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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Lancôme an ethical brand?

A low ethical score is assigned to Lancôme by The Good Shopping Guide; L’Oreal owns Lancôme, and this brand’s low score is mostly due to the unethical business practices of its parent brand. Unfortunately, as indicated by its low Good Shopping Guide Ethical score in our Ethical Make Up Ratings Table, this brand currently does not adhere to our fundamental ethical standards. For this brand to qualify for our Ethical Accreditation, it must make a number of changes.

Lancôme  and Animal Testing: A vague statement

L’Oreal and Lancôme’s stance on animal testing is a little confusing and vague for consumers, and so this results in a low score for our Animal Welfare criteria. L’Oreal states that animal testing is not performed on any L’Oréal components or products. Nevertheless, L’Oréal is still included on the PETA list because its products are distributed in China. Animal testing is still required and carried out for some products in China by the health authorities. 

Is Lancôme make up vegan?

Lancôme and its parent brand, L’Oreal, does not currently produce any cosmetics that are certified vegan or vegetarian.

Colourism and the make up industry

As recently as 2020, giants in the cosmetics sector such as Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Beiersdorf have come under fire for marketing skin-lightening items that support colourism in the cosmetics sector. Achieving lighter, whiter or fairer skin should never be the aim of any cosmetic product, and is an example of Irresponsible Marketing. 

Other criticisms of Lancôme

Consumers should be aware that the multinational giant, Nestlé, owns significant shares in L’Oreal. (Nestlé is a company that The Good Shopping Guide rates very poorly, due to numerous untethical business practices in all areas of our research criteria.)

One of the worst ethical issues L’Oreal is involved in is one that was highlighted by The Associated Press. Several palm oil fields in Malaysia and Indonesia have been workplaces where incidents of abuse against women are not only tolerated but rife. These incidents included being assaulted physically and sexually, as well as being exposed to toxic chemicals. The women assaulted and abused were as young as 16 in some cases. A woman at one plantation said that she had suffered from fevers, nosebleeds, and coughing for years after handling dangerous chemicals without wearing protective gear. This woman could not afford to visit the doctor because her daily salary was only $2. L’Oreal and other well-known cosmetics companies reportedly use palm oil produced by women who have suffered serious human rights violations.

At one plantation, a woman claimed that years of handling harmful chemicals without wearing protective gear had left her with fevers, nosebleeds, and coughing. Due to her meagre $2 daily earnings, this woman was unable to afford medical care. According to reports, L’Oreal and other well-known cosmetics manufacturers use palm oil produced by women who have experienced these severe human rights violations.

Please be aware, that the article from The Associated Press contains some very upsetting details.

Does L’Oreal make Political Donations?

L’Oreal donated over $200k to US political parties in recent election cycles. See the Open Secrets website for more details of these donations, which were made to both Democrat and Republican candidates.

In what areas does Lancôme perform well ethically?

Often, a good indicator of a brand or company’s awareness of its environmental impact is its Environmental Report; this is why The Good Shopping Guide researches this criterion so carefully. Fortunately, numerous goals for 2030 and 2025 are listed in the “L’Oreal for the Future” handbook, including targets related to climate change, water and biodiversity. (See further detail on these in the report itself.) Encouragingly, L’Oreal state that they have set numerical targets relating not only to direct business practices but also goals related to their supply chains.

The Good Shopping Guide was also pleased to see that The Soil Association has granted L’Oreal Garnier certification for their line of organic skincare products. 

How can Lancôme improve its ethical rating?

The score for Lancôme by The Good Shopping Guide is determined by 15 ethical standards. Lancôme needs to account for and resolve a number of ethical challenges, including its involvement in some horrific Human Rights abuses.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


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