Make-up giant NARS caused a social media storm last month when it revealed it would be expanding into the Chinese market.
Under Chinese law, cosmetics imported into the country and sold, must be subject to animal testing.
This means non-testing brands lose their cruelty-free status upon choosing to enter this lucrative and growing market.
Although consumers created a petition to encourage the company to abandon plans to sell in China, NARS has so far given no indication it will change its plans.
A statement made on its Instagram page, explaining the rationale behind the move, was written off as ‘bullsh*t’ by high profile tattoo artist, vegan, and make-up entrepreneur Kat Von D.
The statement said: “We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China.
“We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region.
“NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law.”
Many others have boycotted the brand, writing off its claims of bringing ‘vision and artistry’ to China as nothing more than opportunism.
By contrast, high end companies Stila, Marc Jacobs, and Smashbox have withdrawn from agreements with China to retain their cruelty-free status.
It is generally believed that NARS’ cruelty-free status brought a legion of fans to the brand, so it remains to be seen how this move will affect the brand’s bottom line.
It is important to note that while NARS itself used to be cruelty-free, its parent company Shiseido tests on animals.