Is NARS Cruelty Free & Vegan?

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Last Updated on 02/11/2023

NARS, owned by a Japanese brand, Shiseido, does tests on animals. So does its parent brand. It used to be cruelty free until 2017 but not anymore.

NARS used to be the ultimate brand of choice for cruelty-free makeup enthusiasts. But suddenly, in 2017, it decided to play in the deepwater by expanding itself to the Chinese mainstream market. Many are still buying NARS in 2022 thinking it is cruelty-free. So is it? Or should you bid adieu to NARS? Here’s the answer.

During the first half of the 2010s, NARS was quite popular alongside other brands such as MAC, Maybelline, Estee Lauder, and Too Faced.  They were offering so many products that you could even create a whole makeup stash with NARS only. NARS and MAC both have something in common. They used to be cruelty free brands that did a U-turn.

Is NARS Cruelty Free & Vegan?


NARS Cruelty Free vegan

NARS – Past & Present

1994: NARS cosmetics was founded in 1994 by François Nars, a young makeup artist. In his makeup and photography career, he had always been dissatisfied with the quality and longevity of studio makeup.

He wanted midrange makeup products to be more versatile. This urge made him create a new range of makeup, under the name of NARS cosmetics.

NARS made its debut in Barneys. Their first product was a 12-shade-wide lip color collection. It was a huge hit among drugstore makeup lovers. They came out with many other makeup items later on.

2000: In 2000, Shiseido, Japanese skincare and makeup brand acquired NARS cosmetics. Shiseido is a non cruelty free brand as you all may already know. In spite of this acquisition, NARS decided to remain cruelty-free like before.

2017: However, a big shock came to the loyal users of NARS when they declared expanding the brand to Chinese provinces and allowing cruelty tests on their products.

NARS Animal Testing Policy

NARS gets frequent user queries regarding its animal testing policy. Answering this question NARS says,

“NARS does not test on animals nor do we ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.

From this statement, you can easily see that NARS is willing to allow ‘exceptions’ in their ‘no animal testing’ ideals. They used to provide clear-cut denial in animal testing when they were truly cruelty-free.

In 2017, they brought changes to their policy. The one quoted above is their new policy. Here you can see the discrepancy.

At one point, NARS says they don’t support animal testing in any form. However, in the same document, they are allowing passive animal testing in the name of law enforcement.

In reality, their products do pass through phases of animal testing in state-run Chinese laboratories. NARS allows and funds animal testing.


is NARS Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free Timeline

1994: NARS has been a cruelty-free brand for the majority of its lifetime. From its foundation in 1994 to 2017, it was completely cruelty free. They even made tall claims about their responsibility toward animal welfare.

2017: Suddenly in 2017 NARS changed its cruelty testing policy to get into the Chinese market. In this big flip, NARS’s loyal customers started protesting.

There was even a boycott movement run by ethical makeup lovers. Sadly, nothing could budge NARS. They still chose the money path by sticking to the non-cruelty-free status.

Is NARS Cruelty Free?

No. NARS used to be a cruelty-free brand till 2017. They lost their cruelty free status when they decided to market their products in China. NARS now pays a hefty amount to run their products through animal testing procedures as required by Chinese authorities.

Does NARS manufacture in China?

No. As per our information, NARS has no manufacturing unit in China. NARS products enter the Chinese consumer market as imported cosmetics.


NARS Cruelty Free or not


Does NARS sell in China?

Yes. From 2017 onwards NARS products are available in the mainstream Chinese cosmetic market. You can buy them in China online as well as in offline shops.

Is NARS vegan?

No. But NARS is trying to replace all their animal-derived ingredients with the same quality vegan substitutes. According to the brand, their major ingredients have now been replaced by vegan ingredients.

But to this date, you will find certain animal-derived ingredients in their products. Currently, they are not a 100% vegan brand.


is NARS vegan

Do I recommend NARS?

No. It is a makeup brand that has shifted from its animal-friendly stance just for monetary benefits. NARS products are not cruelty-free. They are not even gluten-free.

NARS also uses harmful chemicals such as parabens. They even justify the use of paraben naming it as a safety measure.

Cruelty Free Alternatives to NARS Products

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Looking for a lightweight concealer with high coverage? Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is what you need. This cult favorite comes in 30 shades. The crease-free concealer stays put for 8-9 hours. What more do you need?


Elf Studio Blush will give you the same coral accents with gold shimmers like NARS Orgasm. Twinkle pink has decent staying power.

NARS Climax Mascara

Formulated by ace makeup artists and cosmetic surgeons, the IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara changes your lash game forever. It has a non-clumpy formula.

Bronzing Powder Laguna

Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer is one of the best matte bronzers. This Too Faced bronzer is 100% vegan. It adds the perfect oomph to your face and gives naturally carved cheeks.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

If you like lightweight foundations like NARS Sheer Glow but cringe from cruelty, Bite Beauty Supercharged Foundation will make your day! It offers high coverage and a skin-like finish.

I’m glad you made it here. If you have a favorite alternative for NARS that you personally adore, share it with everyone in the comments below.

NARS tests on animals passively. It sells in China and also funds testing. However, NARS offers a variety of vegan products. But can’t be tagged as cruelty-free in 2023.

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Aisha K. Ashi

Ashi K. is a beauty blogger and certified makeup artist. She loves to rescue cats and currently has 2 rescue babies. Join her on the journey as she uses this beauty blog to spread awareness regarding ethical ways of living.

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