Tarte Cosmetics Bought by Kose – How Does It Impact Their Animal Testing Stance?

Tarte Cosmetics Bought by Kose - How Does It Impact Their Animal Testing Stance?

Today an announcement about Tarte Cosmetics shocked the cruelty free beauty world. Long known as a cruelty-free brand with lots of vegan options (and a favorite here at Logical Harmony), Tarte has now been bought by Kose Corp. WWD announced yesterday that Japan’s Kose company has purchased a 93.5% stake in Tarte Cosmetics. Kose is a Japanese cosmetics brand that also tests on animals.

Tarte made the announcement today via Facebook

To all of our tartelettes: As you may have heard, tarte has recently been acquired by Japanese company KOSÉ. It’s truly been an amazing ride, from the little venture Maureen Kelly started in her bedroom 15 years ago to the global powerhouse we’re privileged to join. Our vision has always been to create beauty products that are ‘healthy treats for your skin,’ foster the highest level of customer service and give back to the community and the environment. By joining the KOSÉ family and adding to that rich portfolio, we can build on what we’ve already accomplished with powerful products and explore expanding the tarte brand in new and exciting countries. And rest assured, we are committed to remaining a cruelty-free brand and will not test on animals. Maureen will stay on as the CEO and looks forward to continuing a lasting relationship with our tartelettes.

xo, the tarte team!

After many questions from readers who expressed serious concern over them being bought by a non-cruelty free company, Tarte also issued an update via Facebook

Hey tartelettes – It’s Maureen

I’ve been reading your comments and concerns over the past hour and wanted to let you know I hear them all loud and clear. I promise, I’m not going anywhere. I started tarte out of my one bedroom apartment and I’m still just as passionate about making innovative, eco-friendly products that deliver real results. I’ll still be in the office every day working with my team to develop new products I hope you’ll love as much as I do. Remember, tarte will NOT be testing on animals, or EVER test on animals. We are a cruelty-free company and will remain one. KOSÉ is completely on board with our position as an eco-friendly, cruelty-free company and has given tarte such a great opportunity to grow and expand around the world. It’s really an exciting time and we can’t wait to reach more tartelettes worldwide. Please look at the checklist below and be assured tarte is in great hands.

xo, Maureen

· We will remain a cruelty-free beauty brand focused on high-performance naturals™
· We will continue to manufacture our high-quality products to our exacting standards, which means our formulas will continue to be formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and gluten
· We will continue to formulate with good-for-you ingredients like Amazonian clay, maracuja, minerals, colored clay, superfruits and vitamins
· With my team, we will continue to innovate and create products we believe tartelettes will love
· We will continue to expand internationally where are our high standards are met—we can’t wait to reach more tartelettes worldwide!

Tarte is currently certified as cruelty-free by PETA. Leaping Bunny has informed me that they are not Leaping Bunny certified because they inquired into, but didn’t finish, the application. They will stay on the Cruelty-Free Brand List here on Logical Harmony, but it will now be noted that their parent company does test on animals.

Here at Logical Harmony, I like to let readers decide what is best for themselves. I strive to provide you with the best education out there so that you can be an empowered consumer. Each individual should do what works for them and I think it’s important for consumers to be aware of their options and choose wisely. I think it’s better for a consumer to understand that Tarte is cruelty-free and their parent company is not than to think animal testing is a thing of the past and purchase directly from a brand that does test on animals.


  1. I was just going to buy mascara and foundation from tarte but not now. Like Philosophy and the countless other brands that start out cruelty free etc etc get greedy and sell out and they end up testing on animals and use cheap synthetic ingredients. Goodbye Tarte cosmetics!!

      1. After being exposed to this animal testing term (and I feel absolutely disgusted by it), I switched to Tarte for being a cruelty free brand. And I’ve been loving their products ever since — until just recently with this whole KOSE business. I’m so disappointed. So. Yes, love! Please recommend us good replacements!

  2. thank you for sharing, going to be making a video on this , subscriber let me know this. Sad, thankfully I never bought from tarte, but sad day. I keep trying to remind there are other companies out there, and also many international companies on leaping bunny too!

  3. I was so sad to hear this news. I use a lot of tarte products, & have for years. I am very disappointed. I worked for both Aveda & Stila when they were still independent companys. I left Aveda shortly after the Estee Lauder buyout to work for Stila, only to go through their Lauder buyout too. I watched the integrity of the products & company culture change so much even when the founders insisted that this would provide growth opportunity only, & the products & cruelty free stance wouldn’t change. It was very disheartened. It seems these buyouts are happening more & more, & I try to stay with independently owned brands Time to find a truly cruelty free brand.

  4. I’m heart broken! Can’t believe taste got sold too, first it was urban decay now them. This really sucks, I agree with Kelsey on being nervous for other well known cruelty-free companies to sell as well. This sucks I was just about to buy their BB cream for this up coming summer. Now back tomy research for a crueltyfree BB cream and foundation. Thanks for the info Tashina.

    1. Not another one? I use tarte foundation but I feel like they’re a risk and will turn at any time. I’m so mad:( urban decay was a huge blow and now this. The bright side is expanding my makeup collection and finding cruelty free, vegan products I’ve never tried.

  5. Thanks for the update, Tashina. I just tweeted you about this and was anxious to read your thoughts. This purchase really makes me nervous for the future of brands like Too Faced, Illamasqua, Butter London, etc. If Tarte is willing to be sold, how much longer will the rest of them hold out? I was making the transition to smaller and more independent companies anyway, and after this, I’m totally sticking with that mindset.

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