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!

(47) Comments

  1. 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….

    1. I feel the same way Sarah, 🙁 I so look forward every Christmas to their holiday bag and the goodies I wait to purchase for gifts than. No more B&Bw 🙁

    2. Same here. :'(

  2. 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

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

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

    1. 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. 🙂

  4. 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.

    1. 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. :-/

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

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