California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act

Published February 11, 2020

Senate Bill No. 1249, also known as the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, states that it is “unlawful for a manufacturer to import for profit, sell, or offer for sale in the state of California, any cosmetic, if the cosmetic was developed or manufactured using an animal test that was conducted or contracted by the manufacturer, or any supplier of the manufacturer, on or after January 1, 2020”. The definition of “animal test” is the internal or external application of a cosmetic, either in its final form or any ingredient thereof, to the skin, eyes, or other body parts of a live, nonhuman vertebrate. A few of many examples of cosmetics are makeup, deodorant, shampoo, perfume, and skin moisturizer. There are a few exceptions to this law. This law does not apply to an animal test of any cosmetic that is required by a federal, state, or foreign regulatory authority if the ingredient is widely in use and cannot be replaced by another ingredient with a similar function. This law does not apply to an animal test that was conducted for non-cosmetic purposes required by federal, state, or foreign regulatory authorities. This law does not apply if there has been detailed research that the use of animal-tested cosmetic will substantially help with a human health problem. An example of a United States regulatory authority that animal tests for non-cosmetic purposes are the Environmental Protection Agency. Another exception, one that is controversial, is that this law does not apply to animal tests that were “conducted on any product or ingredient subject to the requirements of Chapter V of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” but the Food and Drug Administration has and still will allow cosmetic manufacturers to use whatever effective testing necessary to ensure the safety of their products.

This new law was proposed and authored by Senator Cathleen Galgiani (Stockton) and co-sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. This law makes important gains for animal protection, animal rights, and scientific standards while keeping existing products available in California to purchase. This law will ensure safer cosmetics, safer chemicals, and safer products because it requires manufacturers to certify the safety of their ingredients using modern, non-animal, ethical testing methods. It is a scientific fact that animal testing is not needed to prove the safety of cosmetics and personal hygiene products, and there is a scientifically validated test method available instead of animal testing. If this law is violated, there will be a fine of five thousand dollars, and an additional one thousand dollars for each day the violation continues. Opponents of this bill worried that other states would follow California’s lead, which would then move manufacturing companies out of the United States to other countries where animal testing is allowed, such as China, which would lead to fewer jobs in the United States. China initially allowed and required animal testing of cosmetics, but recently, on January 1, 2020, new legislation in China is following California’s leadership and no longer requires animal testing on cosmetic products.  


“Bill Text.” Bill Text - SB-1249 Animal Testing: Cosmetics.,

“California Bans the Sale of Most Cosmetics Tested on Animals.” Animal Legal Defense Fund,

EurekAlert. “California Law Banning Sale of Cosmetics Tested on Animals Goes into Effect January 1st.” EurekAlert!,

Morosini, Daniela. “China Will No Longer Require Animal Testing On Cosmetic Products.” British Vogue, British Vogue, 14 Aug. 2019,



Cited Sources:

“Senate Bill No. 436.” SB-436 Office of Child Abuse Prevention., California Legislative Information, 2 Oct. 2019, 9:00 PM,