The Ordinary (Estee Lauder)

Last Updated: January 7, 2023

How Ethical Is The Ordinary (Estee Lauder)?

Make a positive impact by supporting companies with the same values and ethics as what matters most to you. To navigate and find ethical brands, here’s a summary of The Ordinary’s ethics and initiatives.

Ethical Analysis

Is The Ordinary cruelty-free, vegan, or sustainable? We’ve got the answers here! Read below for more details on The Ordinary’s policies.
The Ordinary is cruelty-free, but The Ordinary is owned by Estee Lauder, a parent company that is NOT cruelty-free.
All of The Ordinary products are 100% vegan and don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
The Ordinary (and DECIEM) states they are “not yet a sustainable beauty company, but we have made a commitment to continuously improve all areas of our operations.”

Some of The Ordinary’s current sustainability initiatives include using more PCR material in its product packaging, offering in-store recycling program, using renewable energy in its offices and stores, purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and purchasing carbon offsets to ensure its operations are carbon neutral.
It’s not clear where The Ordinary’s mica is mined or sourced from and how they trace or audit to ensure no child labor was involved.
The Ordinary products come in plastic, glass, or aluminum packaging. They break down what each component of their packaging is made from and what can be recycled here.

The Ordinary is committed to making 85-100% of its packaging be recyclable, refillable, reusable, recylced, or recoverable by 2025. The company also aims to increase the amount of PCR material in its product packaging by up to 50% and have 100% of its cartons be FSC-certified.

In addition, The Ordinary offers an in-store recycling program.

About The Ordinary (Estee Lauder)

The Ordinary is an evolving collection of treatments offering familiar, effective clinical technologies positioned to raise integrity in skincare.
PRODUCTS: Skincare, Makeup, Hair Care, Bath & Body Care
CERTIFICATIONS: Leaping Bunny, PETA-Certified

The Ordinary (Estee Lauder)

This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Is The Ordinary Cruelty-Free?

🐰 The Ordinary is a *cruelty-free brand. None of The Ordinary’s ingredients or products are tested on animals. The Ordinary has met all the criteria in our Cruelty-Free Checklist and is included in our Cruelty-Free Directory.

Does The Ordinary Test on Animals?

When asking, does The Ordinary test on animals? We must look beyond to ensure none of The Ordinary’s ingredients or suppliers test on animals. And they don’t sell in any country or under conditions that may require animal testing by law.

In our research, we discovered the following:

  • ✓ The Ordinary confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf.
  • ✓ The Ordinary confirmed all their ingredient suppliers do not test on animals
  • ✓ The Ordinary confirmed they do not allow or sell their products under conditions where animal testing is required by law

By meeting all of our Cruelty-Free Criteria, The Ordinary is a *cruelty-free brand by our standards.

*The Ordinary is owned by Estee Lauder, a corporation that is NOT cruelty-free because they allow some of their other brands to test on animals.

The decision is yours whether you want to support or boycott cruelty-free brands owned by a parent company that is not cruelty-free. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to this. Do what you’re comfortable with. I just thought it was important to disclose that Estee Lauder owns The Ordinary.

What is The Ordinary’s Animal Testing Policy?

Below is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on The Ordinary’s website about its animal testing policy:

Is The Ordinary Cruelty-Free?

What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?

The Ordinary has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.

“As required by the European Cosmetics Regulations, we only work with suppliers who do not perform animal testing. Since that regulation came into force, it has pushed cosmetic raw material suppliers to replace animal testing with available alternatives to support the safety of their ingredients. DECIEM and The Ordinary do not test on animals and do not ask others to do so. For this reason, none of our brands or products are sold in stores or conventional retailers in mainland China, since such sales require animal testing for registration purposes.”

With the current changes to China’s animal testing laws, some cosmetics sold in China can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, without meeting those conditions, animal testing is still legally required for most cosmetics sold in China in 2023.

Is The Ordinary Certified Cruelty-Free?

The Ordinary is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and PETA.

Cruelty-Free Policies 2023

Just because a brand claims it is ‘Cruelty-Free,’ doesn’t always mean that’s the case.

That’s because there is no legal definition for the label ‘Cruelty-Free.’ It can mean different things to different people. But Cruelty-Free is generally used to imply no animal testing. More specifically, the ingredients, formulation, or finished product are not tested on animals at any stage of product development.

At ethical elephant, we always assess a company’s cruelty-free policy using our Cruelty-Free Checklist. This ensures no animal testing was performed by the brand itself, its suppliers, or any third parties.

How We Assess Cruelty-Free Policies

Since starting my blog in 2015, I’ve been emailing companies asking about their animal testing policies and cruelty-free commitments.

And based on the responses I receive from companies, I’ll research to find any supporting facts needed before concluding whether the brand should be classified as “Cruelty-Free,” “Animal-Tested,” or “Grey Area – Unclear Policies.”

☕️ Every week, I continue to reach out to new brands while trying my best to keep current brands updated. If you found any of my posts or guides helpful, consider Buying Me A Coffee! I would greatly appreciate it! ❤️

What about Vegan?

Just because something is called Cruelty-Free, doesn’t always mean it’s Vegan. And vice versa.

Cruelty-Free only refers to no animal testing, while Vegan means formulated without animal products.

Some brands are Cruelty-Free, but not Vegan.

And some are Vegan, but not Cruelty-Free.

Another important distinction to know is, Vegan in cosmetics can refer to an entire brand is 100% Vegan, or a specific product is Vegan.

Is The Ordinary Vegan?

⭐️ The Ordinary is a 100% vegan brand. All their products are vegan, and are formulated without any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

The following is a screenshot of what’s currently stated on The Ordinary’s website about its vegan claims:

Is The Ordinary Vegan?

Where to buy The Ordinary? Check out, Sephora, Ulta, Target,, and Beauty Bay!

Vegan Policies

Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But Vegan is generally used to mean formulated without animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.

Some common animal products in cosmetics include carmine, lanolin, snail mucus, beeswax, honey, pearl or silk-derived ingredients, animal-based glycerin, keratin, and squalene.

There are plant-based and synthetic alternatives to animal-derived ingredients. But unless a brand explicitly labels its ingredients or product as Vegan, it’s often difficult to know with certainty whether a product is vegan just by reading the ingredient list.

So it’s best to ask the company and manufacturers to ensure the ingredients they chose were from non-animal sources.

Where are The Ordinary’s products made?

The Ordinary states on its website,

“DECIEM is the parent company of The Ordinary and all of The Ordinary products are manufactured or bottled in Canada in GMP-compliant facilities.”

Ethical Mica Mining Policy

Mica is a mineral that’s used in cosmetics to add a shimmery effect. But the mining of natural mica has been linked to child labor and human rights violations.

Unless the company discloses its mica mining policy, we have no way of knowing whether its mica is ethically sourced without child or forced labor.

So I asked The Ordinary if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,

“Hi! Our products meet all safety requirements and are assessed by qualified assessors. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide MSDS to consumers.

The Ordinary did not specifically address where their mica is sourced from and how they audit or trace to ensure no child labor was involved in mining their mica.

I hope this article helped you to understand The Ordinary’s cruelty-free and vegan status and by choosing cruelty-free together, we can help end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all!

If you found this helpful, consider Buying Me a Coffee. So that I can continue to keep this site running and updated.

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What do you think

2 thoughts on “The Ordinary (Estee Lauder)”

  1. I find it really interesting ethically that the shareholder status of Estee Lauder hasn’t come under greater scrutiny from the vegan community. I do wonder what other vegan and cruelty free companies have shareholder connections to brands that are not cruelty free that might have slipped under our radars? Thanks for adding the shareholder information, there is very little information available publicly about Deciems relationship with Estee Lauder!

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