Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by Eco Elsie
Born in Southern California in 1996, Urban Decay brought bite and rebellion to uniform make-up counters.
Today it’s one of the most popular brands on the market, known for its iconic metallic packaging and bestselling products such as the Naked palettes, All Nighter foundation and setting spray, and the rich Vice lipsticks.
But if you’re new to the Urban Decay brand, or you’ve got your eye on a particular product, you might be wondering whether or not the company is cruelty-free, vegan, ethical, and non-toxic. Well, let’s take a look…
Is Urban Decay cruelty-free?
You’ll be pleased to know that Urban Decay is 100% cruelty-free. The brand doesn’t test finished products or ingredients on animals, and neither do their suppliers or any third-parties. They also don’t sell their products in China where animal testing is required by law.
This is what Urban Decay have written on their website:
“With our entire brand committed to being 100% cruelty-free, we won’t stand for any type of animal testing with our products.”
That said, while all Urban Decay products are 100% cruelty-free, the brand is owned by L’Oréal, a company that is not cruelty-free.
Under its parent company L’Oréal, Urban Decay still has no plans to expand its market to China and is dedicated to remaining cruelty-free, however, if you’d rather avoid companies that are owned by non-cruelty-free parent companies, then it’s best to avoid Urban Decay.
Is Urban Decay vegan?
While Urban Decay is cruelty-free, any vegans will know that cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean ‘vegan.’ Urban Decay does have many vegan products, however, the brand isn’t 100% vegan, as some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients.
Some Urban Decay products are NOT vegan but are often mistaken as being vegan, including Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Naked Palette, Naked 2 Palette, Naked Basics Palette, Naked Basics 2 Palette.
However, Urban Decay has an extensive range of products that qualify as vegan, and these are all clearly labeled on their website.
The good news is, there’s plenty to choose from. In fact, Urban Decay has so many vegan products that there are too many to list here, but some of the best-sellers include All Nighter Liquid Foundation – all shades; Stay Naked Correcting Concealer – all shades; All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray; Optical Illusion Complexion Primer and more.
This site does a great job of updating a list of Urban Decay’s vegan products.
Is Urban Decay an ethical company?
As we previously mentioned, Urban Decay is a cruelty-free company, but you might be wondering about the wider ethics of the brand.
The ethical comparison site, The Good Shopping Guide aims to reveal ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ of the world’s companies and brands. It rates brands in terms of how eco-friendly, socially responsible, and sustainable they are.
Urban Decay is rated in the amber zone on The Good Shopping Guide ranks, and has an Ethical Company Index Score of 46.
Annoyingly, there’s not much information available on Urban Decay’s website regarding their environmental policies, so we can’t say too much on this, but we’re guessing that the lack of information means they don’t have too many environmental initiatives at this point.
However, in their above Ethical Company Index rating, Urban Decay actually scores highly on their Environmental Report, Organic status, and Nuclear Power stance.
Urban Decay also has an initiative called The Ultraviolet Edge, which is a global campaign to empower women. This supports organizations that fight for women’s rights around the world.
Does Urban Decay test on animals?
Urban Decay is 100% cruelty-free, meaning it does not test its products on animals, nor allow its vendors or suppliers to test on its behalf.
Urban Decay has a policy that requires suppliers to certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of the brand’s products are not tested on animals.
Urban Decay is also certified by PETA as being cruelty-free, and they do not sell in mainland China.
The only gray area in Urban Decay’s cruelty-free status is that they are owned by L’Oreal who are not cruelty-free.
L’Oréal bought Urban Decay in late 2012, and prior to this Urban Decay was owned by another parent company that tests on animals, LVMH.
Despite being owned by parent companies who test on animals, since their conception Urban Decay has always remained cruelty-free, and the brand isn’t sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law.
Urban Decay has no plans to change this Under L’Oréal and has no intention to expand its products to the Chinese market.
They seem genuinely committed to being cruelty-free, however, we understand that for some people who want their products to be as ethical as possible, the fact that Urban Decay is owned by a company such as L’Oréal will be a pretty big deal.
Are Urban Decay products toxic?
There’s been a lot of talk in the beauty industry lately regarding “clean” beauty. This is the idea that beauty products should contain ingredients that are kind to both your skin and the environment.
First of all, the least toxic Urban Decay products include 24/7 glide-on lip pencils in all colors except Wicked, Lip junkie lip glosses, Naked 2 eyeshadow palette of 12 shadows, most of their false lashes, and Urbanglow cream highlight in the shades sin, wicked, and brown sugar.
Check out more of their best-rated products here.
The Urban Decay products that scored lowest, such as their 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, Ultraglide lip glosses, and xxx shine glosses, scored poorly due to ingredients such as silica, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propylene glycol, triethanolamine, and multiple parabens – which have been linked to several health issues.
Overall Urban Decay’s Good Guide scores were 2.8 for health, 3.2 for social responsibility, and 3.2 for environmental responsibility- not great!
However, don’t forget products are continually changing as are companies, so there’s still hope that Urban Decay will improve in these areas.