Beauty & Cosmetics

Can Brands Sell in Hong Kong and be Cruelty-Free?

Can Brands Sell in Hong Kong and be Cruelty Free?

It has recently been announced that both Hourglass Cosmetics and Urban Decay are opening stores in Hong Kong. This has led to a lot of confusion in the cruelty-free community about what this means for the animal testing stance of brands. Can brands sell in Hong Kong and be cruelty-free? Because Hong Kong is part of China, are the Hong Kong animal testing laws the same as in China?

In an effort to help set the record straight, this post will provide you with some important details about the animal testing laws in Hong Kong and what it means for cruelty-free brands who choose to sell there.

The short of it is that brands are able to sell in Hong Kong and remain cruelty-free!

While Hong Kong is technically a part of China, Hong Kong does not have the same testing laws as mainland China. Mainland China currently requires animal testing on the large majority of cosmetic and beauty products. Hong Kong has been able to maintain their own laws about animal testing. The Hong Kong animal testing policies are not the same as those of mainland China. This means that brands can sell in Hong Kong and be cruelty-free.

Where it can be confusing is that Hong Kong is often considered China when it comes to labeling on product packing and websites. Some cruelty-free brands may say that they are available in China or say that they have a store in China, but they sell only in Hong Kong and not in mainland China. If you come across a brand that labels things this way, it’s a great idea to let them know that it’s confusing and could be costing them customers.

Animal testing is currently not banned in Hong Kong. With the recent positive changes in China to help reduce animal testing, Hong Kong is being encouraged to enact a ban on animal testing in order to help push mainland China further in the right direction.

If you have been concerned about the recent news of large cruelty-free brands expanding into Hong Kong, hopefully this helps to clear things up.

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  • Reply Elizabeth Friday - January 31, 2020 at 12:52 pm


    Hourglass cosmetic was acquired by UNILEVER and Urban Decay is owned by L’oreal. Both companies are known to finance animal testing in the past and maybe even continue until today (in more indirect way if you will). Does this make the two mentioned brands ‘cruelty free’?


    • Reply Tashina Combs Saturday - February 15, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      Hi! I do include brands with parent companies that are not cruelty-free, but always note this so that people can be aware and pick what’s best for them.

  • Reply Carolyn Monday - November 14, 2016 at 11:36 am

    *they’re*, not their.

  • Reply Carolyn Monday - November 14, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I look at Lush, who have the Lush Prize that gives awards to scientists conducting cruelty-free testing…That is what making a difference looks like. Then you hear the marketing garbage from L’Oreal and Estée Lauder and their subsidiaries about how their “making change from the inside”. Um no, if a huge market like China really wants access to these products, the you have to not sell there until you can sell under cruelty-free conditions if being cruelty-free was a genuine concern. Why would paying a Chinese agency to do animal testing, thus allowing products to be sold there, encourage the Chinese market to say they don’t want animal testing? It’s for profit and nothing more.

  • Reply alison Sunday - April 10, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Sorry still a cop out ..i am disgusted companies such as locitanne has just stsrted to manufactur in china undervthe priviso that they have to get inside to help the cause… rubbish !!!! Its all about making money ….i have used loccitane for years…not anymore..ive emaiked them with my views

  • Reply DeeElle Sunday - February 21, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Are there any countries in the world that actually ban animal testing when it comes to cosmetics and beauty and household products? I’m still not convinced by the whole Hong Kong thing considering how easily China can swoop in and arbitrarily change things.

    • Reply Tashina Combs Friday - August 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      There are no countries where animal testing is 100% banned, no. Mostly because countries cannot regulate what happens outside their jurisdiction.

  • Reply Vivi Wednesday - January 27, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Hey Tashina
    I still don’t fully understand – so Hong Kong doesn’t specifically ban testing but doesn’t demand it either (like the USA for ex.)?

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