L'Oreal to Buy Urban Decay Cosmetics

Today, it was announced that L’Oreal has signed an agreement to buy Urban Decay Cosmetics. Urban Decay was founded in 1996, acquired by LVMH in 2000, then sold to private equity firm Castanea in 2009. L’Oreal owns several recognizable brands in the high-end market like Lancome, Kiehl’s, shu uemura, Giorgio Armani, and YSL. When it comes to this price point, adding Urban Decay into the mix makes a lot of sense of L’Oreal.  The Body Shop seems to be the only similarly-priced brand in their portfolio.  They also own L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, and Essie, which can all be found at mass.

One concern among Urban Decay fans might be its stance on animal testing and how that might change over time.  While ultimately whether you buy or not will depend on your set of rules, but some brands under L’Oreal have no animal testing policies, including Giorgio Armani and The Body Shop (another brand that was acquired) were two readily identified. It is possible for Urban Decay to continue forward with their policy, but the parent company does still conduct animal testing; L’Oreal has significantly reduced its animal testing and has invested millions of dollars into alternative testing methods (source; also see L’Oreal’s developments here), though it has not ceased entirely.

Here is Urban Decay’s response: “Though our ownership is changing, our policies are not. We just spoke to both the CCIC and PETA, and will keep our cruelty-free bunny icons. Urban Decay is staying cruelty-free and proud.”

L’Oréal today announced the signing of an agreement with Castanea Partners to acquire Urban Decay.
Based in Newport Beach California, Urban Decay, created in 1996 by make-up expert Wende Zomnir, has built a reputation based on the concept of “beauty with an edge” and values of femininity and irreverence. The line has star products in the eye category such as the Naked Palette and recently successfully launched its new foundation, the Naked Skin weightless liquid make-up. Urban Decay is popular among the youthful highly-involved cutting-edge consumers who are attracted by the fashion-forward image of the brand. The market for make-up specialist brands represents 44% of the luxury make-up market in the US.

In the fiscal year ended in June 2012, Urban Decay recorded net sales of 130 million US dollars.

“Urban Decay will beautifully complement L’Oréal Luxe’s portfolio of iconic brands. It is the make-up specialist we needed to fully satisfy young women in search of playful colors and inspiration in selective distribution, at an accessible price point. It is totally additional to our existing propositions and as such it will contribute significantly to the growth of the Division in the years to come,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, President L’Oréal Luxe.

Urban Decay is distributed in the key assisted self-service channel which includes among others Ulta and Sephora. It is one of the fastest growing segments in the US luxury retail universe. Urban Decay is also strong in e-commerce with http://www.urbandecay.com/ and http://www.sephora.com/.

Frédéric Rozé CEO L’Oréal USA said, “Thanks to the acquisition of Urban Decay, the Group will strengthen its position in two very dynamic distribution channels in the USA, ie assisted self-service and e-commerce. We look forward to this new and exciting opportunity.” In the US, Urban Decay will report to Carol Hamilton, President of L’Oréal Luxe USA.

“L’Oréal’s strong innovation capabilities and presence in every channel of distribution will enable Urban Decay to reach its full potential in the marketplace,” added Tim Warner, General Manager, Urban Decay. “Together, we have great ambitions for the future.”

The closing is subject to regulatory approval which is expected by the end of the year. — L’Oreal

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I didn’t realize that Loreal owned so many companies.
At first I was like oh no……
But I really like armani and Loreal and maybelline, and the body shop is very cruelty free so maybe it’ll be fine (;

Well… I guess I can bar them off my shopping list too :/ I would hate to support L’Oreal and their practices… This is even worse than their previous scandal.

You know what? Considering quite a few of these brands have only recently been introduced in Switzerland, the chances are high that we will finally be able to buy UD here!! Probably at ten times the price in the US but that’s the case with everything here.

Not like I buy I’d ( everything I’ve tried has all been duds) but I used to be cruelty free until I found out about that china thing. I told people not to forgive them so quick when they couldn’t do it. All this drama with ud is kinda silly, hope this means better products for consumers because I’m not impressed with them and what I’ve tried.

This news doesn’t excite me at all. Kind of disappointed. I don’t buy L’oreal because I do not agree with animal testing at all (though I do buy from The Body Shop but I believe they put in their contract that the original Body Shop formula, including vegan options and no animal testing, will be kept intact). Feels like Urban D sold out or something. Hope they draw up a good contract to preserve the quality of the products.

I would still trust UD and their commitments to cruelty free and am happy to hear L’oreal working on their animal testing issues. I am saddened by the ever growing (and for a long time) mega corporations owning everything; the small independents are being swallowed up.

UD today is a far cry from how it was in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s. It was cool and very unique then- now it’s all about the Naked palette and making big $$$$$.

I’ve known UD for more than 15 years, their early classy packagings, the new ones, Gash which I have here ( discontinued I fear ? ) : bad news. I am a huge fan of the Body Shop, it seems their values have not changed but what will happen to Urban Decay I really wonder. Hope they will not sell in China, hope quality will be there… When I see Lancôme with now poor quality makeup products ( except some but it’s not the rule ! ), if UD becomes L’Oréal I will not buy anymore. I purchased the very good Vice Palette I hope l’Oréal will not spoil everything.

I have mixed feelings about this. I really liked UD as a brand. Hopefully L’Oreal doesn’t make them change their practices. It’s such a huge part of the philosophy and why so many of it’s customers (including myself) love this brand.

I feel quite sad now, I used to love UD but now that they have just shown that they care more about money than their beliefs, I think I will just buy Too Faced now.

Not impressed at all. The Body Shop tanked in product quality and business ethics when L’Oreal acquired them… so sad to see the same thing happening to Urban Decay. The whole China fiasco tipped their hand, though. It was only a matter of time.

It’s really sad that independent companies should be swallowed up by those mega corporations. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with UD’s history, and whether a company is independent or affiliated with a bigger one has little impact on my buying, but I do hope UD will keep its values.
I must say, though, I am very impressed that Temptalia should convey such information. Without the site, I probably would have never known that UD wad being bought (and I had only a superficial knowledge of their policy before, too). I am truly grateful that Temptalia should endeavour to inform its readers on so many levels, even more so as it concerns topics I would not necessarily do researchs about. It makes Temptalia so invaluable!

LVMH purchased them back in 2000, then sold to a private equity firm in 2009, so they were owned by a large conglomerate (LVMH) for nine years previously. It is interesting to see what an impact the internet has – this kind of news would fly under the radar previously (as it did when UD sold to LVMH) – but with beauty consumers online and engaged with brands through blogs, Facebook, etc., it goes viral very, very quickly.

I see now, thanks! Well, hopefully this means that UD will be more readily available in the world. In France I can find it in Sephora stores, but they often have only a selection of all the products UD puts out in the US, provided that they are able to keep their stance.

It’s also very interesting to me that UD has stated on their website that they’re the largest independently owned color cosmetics company, but they were owned by LVMH. I don’t really understand how that works?

They’ve been owned by Castanea for the past 3 years I believe. I don’t think any of it is disclosed re: owner percentages or structures of the deals either, so there cuold be some “fine print” too.

I was first shocked by how many brands they own. Especially shu uemura even though we can’t buy shu in stores anymore. I’m a bit scared of this move…I’m hoping their price and quality won’t be affected. I really like the independent feeling of this brand… And how they listened to our complaints and really did take into consideration possible changes to products. I hope that doesn’t change.

Well it wont be a big loss for UD if people who think L’Oreal = drug store stop buying their stuff. Also shockingly surprised that ppl are not sharing the joy that other girls who live outside of the states might be able to buy UD locally in the future too.

I boycotted The Body Shop when they were bought by L’Oreal, and I’ll be doing the same with UD. I don’t understand why companies with such strict policies on animal testing would sell their souls to a company that goes against everything that they stand for. I’m really disappointed by this news but I appreciate you sharing it so people can make informed decisions.

Keep in mind, it may not be a matter of selling their soul. The Body Shop probably would have gone out of business if not purchased by L’Oreal. The same may be happening to UD. Smaller companies simply do not have the capital to keep up.

Is it better for these brands to go out of business? Or is it better to be absorbed into a larger entity with the hopes of influencing them to change their policies?

I have read the comments and I kind of agree with them, but I can´t help to think that maybe with this move we will have Urban Decay products available in other countries! I am from Brazil and Urban Decay just became available here a few months ago with the arrival of Sephora (at extortion prices, but that is another topic) and I wonder how hard it is to find UD in other countries that do not have Sephora stores.

Romania for example does have Sephora stores, but no UD products. However, we have all brands owned by L’Oreal. I really hope this move will help bring Urban Decay to Ro.

I guess the only thing I’m really scared about is the uniformisation of the products: L’Oreal Infaillible and the GA ones are SO CLOSE, for example, and it seems it all comes out of the same factory, in the end, because it’s the same product with just small tweaks. It feels a bit as if I’m being cheated as a consumer, because it’s all being churned out by the same people but sold under different names (and at very different price points!). It’s great that it will hopefully be available elsewhere, though!

Ugh, I’m not looking forward to seeing Maybelline and L’Oreal coming out with cheaper copycat versions of UD’s products, like they’ve done with Lancome’s vibrating mascara and Giorgio Armani’s Eyes To Kill shadows. I’m also hoping this won’t mean less interesting products… I feel like their eyeshadow shades have already dropped off in creativity as of late, and somehow I don’t forsee L’Oreal fixing the problem.

So, I won’t buy Urban decay anymore. I buy only cruelty free products, and I appreciate independant brands for their quality …. L’oreal is only a big marketing product, and I hate it.

I can’t believe L’Oreal owns Giorgio Armani. That is so shocking to my eyes/ears because I love Armani, yet I’m not so fond of L’Oreal and their brands. There are probably a few products here and there that I’ve tried but I wouldn’t call any of the brands they own an HG brand I go back to.

As far as Urban Decay, I am shocked as well. I hope they stay true to their animal testing value. If they don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised since major corporations tend to change the rules so easily without notice. It happens everywhere.

I am genuinely shocked by Urban Decay. L’Oreal HAVE been putting millions into ethical testing methods, apparently since the early 80’s and yet they still do test on animals. I personally don’t use any products under their umbrella, as even though the sub-companies (Armani etc) don’t test their “finished” products on animals, the parent company does at various stages throughout production of same products.
Until L’Oreal and all the companies they own ACTUALLY have full ethica testing, I won’t be using any of their stuff.
So long Urban Decay!

I don’t think that “spirit” will change; of all the DS brands, L’Oreal has always been the most innovative, and one step ahead of the others.

Also, even though several cosmetic brands are all under their “umbrella”, they all have something that sets them apart from each other, so the smart thing to do is to keep them unique. When P&G bought Max Factor, they realized they would be in direct competition with CoverGirl (although MF has always been far superior, IMO). After rebranding CG (while jacking up prices 300-400%), they decided to stop selling MF in North America. I think the powers at al’Oreal are smart enough to not buy a brand so well established, and so unique, to not keep it as is.

I’m actually hoping they’ll “dupe” some of the UD products, making them less expensive, distributed in other nations who don’t have UD, and even more easily available in the U.S. (at least until I can get to a store that carries UD).

What bothers me the most about this is the fact that their about face regarding selling in China was disingenuous at minimum. There is no doubt that L’Oreal was involved with them around this time (if not before) and helped orchestrate this feigned return to conscience. This means it was always about money and fooling the customer into thinking otherwise. Urban Decay just sold their soul. This is a done deal sale. They have been gobbled up by a monster conglomerate and when this happens, the sins of the parent company filter down to the child. This happened with so many brands. To go outside the beauty world, it happened with Hunter bought out Casablanca fans. The deterioration of quality was evident. I’m sure the owners of UD are laughing all the way to the bank. Sickening.

The one thing I took from this is the fact that L’Oreal is investing in alternative testing methods. A larger companies like L’Oreal will have more clot in persuading governments to see the data for alternate testing methods as reputable and effective means for doing product testing.

I am by all means against animal testing (and am a strict vegetarian to boot), but regardless of whether a brand currently tests or does not test on animals we need to remember that at one point those chemicals have been tested on animals – the only exceptions are new chemicals/compounds being tested with alternative methods. Much of what we use, whether we realize it or not and whether it is from a cruelty-free brand or not, has been animal tested historically and that is why it is safe to use now. So I don’t think UD being under L’Oreal will make a difference, UD can say they don’t test but still get their data from L’Oreal’s parent office. Also, even new, alternative methods, are not all there yet (that is, at a level ready for testing) so if we, as consumers want new product streaming forth, then we need to realize the consequences of those demands and that testing has to be done before sale. Either way, as stated above, I don’t think it will make a difference to the UD claim.

I agree 100% with what you said about compounds once being tested on animals even if the currently aren’t. I’m pretty sure Urban Decay’s no testing policy will remain unaltered, because it’s such a part of the brand image. I think it’s hard for cosmetic companies because it’s damned if you do damned if you don’t- no-one seeks out products *because* they’re tested on animals, but the companies are liable if a product causes allergic reactions or something in consumers.

Great, great point! I totally agree! A lot of people don’t see it this way but its totally true! They might lose some customers here in the US but worldwide they end up winning.

Even if every ingredient has been tested on animals in the past, I refuse to buy anything from companies like L’Oreal that continue to actively test on animals!

Honestly Urban Decay? You saw the response when you announced you were moving into the Chinese market, and to make a huge mistake like this again? This is just sad.

I think one of the most interesting things about this is learning that Urban Decay has actually only operated as a small, independent business for less than half of its lifespan!

I’d like to see a breakdown of what percentage of the beauty industry is dominated by huge companies like LVMH and L’oreal. I think it would be a somewhat eye-opening figure.

And it’s not just cosmetics. There are clothing brands, foods, cleaning suppies, retailers, etc that all fall under one umbrella, whether it’s a parent- or sister-company.

Victoria, the brand-ownership breakdowns that I’ve seen thus far with regard to Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal, & LVMH are not just eye-opening. They’re pretty damn depressing. To me, at least. If you throw in other huge multi-national conglomerates like Unilever, etc., it makes you feel as though every part of your life is controlled by 8-10 companies overall.

But your specific question pertained to the percentages by which certain brands dominate within the industry. So, perhaps these two links will be useful to you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/loreal-beauty-industry-2833-billion_n_1761412.html L’Oreal tops the beauty industry via sales figures. From that article, if you lack time to read the full thing:

“L’Oreal topped the industry with the best sales performance in 2011, raking in $28.33 billion. And they’re on their way to a strong 2012, reporting sales of $13.76 billion by from January through June 30 this year.

Part of that success may be owed to L’Oreal’s expansive reach: the French company, founded over 100 years ago, actually owns a whole slew of beauty brands you know and love, such as Shu Uemura, Kérastase, Garnier, Maybelline, Lancome, Essie and plenty more (see below).

So who else besides L’Oreal is dominating the beauty biz? Procter & Gamble Co., owner of CoverGirl, came in second with 2011 sales of $20.7 billion and Unilever, maker of Dove products, came in third with $18.58 billion. Rounding out the top 10: Estee Lauder, Shiseido, Avon, Kao Corp. (maker of Jergens and Curel), Beiersdorf (home to Nivea and La Prarie), Johnson & Johnson (parent company of our beloved Neutrogena) and Chanel.

Fun fact: cute little Burt’s Bees made the list at #83. Who knew those yellow tubs of lip balm were so plentiful? [rest snipped] ”

For me, an interesting context in which to absorb these numbers is the market breakdown by segment within the beauty industry, since actual makeup doesn’t consist of the lion’s share. From another article:
“5 Primary Cosmetic Segments

[..] The cosmetic industry (aka beauty industry or personal care industry) can be broken down into 5 segments. Sales are distributed roughly by the %’s given.

1. Hair Care – 20%
2. Skin Care – 27%
3. Fragrance – 10%
4. Make-up – 20%
5. Other – 23% ”

http://chemistscorner.com/a-cosmetic-market-overview-for-cosmetic-chemists/ (really interesting facts about each market segment and who dominates within each one.)

Bottom line though, the biggest companies within these segments are: P&G, L’Oreal, and Unilever.

I can see this from multiple angles.

On the one hand Urban Decay now has the financial backing of L’Oreal. L’Oreal gains some of UD’s goodwill of being a cruelty free brand. UD gains a larger R&D budget to experiment and try new things. L’Oreal’s distribution network means UD can now be accessed around the world. L’Oreal is known to make drugstore copies of their ‘prestige’ goods almost right after a new ‘prestige’ product release. So now people who can’t afford Armani or UD can try something similar for a more affordable price.

On the other hand L’Oreal has a reputation of reducing the quality of the brand they just purchased. L’Oreal hasn’t been straightforward with their animal testing guidelines either. Is it really that difficult for one brand to have the cruelty free bunny symbol and not another for a major corporation?

I hope in the end this acquisition works out for everyone. I’m not an UD fiend but I can definitely understand why friends and relatives swear by it.

Not again. It looks like they did a 180. With L’Oreal buying them selling in China may happen. I use a few things by them, my HG mascara (cannonball) for one. I won’t keep buying it, I’ll look for another. I’m tired of the big cosmetic corporations buying up the independently owned ones. I remember when the brand first came out. Urban Decay it was nice knowing you, this is where we part ways.

I’m actually excited about this acquisition. L’Oreal has long been one of my favorite brands, across pricepoints, so honestly if UD had to be picked up by someone (which the fact it was purchased by a private equity firm, it’s an inevitable process), I’m glad it was L’Oreal.

As for UD “selling-out”, that happened years ago, with the initial acquisition. That company, in turn, sold it to a private equity firm, whose sole purpose is to provide financial backing & making it solvent through many means (such as reorganization, etc) in order to sell to a larger buyer, at a profit to its investors. For whatever reason, UD wasn’t turning as big a profit as needed, so it was unloaded onto the PEF, who likely saw potential for the brand. Therefore, it’s unlikely L’Oreal will do anything to compromise what UD has offered all these years.

Speaking solely for myself, Ellie, I don’t think people who care about the Cruelty-Free issue are “freaks.” I’m not vegan, so I’m probably both a hypocrite and logically inconsistent, but I do try my best to the extent possible when it comes to the animal-testing issue. And I greatly, greatly admire those who are 100% consistent and/or hard-core on the animal-testing issue. So, if I may say, Rock On, Girl!! 🙂

I can see why some people are bummed, but I feel like L’Oreal will open a huge door for Urban Decay. I personally do not specifically buy cruelty free products so it won’t really effect me. I think this will allow UD to be more available in other countries and will also give them financial stability so if a venture doesn’t work out, they have a big backing company to fall back onto. It’s good or bad news depending on the consumer.

Hopefully this means that Urban Decay will be available in Australia now. I don’t imagine they’ll change the no animal testing policies, it would cost too many customers.

I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that many of the companies they think are small or independent are often under the umbrella of a larger corporation. I think as long as the customer doesn’t know about it they feel better…not saying it should be a secret, but I noticed some comments about being disappointed to find out other brands were already owned by Loreal. I was actually having a conversation with someone yesterday that didn’t know that Shu Uemura is owned by Loreal and suddenly, the products she was raving about 5 minutes earlier were tainted and she was going to throw them all out. At any rate, it really is a personal decision that you will have to make when it comes to the brands you use and their affiliation with companies you prefer not to support.

With that being said…I think MY concern is about the quality and the price of UD products in the future. I am one of those that was not a fan of UD years ago because their products didn’t fit my wants or needs…be that considered I was not unique enough to fit their target market or they just ignored consumers like myself that wanted something different but not necessarily over the top. Truth be told…the more popular a brand gets a lot less unique their customer base becomes. None of these companies are out there without the desire to successfully make money…I don’t care how small or conscious they may be. If they weren’t in it to make money they wouldn’t be a for-profit company to begin with. It’s a reality that may seem disappointing to customers but it is the truth. What we have to hope for is a fair balance where a company is as ethical as they have always portrayed themselves while not being ostracized for their desire to reach a larger market and share their product with more consumers that would not have access to their brand otherwise.

My point is…it’s too soon to decide that UD is now evil and should be avoided. BUT, if your feeling is that and will not change…this might be the time to purchase products you currently use and trust from UD before Loreal has a chance to change them (IF that is what happens at all). In the end, UD may still be the company that many people still love today…or it may get so diluted that you start seeing it in your local drugstore or Wal-Mart…and for many people, the very thought of finding them in those places will be what really ruins the brand for them.

I have to agree with you kesha. It seems like a lot of people feel exclusive and moral with their “indie” brands and then get pious with large companies. I get it large corporations are ethically not ideal but I feel like people are jumping the gun a little too early. Personally for me i’m gonna stick around maybe stock pile some of my favorites and continue to be a loyal customer.However if the quality goes down and it trickles on into walmart,walgreens and target then i’m done.

And here we go again… I have nothing against L’oreal, but UD makes me think that they prefer money over their beliefs… I hope their quality doesn’t change

I like how the corporate statement completely disregards the entire “cruelty free” selling point which drew a large demographic, choosing instead the “fashion forward image” and “irreverent” consumer base. Not surprising at all, just amusing to me as a vegan business major. I also wouldn’t be surprised if UD winds up on Ross/Marshalls/TJMaxx shelves eventually. I could have sworn I’ve seen Body Shop stuff there. This is so reminiscent of Hard Candy.

I found that amusing as well. I don’t think they even have an idea how important that factor is to many. Body shop products are incredibly pricey for the formulations they have and I dislike their marketing tactics. They seem, desperate. What happened with Hard Candy? I’m not familiar with the brand since I’m not from the usa.

I bet their quality goes downhill. It seems like whenever a major corporation buys out smaller brands the quality sucks. Kind of disappointing on behalf of UD. I like them being a private company. Oh, well probably save money not buying them.

Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Biotherm, Cacharel, Diesel, Maison Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Ralph Lauren, Kiehl’s, Shu Uemura, Stella McCartney, Clarisonic, Paloma Picasso and Drakkar noir are also owned by L’Oreal. A lot of smaller companies sell out to larger companies for money, sure… But they also do it so they can focus on their products and research & development, rather than martketing and business. They still retain their products’ integrity, at least for the most part. Of course, it’s still waiting to be seen what happens with Urban Decay, but I, for one, am not ready to swear it off just because they chose to go this way.

At the risk of sounding like an ogre, I’ll still continue to purchase and use UD. If and when the products begin to fail/lack in quality or the prices become absurd, then I’ll change.
I like animals, but I like makeup more.

Yes. Really.
Does that make me a bad person? No.
Does that make anyone who doesn’t Agree with me a better person? No.
For me, it comes down to quality. If I like a product, I can find a use for it, it performs well, I can afford it and I can buy it, I will.
It’s strictly to each their own.

i own well over 5000 dollars worth of urban decay cosmetics, but i haven’t bought a single UD product since the china debacle. i will continue to avoid them. they just keep doing more and more things that disappoint me.

I have a genuine question: what do you guys think animal testing is? Do you think the dogs get a schampoo, mascara on their lashes and toothpaste on their teeth?

Again, just genuine curiosity since I recently discovered that people around me thought that was the case in the labs.

I boycott all brands that donates money to animal testing and/or the fur-industry. So bye UD.

But they (UD) don’t donate to animal testing or the fur-industry, making this an assumption on your part. They chose NOT to sell in China after fans got into a rage. Did you forget all their seals and awards from various cruelty-free organizations?

The fact that Urban Decay doesn’t *donate* money to animal testing is irrelevant, really. They will now be owned by a parent company (L’Oreal) that openly utilizes and profits from it. This means that profits made by the Urban Decay brand will now directly profit the parent company (L’Oreal) and their business practices. In other words, the money made by Urban Decay WILL be supporting animal testing. Regardless of whether UD supports the practice or not. It’s terribly unfortunate and not much different than the China situation, to be perfectly honest. It’s still Urban Decay forfeiting their principles to make a buck. That is what I object to.

Danii: No, it’s not an assumption on my part. It’s a fact that L’Oreal now profit from the products they label “Urban Decay”.

Let me break it down for you: L’Oreal buys puppies, chemicals and a lab staff. Sell products (a number of brands) and make money. L’Oreal buys Urban Decay. Urban Decay sell products and make money. That money now goes to L’Oreal and sadly, the circle is complete.

You see, L’Oreal would never buy another brand just for fun. They did it to make money. Money they, amongst other things, spend on animal testing. They don’t have a sorting station for the money, you know?

@ ESC I can’t think of one business that isn’t in it to make money. When UD initially allowed the acquisition by LVMH, it was to make money. Apparently, LVMH wasn’t turning the profit they wanted, so they unloaded the brand on a PEF, a group of private investors who pool their own assets to turn an even larger profit, often saving companies, and therefore, jobs.

Let me “complete” *this* circle for you: let’s say you buy some OCC, tarte, etc products that are “cruelty-free”, yet they’re carried by Sephora, who shares in the profits. Sephora has stores, actual stores, in China, therefore supporting animal-testing by default. This is a *choice* made by Sephora. So even if you choose not to shop at Sephora, you’re still supporting companies who support the profit-margin of Sephora, by their own choice, thereby perpetuating animal-testing.

Where should the line be drawn? Enlighten us.

I’m with ESC!
Animal-testing is far uglier than many would like to believe,and I’m simply not going to do anything, even on a small scale, to further or support it.
I can’t see *any* cosmetics product being THAT important to me.
I dumped all of the EL brands; I can dump Urban Decay, too!

I totally agree with you! I was the biggest MAC fan! A MAC counter opened in my town 3 years ago and I was ecstatic!! Up until then, I would drive for 3 hours to my closest MAC store every time a new collection was out. Also, whenever a friend or family member of mine went on vacation I gave them a map to a MAC store, money and a list! Since they decided to sell to China, I don’t even glance at my local MAC counter…! It drives me crazy that people think it’s ok to test on animals! I’m sure we’ve all seen movies where the tall, long-fingered aliens strap humans to the tables and experiment on them. And I’m also sure we’ve all seen Blade were humans are frozen and their blood is drained out. I think these images make all of us cringe. So why is it ok to do that to another creature?? Because animals are “less important” than us? They don’t feel pain, panic and horror?? Imagine being contained in a cage, having your eyes and/or skin brunt by those mask-wearing giants (humans) and then being killed because you are of no use anymore. And why?? For our vanity and our financial gain!

There’s a reason Urban Decay makes $130 million in a fiscal year. L’Oreal products really tend to be hit-and-miss. Tim Warner, the GM of Urban Decay, clearly doesn’t have the same ideas of NO animal testing and putting out stellar products, as Wende Zomnir does. This completely about money and will probably remove all the crazy colors Urban Decay puts out, as well as the great products. I RARELY buy L’Oreal unless they put something that is truly good out. UD was so individual. Everything will only go downhill now.

Does anyone know what LVMH animal testing policy was?

I like Urban Decay, and never cared much for animal testing, personally. I would prefer if brands didn’t do it, as I don’t think it’s necessary anymore, but never looked for the bunny symbol when buying make-up. I just hope the quality doesn’t change.

Urban Decay is my favorite brand, and one of the first that I used when I first started using makeup. I am disappointed with the acquisition and I’m afraid that the quality will go down. If they drop their cruelty-free policy, I will have to stop purchasing from them, as I have already sworn off L’Oreal owned brands that test such as Maybelline and Lancome

I’ve given up being emotional about this issue. It’s simply too exhausting; the Urban Decay saga is like a corporate version of Dynasty or Dallas. At least L’Oreal is spending millions to find alternatives to new chemical testing on animals. Since all previous, old-school ingredients have already been tested on animals, new products made with those common, traditional ingredients should be safe from further testing. When it comes to new ingredients though, hopefully, they will minimize the testing or rely on those much-vaunted new alternative methods — though I’m cynical enough not to bet money on it. That said, I’m happy that I don’t generally buy a lot of L’Oreal products or things from L’Oreal-owned brands. (And almost nothing from Estee Lauder brands, as EL has NO commitment to alternative methods the way L’Oreal has. They’re far worse, imo, and definitely test.)

The things which still do bother me as a general matter: 1) the depressing globalisation or conglomerate absorption of private brands; and 2) how L’Oreal significantly screwed up at least the perfume division of some brands they absorbed. (YSL, I’m looking at you in particular. L’Oreal, you’ve broken my heart, just like LVMH did with Guerlain.) Thus far, L’Oreal hasn’t screwed up with their makeup brands — judging by the Armani vs. L’Oreal Infallible versions. But still, L’Oreal comes in, takes over and the final results aren’t always great. But I’m probably just still bitter over the perfume issue.

In Lauder’s defense, up until this year, they (and all the brands they own, including Mac) were PETA-certified non-testers. They were dropped because they decided to sell into China just shortly before Urban Decay. Great point about the perfumes!

I prefer to divert funds elsewhere, but I know that L’Oreal’s brands are run very separately and are allowed to follow their own policies as far as testing is concerned. So I am willing to buy from those who make a clear statement that they don’t engage in testing.

I do question brands that continue to test, since it’s been established that alternative methods of testing are more accurate in terms of identifying potential problems than animal tests (even those done in vitro and not in vivo are often more accurate predictors of adverse reactions). So those brands that still opt for animal tests strike me as being less committed to safety on top of being indifferent to animal cruelty.

It’s not just brands that have to commit to alternative testing but the regulatory/government bodies that mandate the testing – e.g. until an alternative test is acceptable data by the government, it doesn’t matter if they have alternative test data available.

Kate, you make a good point about how EL used to be. However, what really angered me is the duplicity and brazen sneakiness of their decision to change. They tried to cloak it & hide it. To quote from one site: “After two decades of touting their “no animal testing” policies, Avon, Estée Lauder, and Mary Kay have quietly resumed paying for” animal testing. http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2012/02/16/3-companies-booted-off-cruelty-free-list.aspx While I don’t take PETA as the word of God, I do think they nailed the subterfuge involved. And I don’t like companies treating consumers like fools. So, that’s one very big reason for my huge bias against EL and why I think they’re worse. Whatever one may say about UD and that atrociously worded PR statement about China months back, at least they were open about it and didn’t try to sneak it under the carpet.

As for the comments in your second paragraph, I very much agree. I buy mostly from NARS in large part because — despite their corporate overlord who tests — NARS doesn’t. They say so officially. And they also avoid 3rd parties who test, while simultaneously seeking alternatives to animal-derivatives (ie, so they can be totally vegan the way Francois Nars himself is). I won’t rehash the old argument from months ago about whether they can really be true to their word, given the Shiseido ownership. I believe them and, for me, it’s the best that I can do.

BTW, I’m glad you agree on the perfume issue. L’Oreal butchered, gutted and/or forever ended a number of the perfumes under its purview once they took over and, for the life of me, I cannot understand WHY. It makes no sense why they’d get involved in such a miniscule thing given the reach of their empires. But it’s probably just like Bernard Arnault personally interfering with Guerlain’s perfumes. (He prefers that they put out thin-type exclusive scents which are probably cheaper to make due to minimal ingredients and to charge more. I’ve also read that he’s forbidden some versions of Dior perfumes from being sold in France, though I can’t recall the story now.)

Bottom line, ownership by a huge conglomerate does not always mean that they won’t interfere with (and ruin) aspects of their new acquisition. But it can. We’ll all just have to wait and see.

I know of no particular details, but I can’t help but feel like the China deal not going forward, might have played a big part in this acquisition.
Also, those of you pointing the finger at UD for selling out, might consider, that this might not be as much of a sell out as a buying out. L’Oreal is very, very powerful. Not sure how much choice UD really had…

the China deal was so stupid on their part … there are a lot of countries that don’t demand animal testing to sell it within their borders… like belgium! germany! and so many more … they could’ve been branching out to the rest of europe instead of focusing on countries that have a sephora to sell their stuff … no they wanted to go to china! idiots! … and even if l’oreal keeps UD “CF” the money will still go to l’oreal and used to test on animals for their other brands …

I don’t know enough about the china deal to call it stupid, but it sounds anything but: a billion consumers with billions of dollars and ripe for a new makeup brand? Sounds pretty smart to me.
And it was probably the closing of all that revenue potencial due to consumer outrage, that probably put the company in a weak enough position to be bought by L’Oreal.
Since animal testing is not a factor for my choice of makeup, my only concern is the mega-monopolies, where most brands actually belong to the same parent company. Free market and customer choice? Not as free as we would like sadly…

After Shu Uemura was bought by Loreal the quality of the products significantly changed. It’s now made in some random Asian counties. It’s no longer a high-end brand. Sorry.

Yep, So agree with AO. Shu is not the same…and neither is YSL….YSL is still consider high end brand but the quality is not the same. And Shu Uemura is now cartoonish rather than being esthetically pleasing. And Armani is just plain expensive and repetitive. I still got stuff, brushes, packaging, the whole 9 yards from YSL and some from Shu Uemura from 80’s and they are NOT the same in quality as today….

Seriously? L’Oreal owns 1/3 of the makeup industry by now, don’t they? I don’t know how to feel about that. I mean, they and their subsidiaries do some great things, so maybe L’Oreal will just let UD keep doing what it does best.

Just curious… the release says UD netted $130m and makes it sound like that’s a good thing. And yet the changes in ownership and the China deal that fell through make them seem like a troubled company in need of a bailout. Which is it?

they pulled out of China because the consumer wanted them to. it didn’t fall through. 130m was probably after the money spent trying to go into China but they ate the loss and did what the people wanted them to do.

I just don’t know. While if Urban Decay remains cruelty-free, that’s a good thing, the fact that its parent company is a long-time animal-tester makes me think “NO!”
I don’t want any of my money ultimately going to an animal-testing company.
I stopped buying Urban decayearlier in the year, when they announced their later-abandoned plan to sell their products in China.
However, since they *did* reverse that decision, I was seriously considering buying from them, on a limited basis. My approach was going to be “wait and see.”

Well, I waited, and I saw – and I’m looking elsewhere.
Ecco Bella, here I come!

Re: animal testing. I guess I see this a little differently than most.

Animal testing costs money – lots of it. Companies don’t spend money without feeling they must. In this case, governments require testing if they want to use new ingredients to innovate. Alternative testing methods that don’t use animals are expected to be cheaper and more accurate in the long run. L’Oreal is investing in a future where we have better testing, and no animals are hurt at all. But to do that, they (if I’m correctly informed) have to do animal testing along with alternative methods so they can show the government, “Hey, it works at least as well as the old way!”

I’m not trying to persuade anyone of anything. I’m just saying I feel it’s more nuanced than “testing company = bad company.” If this testing could end animal testing forever, then maybe it’s not an entirely bad thing?

When I read the title I started freaking out,cause I’m totally against animal testing, and I always loved Urban Decay with their no animal testing thing…And I really hope that the fact the L’Oreal bought it, notihing change.
And I also hope sooo bad that L’Oreal stop testing their products on animals, so I cand buy their products again ;D

I feel like people are getting way to worked up about this. A lot of the brands people already love are under a parent company anyways. It is possible that they could change UD’s product, stance on animal testing and anything else, but it is just that a possibility. I doubt anything too drastic will occur since UD in itself is doing very well. I certainly don’t see why you should swear off UD completely right now, unless your views on animal testing are that strong (even if the brand itself does not test). If you do some research on most of your favorite brands of all beauty products (not necessarily just makeup) you will find them under a parent company. Being under a parent company can enable a brand to reach a larger market, increase marketing and such, it’s not necessarily just a sell out (although it definitely is largely about money). I think it is way too early to swear off UD.

I have spent upwards of $1,000 on UD products in the past few years. Sadly, I will no longer be a UD customer after this. Even if they keep their cruelty-free stance, L’Oreal will still make profit from UD sales, meaning my money would still go towards a company that is not cruelty free. All of my support will now be behind Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, who is 100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free. Their prices are great and you get the same wonderful color pay-off that you do from UD.

Would love if OCC’s full line was available at Sephora, so it that way it would be more easily accessible to customers. I hope it will be in time!

The parent company thing can be looked at in other lights though. I know a blogger made this point, but unfortunately I can’t remember exactly who said it – if a non-CF parent company notices that they make more profit from their CF subsidiaries than their non-CF ones, they may look at CF more seriously.

I’m sorry to break this to you, but you are supporting animal cruelty with every stroke of your keyboard. You’re using a computer, which uses electricity, which is fueled by coal strip mined from the mountains of West Virginia. This process kills thousands of forest animals annually and poisons the water and land surrounding the area so that no animals can live there safely.

Everything you do- drive a car, use electricity, buy food at the grocery store- supports animal cruelty in some way. If you feel so strongly about animal rights, the best thing you can do is to CONTINUE to purchase from companies like Urban Decay to send a message to the parent company that this is what you want, cruelty free products. If the brand is making money, that is what will get their attention. Lack of sales could lead to the parent company stepping in and changing processes, including the ban on animal testing.

Just a thought.

@ Colleen OCC has made the decision to be sold at Sephora, thereby sharing profits with a company, who by default support animal-testing. Where do you draw the line? How is this any different than L’Oreal buying Urban Decay? In either case, a company that supports animal-testing is directly profiting.

You’re not a bad person! Just like how someone who lives their entire life caring about this stuff isn’t automatically a good person.

When I first went vegan, I drove myself crazy trying to cover all the bases and be a perfect vegan. Where does it stop? Eventually, I just figured out what was important to me and what I could do within reason to live with my own choices.

My philosophy is that no one has the right to judge you or your decisions, and the world will still turn whether or not you buy cruelty-free.

No. Despite what some people will tell you, being able to care about animal rights issues is a privilege. It is not easy and not everyone is willing or even able. I’ll be honest, I was excited earlier when UD had decided to sell in China because expanding an American company into a Chinese market would have been good for our economy and as for ethical concerns, making inroads into foreign cultures through business is one very effective method of globalization. Meaning if we not only import from but export to China our culture’s emphasis on cruelty-free products might become a bigger topic in China. Alas, it was not to be.

@ Ria Well, I’ve taken time to educate myself, and this is still a non-issue for me. However, I don’t have an empathy problem. My empathy for the greater good of people, however, is more prevalent. Big Business=more jobs=stronger economy. We *all* benefit from that.

Is it safe to presume you don’t buy OCC? Or tarte? Or any other “cruelty-free” brands that sell at Sephora? After all, they share their profits with Sephora, who by having stores in China & carries other brands that engage in animal-testing, therefore are supportive of animal-testing. Also, “educate” yourself on the parent- & sister-companies of the clothes & shoes you wear, the food you eat, the car you drive, etc. How about the salon where you get your hair done? What products do they carry?

I find it extremely rude for you to infer anyone is uneducated or cruel; it really just shows *your* character.

How about the drugs that help us survive the flu? Or the vaccines that mean we don’t die from Polio or Measles? Being cruelty-free is very much a privilege thing…and generalizing people who cannot or choose not to abide by that privilege shows YOUR own lack of empathy.

To me the whole vegan/cruelty free is not as important so it doesn’t matter to me. If that mean I’ll find UD product at the l’Oreal sale done twice a year in Montreal’s office, heck yeah I’m happy.

I don’t think UD needs to change its policy because of L’Oreal. I’m sure they can continue creating cruelty free products. My only question, is can’t you be cruelty free and forgo posting the stamp of approval PETA decides to bestow on you? It’s PETA that makes me respect UD less than perhaps I ought. It’s one thing to care about the welfare of animals, quite another to be a fanatical nut.

While I don’t advocate everything PETA does, I do share their opposition to animal-testing on cosmetics, and I want to be selective about who gets my business. The fact that PETA maintains a list of non-testing companies is a great convenience for me. I consult Leaping Bunny, too.
I think one’s perspective on animal-testing depends to at least some degree on your personal experience.
I have what seems to be an inborn affinity and empathy for animals, and my relationships with them have brought me a lot of happiness and satisfaction.
Also, I experienced a major illness while in my mid 30s, and had to have a lot of really painful procedures done to me. It was bad enough, knowing that this was necessary, and why, and that it would be over soon. I can’t imagine an animal enduring something like that, with no way to escape or relieve the pain, and with no understanding of what’s going on. I want no part in choosing that fate for an innocent creature.

The products for YSL were so beautiful when it first came out. Then so was Shu Uemura. I only started buying UD the past 2 1/2 years even though I have bought makeup for 30 years.. Beside the point of animal testing which is not a good thing to do, the quality will go down as it has for YSL and Shu Uemura. I seen improvement with UD even with the short time that I bought and I really like the quality. I am so happy that I bought so much eyeshadows when it was on sale and UD had sales. UD will be like MAC it is today in the near future…eaten up by the big boys. I think I am going to get that individual AC?DC shadow. Those 15 anniversary shadows and eyeliner sets are the thing of the past.

Noooooooo! Im really disappointed. But at least buying UD products shows l’oreal a preference for cruelty free products. I don’t understand how some people can not care about animal testing. Although being a truly “cruelty free” consumer is nearly impossible, isn’t it worth it to save just one bunny from having its eyes and skin burned?

So many people here against this, but I see it as a good thing. So many L’Oreal brands are readily available in Australia and if that means that I’ll get to purchase Urban Decay locally then I’m all for it!

This depresses me. Less for the ambiguous ethical issues and more for the overwhelming influence of global conglomerates on the “open” market. How do brands smaller, private brands hope to keep up with mass corporations who wield such an unthinkable amount of power?

Wow, I didn’t see that coming! Seems like UD could’ve stuck it out a little longer. Although I was never really fond of the brand, I do support and appreciate small businesses.

I literally shouted “NO!” so loud in my apartment that my roommate came out into my living room to see what the fuss was about.

This is so frustrating. Why can’t they just leave a beautiful thing alone?

L´oreal again >:( I dislike that l´oreal thing so much. I still can´t get past the fact this thing owns Ysl… I´m sad. I support small bussiness and don´t like when corporates buy them, I don´t like that kind of market. What is next? L´oreal is going to buy Chanel, Guerlain, Dior, Givenchy and who else? It´s just horrible 🙁 .

IF L’Oreal were to stop all animal testing of any sort, I would start buying those brands again, after 15 or so years of boycotting them.
I really don’t see that happening, but if it does, that would be GREAT.

I’m not entirely sure why people are considering UD a small business, because they haven’t been for a long time.

I have nothing against this movement. From a business standpoint, this is great for the company. UD has been heading in the wrong direction long before this happened, so maybe this will actually do some good.

Hope for the best and if it doesn’t work out, there are plenty of other brands out there who are deserving of our money.

I really hate seeing this. The edgy colors and quality of this brand will not be the same. I have been using UD since 2006. I have seen how the quality of cosmetics changes when ownership changes. Look at the quality of MAC. It sucks now. Everything is made with cheap products and their colors suck. I hope that UD has a big sale so that I can stock up on the good old products. 🙁

This was such an eye-opener. YSL and Armani cosmetics are owned by L’Oreal? I was just starting to get into Urban Decay when the whole China market controversy happened and now this. I am perplexed. I’ve definitely loved everything I’ve gotten so far and I was happy they were cruelty free. Now I guess I’ll have to be more vigilant to see whether they’ll maintain these policies in the long run (even if they now claim they will).

Well, this seals the deal for me. I haven’t purchased from UD since the China fiasco, and have been seriously debating purchasing holiday gifts for friends and loved ones (some items specifically requested, as people close to me know how much I used to love giving UD gifts), but my heart just didn’t feel right about it this year. I guess I was still skeptical and leery from the China ordeal. Turns out, my gut feeling was right. Won’t be buying UD any longer (I don’t use any products that L’Oreal owns/distributes). Like someone else said, when you have companies like OCC and such, it makes it an even easier decision. I’ve already been browsing the OCC site for gift ideas, looks like they’ll be getting my holiday money.

Of all the companies to buy Urban Decay, L’Oreal is probably the best choice. First, they are a well-established cosmetics company, and therefore know how the market works. In terms of DS products/brands, they’ve always been the most innovative. All of their subsidiaries are successful, and there have been no brands discontinued due to poor marketing. Also, they have the name recognition to bring attention to their smaller brands; I hadn’t heard of Shu Uemera before the acquisition.

Second, they don’t have any brands that directly compete with one another, causing them to focus on one, and closing another. If you really think about each brand, you can see the demographics for the average consumer are completely different.

Third, although products have “changed”, quality is still there in all their brands. For example, Lancome today *is* different than it was several years ago, but it delivers what it promises. They were owned by L’Oreal *prior* to these changes, so that negates the “quality” argument. At some point, *every* company adapts to a changing market.

Finally, UD was owned by a large conglomerate *prior* to this. Although I don’t know why UD allowed themselves to be bought at that time, I would venture a guess and say they wanted to broaden their market, and make money (which is the primary reason to start a business). For whatever reason, this conglomerate decided they didn’t want UD any more (perhaps they were unfamiliar with the primary demographic, and didn’t know how to go about it), they allowed a PEF to step in. What a PEF does, is take investments from independent backers, who fund a company, in some cases turning it around. Once said company is financially sound, and marketable, it goes on the market at a profit to the PEF. More often than not, jobs are saved when a PEF steps in. There is a good chance UD was in financial trouble for some time.

I also want to add this acquisition was rumored *prior* to the whole China issue, so I really don’t think one has to do with the other.

As for the conglomerates “squeezing” out the indie companies, that’s really up to the consumer. I would personally rather buy from B&M stores, where more job opportunities exist rather than online, so if these indie companies start selling in stores or kiosks, I’d buy more. There really are several angles from which to look at the issue.

Hopefully, since L’oreal has already entered many other markets with their other brands, UD will be available to these consumers, as well.

I don’t understand what this means, so please excuse the daft questions… Who are UD’s current workers employed by, the parent company or the company itself? Is the quality likely to change? Prices? Are they going to mess with the current formulas? Is Wende still currently involved with creating the products? If so, will she continue to be involved? This feels like introducing a new person into the family and having to re-establish all the rules, argh!

YSL and the other brands mentioned have great quality so I’m not worried about a change in that. Christine, are you going to review the glossy stains? I have one that I really like but I’m eager to see how the other colors perform

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