China has made a major change to its cosmetics regulations. As of May 1, 2021, imported “ordinary cosmetics” will no longer be required to test on animals in order to be sold in the country. This opens up the Chinese market, which is the second-largest beauty market in the world, to many more cruelty-free brands.
According to WWD, “ordinary cosmetics” include beauty products that do not have “active claims such as anti-acne or anti-aging.” Up until this point, many companies have either not been able to sell globally or have had to rely on work-arounds to do so. For example, in 2014, China exempted brands selling “via cross-border e-commerce direct to the consumer,” as well as foreign companies domestically manufacturing in China, from animal testing.
New brands hoping to sell in the Chinese market without testing on animals will have to provide proof of “good manufacturing practices” and pass a safety assessment. They also cannot market their products for infants and children or use new ingredients that are still in the early stages of testing.
Although some companies will still be required to undergo animal testing if they want to sell in China under this updated policy, it’s a step in the right direction.