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The Ordinary

Is The Ordinary an ethical brand?

The Ordinary is one of many subsidiaries majority-owned by Estée Lauder Companies Inc. The Ordinary unfortunately has been given a subpar ethical grade from The Good Shopping Guide. The Ordinary is a skincare and make up product line, and is one arm of DECIEM The Abnormal Beauty Company, a Toronto-based beauty brand, founded by the late entrepreneur, Brandon Truaxe

Estée Lauder increased its ownership of The Ordinary to 76%, and is now the majority-owner of The Ordinary.

The Ordinary’s poor Good Shopping Guide ethical rating of 27 in our Ethical Make Up Ratings Table demonstrates how far The Ordinary currently falls short of our ethical standard for this sector. The Ordinary and its parent firm, Estée Lauder Companies Inc., must make a number of changes before being eligible for our Ethical Accreditation.

Is The Ordinary Cruelty Free? 

Due to its ownership by Estée Lauder, The Ordinary is at least indirectly involved in animal testing. Although The Ordinary itself may not test on animals, purchasing from The Ordinary funds Estée Lauder and its controversial animal welfare record (which is discussed further below).

Is The Ordinary vegan?

The PETA website also affirms The Ordinary’s vegan status, and that all products are vegan. However, due to the unethical business activity of parent company, Estée Lauder, customers and consumers concerned about Animal Welfare may choose to avoid The Ordinary also.

Estée Lauder Companies’ involvement with GMOs and Animal Testing

Estée Lauder, a major owner of The Ordinary, does not have a Cruelty-Free certification and maintains inadequate animal welfare standards. Regarding animal testing, Estée Lauder issued an ambiguous and seemingly contradictory statement which suggests animal testing is permitted when it is a legal requirement.

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.” 

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

Estée Lauder and Human Rights abuses

According to accounts from women working on palm oil farms in Malaysia and Indonesia, workers were subjected to severe employment conditions, including physical and sexual assault and exposure to dangerous chemicals. Women who had been using hazardous pesticides on a plantation for years suffered from fevers, coughs, and nosebleeds while working without any safety gear. These women cannot afford to visit a doctor because their daily income is only an average of $2. Girls as young as 16 reported that managers and other workers on another plantation had sexually assaulted them. These women cannot afford to visit a doctor because their daily income is only an average of $2. Several well-known cosmetics companies, including Avon, Colgate-Palmolive, Coty, Estée Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, Kylie Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, purchase palm oil from the plantations and fields where these atrocities were committed.

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

How can The Ordinary improve its ethical rating?

The Good Shopping Guide ranks The Ordinary’s corporate ethics using 15 standards. The Ordinary’s position on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Animal Welfare, and its parent corporation Estée Lauder’s role in the unethical production of palm oil are a few ethical problems that need to be addressed and changed.

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