Is Benefit Clean & Ethical? We Investigate.

4 min reading time

Benefit is a successful cosmetics brand based in San Francisco, founded in 1976 by sisters Jean and Jane Ford. A subsidiary of Louis Vuitton, the company operates in over 30 countries with over 2,000 counters. The Benefit website is very product-focused, focusing on the aesthetic benefits rather than the quality or nature of ingredients. The company does not overtly describe itself as environmentally friendly, or especially clean and natural.

Continue reading to find out what is in Benefit products, how sustainably products are designed and shipped, and what their perspective on animal testing is.

Ingredients (Rating: Bad)

Benefit focuses primarily upon the visual effects of their products – whether products dry out, clump or flake rather than whether the products are pH neutral, bio-degradable, or disrupt endocrine processes. So although all products have a full list of ingredients, you will need to dig a bit deeper to find out whether you deem these products to be safe. We have taken the time to dig a bit for you – here are some of the main ingredients that you may wish to avoid:


Fragrance is found in many Benefit products – often listed as “Parfum”. Chemical fragrances can cause respiratory issues such as irritable throat and asthma, as well as aggravating eyes and skin. The difficulty in predicting how the body will react to the fragrances found within a product lies in the fact that companies are not compelled (in order to protect trade secrets) to list the individual chemicals that comprise the unique smells that contribute to the popularity of their products. Should you have an adverse reaction, your chances of finding the culprit chemical infused into the perfume’s ethanol-base is slim. If you have had negative reactions in the past, you may wish to source products that steer clear from perfumes entirely.


As given away by the name, these belong to the parabens – a group of chemical preservatives that have endocrine effects. While individual products may not cross the threshold for unleashing damage on the body, parabens are already found in numerous other household items such as toothpaste, moisturizers, and deodorants. As such, there is a risk of cumulative exposure. Disrupting hormonal processes, there are increased risks of cancer that come with excessive use.

Black No. 2 Blue No.1 and No. 4 Lake/ Yellow 5 Lake

There are a range of dyes and colorings used in Benefit products – particularly in mascaras and eyeliners, that may have trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic. This is a risk that is not restricted to any single company, or even just the cosmetic industry itself, with trace amounts of heavy metals found in many household products across the board. To this extent, the danger here is of accumulative exposure.

Benefit writes that “[H]eavy metals are not added to our products and we carefully scrutinize all raw materials in order to comply with the strictest worldwide regulations (USA, Canada, EU, Japan, & Asia)”. You may feel that such restrictions are not stringent enough for you, and you may wish to find companies that exceed the required amount of testing rather than simply meeting them.

Sustainability (Rating: Bad)

Very little information exists in terms of Benefit ingredients, let alone information on their supply chains. The company does not provide information on recycling and has no programs designed to shift materials away from plastics and toward recyclable products.

Animal Rights (Rating: Bad)


Benefit writes that they were one of the first companies to stop testing on animals – back in 1989, 24 years before the official European Union ban. The company also donates to the Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing.

Unfortunately, a loss in revenue remains the most effective means of pressuring markets into ceasing animal testing, and Benefit are not one of the companies that are wielding such influence. The company at least addresses this issue clearly on their website.


Products that are vegan seem to be incidentally so, with no expressed drive to minimise or become a totally vegan brand.

Brand Ratings

Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Bad” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Bareminerals as follows.

INGREDIENTSBad – Virtually every product the brand offers contains a number of ingredients we recommend avoiding.
SUSTAINABILITYBad – Benefit are absent when it comes to providing information on shipping materials and do not mention sustainability on their website.
ANIMAL RIGHTSBad – Although the company is against animal testing, selling to markets that do prevents the company from rating well here.

Overall Rating: Avoid

Supporting environmental initiatives such as recycling and using natural products are not selling points for this company. As such, Benefit rates poorly across the board.

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