The short answer: No, Herbal Essences is not cruelty free.
The long answer: Herbal Essences is a line of hair care products by Procter & Gamble—a company that also distributes Aussie and Pantene. It is endorsed by PETA as a cruelty-free brand. The brand shares, “Cruelty free means that our products and ingredients will not be tested on animals. Herbal Essences is proud and excited to be recognized by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, as a cruelty free brand.”
Despite the recognition from PETA, Herbal Essences sells its hair care products in China. China is known for having mandatory laws that require imported beauty products to undergo animal testing before being released in the country. Animal tests can also be done when a customer complains about a certain hair product. Until China changes its import policies or Herbal Essences stops selling in China, it cannot claim to be 100% cruelty free.