Is Jergens Cruelty-Free? Here’s the Truth.

Jergens Logo

I don’t think that a single health and beauty company is willing to say that their product is bad for the environment. And, by extension, they certainly won’t admit to testing on animals if they can help it. This isn’t shocking, considering the image that these companies tend to go for – light, refreshing, pure, fun. etc.

Animal testing doesn’t really fall under that scope. Obviously.

That said, there is a difference between a company claiming that their product is cruelty-free and their product actually BEING cruelty-free. And trust me, there are many sneaky ways a company can mask its involvement in animal testing.

So, what about Jergens? Is Jergens a company that is genuinely cruelty-free, or are they hiding something from their customers? That’s what I aim to uncover in this article.

Alright, no more waiting. Let’s get to the good stuff!

What is Jergens?

Jergens Melanin Glow

First, I need to provide some background on Jergens. Trust me, it’s relevant.

Jergens is a company involved in the cosmetics industry. It specializes in lotions, moisturizers, tanning solutions, and soaps. Jergens is a subsidiary of the Kao Corporation, a chemical and cosmetics company headquartered in Nihonbashi-Kayabacho, Chūō, Tokyo, Japan.

For those of you who don’t know, a subsidiary refers to a company under the umbrella of another company called the parent company. The parent company usually has a huge say in what goes on with its subsidiaries. This is simplified, but it gets the general point across.

Going back to Jergens itself, its products have made it a popular choice. There’s no denying that the products are good enough to attract a steady stream of consumers. Even if they’ve had some possible issues with bacteria in the recent past.

But what about its approach toward the environment and animals?

Here is what they say, verbatim, on their site:

“Pets are a part of our families too! Whether furry or scaly, animals deserve to be loved on not used for testing.”

Jergens – Our Commitment

So, the mystery is solved, right? Well, not exactly. After a bit more digging, I found that the truth was a bit more complicated than what Jergens advertised.

Is Jergens Truly Cruelty-Free? Here’s the Verdict.

Unfortunately, Jergens is not cruelty-free. But the reason why is more involved than you may think.

Their commitment to being cruelty-free only extends to western markets (as said on their site), which means that the confirmed cruelty-free products are only sold in the West.

The same cannot be said of other countries. If Jergens is sold in another country that requires animal testing, then Jergens will HAVE to test on animals in order to sell there.

That said, the only large country that had mandatory animal testing was China, and they reworked the laws in 2021 to limit required testing to “special cosmetics”.

If you are curious, the list includes:

  1. Hair dyes
  2. Hair growth products
  3. Hair removal products
  4. Hair perming
  5. Breast beauty products
  6. Deodorants
  7. Body fitness products
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Whitening products
  10. Anti-freckle

General cosmetics no longer require animal testing. These include:

  1. Skincare products
  2. Hair care products
  3. Nail care products
  4. Makeup
  5. Fragrance

By glancing at these lists, it’s fair to assume that most Jergens’ products fall under general cosmetics and not special cosmetics. But what about tanning serums? Where does that fall? And do lotions get a pass if they contain sunscreen elements, which Jergens does?

It’s hard to say, and I don’t believe that there are answers yet. Still, there are some assumptions that can be made.

Jergens’ products were sold in China well before this law was changed, meaning that they HAD to have been testing on animals up until this point. Furthermore, removing the requirement for animal testing doesn’t mean that companies won’t test on animals. If companies have already paid for animal testing in China, then they will continue to do so, at least until the contract is up.

Because Jergens’ products had been tested on animals in the past, they cannot be considered cruelty-free. A true cruelty-free company would’ve chosen to not sell in countries that require animal testing rather than comprise its values for the sake of profit.

Not to mention the fact that Jergens tries to soften the blow by effectively saying, “Hey, at least we are good in the West!”, which feels rather insulting.

By the way, the Kao Corporation also performs animal testing when required.

Is Jergens Confirmed to be Vegan?

No, Jergens is not vegan. They may offer some specialty products that do not contain any animal ingredients, but a fair amount of their products contain animal-derived beeswax, lanolin, and carmine.

While vegans can purchase animal-free products from Jergens, would they really want to support a company that is only willing to go halfway?

And if you look toward the parent company, the Kao Corporation also offers vegan products as well as products containing animal ingredients.

The apple does not fall from the tree, it seems.

Is Jergens Sold in Countries that Require Animal Testing?

Yes, Jergens is sold in countries that require animal testing, at least to a certain degree. As we said before, China may or may not require animal testing depending on the cosmetic product. “General cosmetics” don’t require testing but “special cosmetics” do.

It’s unclear whether or not Jergens has products that fall under this “special cosmetics” classification.

However, it’s true that Jergens was sold before animal testing was not conditional but rather mandatory across all cosmetics. Therefore, the company still contributed to the harm to animals involved in their testing.

Does Jergens Have Any Noteworthy Certifications?

Leaping Bunny Logo

Jergens is not certified by any company. More specifically, it does not have certifications from Leaping Bunny or PETA, the two major regulatory bodies for ending animal cruelty and testing.

Jergens is also not on PETA’s list of cruelty-free companies. Granted, it’s also not on PETA’s list of companies that perform animal testing.

It seems like Jergens is just trying to stay under the radar of any organization that may call it out on its practices.

Is Jergens Sustainable and Eco-Friendly?

Here is what Jergens says on their commitment page:

“We are constantly evaluating and refining our formulas based on emerging science to ensure they are safe for your skin and safe for the environment. We are working to improve biodegradability of formulas, elimination of environmental pollutants and even removal of all parabens by 2025.”

I’ll give credit where it’s due – it’s good to see that Jergens is taking steps to reduce any negative environmental impacts that may be caused by its products. The effort gets a thumbs-up from me.

However, this also means that Jergens’ products as they currently stand are not good for the environment. Therefore, they are not sustainable or eco-friendly at this time.

You should also be aware that Jergens’ products contain parabens (mostly methylparaben and ethylparaben together). You can find a list of Jergens’ paraben-containing products here. Some studies have suggested that parabens have negative effects on human health, despite being FDA-approved.

Such health effects may include:

  1. Disrupting hormone function
  2. Decreasing fertility
  3. Lowering testosterone
  4. Accelerating breast cancer cells

Of course, more studies are required in order to make definitive conclusions. We just don’t have enough information on their health effects at this time.

But we DO know about how parabens impact the environment. Parabens like butylparaben can kill coral even at low concentrations, which is a huge concern considering the importance of coral reefs to marine ecosystems.

The last thing we need is to further destroy coral reefs – too many have already been lost as is.

Parabens can also react with chlorinated tap water to form potentially toxic byproducts. We don’t know much about them yet, but I’d wager that it’s best to not find out the hard way.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, Jergens has a long way to go if it wants to be an ally to the environment and its animals. While people may enjoy how the product works, there are many other eco-friendly companies that offer comparable products. You don’t have to give up good cosmetics by choosing to go green – companies like Olaplex are a good example of that.

In fact, you may find products that are way better for you – after all, green products tend to be all-natural. And if natural formulations must include synthetic ingredients, eco-focused cosmetic companies will choose ones that are good for both you and the environment.

My hope is that the cosmetics industry will completely remove harmful chemicals and animal testing one day. Until then, I will continue to expose the harmful companies while praising the ones that go the extra mile for their customers, the environment, and animals all around the world.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the article.

Let’s continue to strive toward a greener, better world!