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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical is E.l.f? 

E.l.f, a make up, skincare and health and beauty brand owned by TPG Capital, has been researched and assessed by The Good Shopping Guide. The brand receives a below-benchmark Good Shopping Guide ethical score in our Ethical Skincare Ratings Table and therefore passes our ethical benchmark as a good ethical brand.

We encourage other companies in the Skincare sector to follow E.l.f’s example and adopt more ethical policies and practices.

Is E.l.f Cruelty-Free?

E.l.f scores well for its Animal Welfare Policy. E.l.f currently has a strong policy that certifies the company is “100% cruelty-free internationally.” Even though there is no FCOD or an explicit legal prohibition on animal testing, the company is Leaping Bunny accredited by Cruelty-Free International.

Is E.l.f vegan?

Unfortunately, whilst E.l.f claim to make and stock vegan products, this brand lacks any certification to verify this.

TPG Capital and Tower Holdings

This brand’s parent company, TPG Capital has also improved in its ethical business endeavours recently. Prior to 2022, TPG received a negative rating for our Armaments criteria as this investment firm owned Tower Holdings, a company that deals with military satellite operations. However, after selling this business, TPG receives a positive rating. We encourage other investors to also consider their portfolios and whether every one of their brands is working for a positive, safe, green future.

E.l.f Cosmetics and North Korea

According to The Guardian and CNBC, E.l.f avoided US$40 million penalties in 2019 by agreeing to pay just under US$1 million to settle a civil liability lawsuit for 156 ‘apparent’ violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations. It was discovered that over the course of almost five years, the mass market beauty company purchased 156 shipments of fake eyelash kits from two Chinese vendors, totalling US$4.43 million. The disputed providers had obtained components for the kits from North Korea.

Read more in this article.

To achieve our Ethical Accreditation Award, E.l.f should consider gaining Vegan accreditation; though it claims its products do not contain animal parts or products, this should be validated by an external, independent body.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan



  • Armaments


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating