Is Olay Vegan or Cruelty-Free?

Olay is a popular skincare brand that specializes in face and body care. Olay is owned by the parent company Procter & Gamble, which is in charge of multiple billion-dollar companies. Olay is just one of these, with Procter & Gamble gathering $67.68 billion in 2019 alone. They expect this to rise to $72.33 billion in 2021.

With such an impressive revenue for the parent company, you would think that they should have enough profits to be able to make all of their brands vegan and cruelty-free. However, is this the case? 

Today we will be looking into whether Olay, a brand that is used and loved by many, is vegan and cruelty-free. 

What do we mean by ‘vegan and cruelty-free’?

Vegan is pretty self-explanatory - do Olay products contain animal products or are they usable for everyone? People who follow a vegan lifestyle go further than simply not eating animal products, but they also believe in not using animal products in everyday life. 

This means no leather, no beauty products with animal products within, and no fur coats. Veganism and cruelty-free do not mean the same thing, although almost every vegan uses products that are only cruelty-free. 

Cruelty-free products are products that have not been taken through animal testing stages in their research and development. Animal testing was once considered essential to keep humans out of harm’s way, but nowadays people are fighting to have animal testing shut down for good. 

So, a product could technically be vegan but not cruelty-free if it does not use any animal products but has been tested on animals. Likewise, there are also some products on the market that can be cruelty-free but not vegan. 

We are going to be looking into whether or not Olay is vegan and cruelty-free separately. Some brands like to label their products as vegan just because they are not tested on animals. However, as this is not strictly true, we are looking at each term separately. 

Is Olay vegan?

Unfortunately, Olay is not a vegan-friendly brand. While some of their products are vegan, the brand is not 100% vegan and therefore cannot be considered completely vegan. The main ingredient that makes Olay not vegan is retinol. 

The use of retinol makes products not vegan because retinol is a preformed Vitamin A found from animal fats in the liver, eggs, and more. As retinol comes from animal sources, it is not vegan friendly. 

We are disappointed that Olay does not showcase their vegan products more accessibly. It is very difficult to find online a list of Olay’s vegan products and therefore vegans might have a difficult task of finding vegan products from Olay. 

If there were somewhere online that showcased the Olay products that were vegan-friendly, it would make the brand much more accessible to everyone. As we cannot find any product list online that shows vegan products from Olay, we might be skeptical to believe that such a thing actually exists. 

Is Olay cruelty-free?

Olay does not test on animals and therefore can be considered vegan-friendly. However, what about the parent company, P&G? 

P&G owns a number of brands that are not considered cruelty-free, such as Gillette, Ariel, Always, Pampers, and Gain. These are just some of the brands owned by P&G that are not cruelty-free.

P&G also owns brands that are cruelty-free, such as First Aid Beauty, which is a skincare brand that doesn’t test on animals. 

While P&G owns cruelty-free brands, they also own brands that are not cruelty-free and therefore cannot be considered a cruelty-free company. By association, Olay can not be considered cruelty-free. 

With that being said, P&G has recently been making steps in the right direction, donating a large sum of money to begin developing more cruelty-free alternatives. The statement has been copied below: 

“Olay’s parent company, P&G, has devoted a total of $410 million to develop cruelty-free alternatives. Additionally, P&G has joined industry coalitions to share research and testing methodologies so that other skincare brands and the industry-at-large can end animal testing and move toward cruelty-free skincare.”

Olay’s quest to end animal testing

Despite what we mentioned before, Olay has offered a new blog post detailing how they want to diminish the use of animal testing when it comes to their products. We have copied some of the most important points below for you to read yourself: 

“ We do not test our products on animals. Olay is working closely with governments around the world to provide alternative research methods to eliminate testing on animals, enabling cruelty-free skincare in the beauty industry. For example, in a few countries where Olay is sold, governments still mandate animal tests. In those cases, Olay can be required by law to submit our products to labs where we know animal tests are happening. This is why we do not claim cruelty-free on our packaging. We do not believe these tests are necessary to evaluate safety or performance. But today, they won’t accept alternative non-animal testing methods. We remain steadfast and will continue to advocate for alternative methods to end animal tests in the industry.”

“Olay tests its products on “lab skins,” including unique, Olay-invented versions that have the same physical properties as natural skin but are created wholly in a lab setting from non-animal materials. Testing on lab skin helps ensure our products work as intended and are safe to use. We also research our products with thousands of women around the world to ensure they provide real, transformational skincare benefits that women expect when using Olay.”

“Olay supports the Humane Society International’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign to ban animal testing for cosmetics in all major global beauty markets by 2023.”

P&G’s work with The Humane Society

P&G has been working with The Humane Society of the United States for over 20 years. They have persisted with this collaboration to advocate for national and international changes in animal testing and practices. 

P&G released a statement showing more of an insight into this partnership and their quest to become more cruelty-free. We have copied this below:

“Technological and scientific advances are providing the basis for an entirely new safety assessment paradigm. Eliminating animal testing is an ambitious goal. But working together, a coalition of animal protection groups and committed corporations can make this goal a reality.”

Other popular skincare brands that are not vegan or cruelty-free

If you’re upset about Olay not being vegan and cruelty-free, we have found a comprehensive list of other popular brands that are also not corresponding with your beliefs. If you’re leaning more towards a vegan and cruelty-free life, steer clear from the brands listed below. 

  • Aveeno
  • Avene
  • Avon
  • Bioderma
  • Biotherm
  • Bliss
  • Boscia
  • Caudalie
  • Chanel
  • Clarins
  • Clarisonic
  • Clean & Clear
  • Clearasil
  • Coppertone
  • DDF
  • DHC
  • Dermablend
  • Dior
  • Dr. Brandt
  • Dr. Jart
  • EOS
  • Eucerin
  • Fresh
  • Garnier
  • Gatineau
  • Glamglow
  • Good Skin Labs
  • Jurlique
  • Kiehl’s
  • L’Occitane
  • La Mer
  • La Roche Posay
  • Lab Series for Men
  • Lubriderm
  • Mederma
  • Neutrogena
  • Nivea
  • Noxzema
  • Nuxe
  • Ojon
  • Olay
  • Origins
  • Oriflame
  • Peter Thomas Roth
  • Ponds
  • ROC
  • Rembrandt
  • Simple
  • SK-II
  • Vaseline
  • Vichy
  • Walgreens
  • Yves Rocher

Vegan and cruelty-free skincare brands to use instead of Olay

If your favorite brand was listed above and you’re suddenly worried about where you’re going to find a new skincare brand to fit your beliefs, we have you covered. Below is a list that we found of all vegan and cruelty-free brands.

  • Alba Botanica
  • Pacifica
  • Kiss My Face
  • Acure Organics
  • Yes To
  • Desert Essence
  • Avalon Organics
  • Andalou Naturals
  • Nip + Fab
  • Nourish Organic
  • Derma E
  • Aubrey Organics
  • Queen Helene
  • Elf
  • First Aid Beauty
  • Paula's Choice
  • Ole Henriksen
  • Glossier
  • Pai
  • Mad Hippie
  • Juice Beauty
  • Korres
  • Dr. Hauschka
  • S. W. Basics
  • Supergoop
  • Blissoma
  • Indielee
  • Renee Rouleau
  • Coola
  • One Love Organics
  • Meow Meow Tweet
  • Sibu
  • Oz Naturals
  • Suntegrity
  • Farmacy
  • Ren
  • Murad
  • Dermalogica
  • Herbivore Botanicals
  • Sunday Riley
  • Tatcha
  • Tata Harper
  • Evelom
  • Drunk Elephant
  • Dralkaitis
  • Rodial
  • Kahina giving beauty
  • Mukti
  • Goop
  • Osea
  • Radical Skincare
  • Dermadoctor
  • Kate Somerville
  • Dr. Dennis Gross


To finish up, Olay is not vegan and cruelty-free. While they do not test on animals directly, the parent company P&G does own some not cruelty-free brands and therefore Olay is not cruelty-free by association. 

While Olay and P&G are making headway when it comes to becoming more cruelty-free, we cannot say that they are that just yet. Hopefully, in the coming years, they will be able to finally put ‘cruelty-free’ on their packaging. 

But for now, there are plenty of vegan and cruelty-free skincare brands that you can switch to. 

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