The short answer: No, Pantene is not cruelty free.
The long answer: Owned by multinational consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble, Pantene is known for its hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and hair treatments. First introduced in 1945 by Hoffmann-La Roche, the name is based on its shampoo ingredient, panthenol—more commonly known as pro-vitamin B5.
Similar to Procter & Gamble’s Olay, Pantene is being sold globally. This includes China, where mandatory testing laws are in place for imported beauty products. Pantene states, “A number of countries still require animal testing by law to ensure the safety or effectiveness of certain products and ingredients. At P&G we believe that the majority of animal testing by these authorities are scientifically unnecessary.”
The brand elaborates, “We have invested more than $410 million in developing alternative, non-animal testing methods, although not all global regulators and authorities accept them. Where no alternative tests exist we are continuing to develop non-animal testing methods and work with regulatory agencies around the world on their acceptance to eliminate animal testing completely.”
Though their efforts towards a cruelty-free world is acknowledged and appreciated, the fact remains that Pantene needs to comply with China’s mandatory animal tests to be able to be sold in that country. Therefore, the brand cannot claim to be cruelty free.