Last updated on 1 November 2007
L’Oréal voluntarily stopped animal testing on its entire range of products in 1989.
We are totally committed to a future without tests on animals and continue to make significant investments in research aimed at finding valid alternatives. We comply with all EU and national laws in ensuring the absolute safety of our products. These are positions we share with The Body Shop, whose policy of not using any ingredients that have been tested or retested on animals for cosmetics purposes since the end of 1990 remains unchanged.
L’Oréal voluntarily stopped using animal testing for the evaluation of its entire range of finished cosmetic products in 1989. It was possible to do this due to the considerable time and effort we have invested for over two decades including developments of databases on ingredient toxicity profiles, and the results of a large-scale programme carried out over several years to develop appropriate in vitro methods such as Episkin. Moreover, we have also co-operated with our competitors in this common objective.
We are totally committed to a future without tests on animals. We comply with all EU and national laws in ensuring the absolute safety of our products. These are positions we share with The Body Shop whose policy of not using any ingredients that have been tested or retested on animals for cosmetics purposes since the end of 1990 remains unchanged.
The industry and many opinion formers believe that this common objective of eradication of animal testing for safety purposes can only be totally achieved through research, development and validation of alternative methods and approaches. L’Oréal has invested more than any other company in this endeavour during the last 25 years. This is a fact that was recognised and endorsed by Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop and campaigner against animal testing for cosmetics.
Some of our achievements to date:
- In the early 1980s, L’Oréal developed Episkin - reconstructed human skin models complete with a barrier function. These have since been routinely used to obtain a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of skin and to evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of our products. Some of these models can be used to study skin pigmentation or its immune response.
- A specific protocol, using the company’s reconstructed epidermis model Episkin, has been validated by the European Centre for Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) for the purposes of evaluating skin irritancy and corrosion. This method provides a full replacement for the corresponding animal test.
- Our researchers have also developed the first epidermal model containing Langerhans cells which play a decisive role in the skin’s allergic response. Having been a pilot for a European Commission programme, similar models are currently being studied as alternative methods to skin allergy tests.
- The recent acquisition by L’Oréal of the tissue engineering company, Skin Ethic, is further testimony to our continued commitment to the development of alternative methods to replace animal testing.
In Europe, the safety of cosmetic products is regulated by the European Cosmetics Directive, which is implemented in the UK by the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations. This legislation specifically prescribes the tests that all ingredient suppliers must carry out on every chemical substance, whether old or new. Some of these tests may have involved animals. Companies manufacturing products containing chemical substances, without any exception, are only legally permitted to use ingredients that have undergone these compulsory safety tests at some stage.
However, the Seventh Amendment of the EU Cosmetics Directive states that in March 2009 all testing on all cosmetic ingredients will be banned by law across the whole of the EU and any cosmetic product containing ingredients tested on animals will be banned from being placed on the market. Only a limited amount of tests assessing the systemic safety of ingredients will be exempt from this ban, but the exemption only applies for an extra 4 years. In other words, after 2013 products containing ingredients tested on animals will be banned from sale. We continue to work with the Commission, the industry and research organisations to develop, ahead of the above cut-off dates, new alternative methods and approaches in several fields of toxicology where they are still lacking.
Despite the progress made to date, the Commission, the industry and research organisations face the major challenge of developing new alternative methods and approaches for the safety assessment of chemical ingredients in several fields of toxicology where they are still lacking, and ensuring their validation and acceptance by competent authorities. L’Oréal is thus an active member of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to animal testing (EPAA) led by the European Commission, and we are committed, in our field of expertise, to progressing and promoting this programme."