Parent Company Animal Testing Explained

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parent-company-testingIt was a sad day for cruelty-free consumers when news broke of Estee Lauder’s acquisition of beloved cruelty-free makeup brand, Too Faced.

Although Too Faced has made a statement saying they’ll always remain cruelty-free, but lots of us have chosen to stop supporting and buying from Too Faced because now their parent company , Estee Lauder, continues to test on animals till this day!

But what’s the big deal about parent company testing? and how does this affect your decision to go cruelty-free?

I have a post here talking about the points for and against support cruelty-free brands owned by a parent company that tests on animals and since publishing that post, I’ve noticed the #1 reason why people choose not to support these brands is because they feel they’re indirectly supporting and funding more animal tests as their money goes back to the parent company.

Which is something I totally reason with and has been the deciding factor for me to no longer support these brands. But to give you an idea of the different structures of a business, here’s a complete breakdown because it’s ultimately your decision! =)

Parent Company + Animal Testing Explained

1. Independently Owned Brands

Cruelty-free brands that are independently owned include Pacifica, Makeup Geek, 100% Pure, Melt Cosmetics, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Some refer to brands in this category as “Indie Brands”.


3. Owned by a Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company

Cruelty-free brands that are owned by a non-cruelty-free parent company usually starts off as an independent cruelty-free brand but then gets acquired by a parent company who isn’t cruelty-free.

We’ve seen this happen time after time:

Too Faced –> Estee Lauder (2016)
BECCA Cosmetics –> Estee Lauder (2016)
Seventh Generation –> Unilever (2016)
Dermalogica –> Unilever (2015)
NYX Cosmetics –> L’Oreal (2014)
Urban Decay –> L’Oreal (2012)
Smashbox –> Estee Lauder (2010)
The Body Shop –> L’Oreal (2006)
Tom’s of Maine –> Colgate (2006)
NARS –> Shiseido (2000)
Aveda –> Estee Lauder (1997)

Non-cruelty-free parent companies also own several other brands that are not cruelty-free as well.

For example, L’Oreal is not cruelty-free however they own 3 cruelty-free brands: The Body Shop*, NYX, Urban Decay. But they also own some non-cruelty-free brands: Lancome, Maybelline, Giorgio Armani, Garnier.

*Natura bought The Body Shop from L’Oreal in June 2017


It might not seem like a big deal but your purchases ultimately make a statement. What sort of statement you want to make? That’s up to you! Just know that there’s always more going on in the inner workings of a brand, so it’s best to know what you’re truly supporting when trying to make ethical and cruelty-free choices!

I’d love to know, how do you feel about independently owned cruelty-free brands vs. brands owned by a non-cruelty-free parent company?

What do you think?

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  • Gloria
    January 5, 2019

    Once a cruelty-free company has sold out to a non-cruelty company, I cut ALL tie with that company and tell everyone I know. It’s betrayal and hypocrisy of the highest order. Love of money is indeed the root of all evil.

    • Gloria
      January 5, 2019

      What I meant to say was, If a cruelty-free company sells out to company that tests on animals, it is a deal breaker. Sorry for the mistype.

  • Terry
    July 24, 2018

    I question the ethical standards of a company that is supposedly committed to kindness and respect toward animals and yet they sell out to a company that tortures animals. Besides not wanting to indirectly support the parent company which tests, I feel betrayed by the “cruelty free” company who, in my opinion, made a deal with the devil.

    • Gloria
      January 5, 2019

      Totally agree!

“Make ethical choices in what we buy, do, and watch. In a consumer-driven society our individual choices, used collectively for the good of animals and nature, can change the world faster than laws.”― Marc Bekoff

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Parent Company Animal Testing Explained