The short answer: No, L’Oréal is not entirely cruelty free.
The long answer: French personal care company L’Oréal claims that it does not test any of its ingredients or products on animals. On its UK website, it says that it has developed alternative methods to animal testing. Episkin was created with human skin cells to mimic real skin. Despite these technological advancements, they admit that “certain health authorities may nevertheless decide to conduct animal tests themselves for certain cosmetic products, as is still the case in China.” Since L’Oréal’s products are widely sold in China (which includes their Maybelline brand), they cannot be 100% sure that their products are not being tested by Chinese health authorities to meet the country’s requirements.
Even if L’Oréal is aware of these animal testing procedures, the company continues to sell its products in China. However, they claim to play an active role in changing the landscape of animal testing, saying, “By being present in China, L’Oréal can enable the regulation to evolve. L’Oréal is the most active company working with the Chinese authorities towards a total elimination of animal testing. As a result, the vast majority of products we sell in China are no longer tested on animals.”