K-Beauty Without Cruelty


The terms “cruelty free” and “not tested on animals” are not as straight forward as we think. There is currently no official definition of the terms or set standards for the usage of them. Some products claim to be cruelty free because the final product has not been tested on animals however the ingredients used in the products have. For us, we define cruelty free as no form of animal testing at any point of the production of a brand’s products. With this in mind, we explore below whether K-Beauty is cruelty free.




Does Korea test their cosmetics on animals?

Animal testing was banned in Korea from 2018 which is great news however this does not actually mean that all brands in Korea are cruelty free. The reason for this is because mainland China requires cosmetic and skincare products to be tested on animals by law before sale. The exceptions to this requirement are 1) any products mailed directly to customers from overseas for personal use and 2) any products sold in Hong Kong only (and not mainland China).

Unfortunately the market in mainland China is far too big for many Korean companies to pass on. Many companies will therefore produce two different versions of their products, with one version tested on animals to be sold in China.

Are there any cruelty free K-Beauty brands?

There are many Korean brands that do not currently sell in China and are completely cruelty free. Some of the cruelty free K-Beauty brands which are available on our website are*:-


Benton is a PETA-approved cruelty free brand who uses fresh and natural ingredients in their products. The brand’s name is inspired by the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” with the aim of turning back time and giving us that youthful glow!



COSRX products feature effective ingredients such as snail mucin, yeast ferment and AHA/BHA chemical exfoliants to tackle any skin problems. They also have various vegan friendly products for those who want to try out a more plant based routine.

Heimish is a modern and chic brand with the prettiest packaging. The brand launched in 2016 however has gained popularity very quickly in a short space of time with their gentle yet effective products.



IUNIK is an acronym for Ideal, Unique, Natural, Ingredients, KnowHow. The brand's focus is on simple and minimalistic skincare, with only necessary all-natural ingredients being used in all their products. 



(ju) means ‘to give’ and 미소 (miso) means “smile” in Korean. Helloskin Jumiso products are made to give you beautifully nourished skin and put a smile on your face.


Mizon has some great products created by a group of leading Korean beauty researchers and scientists. The brand focuses on science and uses the best and most highly regarded skincare ingredients.


The name PURITO is formed by the word "purify" and "土", which is the Chinese character for "soil". The brand uses naturally derived and EWG-approved ingredients only and provides a range of hypoallergenic, chemical-free and affordable products.



Pyunkang Yul was launched by the Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic, a Korean institution well known for treating atopic skin disorders. The brand focuses on gentle and natural ingredients that are suitable for even the most sensitive skin.

*Information correct to the best of our knowledge at the time article was published