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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Smashbox an ethical brand?

The Good Shopping Guide gives Estée Lauder Companies Inc.- which owns several subsidiary companies, including Smashbox- a poor ethical rating. Smashbox currently falls significantly short of our ethical benchmark for this industry, as evidenced by its subpar Good Shopping Guide ethical rating in our Ethical Make Up Ratings Table. Before being eligible for our Ethical Accreditation, Smashbox and its parent company, Estée Lauder Companies Inc., must undergo a number of reforms.

Estée Lauder Companies and Smashbox’ involvement with GMOs and Animal Testing

Smashbox’ parent company, Estée Lauder, lacks a Cruelty-Free certification and has lax Animal Welfare guidelines. Estée Lauder made a vague and seemingly conflicting remark about animal testing.

Estée Lauder states,More than 30 years ago, The Estée Lauder Companies was one of the first cosmetics companies to eliminate animal testing as a method of determining cosmetic product safety. We don’t test our products on animals and we don’t ask others to test for us. We acknowledge our brands are sold in countries where animal testing on cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients is required by law.

This ambiguous remark suggests that Estée Lauder does allow animal testing when required by law, despite claiming to be one of the first cosmetics companies to eliminate animal testing.

Are Smashbox cosmetics vegan? 

Smashbox is not certified vegan. Though some of its products are marketed as vegan-friendly, there is no evidence of this being corroborated by an independent authority and so we cannot award this brand with a high score for making Vegan/ Vegetarian products.

Estée Lauder, Smashbox and colourism

The promotion of skin-lightening cosmetics and skincare products by well-known cosmetics corporations including Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Beiersdorf has drawn criticism since it supports colorism. Estée Lauder has reviewed its own lightening products after criticism during 2020

Smashbox and Human Rights abuses

Women employed on palm oil farms in Malaysia and Indonesia were reportedly subjected to harsh labour standards, including physical and sexual abuse, as well as exposure to harmful chemicals. Without any protective equipment, women who had been applying toxic pesticides on a plantation for years experienced fevers, coughing, and nosebleeds. Girls as young as 16 claimed being sexually assaulted on another plantation by managers and other workers. These women make an average of $2 each day, therefore they cannot afford to go to the doctor. Avon, Colgate-Palmolive, Coty, Estée Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, Kylie Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever are just a some of the well-known cosmetics brands who buy palm oil from the plantations and fields where these crimes occurred.

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

How can Smashbox improve its ethical rating?

Based on 15 moral criteria, The Good Shopping Guide rates the business ethics of Smashbox. A few ethical issues that need to be addressed and clarified include Smashbox’s stance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Animal Welfare, and its parent company Estée Lauder’s involvement in the unethical manufacturing of palm oil.

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


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