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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Urban Decay

Is Urban Decay an ethical brand?

The infamous multinational business L’Oreal, which owns the Urban Decay brand, is given a bad ethical grade by The Good Shopping Guide. Unfortunately, as shown by its poor Good Shopping Guide Ethical rating in our Ethical Makeup Ratings Table, this brand currently does not adhere to our basic ethical requirements. For Urban Decay to qualify for our Ethical Accreditation, a number of changes must be made.

Urban Decay’s vague statement on Animal Testing

Urban Decay’s position on animal experimentation appears a little hazy and paradoxical, which lowers its score for our Animal Welfare criteria. L’Oreal itself states that neither its ingredients nor its products have ever been subjected to animal experimentation. However, L’Oreal is still included on the PETA list because its products are distributed in China, where health authorities still mandate and conduct animal testing.

Are Urban Decay cosmetics vegan? 

L’Oreal, the parent company of Urban Decay, nor any of its subsidiary brands currently produce any cosmetics that are vegan or vegetarian-friendly.

The make up industry and colourism

As recently as 2020, giants in the cosmetics sector such as Estée Lauder, L’Oreal, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Beiersdorf have come under fire for marketing skin-lightening items that support colourism in the cosmetics sector. Any cosmetic item that claims to provide lighter, whiter, or fairer skin should never be promoted; doing so is Irresponsible Marketing.

Other Human Rights criticisms of Urban Decay

Consumers should be aware that the global juggernaut Nestlé holds significant stakes in L’Oreal. (Nestlé has a very low rating from The Good Shopping Guide because it engages in a number of unethical business practices across all of our research categories.) 

One of the most significant ethical issues Urban Decay and L’Oreal are linked to was brought up by The Associated Press. Violence against women has not only been allowed but is frequent in several Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil plantations. Women were subjected to dangerous chemicals and assaulted physically and sexually among these incidents. Some of the victims of abuse and assault were as young as 16-year-old girls.

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

In what areas does Urban Decay perform well ethically?

Since a brand or company’s documentation pertaining to environmental issues frequently provide a good indication of that brand or company’s understanding of its influence on our planet, The Good Shopping Guide thoroughly investigates a brand’s Environmental Report. Fortunately, the “L’Oreal for the Future” handbook has a long list of objectives for 2030 and 2025, including targets for biodiversity, water, and climate change. (For further information on them, see the report itself.) It is encouraging to hear from L’Oreal that they have established quantifiable goals for both their direct business operations and supply networks.

The Soil Association certified L’Oreal Garnier’s collection of organic skincare products.

How can Urban Decay improve its ethical rating?

The Good Shopping Guide uses 15 ethical criteria to establish Urban Decay’s score. Urban Decay needs to explain and address a number of ethical issues, such as its position on GMOs, Animal Welfare, and its parent brand, L’Oreal’s, complicity in the unethical production 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


  • Public Record Criticisms+


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