Cruelty Free Cosmetics
Comments 22

Buying Cruelty Free | in Korea

Would you like more information? Please check my Cruelty Free in Korea Page!

Where I’m from, in America, buying cruelty free is a simple choice. You can buy it easily (and oftentimes cheaply) from most stores. There is also an amazing amount of choice, something I desperately miss living in Korea.

Actually, for the first six months of my stay in 2012, I didn’t buy cruelty free because I thought it was a lost cause. But, all it really took was a little research and I could have found quite a few options from some of the most common beauty stores and large markets in Korea. I’ll admit, it’s even easier here in Seoul.

I hope this list helps you if you’re new to Korea, or new to cruelty free products, and wondering what you can buy that is not tested on animals-something truly shameful in this day and age. 😦

If you are not a cruelty free shopper, I’m not going to throw horrible pictures of tested animals in your face (you can do your own research) but I implore you to consider these alternate products which are of mid-range price but terrific quality. And I’m a picky shopper. Just a little change goes a long way!

The first place to start searching for beauty supplies, cosmetics and cleaning supplies is KARA | Korean Animal Right Advocates. Click here to see their list of cruelty free products.  UPDATE: KARA no longer keeps a list or English version website. I would like to note, however, I am disappointed by this updated list. There are considerably less choices than before and one that is glaringly missing is my favorite store in Korea, Beyond. I have emailed/messaged KARA three different times to find out why it was taken off the list and have not received any reply, another disappointment. My friend has contacted Beyond and they have assured him that they are still cruelty free so I’m really interested in knowing why they are no longer on the list. If anyone has information, I’d love to hear it. UPDATE: Beyond returned to the list before the list became defunct.

Cruelty free choices in Korea:

organix shampoo conditioner

Organix, or OGX, is a well known company that can be found at the cosmetic giant, Olive Young, in Korea. It’s a terrific product. The moisturizers work very well on my dry tips and the smell is wonderfully pungent. I have probably tried all the different scents and types. They also have hair gels, hair oils and creams.  

UPDATE: OGX Organix is no longer cruelty free because it sells in mainland China. Bummer.

method shower gel

I’m not going to go into my desperate home sickness for Target, where you can get so many products from Method. You don’t need to hear my bellyaching. I was just so incredibly happy two years ago when I saw that I could buy the body wash at Olive Young, and the cleaning supplies at EMart. I would love for them to start carrying the laundry detergent as well…but…beggars can’t be choosers. 

This one is tough.

Method is no longer cruelty free after years and years on the list. I rely so heavily on Method, as do many people, but here’s the scoop, they have begun testing on water fleas called daphnia. So according to all reliable sources, like Logical Harmony, this is NOT cruelty free.

But, in reality, there is a difference between introducing a toxin into a flea’s water, a flea that lives for about 30 days, compared to the pain and suffering lab tested animals go through. It’s not cool, for sure. But, Method might still be an option for you if you also see the difference.

Lush cosmetics

Ohhhhh, Lush. If I could marry a beauty company, I would pick Lush. I don’t know that there was ever a company that picked a better moniker. Every product that I have tried at this store, where you can find in many areas of Seoul like Gangnam, Itaewon, Sinsa, etc…, have been amazing. I even bought some items for my notoriously picky brother for last Christmas. He loved them as well. Men and women alike can be pampered by this company that uses all natural ingredients and free of preservatives. It’s a little pricey but their things last a while and you get what you pay for.

Aromatica korea

Aromatica is one of the few Korean companies that operate cruelty free. Again, you can find this product at Olive Young, which are every-where. This is a very well know Korean cosmetic company that is sold overseas as well and is often featured on blogs and articles about Korean beauty secrets. It’s a nice company using simple, delicate products. I use aloe vera gel all year long as a non-burning antiseptic layer after I shave to prevent bumps. Have you ever wondered why aloe vera gel is always sold in that weird green color when you squeeze aloe plant and get clear goo??  Lol…

freeman beauty

A great company that is quite easy to find here in Korea at Olive Young and Emart/Homeplus at times, Freeman is affordable and reliable. I love their skin masks, especially in the summer when the disgusting Korean smog just sits on my face with the humidity. You can find loads of flavors and scents of face masks, creams and face and body washes.

beyond fash wash

Beyond! The company that I sing the high praises of because 1. they have EVERYTHING you could need for your skin, hair or nails, 2. they have so many locations, and 3. they have a full range of prices, from inexpensive to luxury. I love this Beyond face wash because I need foam and one that is not too moisturizing because of my oily skin. It smells great and feels refreshing afterwards. Everything I need in a face wash. Check out Beyond for a full range of products. 

More coming soon! Plus more in depth reviews of particular products. 🙂


  1. Thank you for this post!! I buy most of my cosmetics from iHerb, but I’m also a big fan of Beyond!! I was so excited about all the cutesy Korean cosmetics like Etude House and Tony Moly when I first got here, but I can’t justify using their stuff unless I know animals aren’t being harmed. Hope more Korean brands will go cruelty-free! ^^

    • I’m glad you found it helpful! I was excited about Etude and others as well…and I loved the huge range at Olive Young when I first arrived. But, since finding Beyond I’ve bought almost entirely from them for cosmetics and I don’t feel too much like I’m compromising on cute or quality. And, sadly, most Korean cosmetics are cruelty free UNTIL they sell to China, that’s when they test. 😦 Basically it’s China’s dumb policy on testing foreign cosmetics and the Korean company’s greed that leads to the testing. So I’m just waiting for the day when China gives up that policy. Thank you for the comment! 🙂

  2. ezzati says

    HI! Korean products are definitely sold in China too however, on one site (I really cant remember which), I have read that majority of the said Korean brands will alter or allow some products for animal testing to be sold in China. I don’t understand why China needs to implement many harsh and cruel policies and practices towards animals (not just animal testing winkwink) but I suggest to buy Korean products that are either vegan or straight from their websites. Popular brands such as Etude House and 3CE has yet to confirm their cruelty-free practices too which is disappointing if they finalized that they DO because i own so many 3CE products oh my gosh. I’m a HUGE fan of 3CE but a bigger fan of lives and animals so if i get the info that 3CE is not cruelty-free, i’ll be a sobbing mess. Thank you for your blog post!

    • Thanks for the note! 🙂 I am not familiar with 3CE but I do know that I tried to contact Etude House about their animal testing policy and the email said they did not test and I further asked if it was tested abroad (I asked because it looked like the only stores in China was actually in Hong Kong and I don’t know if they have the same terrible testing rules.) and they never replied. I can only assume that Etude House is not a safe brand to purchase. I agree, China’s policy of testing all foreign products is ridiculous, I hate it! I would definitely love to know of any other cruelty free products I can buy here! Thank you for reading! I’ll be doing an update soon as I now have a definitive answer that Beyond is still cruelty free! Yay!

  3. Anwen says

    Hi, I was browsing for Asian cruelty free beauty products, and I stumbled upon your site. This looks like a pretty solid list haha. Can confirm (as I live in China) that Innisfree, Etude House, Tonymoly all sell in China, so they are not cruelty free ): Taiwan and HK are a different cases, since they are treated as “special administrative regions” the imported products (Lush, etc.) there may not incorporate animal testing

    • Hi Anwen! Thanks for the comment. I have contacted Etude House before and from what I could find on the internet, I had assumed that they sold exclusively in Hong Kong, not mainland China. I think you are telling me they do sell in mainland China? Sometimes it has to be a personal choice, like choosing Innisfree or Etude House here in Korea….since they don’t actually test here in Korea, the products are safe. However, the company is doing animal testing abroad. :/ At times tough choices are made.

  4. Pingback: Cruelty Free Products in Korea | April Update |

  5. Hello, dear!
    I’m going to Seoul in December and I was wondering if in the BEYOND stores (Myeongdong) the staff speaks english? I wanna buy lots of cruelty free products , but it would be so helpful to have some help from the staff in order to indicate me the products benefits and help me with some recomendations. I have acne prone skin, so I was thinking they could indicate me what products would suit me best.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Andrea! Thanks for the comment! I’m glad you are going to Beyond…it’s a great shop! I can’t say 100% but most stores I’ve visited in Myeongdong have English speaking staff. There are so many tourists in that area, they almost have to have people working who speak English. I don’t think you will have anything to worry about! Also, there should be a Lush in that area too…I’ve always had English speaking help there. 🙂 Have fun on your trip!! Seoul is so exciting!

  6. Christina Costello says

    I’m trying to find out if aprilskin cosmetics is cruelty free???

    • Hi Christina, I sent out an email and that generally works but it takes a little time. If that fails, I’ll ask my Korean friend to give them a call. If they are dodgy about it, you can assume they are probably not cruelty free but I will wait a bit to find out. I’ll post again when I have some info! 🙂

      • Hi! I never did, no. I will work on it some more this month to see if I can get an answer. My assumption when they do not contact right away is that they do use animal testing. However, if you can hold out, all of Korea will be going cruelty free “by 2018.” It should open up a lot of companies.

  7. Hi! Thank you for this blog and all of the Beyond Reviews! I just got a few Alice items I plan to review but I don’t love them. The shadow vanishes and the cream hasn’t done much so far. There is not much variety of rhst brand available that ships to the US however.
    I read 3CE and Nature Republic don’t sell in China and was wondering if you heard back from any other companies not on the Kara list ?

    • Hi Rescue Meows! (so cute) I will look into those brands. I tried to find anything on 3CE before, even where I could buy it in Korea and could not find it anywhere. I can look again, though. Unfortunately, KARA no longer updates their list, in fact the entire English portion of their website is gone now. That’s when I decided to try and keep my own list for this blog. I will let you know if I find anything out about those companies though, thanks for the question.

      Also, sorry about your Alice stuff from Beyond. I have not bought any of that theme as my skin is really sensitive and I have to be careful (it honestly did not look high quality in the stores 😦 ) But, their CC cream is really nice and I like their nailpolishes, blush, and lip tints the best. I also use them for almost all my creams and face washes. Their shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotions are pricey, but they are also good quality and smell really nice!

  8. Shirley Rigby says

    Glad your keeping up to date with this list bcs nobody else is I have done a bit of my own research and this what I have come up with. With regards to china my opinion is this. If your ethos is cruelty free it needs to be across the board start to finish. if you really cared about animals why would you voluntarily sell to china knowing they will test on them . You either love animals or not. Period!

    Cruelty free no selling to China


    Skin vegetarian

  9. Klaudia says


    Thank you for information. I am currently using Innisfree and love their products, however they are not fully cruelty free, since they sell in China. After reading your posts, I have become interested in Beyond and Freeman. I have gone to both websites, but it seems they are not shipping abroad. Is that correct, or am I missing something? I live in Sweden and would like to order directly from their websites and not through any distributors. Thank you for info and congratulations on doing a great job on your blog.

    • Hi Klaudia! That might be correct about the shipping. But you could try They sell some Beyond products, have an English version of the website and have international shipping. 🙂 Thank you!

      • Klaudia says

        Thank you for your response, I will look into it

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