I've seen the claim "Not Tested On Animals" more times than I can count. I recently saw it while browsing Etsy, so I thought now was a perfect time to address it.
I'll start by saying: I don't know of any cosmetic end product that has been tested on animals. IF any exist, they are few and far between. The typical testing that cosmetic companies undergo involve test tubes, beakers, volumetric flasks, graduated cylinders, analytical instrumentation and human subjects... NOT animals.
So where does the claim come from?
The claims "Not Tested on Animals" or "Cruelty Free" are mere marketing claims meant to appeal to the consumer that opposes animal testing. Once upon a time, animal testing of cosmetics was commonly used to assess the safety of cosmetic raw materials and/or end products. Because this testing method was once widely used, many veteran cosmetic raw materials have been tested in this way. For this reason alone, the claim may not hold any weight (but it sounds good, right?).
That doesn't mean it's obsolete
The advancement of technology and testing methods have eliminated the need for animal testing in most instances. Even still, the FDA will support the (responsible) use of animal testing to substantiate product safety. By "responsible" I mean using as few animals as possible, as humanely as possible, while still obtaining enough information to draw a conclusion. Because animal testing is a legal and acceptable (by FDA standards) form of product testing, it may still occur today. However, it is not likely for typical end products or raw materials.
Playing Devil's Advocate
I understand the objection to animal testing and as a cosmetic manufacturer, I do not foresee employing this strategy. HOWEVER, if a product/ingredient needed to be tested in living, fully functional skin-- would you rather it get the initial trial run on an animal? or on a fellow human? Which is really more "humane"? Just food for thought.
Here's to the Glam Life!