Are IT cosmetics Cruelty Free, vegan and sustainable?

IT Cosmetics is a makeup and skincare brand best known for its fan-favorite complexion products, especially its CC + creams (basically, the middle point between tinted moisturizer and foundation). What many don’t realize is that those CC + creams contain snail slime secretions. IT Cosmetics does not have a vast, clearly marked vegan offering even though it prides itself on being a cruelty free company.

The brand is owned by the L’Oréal Group, which is not certified cruelty free but is relatively transparent about the provenance of its ingredients. The group is also constantly striving to become more ethical and sustainable, setting ambitious goals for 2030.

Here are some ways IT Cosmetics meets Treehugger’s green beauty standards and where it falls short.

Treehugger’s Green Beauty Standard: IT Cosmetics

  • Cruelty Free: Certified by PETA, not Leaping Bunny.
  • Vegan: Vegan products are not clearly marked and are hard to find.
  • Ethical: IT Cosmetics uses questionable ingredients such as mica and shea without revealing their origins.
  • Sustainable: IT Cosmetics continues to pack single-use plastic products.

IT Cosmetics is certified Cruelty Free by PETA

IT Cosmetics says being cruelty free is hugely important to the brand. Although sold internationally, IT Cosmetics has avoided the Chinese market due to the country’s legal obligation to test cosmetics on animals, although this law was changed in 2021. It is certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program but not by Leaping Bunny.

Leaping Bunny does not grant its coveted cruelty free certification to brands whose parent companies test on animals. Since 2016, IT Cosmetics has been owned by the L’Oréal Group, as PETA claims does test on animals because it sells (other products, not IT cosmetics) in China. The beauty giant says it has partnered with Chinese authorities to establish alternative testing methods over the past decade.

Animal ingredients hidden in IT cosmetics

Although IT Cosmetics makes vegan makeup and takes pride in using non-animal hair in its brushes, vegan items aren’t clearly marked or easy to find on the brand’s website.

Animal products are ubiquitous in IT Cosmetics, from hydrolyzed collagen (derived from bovine or fish connective tissue) in its Superhero Mascara to lanolin oil (a waxy substance derived from sheep’s wool) in its lipsticks. Glycerin is present in almost all formulas, and the brand does not specify whether it comes from plant or animal sources.

Its popular CC + creams also contain “snail secretion filtrate”, some of which are in such a high concentration that they are listed as the second inactive ingredient.

iHeartMedia / Getty Images

The ethics of IT Cosmetics are uncertain

IT Cosmetics makes no mention of ethics on its website. L’Oréal Group sets strict guidelines on responsible sourcing of ingredients, fair treatment of suppliers, diversity and more in a 40-page code of ethics document that its brands must adhere to. The company is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and has founded a Solidarity Sourcing program to support people from vulnerable communities by engaging in “social and inclusive shopping”.

IT Cosmetics has not published any standards of its own while continuing to use questionable ingredients such as mica, shea butter and argan oil. All of these are included in L’Oréal’s Inside Our Products database, which explains where each of the ingredients comes from. (According to that database, the company uses only Ecocert Organic, Fair for Life and Protected Geographical Indication certified argan oil and Indian mica that meets Responsible Mica Initiative standards.)

It is unclear whether IT Cosmetics complies with these standards or diverges. Treehugger asked for clarification on brand ethics, but IT Cosmetics declined to comment.

IT Cosmetics’ dependence on plastics is unsustainable

Plastic bottles, tubes for mascara in mixed materials, compact for powder and dropper bottles are the packaging chosen by IT Cosmetics, all presumably made with virgin materials and almost impossible to recycle.

That said, the parent company of IT Cosmetics has big goals to phase out single-use virgin plastics and move to fully recycled, recyclable, degradable or reusable packaging by 2030. L’Oréal Group also plans to become completely carbon-neutral in its establishments within that time frame.

In a booklet entitled “L’Oréal for the Future”, published in 2020, the group said 95% of its ingredients would be bio-based and derived from “abundant minerals or circular processes” by 2030. Currently, the Most IT cosmetics training is chemical based.

Alternative vegan complexion products to try

IT Cosmetics may be certified cruelty free by PETA, but its lack of transparency and clearly marked vegan options dissuade many conscious consumers from indulging in the complexion products widely adored by the brand. Here are some ethical, vegan and sustainable alternatives.

Milk Makeup Sun Skin Tint

Phillip Faraone / Getty Images

Milk Makeup is a 100% vegan and certified Leaping Bunny brand praised for its sustainability. Its Sunshine Skin Tint, a combination of tint, face oil and SPF 30, is refillable. It comes packaged in a box made from post-consumer waste cardboard. The label is also recycled paper.

Kosas tinted face oil

Rob Kim / Getty Images

Kosas certified Leaping Bunny, while not entirely vegan, offers a Kosas Clean modification that avoids animal products, mineral oil, talc, silicones, fragrances and other chemicals.

Tinted Face Oil, formulated with just 15 ingredients, including avocado, lawn foam, raspberry, jojoba, camellia, and rosehip oils, is part of that modification. The brand calls it “the foundation sweatpants”.

ILIA Super Tint Serum for the skin

ILIA, known for skincare-based makeup, has a Super Serum skin tint with SPF 40 that is vegan and reef safe. It’s also made without perfume and silicone, and 1% of sales go towards the brand’s goal of planting one million trees by 2023.

The leather dye has won numerous awards for being clean and eco-friendly and has maintained a 4.5-star rating after nearly 7,000 reviews.

Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream

Philanthropy is the foundation of Thrive Causemetics, a 100% vegan and certified Leaping Bunny brand that donates a portion of every sale to women’s causes (homelessness, cancer, domestic abuse, etc.).

Buildable Blur CC Cream provides broad spectrum SPF 35 protection and is formulated with vitamin C and flaxseed extract.

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