Does Unilever Own Hourglass Cosmetics?

Does Unilever Own Hourglass Cosmetics?
Does Unilever own Hourglass Cosmetics?

Does Unilever Own Hourglass Cosmetics? Hourglass is well known for their high-end and cruelty-free foundation sticks and their ambient lighting powder range. They have also announced that they plan to have a completely vegan product range by 2020. But is this cruelty-free brand now owned by Unilever? Find out more about what this may mean for their cruelty-free status.

In October 2017 Unilever closed it’s purchase deal and now owns Hourglass Cosmetics. Hourglass Cosmetics will remain a cruelty-free brand as this is very important to them. They have even announced that they plan to not only be cruelty-free but to also be a completely vegan line by 2020. Despite them remaining cruelty-free, it is important to note that Unilever is not cruelty-free. I feel that everyone should decide what’s best for them when it comes to cruelty-free brands with a parent company that tests on animals.

Does Unilever Own Hourglass Cosmetics?

Yes. As of October 2017, Unilever does own Hourglass Cosmetics. Hourglass Cosmetics will maintain their cruelty-free status.

Is Hourglass Cosmetics Cruelty-Free?

Yes. Hourglass is a cruelty-free brand! There is no animal testing being done on Hourglass products at any point or on any ingredients used to make Hourglass products.

Who owns Hourglass Cosmetics?

While Hourglass is cruelty-free, Hourglass is owned by Unilever and Unilever is not cruelty-free. I think everyone should decide for themselves how they feel about parent companies who test on animals. Supporting any cruelty-free brand is better than purchasing products from a brand that tests on animals.

Does Hourglass Cosmetics have vegan products?

Yes. Hourglass has a lot of products that are not only cruelty-free but also vegan. You can find a full Hourglass Cosmetics Vegan Products list here on Logical Harmony.

The following was originally published on June 20, 2017 when it was first announced that Unilever had put in a bid to purchase Hourglass Cosmetics.

Today it was announced that plans Unilever to acquire Hourglass Cosmetics, a loved cruelty-free brand. Hourglass is well known for their high-end and cruelty-free foundation sticks and their ambient lighting powder range. When I first heard the news, I decided to do some research to see what I could find out. In this post, I share all the details so that you can make an informed decision and figure out how you feel about this potential change for Hourglass Cosmetics.

Unilever has a full press release on their site about this, but I wanted to include some quotes below.

Alan Jope, President Personal Care, Unilever, said,

“We are delighted to be adding Hourglass to our portfolio of Prestige brands. The colour cosmetics category has been showing high growth-rates, driven by social media content, channel diversity and democratisation of professional makeup techniques, and it therefore presents a significant opportunity. Hourglass is already a successful brand in this space, offering fantastic make-up products that also deliver skin care benefits, and we look forward to continuing to grow this wonderful brand.”

Carisa Janes, CEO Hourglass, added,

“As the first colour brand in Unilever’s Prestige portfolio, we are excited about this partnership as Hourglass continues to challenge the status quo with high performance luxury cosmetics. Unilever’s commitment to innovation and social responsibility is aspirational, and perfectly aligned with our vision for the future of Hourglass.”

At this time, Hourglass is still an independent company and is not owned by Unilever. However, the deal for Unilever to acquire Hourglass Cosmetics is expected to close in the fall of 2017 and is pending regulatory approval at this time.

While Hourglass is cruelty-free, Unilever is not cruelty-free. I think everyone should decide for themselves how they feel about parent companies who test on animals. Supporting any cruelty-free brand is better than purchasing products from a brand that tests on animals.

For many consumers, Hourglass being owned by a parent company who tests on animals is enough for them to no longer support the brand. Should Unilever own Hourglass Cosmetics, this could be a change for you. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to let Hourglass and Unilever know that you value Hourglass as a cruelty-free brand and hope their cruelty-free status does not change.

Even if you do support brands that are cruelty-free but have a parent company that is not, I encourage you to reach out and let Hourglass and Unilever know that Hourglass being a cruelty-free brand does matter to you. Feel free to the template below or add it to any emails you may send the brand:

“I love that Hourglass is cruelty-free and, as a customer, I really hope that the pending acquisition by Unilever will not change this. Being cruelty-free is very important to me and is one of the main reasons that I support Hourglass.”

While Unilever does own some skincare brands, this is the first cosmetic brand that Unilever has expressed an interest in, so it’s hard to tell what it may mean for Hourglass. After acquiring Dermalogica, they have been able to keep their cruelty-free status which is promising.

We have reached out to Hourglass Cosmetics in hopes to get a statement about what this may mean for their cruelty-free status. I am hopeful that it will not be impacted by the change in ownership.


  1. I’m so disappointed to hear Hourglass is now owned by Unilever. – the values of each company are entirely opposing.

    I won’t buy from any Unilever company, knowing their cruel and unnecessary animal testing practices. It wouldn’t sit well with me to put any money into their coffers.

    As a huge conglomerate it makes business sense for Unilever to get into the fast growing vegan sector and I suppose if a multi-million pound deal is offered to a private individual for their business, it may be hard to resist. But what about the ethics in all this? Basically when a vegan, cruelty-free organisation sells out to one which conducts appalling experiments on animals, ethics or integrity haven’t been a factor.

    I will be looking for a totally cruelty-free company to supply my cosmetics now.

  2. I’m always sad to hear such news. That said, “luckily” (such a bad/sad word to use here…) this change will not affect me, as Hourglass was never available around here, and thus I have never tried any of their products and won’t know what I was missing.

    Or what I will be missing, because after this I will not seek to try out their products. I do agree with Tashina’s statement on that buying from a CF company with a non-CF parent is still much better than buying non-CF, and I would never judge or bash anyone for doing so (I just can’t understand the negativity going on in communities around this topic… why can’t people just be supportive of those who share the same basics of thinking and living? Or at least polite, should others’ PoVs not match theirs completely… even if you don’t agree with others’ personal “purchase rules”, pointing fingers and blaming others is just pointless and saddening. Especially in a “community” where, as Kim said above, perfection is pretty much impossible. Everyone draws their own borderlines between what still make them more happy than uncomfortable), but I personally do not wish to support CF companies with a non-CF parent, and will always seek other CF-alternatives first. The reason for this is that it just makes me very, very sad that while these companies claim that animal rights are important to them, it seems, apparently, that money is more important, as it proves to be enough for them to give in to another company who does not share the same ideology. There of course may very well be other factors we are not made aware of that result in such a decision, but still… luckily we’ve seen several examples of such acquisitions not going through/getting refused, so while this is becoming an usual pattern with brands recently, it is definitely not the only way. Let’s hope more and more companies will refuse to follow this pattern in the future (or less of them will get in a situation where they need to consider this in order to keep going).

  3. Buying from a C/F company which parent company is not is an issue I’ve been thinking a lot about. I use to use Estée Lauder until they started testing in animals again (all for the Chinese market) but they are the parent company of Jo Malone which I have now stopped buying. Another is Penhaligons whose products I use to buy but they have been taken over by a non C/F company. The same with Superdrug. All the companies say they are still C/F but any profits they make will go into the coffers of the parent company which could be used for testing. It’s a problem big time for me.

  4. Is there a petition going around about this potential acquisition and if so, can someone post the link please? My guess if we can consolidate all our comments and concerns it may have a greater impact. I wholeheartedly will not support a parent company that practices cruelty to animals which is why I have had to walk away from the Origins brand (once I discovered they were owned by Estée Lauder) and Burts Bees (unilever I believe). I will be super peeved, but I won’t hesitate to walk away from Hourglass as well. Ugh.

    1. I haven’t found anything in the way of a petition so far, but that could change. Also, Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox. I believe the Hourglass acquisition is Unilever’s first time buying a makeup brand.

  5. I’m SO disappointed. The Hourglass liquid powder foundation and concealer were my holy grails since they matched my skin tone perfectly. So now my hunt begins for something else. I will use up what I have and that will be it for me and Hourglass. At this rate, I can only guess it’s just a matter of time before all of the big brands carried by Sephora and Ulta will be parented by a company that is not cruelty free. Unilever will not be getting a penny of my money as they are a big offender of cruel practices against animals. I’ll figure out a way to make my own cosmetics if it comes down to it. Such a shame that companies sell out to big brands that don’t share their morals. Hourglass is a successful company so I can only assume it came down to money. My issue isn’t a company maintaining a cruelty free status, it’s those big brands getting the dollars, controlling what these companies do and where they sell. I’m very saddened by this but there are plenty of other brands out there that fit my definition of cruelty free but the foundation issue I have being a brown, vegan girl, well that’s just rough…

  6. I saw this coming. It always seemed strange to me that a high end line like Hourglass was an independent company. I personally do support cruelty free companies with non-CF parent companies simply because I don’t understand where one draws the line with the logic of “money going to the non-CF parent company”…for example, people will buy vegan products from a line that is not completely vegan. Doesn’t that constitute as giving money to non-CF practices? Or shopping at Sephora, who as a brand/company is not CF but obviously sell CF products–how is that different? I think it’s important to support companies who maintain their CF status because at a certain point it begins to feel a bit idealistic. Being vegan/CF is about trying your best; perfection is impossible. And of course Logical Harmony is a great resource for all consumers, regardless of stances on parent companies, but there generally is a lot of judgment towards people who buy things from companies with non-CF parent companies. I believe that accessibility is important and we shouldn’t shame people who buy something from companies like Tarte or Urban Decay. It’s important to show that there is a demand for CF products–this is precisely why bigger parent companies buy out smaller companies, so it would be unwise of them to change any practices that may be attributed to their success in the first place. And like Tashina said, it’s better than not buying something CF at all. So as long as individual brands maintain their cruelty free status, I will support them. I would love to hear other opinions about this and why people support not 100% vegan lines or shop at stores that aren’t 100% CF. Is there something I’m missing?

    1. Hi Kim! I just wanted to leave a comment saying I absolutely agree with your statement. I recently decided to go cruelty-free and I’ve gotten a lot of angry and judgmental comments from people who only buy from companies with cruelty-free parent companies. I think that’s great if you choose to support cruelty-free companies with cruelty-free parent companies, but it is a personal choice. It’s frustrating to be spreading an important message like going cruelty-free and only receive backlash and negative feedback from those who think you need to be doing better. I would absolutely love to live in a world where all cruelty-free companies are independent or owned by cruelty-free parents companies. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Right now, I believe that buying from cruelty-free companies that are owned by parent companies that are not cruelty-free is absolutely better than supporting companies that test on animals. I think people should be excited that so many people are even considering this route, instead of constantly lashing out and saying that it’s not good enough. So, I just wanted to say that I appreciate your comment. To Tashina, I appreciate your website more than you know! It has helped me so much on my journey to cruelty-free beauty.

      1. I think any steps towards cruelty-free are making a difference and are great. Don’t get discouraged! I think it’s so great you made the change and figured out a way for it to work for you instead of not making any change at all.

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