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If you love animals AND Korean Beauty products, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to give up either to get good cosmetics.


Korean Beauty brands are increasingly making the switch to animal-testing free and South Korea phased out all animal testing on all domestic cosmetics in 2018.


To help you tell one from the other, we’ve prepared a list of cruelty free K-Beauty brands that don’t test on animals.





Good question.


As many of you know, China has a requirement that many products be tested on animals before they are used on people. People are therefore rightly concerned about Korean beauty companies that sell products in China.

The manufacturers we work with that do export to China tell us that China is increasingly not enforcing the requirement that all products be tested on animals. In addition, there are a variety of loopholes and exceptions within China itself.

There are several ways Korean beauty products make their way to China without necessarily having to be tested on animals. 



First, many Korean brands don’t actually have stores in China.

Products often make their way into China through tourist stores in places like Myeong-dong, E-dae, Hongdae and Garosugil in Seoul, where tourists literally haul suitcases of products to ship them home (or back to customers).

There is an increasing trend of Chinese sellers who visit Korea every few months solely for the purpose of buying and sending products back to their Chinese-based customers.

The trend is so widespread you’ll find K-Beauty stores offering big spenders free suitcases just so they can cart their purchases over to the post office or back to the airport!


There are also many wholesale Chinese retailers of Korean cosmetics based out of Korea catering solely to the Chinese market.

This means that even though the products make their way into China, many of the brands themselves don’t actually maintain an offline store there.



One of the other main ways products get to China is online. There is no legal requirement in China covering e-commerce sites, meaning small orders by Chinese customers can get into China via post.

Similarly, many brands ship to Hong Kong, which has a separate legal regime from the mainland. They distribute their products through resellers, without the need for them to be tested on animals.

Some brands simply have their products filled and packed in China. These products are then considered ‘domestic’ Chinese products that don’t need to be tested on animals.



China has also established a list of ingredients that can be sold there without the need for animal testing. This is another way many companies get around the animal testing requirement to sell in China.



We often get asked how brands are able to obtain cruelty-free certification when their products contain ingredients like snail mucin and bee venom.

The answer is simple: These ingredients are the by-products produced by snails and bees and not the animals themselves. As long as the method for collecting the ingredients does not harm the animal itself, they can also be cruelty-free.

Although the process used to collect snail mucin varies from breeder to breeder, it usually involves an environment that encourages the snails to excrete their mucin, like placing them in a dark room with a mesh.

Similarly, bee venom is collected by placing a glass pane near the bee’s hive. The bees are inclined to try and sting the glass as it has a very mild electric current, which attracts them. When they sting it, the bees release their venom but their stingers don’t eject, meaning the bees aren’t at all harmed and they don’t die. Research has shown that there is no shortening of the bees’ lifespans when the venom is collected this way.

For more information on snail mucin and bee venom and their collection methods, see our blog posts here and here.


  1. APLB
  2. Belif
  3. Beauty of Joseon
  4. Benton
  5. Half Moon Eyes
  6. Klairs
  7. COSRX
  8. B-Labs (I Am Sorry Just Cleansing)
  9. JJ Young by Caolion Lab
  10. Pyunkang Yul
  11. Purito
  12. Skin79
  13. Thank You Farmer
  14. RE:P
  15. Neogen
  16. Olivarrier
  17. Subi
  18. The Vegan Glow
  19. ISNTree


Shopping cruelty-free is important to a lot of you and so STYLE STORY stocks a wide range of brands that are cruelty-free. These are just a few of our cruelty-free brands:



APLB is a Korean Beauty dedicated to creating gentle, cruelty-free cosmetics.

It makes 7 promises to its customers – the creation of products for all skin types, continuous research, natural ingredients, growing the science around fermented skincare, strict quality control, results that the eyes can see and scientific prescriptions.  


Purito works in a 100% cruelty-free environment where no animal testing is done. The brand prides itself on its other environmentally friendly practices as well, including avoiding excessive packaging.



B-LAB is an eco-friendly Korean Beauty company committed to researching and developing the products we need in our bathrooms. “I Am Sorry Just Cleansing” is their range of cleansers that are 100% cruelty free. They contain natural ingredients and are ECOCERT approved and EWG Stability approved.



Developed by Korea’s renowned Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic, Pyunkang Yul is a cruelty-free Korean beauty brand that focuses on ingredients from nature.

Based on their natural beauty philosophy, Pyunkang Yul rejects the notion of cosmetics as simply another “shopping” item. Instead, they carefully select each and every ingredient in their products to ensure they are gentle and safe for skin.

Pyunkang Yul creates products that maintain the right balance of oil and moisture in the skin, to ensure skin is optimally balanced.



Olivarrier is a Korean skincare brand devoted to clean beauty. Formulated for sensitive and reactive skin types, it avoids chemical preservatives, animal testing, animal by-products, mineral oil, artificial scents and dyes. All Olivarrier products are dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, EWG verified and hypoallergenic with zero toxins.




Benton is a PETA-approved certified cruelty-free Korean beauty label.

In addition, Benton also uses ECOCERT approved ingredients and produces products that contain high percentages of active ingredients while avoiding parabens, mineral oil, alcohol, benzophenone, chemical preservatives and steroids.



Subi is a Korean Beauty brand based that uses the latest Korean skincare technology blended with Australia’s no fuss, minimalist approach to skincare and ingredients. Subi means “defence” in Korean and that’s exactly what Subi products are – a defence for your skin.

The brand designs vegan and cruelty free products that boost your skin using clean, natural ingredients. They do not sell into China.




Love your cruelty free K-Beauty brands? You’re not alone!

As the new South Korean legislation banning animal testing is now in force, we can enjoy even more Cruelty-Free K-Beauty brands, and that’s good news for everyone!


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