple of products from them yesterday, but desisted because one said it wasn’t tested on animals and the other said nothing. I worked in the beauty industry for several years and know what such an omission may mean, so I decided to do some research before buying. The information on your website has proved invaluable. Thanks again!

  • Reply Sarah Thursday - November 12, 2015 at 11:48 am

    This just slightly broke my heart. I LOVE B&BW products. Ugh. Way to ruin something, B&BW. Guess my Christmas list is going to need an update….

    • Reply Lisa Thursday - December 1, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Same here. :'(

  • Reply Mrs,Z Saturday - August 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Tashina ,can you please tell me if they test with wax ,I really like the candles from bath and body Works but not if tested on animals

    • Reply Tashina Combs Sunday - August 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      The candles are made by another brand, who is cruelty free. But purchasing them from Bath & Body Works is still supporting them financially.

  • Reply Christy Church Saturday - March 7, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Do you know if B&BW products contain any animal-derived ingredients?

    • Reply Tashina Combs Sunday - March 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      There are a lot of ingredients in their products that may or may not be from animals. Your best bet is to ask their customer service team. 🙂

  • Reply Emily Wednesday - February 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Do you know if Bath and Body will be changing their packaging to reflect this change in policy? I don’t want them to be misleading and still say “Not Tested on Animals” on all of their products.

    • Reply Tashina Combs Wednesday - February 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      I do not believe that they will. The term is misleading, but since there are no regulations on these terms they, and many others who test as required by law, can get away with using it. :-/

  • Reply Dee Monday - December 29, 2014 at 2:59 am

    So what are companies such as Bath and Body Works supposed to do if slowly all countries they are in besides the U.S. go into the required by law testing? Are they supposed to just ship out and take a loss for their products or ingredients they may use? I don’t understand why you would place them on the to avoid list if they are yet to actually test on animals. They said if it were to happen in the future then as the law states, they would have to abide by it. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not agree with animal testing at all.
    Now as far as what is supposed to be cruelty free, how do you even know whether you are being told by any company the truth? Are they providing you with actual proof that they are cruelty free or simply statements? Is there a government entity actually governing these claims? Or is everything essentially unregulated?

    • Reply Tashina Combs Monday - December 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Dee,

      There are very few countries or situations where animal testing is required by law. Most markets around the world do not require any sort of animal testing. Brands make the choice to sell there and submit their products for testing. This is something that many large brands have decided is not worth doing for the potential financial gain of selling in these markets.

      I placed them on the Brands to Avoid list because they have said that they will test on animals if required and that, while there are not immediate plans to sell in China, this will likely change in the future. The brand is open to animal testing in order to expand.

      There is no government entity that certifies brands as cruelty free. There is also no regulation on the term “cruelty free”. I ask brands for the same proof that organizations such as PETA and Leaping Bunny do. A lot of lists out there only ask brands for a blanket “we are cruelty free” statement, but I require a lot more than that. Having very specific items documented in writing from brands is the best that any organization can do at this point.

      • Reply Dee Monday - December 29, 2014 at 8:44 pm

        Thank you for your response. I do like to stay informed on things like these. It all basically comes down to trusting that companies are being honest with their claims and not falsely advertising what they think will keep customers. Should bath and body works end up going the route of the “by law” does that mean they would have to change their, “Not tested on animals” on the back of their products. Thanks again for this great information!

        • Reply Tashina Combs Tuesday - December 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

          Sadly, it does not mean that they would have to remove this statement. Since the testing would be done by a 3rd party, the company could even say they are still cruelty free since they themselves are not testing on animals. Even in cases where items are tested during production, or made from ingredients that are tested on animals, brands could still label “not tested on animals” on the packaging because the final product was not tested. It’s very misleading.

  • Reply Cathy Guevara Wednesday - December 24, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Though I oppose vivisection – testing animals for cosmetic reasons (and even things like dish soap/etc.) is absolutely unnecessary at this point in time. So having companies that still do or plan to do animal testing is like going backwards into the stone age.

  • Reply Megan Monday - December 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I was gifted some Bath and Body Works items a couple days ago that actually state on the packaging “no animal testing” This is just a good reminder that those statements are not regulated, so even when they might say that, we should do further research. I’m thankful you work so diligently to help us understand and make informed decisions!

  • Reply Audrey Tuesday - October 28, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Although I haven’t shopped at Bath & Body Works for quite a while, and I can’t say I’m surprised to hear they aren’t cruelty-free, it’s still disappointing they’ve been jumbling their words to mislead customers. On this “required by law” business – I don’t believe the United States requires animal testing by law… if B&BW is outsourcing their products and they are morally against testing, why not move their facilities to North America? Sigh. This is why small beauty brands have got it all over their bigger counterparts! (Not to be TOO biased on the matter, haha.)

    Great investigating, & I’m sorry to hear you’ve been banned!
    xoxo
    Audrey

  • Reply Marisa Tuesday - October 28, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Just so I can properly understand, they have to test only if the government says so?

    • Reply Tashina Combs Sunday - January 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      It is required that they submit products for testing and pay agencies to conduct the tests. 🙁

  • Reply Jenny Monday - October 20, 2014 at 10:20 am

    By the way, Someone tells me KatVon D is vegan and cruelty. but I dont think so… I was wondering if you know anything about that brand..? thanks !

    • Reply Cathy Tuesday - November 8, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Kat Von D is cruelty-free and they have some vegan options, but not all of their products are vegan.

  • Reply Jenny Monday - October 20, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Either way, if they are going to sell in China, I am OUT. When a company is not CLEAR about their policy, that makes me NOT want to buy their products. Sucks, a lot of my friends and families get their products there. Now I can say bye bye and no more. I do not support companies that can’t be ethical towards animals.

  • Reply Kirti Saturday - October 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the clarification! Even when I thought they & VS were cruelty-free, I didn’t purchase any products from them because of all the chemicals. I’ll be phasing out any non-beauty items from VS as well. I would love if you could do a post on affordable vegan intimates! It’s so hard to find some that are budget-friendly, cruelty-free, & made of natural fibers!

  • Reply Sissi Friday - October 17, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Thank you for the update. If a company reacts confusing it leaves us confused and therefore I can not trust them!

  • Reply Sally Friday - October 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I no longer purchase any beauty care products from BBW, but I have been buying their wallflowers for the past few years. Thank you so much for further looking into where they stand on animal testing. After becoming better informed, I will no longer be purchasing BBW products of any kind. Such an ambiguous stance on animal testing does not speak well of the company’s ethics.

  • Reply Allison Friday - October 17, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Thank you for this. While I appreciate B&BW (finally) telling you the truth, I am still extremely disappointed in their two-steps backward decision. Although we are no longer living in the Dark Ages, it pains me that in this day and age animals are still treated as such. Thankfully there are wonderful companies that create beauty products for us that do no harm.

  • Reply Stephanie Thursday - October 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    That’s crazy that you’re blocked from their Facebook page.

  • Reply Rachel Thursday - October 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Definitely think it’s best to avoid the brand. So disappointing and frustrating. Thanks for putting in all of that research! Speaking of Victoria’s Secret, have you ever looked into American Eagle Outfitter’s testing stance? I know they sell fragrances. I’m mainly interested because they have a sister store, Aerie, that sells cute bras and undies, and as I won’t be buying under things from Victoria’s Secret from now on…They do say they’re against testing on their website.

  • Reply Samsam Cherie Thursday - October 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I feel like so many companies make it as difficult as possible to get to the truth. If you were truly passionate about your product, wouldn’t you want to know as much as you can about the ingredients that go into it? Wouldn’t you want your customers to be as well advised and informed as they could be about it? Maybe they’re scared to actually know what they’re pumping into their products. Maybe they have a hunch and are scared they’re right. So many companies avoid the truth to avoid losing business. So much for customer service 🙁
    ~ Samantha
    samsamcherie.blogspot.com

    • Reply visionaryvoice on youtube Friday - October 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      I hear you Samsam,
      If ingredients are conrn (not just animal testing but health wise) you may wish to avoid the ingredient “fragrance” in products as that can contain up to at least 100 ingredients not liste.d Thankfully there are cruelty free brands who are honest, such as Dr Bronners who comes to mind.

  • Reply Emily Thursday - October 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I feel like they will likely sell in China in the future, especially if Victoria’s Secret is now going to sell there too. 🙁

  • Reply Phyrra Thursday - October 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I’m honestly so confused by B&BW. I feel like you, what is going on with their internal communication that we’ve been given the wrong information for years?!

    • Reply visionaryvoice on youtube Friday - October 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Phyrra,

      THANK YOU and Tashina very much for trying!!! 🙂 It’s interesting you bring up companies sending out mixed messages.

      I just learned from a comment on crueltyfreeqts youtube channel that L’OREAL IS SENDING OUT MIXED MESSAGES ABOUT NO LONGER ANIMAL TESTING… has anyone else heard about this? I had not, since it is very recent and weird since I commented on one of your posts the other day talking about L’oreal – urban decay etc. as I try not to do that all the time,but felt compelled to for some reason.
      Here is my video I made on the topic to anyone who is interested with more info:

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