Is CeraVe Cruelty Free, Vegan, and Sustainable?

various CeraVe skin and face products and creams over a textured background

Treehugger / Photo Illustration by Catherine Song

Unfortunately, CeraVe cannot be considered cruelty free, vegan, or sustainable. Part of The L’Oréal Group, CeraVe may offer budget-friendly skin care rooted in the science of dermatology, but its products are not developed with the environment or sustainability in mind.

Treehugger's Green Beauty Standards: CeraVe

  • Cruelty Free: Not certified; the brand is sold in markets that require animal testing.
  • Vegan: Some CeraVe products use animal-derived ingredients.
  • Ethical: CeraVe's parent company has received negative ethical reviews due to a lack of transparency in its supply chain.
  • Sustainable: The brand uses plastic packaging and some environmentally controversial ingredients.

Not Cruelty Free Certified

CeraVe is not certified as cruelty free by any global organizations, like PETA or Leaping Bunny.  Although the company says it does not directly test its products on animals, it doesn't monitor its ingredient providers and third-party suppliers for animal testing practices. 

Additionally, CeraVe sells products in Brazil and mainland China, which up until 2021 had legal requirements for animal testing on imported cosmetics. While these laws are rapidly changing, companies that are committed to being cruelty free don’t directly sell products in these regions.

Is CeraVe Vegan?

CeraVe cannot be considered a vegan brand as many of its products contain animal derivatives including glycerin and cholesterol.

According to CeraVe representatives, the products do not contain any porcine, bovine, or ovine originating ingredients except for lanolin (derived from sheep). They may also leverage ingredients derived from bees, fish, or eggs.

Sustainability Issues

As of 2022, CeraVe does not leverage recycled shipping materials or deploy carbon offsets. The company uses plastic containers to package its products, which may not be recyclable depending on your municipality’s program. The only Cerave products packaged in recyclable cardboard are the cleanser bars, but they are only three out of a total offering of 77 personal care products.

Regarding environmentally unfriendly ingredients, many CeraVe Products contain dimethicone, which is a common palm oil derivative. While the consumption of products containing palm oil is a complicated issue, it is an additional hole in CeraVe’s sustainability profile.

Petrolatum is another ingredient found in CeraVe products. Often used in skin care for its ability to create a protective barrier to retain moisture in the skin, the ingredient is derived from petroleum (oil). Petrolatum may also be included in ingredients lists as petroleum jelly, mineral oil, white petrolatum, or paraffin oil.

Ethical Concerns

CeraVe is a subsidiary of The L’Oréal Group, which has received negative reviews from The Ethical Consumer. Its supply chain is not very transparent, making it difficult for watch groups to verify whether ingredients are sourced using animal, child, or slave labor. 

The L'Oreal Group's Sustainability Goals

Treehugger attempted to obtain more information from CeraVe regarding its ingredient sourcing and sustainability practices, but received only a superficial response from company representatives referencing The L’Oréal Group's 2030 vision for global sustainability. CeraVe has been part of The L’Oréal Group since 2017.

The group's sustainability manifesto, issued in June 2020, states that the company intends to reach complete carbon neutrality by 2025 and use 100% recycled or bio-based plastics by 2030. The document also establishes ambitious goals regarding the ethical and sustainability practices of the company, its suppliers, and consumers. What these commitments mean for CeraVe specifically remains to be seen.

Alternatives to CeraVe

CeraVe isn’t cruelty free or vegan, but other companies with similar product lines do prioritize green skin care alternatives. Check out these suggestions from Byrdie’s roundup of effective sustainable skin care.

  • Cleansing: Klur Gentle Matter cleanser lifts oil and dirt from pores, and offers a sustainable alternative to CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser. 
  • Moisturizing: An incredible moisturizer (that you can get instead of CeraVe’s Moisturizing Lotion) is BYBI’s C-Caf Cream. The vegan formula features matcha, vitamin C, and caffeine to wake up tired skin.
  • Retexturing: A plant-based alternative to CeraVe Smoothing Cream is Cocokind’s Resurfacing Sleep Mask. It’s lightweight, effective, and packaged in recycled glass.
  • Eye Cream: Instead of using CeraVe’s Eye Repair Cream, try out Youth to the People Dream Eye Cream. The cream refreshes the skin and the brand is cruelty free, vegan, and uses sustainable packaging. 
View Article Sources
  1. "L’Oréal for the Future." L’Oréal.