Once a 2016 YouTube beauty guru’s favorite brand, is Morphe cruelty-free in 2023?
If you’ve spent any amount of time watching makeup videos on YouTube back in the day, you’ve heard of Morphe. Synonymous with the phrase “use my code for a discount” this brand was a favorite of all the big names in the beauty space. They went on to do some big collaborations, open a series of stores (which have now closed), and are still found at Ulta today.
A lot of people ask about Morphe’s cruelty-free status and animal testing policies. It has long been confusing for many and the brand has had a lot of conflicting statements go out in the past. From scandals about non-vegan products being marketed as vegan to store closures without giving the employees much warning, this budget-friendly makeup brand is no stranger to controversy.
So what’s the deal when it comes to animal testing? Is Morphe cruelty-free? Does Morphe have vegan options? Does Morphe test on animals? Keep reading to dig into their current stance on animal testing and to learn about their history with the cruelty-free beauty community.
Image via Morphe on Instagram.
Is Morphe cruelty-free? No. Morphe is not cruelty-free.
In March 2021, Morphe confirmed that they are selling in markets where animal testing is required by law. They will also not give a clear statement on the potential use of animal testing on ingredients, formulations, and finished products. The statements that they do give simply do not have enough information to know if animal testing is occurring at any other point.
Quick cruelty-free notes:
- CRUELTY-FREE: Morphe is not cruelty-free.
- VEGAN OPTIONS: Morphe has vegan options.
- CERTIFICATIONS: None.
Morphe sells its products in stores in Mainland China where animal testing is required by law. They are not selling through any programs that would allow them to avoid animal testing, such as the Leaping Bunny pilot program, or by selling only online.
Use the Cruelty-Free Checklist:
- Are the ingredients used in Morphe products tested on animals? Unclear.
- Are Morphe products tested on animals during production? Unclear.
- Are Morphefinished products tested on animals? Unclear.
- Are Morphe products sold in markets that require animal testing? Yes. Morphe products are sold in markets that require animal testing.
- Do any third-party groups test Morphe products on animals? Unclear. By selling in stores in markets where animal testing is required by law, it is safe to assume that third-party groups are testing Morphe products on animals.
- Does Morphe have a parent company that tests on animals? No.
- Is Morphe certified cruelty-free by any organization? No. Morphe does not have any cruelty-free certification and never has.
The current 2023 Morphe animal testing policy is on their FAQ page and reads –
“Morphe does not condone animal testing in any way. We do not test any of our products on animals. We also do not test any of our ingredients on animals, nor do we allow our manufacturers to do so on our behalf. Instead, we choose to test drive our products on people (with their permission, of course).“
While it might sound great on quick glance, this statement is actually vague. You can see that they do not address any required by law animal testing in this statement.
Some background on the Morphe animal testing policy and cruelty-free status – It’s always been murky.
Morphe has never been a Logical Harmony Approved cruelty-free brand. In fact, Morphe was on the Grey Area List for a long time. This is because I was unable to get enough information from the brand to feel comfortable labeling them as cruelty-free, but also wasn’t comfortable saying that they were not cruelty-free either.
This is because I had only received vague statements from the brand such as:
- “Our products are cruelty-free.”
- “Morphe does not condone the use of animals for cosmetic testing.“
- “Morphe absolutely does not use any of our products on animals for testing purposes and we do not condone the use of animals for cosmetic testing.“
This statement was unclear to me for a couple of reasons:
- They would only address animal testing that is potentially being done by themselves. They did not address if any ingredient suppliers or 3rd party groups are testing Morphe products on animals at any point. In most cases, the brands themselves are not the ones testing on animals so it’s concerning to me that I have been unable to get further clarification here.
- Just because they do not condone animal testing for cosmetics does not mean that they are cruelty-free. Many brands who do test on animals, or pay 3rd parties to test on animals on their behalf, use a similar statement.
If you read my blog post on brand FAQ pages and generic cruelty-free statements, you will know why I don’t consider these helpful or clear responses. None of these answers shed much light on Morphe’s cruelty-free status.
The term “cruelty-free” has no legal or even widely agreed definition. This means that any brand can say they are cruelty-free, no matter their practices.
When asked additional questions Morphe did not respond or provide clarification. This is something that I have reached out about many many times over the years.
Currently, Morphe is also not certified as cruelty-free by PETA or Leaping Bunny.
Does Morphe sell in China? Yes.
Morphe has products that are sold in stores in China. Morphe claims that they are able to avoid any pre-market animal testing that may be required. It is possible that Morphe can avoid pre-market animal testing. Unfortunately, that doesn’t remove the potential for post-market animal testing.
Does Morphe test on animals when required by law? Yes.
By selling in stores in Mainland China, Morphe is subjecting their products to required by law animal testing.
Is Morphe vegan? No.
It’s been rumored that Morphe is a fully vegan brand. This is not true. They use animal ingredients and animal-derived ingredients in many products. Examples of these non-vegan ingredients are beeswax, carmine, and animal hair in their brushes.
They have also gotten in trouble in the past for marketing products as vegan that contained animal-derived ingredients. One example of this was their palette which was a collaboration with James Charles. Morphe’s customer service team told many people it was vegan-friendly, and many people purchased it believing this to be true. Later on, it was revealed that the palette was not and had never been vegan-friendly. This wasn’t the first controversy for either party, but let’s save that for another day.
While they claim that there is a selection of Morphe vegan products available, even if they were cruelty-free, I would be hesitant to trust their ingredient lists given their history.
Are Morphe brushes made from animal hair? Some of them.
In the past, all Morphe makeup brushes were made from animal hair. Currently, they offer some synthetic and some natural bristle brushes. I have read that the natural bristle brushes are made from goat hair but the brand does not specify. It’s great that some are now synthetic and hopefully, they all will be in the future.
Some cruelty-free brands to try instead of Morphe.
Morphe appeals to many because they make affordable products and such a variety of products. Instead of supporting them, try these cruelty-free brands that make products similar to Morphe’s. These are also affordable brands that you can find even more easily than Morphe.
NYX is cruelty-free with lots of vegan options. Their parent company is not cruelty-free, which is a concern for some. They make primer, foundation, concealer, setting spray, liquid lipsticks, makeup brushes, eyeshadow palettes, and more.
ELF is cruelty-free and also a fully vegan makeup and skincare brand. They are one of the original vegan beauty brands and have just gotten better and better over time. They make primer, foundation, concealer, setting spray, liquid lipsticks, makeup brushes, eyeshadow palettes, and more.