Is Mario Badescu Cruelty Free and Vegan?

For the past 50 years, Mario Badescu has been offering its skincare products primarily to salons. The company has garnered a following and reputation.

The skincare became the talk of New York. The company claims that it’s cruelty-free.

But, many companies say that as there is no legal definition of what it means to be cruelty-free. Let’s take a closer look at Mario Badescu and see if it allows animal testing with its skincare range.

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From Romania to New York

Mario Badescu was born in Romania. Moving to New York, he decided to start his skincare salon in 1967.

Creating the products in the kitchen of his apartment in Manhattan, Mario opened his salon on the first floor of the apartment building he lived in. 

The one-on-one care that people received from the salon plus the philosophy of simple, gentle, and effective skincare is what drove the success. 

Though the “About” page of Mario Badescu says that he used fresh botanical-based ingredients, the company says that it isn’t vegan. From the “Customer Services” section under “Products”, Mario Badescu says:

“We are not an organic or vegan skincare line. We do have some products that are considered vegan friendly.” 

Regarding its position on animal testing, the company states:

“Mario Badescu does not test our products or ingredients on animals, nor do we ask others to test on our behalf.​”

Yet, as we know, that could simply be a blanket PR statement. How do we know that Mario Badescu is cruelty-free? had this to say about the brand:

“Animal testing is a very complex subject, and despite years of fighting against it, animal testing is still happening everywhere in the world, including the most developed economies.

Therefore, only by submitting legally binding documentation signed by the brand and its suppliers to the internationally recognised animal rights organisations, such as Leaping Bunny and PETA, and getting approved, can the brand prove and rightfully claim that it is cruelty-free.

At present, only the established animal rights groups have the resources and capacity to verify cruelty free status. In 2022, Mario Badescu cruelty free status remains unverified; therefore, Mario Badescu should not be considered cruelty free.”

Plenty of cruelty-free websites such as Ethical Elephant and Cruelty Free Kitty claim that Mario Badescu is cruelty-free. Yet, as we read from the above the company only claims that it doesn’t test on animals.

There is no way to verify the truth behind its claim.

Both PETA and Leaping Bunny don’t have it certified as being cruelty-free. So one is left in limbo.

Is Mario Badescu cruelty-free or not? You have the company’s word that it is, but then they aren’t recognized by the two main organizations that offer certification. 

What about China?

Mario Badescu is available through physical stores as well as online. That leaves one to wonder if the company sells in China.

The situation with China is that, even though its animal testing laws changed from May 1, 2021, that doesn’t exempt all companies from this practice. 

If you sell your product through retail stores in China, then be ready to face some animal testing. That is something any cruelty-free brand wants to avoid.

Using e-commerce sites and implementing B2C online portals allows brands to bypass animal testing requirements in China. 

So, where does Mario Badescu fit in regarding China?

You will find some websites claiming that the company doesn’t sell in China. That’s not exactly true. 

On Mario Badescu’s site, the store locator shows that the company doesn’t have any retail outlets in China. There is a store in Hong Kong, a country which hasn’t complete banned animal testing.

Yet the regulations don’t apply to imported products. By not selling through physical stores allows Mario Badescu to avoid animal testing.

That doesn’t mean that the brand isn’t available in China. A quick search on the internet will turn up some Chinese e-commerce sites that offer products from Mario Badescu.

Also, you can purchase directly through the company’s website. They ship all over the world, including China. 

Buying through online shops means that Mario Badescu doesn’t have to comply with China’s animal testing policies. 

Mario Badescu clarifies its position on animal testing

As mentioned earlier, considers Mario Badescu to not be cruelty-free. 

We acknowledge that Mario Badescu’s claim to be cruelty-free is somewhat lacking in substance. Ashleigh, the founder of, also felt the same way.

She reached out to Mario Badescu for more information regarding its animal testing policy. Here is the response Ashleigh received:

“Hello Ashleigh,

Thank you for taking the time to write and for your interest in Mario Badescu Skin Care.

Here are our brand statements with regard to your questions:

We do not test our products on animals, we do not test our ingredients on animals, nor do we have anyone test on our behalf.

Further, we ask all of our raw material vendors to sign a certification that they do not test on animals. That said, we have no control over the actions of raw material vendors.

Below is the statement that we require all of our raw material vendors to sign as it relates to the raw materials we purchase:

I confirm that to the best of my knowledge and belief that the above named raw material complies with the European ban on animal testing and has not been tested on animals for cosmetic or personal care purposes since December 31, 2009. I also confirm it has been checked with the actual manufacturer of each constituent raw material used to produce the product listed above to ascertain that this statement is correct.

We are a privately held company and are not owned by a larger parent company. We currently have no products registered for sale in China.

Some of our products do contain ingredients derived from animals such as egg whites, bee pollen, honey extract, lanolin, and lactic acid. Although we do have some products that are free of animal by-products, we are not a vegan facility.

I hope this is helpful, please let me know if you have any additional questions.



Ashleigh admits that she has some concerns over the section of the email that is bolded. Rightly so, too.

Mario Badescu honestly states that it can’t control what its vendors do. Third parties sign an agreement not to use animal testing, but how does one know it isn’t happening?

You just have to trust the integrity of the vendors.

The conclusion Ashleigh makes, as does a majority of cruelty-free and vegan sites, including this one, is:

Mario Badescu is cruelty-free

The brand doesn’t test on animals. Third-party vendors supplying the company have to sign anti-animal testing contracts.

Plus, Mario Badescu has no retail stores in China.

But, it isn’t vegan, as Mario Badescu admits. However, they do have some options for vegans.

Mario Badescu’s vegan skincare

Though Mario Badescu used fresh botanical-based ingredients in his skincare range, that doesn’t make it vegan. The company does use animal derivatives in some of its products.

However, that doesn’t mean vegans aren’t catered for. 

Here is a list of vegan products:

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser for Combination & Oily Skin, Oil-Free Face Wash with Salicylic Acid & Aloe Vera, Deep Pore Clean, 6 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser for Combination & Oily Skin, Oil-Free Face Wash with Salicylic Acid & Aloe Vera, Deep Pore Clean, 6 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
[DAILY-USE] oil-free face wash for oily and troubled skin; [DEEP CLEANS] to break down surface impurities and pore-clogging oils
$16.00 Amazon Prime
Mario Badescu Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream for All Skin Types, Lightweight & Antioxidant-Rich Eye Care that Brightens & Hydrates, Pack of 1, 0.5 Oz
Mario Badescu Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream for All Skin Types, Lightweight & Antioxidant-Rich Eye Care that Brightens & Hydrates, Pack of 1, 0.5 Oz
Reduces the look of dry, tired eyes; Helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles; Keep the delicate eye area looking moist and youthful
$19.60 Amazon Prime

Though not a comprehensive range of products, there is definitely a mix of everything to take care of your face, eyes, and body.  

Look at the ingredients that are used in the products. As a vegan, you want to ensure that there is nothing that has the slightest hint of coming from an animal or insect.

If in doubt, don’t be shy in contacting Mario Badescu. It seems like a company that is open and honest about its products. 

Could be some room for doubt

When it comes to the question of whether Mario Badescu is cruelty-free, one is left to wonder. Shaking the “Magic 8 ball” results in an “All signs point to Yes” conclusion. 

The brand states that it doesn’t test on animals, but how accurate is that claim? Some animal welfare sites wanted further clarification around this.

The response from Mario Badescu seems to satisfy most of the doubters.

Vendors that supply ingredients to the company have to sign a statement that says they don’t test on animals. Yet, Mario Badescu says that it’s a policy that is hard to police. is one site that isn’t convinced and still lists the brand as not cruelty-free. 

China isn’t an issue as Mario Badescu doesn’t sell through retail stores in the country. Chinese consumers can still get their hands on the skincare range through e-commerce sites.

PETA, Leaping Bunny, and Choose Cruelty Free don’t recognize Mario Badescu as a company that doesn’t test on animals.

That may not seem like a game-changer. To be honest, it isn’t. 

Yet, if the company wants to gain the confidence of animal-loving consumers, then being certified by at least one organization is a step in the right direction. It removes doubt from those who are wondering if the brand is cruelty-free.

When it comes to using animal byproducts in their cosmetics, Mario Badescu openly states that it isn’t 100% vegan. You will find derivatives such as bee pollen and glycerin in some of the skincare items. 

However, they do provide a good selection of vegan items. 

Mario Badescu may not be completely vegan, but is it cruelty-free? That’s up to you and your conscience to decide. 

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